People Notes Haggray ’88 M.Div., senior pastor of The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC, has been selected as one of 10 members of the newly reconstituted Racial Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches, the nation’s predominant ecumenical organization representing some 45 million people in 37 NCC member communions.  The role of the RJW is to provide “discernment and leadership” for the Council's communions on the issues of race and justice. During an organizational meeting held March 24-25 in Washington, members of the commission discussed their commitments to racial justice and their hopes for the Working Group.  “I am personally committed to advancing and promoting justice on behalf of all Americans whatever their racial or ethnic heritage happens to be,” Haggray told fellow commissioners.  “As a child of the 1960s, my existential reality, like that of most Southerners in those years was heavily defined by the reality of Black and White relations.”  He added, “One of the real joys and signs of God’s grace for me is the privilege to stand weekly in a pulpit facing an interracial congregation in the nation’s capital city, that seeks both to proclaim and model the message of ‘beloved community.’”  Haggray said it is his hope that the Working Group “will help Protestant Christians in America to acknowledge more forthrightly than we have before that sin is the real basis for racially segregated churches in America, and that as Christ’s church we are called to overcome sin.”


Dean Hammer ‘’78 M.A.R. delivered a talk entitled “Overcoming the Pathology of War; Building a Culture of Peace” on March 4 under sponsorship of he Leverett, MA Peace Commission.The talk is available as an MP3 at   Hammer says the commission plans to promote a resolution to abolish war.  He can be reached at

“From every angle the question of poverty is nearly impossible to get right. The American temptation is to blame the poor for their woes, or turn ‘the poor’ into an ideological abstraction for inducing guilt. The easiest temptation of all is to feel overwhelmed by poverty's pain and persistence. Yet thousands -- millions -- of people are fighting for solutions, putting them into motion, wasting no time on the indulgence of defeatism.”  Ray Waddle, editor, Reflections magazine, writing in the Huffington Post, March 9, 2011.

 “The thing that I’ve found recently that works really well is I’ve implemented character education into the Sunday School program, so we’re learning about things like hospitality and kindness and respect and responsibility. We talk about those things in relation to the gospel as well as what’s going on with us in the room.” Portia Hurney ’13 M.Div., March 13, 2011, in the Killingworth-Durham-Middlefield (CT) Patch.

“There is no more effective way to radicalize American Muslim youth than for political leaders to make public displays of prejudice against all Muslims. Suspicion will undermine their sense of identification with America and alienate some from both the culture and from politics.”  MIroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, March 10, 2011, writing in The American Muslim.

Magnus Bernhardsson '92 M.A.R., '99 Ph.D., associate professor of history at Williams College, will serve as the college's next Gaudino Scholar, becoming the 14th faculty member to hold the title.

Todd Buras  '98 M.A.R. '04 Ph.D., associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Philosophy at Baylor, has been appointed as the new faculty master for Baylor’s Honors Residential College beginning this fall.

 “From what I have noticed while living in Connecticut, there is a definite disparity between more affluent communities and the urban communities in regards to services for special needs children. Though families in the urban area are asked to participate in trials and studies, they are not offered the same kind of services because of the lack of funding. Moreover, in poor urban communities, many parents lack the resources and the access to specialized physicians that are geared specifically towards children with autism.” Eraina Davis ’10 M.A.R., March 24, 2011, New Haven Independent.