People Notes“For the followers of Jesus Christ, no one's death is a cause for rejoicing. This applies to Osama bin Laden no less than to any other evildoer, large or small. Jesus Christ died for all; there are no irredeemable people. The path of repentance is open to anyone willing to walk on it, and no human being has the right to permanently close that path for anyone.”  Miroslav Volf, director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, in the column “Does killing of bin Laden serve justice?”, The Christian Century Blog, May 3, 2011.


"I am honored to serve as the next dean of Bexley Hall.  This is an exciting time in the life of Bexley, as the seminary lives into its partnership with Trinity Lutheran Seminary back in its historic roots in Ohio, reclaiming its place on the frontier with its emphasis on ecumenical partnerships and innovative formation for ministry grounded in community."  Thomas C. Ferguson ’94 M.Div., Episcopal News Service, May 5, 2011, in the article “Bexley Hall names Thomas Ferguson as new dean.”

Meir and SharpCarolyn Sharp, associate professor of Hebrew Scriptures, delivered the keynote address entitled, "Mapping Jeremiah as/in a Feminist Landscape: Negotiating Ancient and Contemporary Terrains", for a Jeremiah conference at Phillips-Unversitat in Marburg, Germany on May 20. While there, she visited with Christl Maier, who teaches at Marburg and is former associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School, which she left at the end of 2006.  Sharp was able to view YDS Commencement from Germany and wrote, “It was so wonderful to be able to watch the live-streamed Baccalaureate service just now from Marburg!...I really felt sad not to be there, but immediately cheered up when the music started and I saw all of you and our dear students.”

Rachel Heath ’11 M.Div., is one of 50 students chosen by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics to participate in a two-week program in New York, Berlin, and Poland for law, medical, journalism, and seminary school students. Twelve to 14 students were chosen from each field. The FASPE programs instruct students on the contemporary ethical issues facing their professions — using the Holocaust and the conduct of their professions in Nazi Germany as a framework for study. FASPE medical and seminary students will begin orientation at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on June 26. The first leg of the European portion is in Berlin, where the Fellows focus on exactly what their profession did during the Holocaust. The Fellows then travel to Poland to visit Krakow and Auschwitz, where they will tour Auschwitz-Birkenau, and discuss contemporary ethics.

"They have a feeling to me of being a missioning church, still in a missionary mood. . . They want more and more exchanges with us, more and more contact with us." Charles L. Wildman ’70 B.D., UCC Connecticut Conference News, May 2, 2011, in the article “Conference Minister Brings Home Impressions from Holy Week in South Korea.”

“What social justice-oriented evangelicals don’t seem to understand is that many gay people I know (my partner and myself included) wish that there was no “hill” to begin with. All we really want is to serve the church without being made to feel that our loving, committed, same-sex relationships somehow taint our faithfulness to the gospel and, most importantly, to God.”  Jaimie L. Manson ’02 M.Div., Religion Dispatches, May 14, 2011, in the article “Tainted Love: The Cost of Sojourners’ Refusal to Take Sides on LGBT Issues.”

“There’s a lot of pressure to lie. Not about what a bond is yielding or anything like that, but lie about your position. Oh yeah, you’re taking me out of my last ten of that! You’re cleaning me out! When you’ve got another 100 million behind you.” Gregory H. Zehner ’06 M.Div., New York Magazine, May 17, 2011, in the article “Doing God’s Work After Goldman.”

Teresa Berger, professor of liturgical studies, has a new book out: Gender Differences and the Making of Liturgical History: Lifting a Veil on Liturgy’s Past, Ashgate Liturgy, Worship and Society Series (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, June 2011).  Additionally, her 2005 book Fragments of Real Presence has been translated into Japanese and published by Akashi Shoten Co.

“I say, listen to what is great, not what is small.  Listen to Jesus from Matthew 24: ‘About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’  Listen to the great reformer Martin Luther, who said of God, ‘As you believe him, so you have him.’  Take care for what you are tempted to believe!  The Bible is like a great cauldron filled with spiritual food.  If you pick from it one bone to chew on, and leave the rest, you will starve. Stephen H. Phelps '73 B.A. '86 M.Div., CNN Blog, May 19, 2011, in a Q&A about predictions the world would end on May 21.

"As many have observed, the most difficult thing in the world to conquer and master and to make sense of is ourselves.  I pray that you will seek God's help in mastering yourself and in knowing yourself, so that you can love and serve those around you, and find joy that is greater than you can possibly imagine."  Christopher Beeley, the Walter H. Gray Associate Professor of Anglican Studies and Patristics, May 25, 2011, News@Washington & Lee, in the story “Baccalaureate 2011: W&L’s Graduates Told to Pursue Lives of Love.”

"We will continue to offer our dedicated readers the materials which nourish them, while expanding our audience through new kinds of content delivered in new ways." Scott Gunn '92 M.A.R. '96 M.Div., June 1, 2011, Episcopal News Service, in the article “Forward Movement names new executive director.”

“I think we always have needed God. Because of recent challenges, people may realize it more now. Sometimes we get to a point in our lives when it seems empty, especially when things start to implode. We question what’s truly important. People start to realize life is short and ask how can I get the most meaning out of life? People hunger for a sense of meaning and purpose. They are no longer interested in pursuing things that no longer have meaning. They want to feel accepted for who and what they are. We all want love and acceptance.”  Susan Pinkerton ’08 M.Div., June 3, 2011, LakeForfester (IL), in the article “Church of Holy Spirit’s Pinkerton gave up law to serve God.”

Hugh R. Stone ’76 M.Div. will begin serving the Polk City United Methodist Church in July 2011. Polk City is a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa.  He is also the secretary and treasurer of C.R.O.S.S. Ministries in Osceola, IA, which distributes used medical equipment to third world countries and provides free food and clothing to the poor in southern Iowa. C.R.O.S.S. will receive the BeJe Clark award for Social Justice at the 2011 Iowa Annual Conference.  He recently returned from his second trip to Haiti since the earthquake and is helping develop a conference on Palestine for October 2011.  He will attend the World Methodist Conference in South Africa with his wife in August.  He also teaches philosophy and world religions at the Des Moines Area Community College and is the chaplain at the Clarke County Jail.