People Notes


Connie Royster, director of development at YDS and  a member of the Yale College class of 1972, recently took the helm as the new chair of the board of directors of DwightHall at Yale, the Center for Public Service and Social Justice.  Royster continues a legendary tradition of connections between YDS and Dwight Hall,where many YDS alums worked while they were students.  Others have served Dwight Hall in more formal capacities. David Warren ’70 M.U.S., ’70 B.D., for example, served as Dwight Hall’s general secretary. Phil Zaeder ’58 B.A.,’62 M.Div., also was a past board chair. Zaeder and Sam Slie ’52 B.D., ’63 S.T.M., are current emeritus members of the board. David Dodson ’77 B.A., ’81 M.P.P.M., ’81 M.Div. ,and YDS Associate Dean of Admissions Anna Ramirez ’93 M.Div. are also current members of the board.

Dwight Hall is an independent, non-profit, student-run organization whose mission is “to foster civic-minded student leaders and to promote service and activism in New Haven and around the world.”  It supports the work of over 80 student-run organizations, engaging nearly 3,500 undergraduate students each year in activities that promote social change. Founded by undergraduates in 1881 as the Young Men’s Christian Association at Yale, Dwight Hall has evolved into a non-sectarian organization where students from diverse backgrounds can utilize resources to practice service and activism in New Haven and beyond. The Rev. John G. Magee ’06 Fellowship was established at Dwight Hall in 1987 to maintain the religious roots upon which Dwight Hall was founded.  Magee Fellows create opportunities for reflection on the spiritual and moral dimensions of direct service and social action.  This year there are two Magee Fellows, and both are YDS students: Jordan Haynie ’13 M.Div. and Mary Via ’12 M.A.R.

“Those who struggle on the economic margins of our society –– children living in poverty, people living with chronic health issues, seniors, women trying to escape domestic violence in their homes –– the most vulnerable do not have a voice at the negotiation table. Our faith calls us to lift up the voices and the stories of the most vulnerable.”  Sandra Sorensen ’90 M.Div., July 28, 2011, United Church News, in the story “Faith leaders arrested in Capitol Hill protest to protect nation's most vulnerable persons.”

Gordon Dester Kaufman ’51 B.D, ’55 Ph.D., Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Professor of Divinity Emeritus at Harvard Divinity School, died on Friday, July 22, at age 86. A member of the Faculty of Divinity at Harvard since 1963, Kaufman was a renowned liberal theologian whose research, writing, and teachings had a profound influence on constructive and systematic theology. Harvard Divinity Communications, July 28, 2011

Reginald Lee Bachus ’09 M.Div. was installed at the end of July as the new pastor of Mount Ollie Baptist Church of Brooklyn.  Historic Mount Ollie Baptist is located in East New York, nestled between the Hispanic, Jewish, African-American and Caribbean communities.  His grandfather, Rev. Dr. C.L. Bachus, is the pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition, Bachus’ father, the Rev. Reginald E. Bachus is pastor of the historic Friendship Baptist Church on the west side of Chicago, where Reginald previously served as an associate minister, youth director and community organizer.  Brooklyn Eagle, July 26, 2011.

Full of Grace (Random House, 2010) by Judith Dupré ’11 M.Div.  garnered a first-place book award from The Catholic Journalist in the category “spirituality, hardcover.” The citation reads, “In this wonderful tapestry of art, story, theology, and meditation the author animates and enlivens the never-ending story of Mary, the Mother of God. She helps us deepen our love of and our admiration for this woman of Galilee who continues to inspire.”

 “I felt very angry and very ashamed. You’re not biblically required to return to someone who is hurting you, putting yourself in that situation again and again, that's not what's required.”  Julia Seymour ’07 M.Div., July 21, 2011, Channel 2 News, Anchorage, Alaska, in the story “Frontiersman Readers Upset Over Column on Spousal Rape.”,0,7804254.story

PhotoBishop Fred Talbot ’57 M.Div. and his wife, Sylvia ’57 M.S., celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary on July 11. They met at Yale when he was a Divinity student and she was a student in the School of Public Health.  In 2007, Bishop Talbot made an initial generous gift to establish a scholarship fund at YDS with a preference for African Methodist Episcopal students.  Since then, contributions to the fund have brought the total to over $50,000.  The Talbots currently reside in Brentwood, TN.  Bishop Talbot was honored with YDS’s Lux et Veritas alumni award in 2007.


