People Notes


RoysterConnie 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.

“Will Campbell turns the gospel of Jesus on its head, at least where standardized, predictable concepts and actions, left-wing and right, are concerned. Preacher, writer, lecturer, farmer, raconteur and soulful iconoclast, Will Campbell is an equal-opportunity prophet. Just when you think he has confirmed all your sacred cows and reinforced your sociopolitical ‘enemies lists,’ he jumps ahead, taking the ax to the roots of your own ideological forest.” Bill Leonard,  professor of church history at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Aug. 18, 2011, Associated Baptist Press, in the article “The freedom of will,” about Will Campbell ’52 B.D.

“Dave Douglas’ list of career accomplishments is long, but the list of those who have benefitted from his knowledge, his leadership, and his passion for law is longer.  The National Center is fortunate have a legal scholar of his caliber as a supporter and collaborator, and the judicial system is fortunate to have him as an advocate.”  Mary C. McQueen, president of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), Aug. 2, 2011, William & Mary News and Events, speaking about Davison Douglas ’83 M.A.R., ’83 J.D., ’92 Ph.D. in the article “National court nonprofit honors W&M law dean.”

 “As we approach the dedication of the permanent memorial in Lower Manhattan, a milestone event that will mark the closing of one chapter and the opening of a new one, it is important to remember those promises we made to ourselves in the autumnal days of 2001: to meet more great people every day, simply by deciding to see their greatness; to treat ourselves and others with kindness and compassion; to stop and consider the beauty of the world; to do those things that frighten us most, whether offering an apology or moving away from habits or habitual situations that keep us stuck; to give thanks, often. The new 9/11 memorial, a massive double baptismal font of sorts, beckons us to immerse ourselves and emerge into a new life.”  Judith Dupré ’11 M.Div., Aug. 29, 2011, writing in America magazine, in the article “Temporary and Timeless.”

“A central challenge for all religions in a pluralistic world is to help people grow out of their petty hopes so as to live meaningful lives, and to help them resolve their grand conflicts and life in communion with others.”  From A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (BrazosPress),  the latest book by MIroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology and Founding Director, Yale Center for Faith & Culture. View Volf’s discussion about his new book on YouTube.

“Lynne and I are excited to return to the mountains of our home state. I began my career in higher education in North Carolina. This next chapter for us seems fortuitous as the circle now feels complete. I have always been proud of the rich tradition of higher education in North Carolina. Brevard College is steeped in its own traditions and it will be a privilege to represent this fine institution as we share this story with the wider world.” David Joyce ‘78 M.Div., Aug. 6, 2011, Salisbury (NC) Post, in the article “New Brevard president has Salisbury connections.”

William F. May ’52 B.D., ’62 Ph.D. has a new book out, Testing the National Covenant (Georgetown University Press, 2011). Publicity material from the publisher says, “As we negotiate three foreign wars and massive domestic challenges, including economic crises and environmental devastation, how can we best sustain our identity as a people and resist the distortions of our current anxieties and appetites? In a new book leading ethicist William F. May draws on America's religious and political history and examines two competing concepts at play in American politics—contract and covenant.”

“The idea is that as Christians we have to love everybody.  But that’s not realistic. There are difficult people and difficult interactions. And tennis is a microcosm of life.” Sam Owen ’12 M.Div., Sept. 2, 2011, in the New York Times Beliefs column “Doing Unto Others, Off and on the Tennis Court” by Mark Oppenheimer.

“We believe there is an unjust and growing gap between the rich and the poor and a daily disintegration of the middle class in America.  We also believe that organized initiatives are under way here in Ohio and in many states to further destroy labor and organized workers, and we believe this is wrong.” Timothy Ahrens ’85 M.Div., Sept. 1, 2011, (OH), in the article  “Clergy: God is on the side of union workers.”

 “A lot of us mostly find spirituality in playing sports together. There are people who find God, or find camaraderie, or friendship. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it on the field.” Alex Peterson ’12 M.Div.,  Sept. 2, 2011, Yale Daily News, in the article “At Divinity School, sermons mix with soccer cleats.”

Norm Thomas’s ’53 B.A., ’56 M.Div. new book, Missions and Unity: Lessons from History, 1792-2010, is published by Wipf and Stock.   It was named in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research as one of the 15 most outstanding books in missions study for 2010.

David Kelsey ’58 B.D., ’64 Ph.D., the Luther A. Weigel Professor Emeritus of Theology at Yale Divinity School, is being recognized by the (Protestant) theology faculty at the University in Tuebingen, Germany, with an honorary doctorate in theology.  The degree will be conferred on Kelsey, who taught at YDS from 1965-2005, in  Tuebingen in June 2012.

