Her Lamp Does Not Go Out: Celebrating Women and Creativity

A highlight of this year’s Convocation and Reunions, Oct. 11-14, will be a special event hosted by the Institute of Sacred Music—Her Lamp Does Not Go Out: Celebrating Women and Creativity— that will showcase the work of some extraordinarily talented women graduates working in the areas of worship, music, and the arts.  The program will be hosted by Barbara Lundblad ’79 M.Div., the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York, who is also being honored at YDS this year with the Alumni Award for Distinction in Theological Education.

LundbladHer Lamp Does Not Go Out is part of a multi-faceted emphasis of this year’s Convocation and Reunions that, in turn, is a component of a yearlong celebration of eight decades of women at Yale Divinity School that officially began at commencement exercises in May.  Free and open to the public, the program will take place Tuesday, October 12 , 8 pm, at Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven (corner of Temple and Chapel Streets).

In other Convocation and Reunion activities, the Class of 1960 will celebrate its 50th reunion and, the Class of 1985, its 25th.  Cluster reunion gatherings will be held for the classes of 1964-66, 1979-81, and 1999-2001.

The Beecher Lectures will be delivered by Mary Catherine Hilkert of Notre Dame, a specialist in contemporary systematic theology and author of Naming Grace: Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination.  The Shafer Lecturer will be Sean Freyne, professor emeritus at Trinity College, Dublin, an expert in Galilee in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the historical Jesus, the gospels, and aspects of early Jewish and early Christian history and development.  Other lectures will be given by former ISM director Margot Fassler, now at Notre Dame (the ISM-sponsored Kavanagh Lecture) and John H. Finley IV (BDS-sponsored Cheney Lecture), headmaster of the Epiphany School in Dorchester, MA.

Her Lamp Does Not Go Out host Barbara Lundblad, a national known preacher, is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has served 16 years as a parish pastor in New York and as a campus pastor at Lehman College and New York University.

The program will be composed of a half-dozen program segments featuring graduates working in some aspect of the arts who will present their creative work.

The soprano Awet Andemicael ’10 M.A.R. will present a program entitled "The Ambiguity of Dark and Light" that includes two Handel arias: "With darkness deep as is my woe" from Theodora and "But who may abide the day of his coming?" from Messiah.

Peter Hawkins, professor of religion and literature, will introduce work of a graduate he mentored during her years at Yale. Martha Dewey ’81 M.A.R., who died suddenly and tragically in 2009, was artistic director and a founding member of the Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE), a unique resource for education in diversity with a mission "to give voice to a variety of points of view within the human experience, in order to facilitate a shift in culture towards greater honesty, trust, respect, and dignity.”

Alisha Lola Jones ’07 M.Div. is active as a businesswoman, scholar, social activist, speaker, and singer. A fellow in the ethnomusicology Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago, her research is in African-American music traditions. She will present four art songs by the composer Lena J. McLin (b. 1929), daughter of a Baptist pastor and music minister, and niece of Thomas Dorsey, the father of gospel music.

Ellen Priest ’77 M.Div. will discuss the larger forces that have shaped her work as an abstract painter. Her presentation, entitled "Yale Taught Me to Think," will accompany slides from her recently completed body of work: Jazz: Edward Simon's "Venezuelan Suite” #1-23.  Four of the works will be on display that week in Marquand Chapel.  Priest has used jazz as her subject matter since 1990.  Each large series of layered, collaged paintings is based on careful, repeated listening to a single jazz composition.

Martha Serpas’s ’94 M.Div. two collections of poetry are Côte Blanche (New Issues, 2002) and The Dirty Side of the Storm (Norton, 2007). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and Southwest Review, and in anthologies such as Bearing the Mystery: Twenty Years of Image, The Art of the Sonnet, and the Library of America’s American Religious Poems.  She will read a selection of poems ecofeminist in focus. Some treat the destruction of Louisiana's wetlands and feature water, while others depict sources of wisdom in trying situations.