Lillian Daniel ’93 M.Div. and Martin Copenhaver ’80 M.Div., co-authors of the book “This Odd and Wondrous Calling” preached on the nationally syndicated radio program “Day 1” on, respectively, July 24 and July 30.  Meanwhile, Peter Marty ’85 M,Div. is scheduled to preach on Day 1 on Aug. 21 and 28.  Formerly known as “The Protestant Hour,” “Day 1” has been broadcast every week for 66 years. It is currently distributed to more than 215 radio stations across America and overseas.  Sermons are archived at

 “Christians must outspokenly defend religious liberty for Muslims whether or not Muslims reciprocate . . . Christians must admit that sometimes we do preach the message of Christ in an un-Christ-like way, and we must address these ethical lapses whether or not Muslims address ethical lapses in Islamic da‘wa.” Joseph Cumming, director of the Reconciliation Program of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, Christian Today, July 8, 2011, in the column “Christians, Muslims, and the Responsible Exercise of Freedom.”

“We need to talk honestly about the gospel message as it relates to race and sexual orientation in our church. We’ve been at a stalemate for too long on both.”  Sharon Watkins ’84 M.Div., July 11, 2011, Disciples News Service, in the article “Watkins reelected as General Minister and President.”


“I stopped at one garage, and then the next thing I knew I was just continuing to go and not making any more stops. At the same moment I realized I was weeping.  I had the unmistakable sense that God was in the car with me and that this was not what I was supposed to be doing with my life. In that moment of prayer – conversation with God – it was very much two-way and very clear communication, I had to take stock.”  Peter G. Tierney III ’06 M.Div., ’07 S.T.M., Tiverton-Little Compton (RI) Patch, July 30, 2011, in the article “Journey To Priesthood Comes Full Circle for Little Compton Pastor.”

“Forty-one years of every Sunday getting in the pulpit, delivering the sermon, preparing the materials, planning ahead for the various religious festivals and holidays, the religious calendar, there’s always something coming up. It’s like a windmill. One wind goes by, and then there’s another one coming; right as soon as you dodge one, there’s another one coming. ... After 41 years, it’s time to stop.”  Greg Robinson ’70 M.Div., July 30, 2011, Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune, in the article  “Local congregation says a fond farewell to Rev. Greg Robinson.”

Melissa Matthes ’09 M.Div. is one of the leading contenders for the cast of a new reality TV show, “Wall Street Wives.” Matthes, who teaches at Yale Divinity School and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, has been married for nearly 20 years to a hedge fund manager.  July 29, 2011, The New York Times in the article “’Wall Street Wives’ Finds a Cast.”

 “There were moments where I didn’t feel worthy to be a minister. I had doubts that I wasn’t a good enough person to be able to provide pastoral care to others.  I actually talked to my pastor about it and he said if I have a love and passion for the field, God would provide me with the necessary gifts to do the work.” Peggy Lindsey ’85 M.Div., July 21, 2011, TribLocal, Hinsdale, IL, in the article “Hospital chaplain discovered her calling in life and is rewarded”

The Brevard College Board of Trustees voted to appoint David C. Joyce ’78 M.Div. as the 13th president of the school. He assumes the presidency on Jan. 1, 2012.  He has served as the president of Ripon College in Ripon, Wis. since 2003.  July 20, 2011, Asheville (NC) Times.|newswell|text|Frontpage|s

“Moon’s decision to go abroad as a pioneering single woman missionary was notable, to be sure. But her decision to advocate for the formation of the Woman’s Missionary Union and to argue for equal treatment of male and female missionaries moves her into the realm of activist and advocate. Only by removing the artifice of legend was I able to reveal the story of Moon’s unusual upbringing in Albemarle County, Virginia, her willingness to challenge gender norms and to support female organization.”  Regina D. Sullivan ’89 M.A.R., July 20, 2011, Associated Baptist Press in the article “Lottie Moon, a missionary in history and legend.”

David Dawson ’87 S.T.M. began serving as he 17th president of Earlham College on July 1.  Selected from a pool of 51 candidates, he previously served as provost and professor of religion at Haverford College.

"I need to be fully who I am, and the church needs to accept that. God calls me to both things equally, to be who I am and to be a pastor of the church." Jeannine Oakes ’08 M.Div., July 16, 2011, Chicago Tribune, in the article  “Lesbian can follow calling.”