Clement-Muehl Professor of Homiletics Nora Tubbs Tisdale, is a contributor to Preaching God’s Transforming Justice: A Lectionary Commentary, Year B, Featuring 22 New Holy Days for Justice, anew commentaryjust published by Westminster John Knox Press. The work is unique, according to the publisher, in that it is the first to help the preacher focus on the implications for social justice in every biblical reading in the Revised Common Lectionary.  Tisdale wrote the very first piece that appears in the book: First Sunday of Advent.  She comments on passages from Isaiah, the Psalms, 1 Corinthians and Mark.!/pages/Preaching-Gods-Transforming-Justice-A-Lectionary-Commentary/201090069938085.

“There is a link between philosophy and running. There are deep thoughts in my head that I need time to process. When you watch your body break down, you also come to know yourself better.”  Ultramarathoner Sabrina Moran ’12 M.A.R., Sept. 6, 2011, Yale Daily News, in the article “Meet the Div School’s ‘Energizer bunny,’”

William Burton Lawson ’55 M.Div., a resident of Naples, Florida and Upton, MA died on August 25, 2011. He was ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1955 and served parishes in Duluth, MN; Bloomfield, CT; and in Natick and Lynn, MA. In retirement, he served as the interim rector at St. Andrew's, Framingham, MA. He was a member of the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations of the Episcopal Church, a member of the Anglican Roman Catholic Dialogue, and a delegate from the Episcopal Church to the National Council of Churches. He was the founder of the United Parish of Natick, an innovative experiment in parish ministry involving the Episcopal, Congregational, Baptist and Lutheran Churches. In Naples, Florida he was instrumental in the founding of an ecumenical seminary that provided theological education to the community.  Memorial gifts may be sent to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 39 East Central Street (Route 135), Natick, MA 01760.

“This has been great training for the conservation of the future, which will undoubtedly center around balancing economic, environmental and human dignity challenges.  It can hardly be clearer that these three pillars are of central importance across disciplines, especially in business and governance. It is my understanding that this will only become more critical to the survival and flourishing of human communities during the 21st century.”  Nathan Rutenbeck ’12 M.A.R., Bangor (ME) Daily News, Aug. 21, 2011, in the article “UMaine interns complete conservation projects in Washington County.”

“These two congregations have never shared a pastor. They are about ten minutes apart, and are beginning to work together in a variety of ways — sharing a pastor is only one part of it. They have a covenant with each other to do joint ministry in their common community. It's a new model, and we'll all be working together to make it happen.”  Johanna Johnson ’09 M.Div.,, Aug. 19, 2011, The (Western Nevada County, CA) Union, in the article “Johnson to be fourth generation in ministry.”

L. Ann Hallisey ’75 M.Div. has been named the new dean of students at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Episcopal Church-affiliated seminary in Berkeley, CS.  CDSP's president and dean, the Very Rev. Dr. W. Mark Richardson, announced Hallisey's appointment, which returns her to the seminary where she earned her D.Min. degree, Aug. 16, 2011, Episcopal News Service.

On July 24, St. Jacob’s Lutheran Church in North Canton, OH, celebrated the Silver Jubilee of its pastor, Leah K. Schafer ’86 M.Div. The church conducted a special worship service followed by light refreshments in the Garnes social hall. Aug. 12, 2011, The (Akron, OH) Suburbanite.

“I felt my work as a pastor taught me leadership qualities, and I wanted to move into a leadership role in education.  But before I did that, I wanted to reimmerse myself in the classroom.”  Shawn Lewis-Lakin ’88 M.Div., Aug. 8, 2011, Royal Oak (MI) Patch, in the article “Meet School Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin”

"This was a good match for me and for the church. This is a conservative and evangelical church. They wanted Bible-based sermons and someone with energy.”  John Gerlach ’96 M.Div., Aug. 8, 2011, Windsor (CT) Patch, in the article “New Pastor Takes the Helm at Trinity United Methodist.”

“I view our congregation as people who can minister to the community. I am here to be supportive and pastoral to them and the community in any way I can. We have an interest in the community and we want them to know we’re here and we want to share in God’s love.”  Jessica Anschutz ’07 M.Div., Aug. 4, 2011, The (Monroe, NY) Photo News, in the article “The Rev. Jessica Anschutz joins the Central Valley United Methodist Church.”

“The strength of our congregation is that it’s welcoming and friendly.  It’s not just me reaching out to them. They’ve reciprocated, and what happened to me is something that would happen to anyone who walked in our front door.”  Jim Poinsett ’05 M.Div., Aug. 4, 2011, Springfield (PA) Sun, in the article “Long and winding road brings pastor to the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.”

 “In the course of the service, the first cultural shock was that there was a woman who was celebrating the Eucharist.  During the service I was trying to figure out whether I should take the sacrament from her – I did.”  Emmanuel Mercer ’05 S.T.M., Aug. 2, 2011, (PA), in the article “New assistant at St. Paul’s faced cultural shift in Anglican Church.”