People Notes


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“The true price we pay for our consumer culture is separation from God and desecration of all that God loves in his Creation. As the Earth Charter reminds us, ‘The major cause of continued deterioration of the global environment is in the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production.’ By our obsession with possessions we are destroying the Earth for all of God’s beloved creatures today and those yet to come.”  Stephanie Johnson ’10 M.Div., ’12 S.T.M., from her sermon Abundance, which won the 2011 Franciscan Philanthropist Award from Earth Ministry, a non-profit organization committed to engaging the Christian community in environmental stewardship.


Patrick Evans, associate professor in the practice of sacred music, will be honored during ceremonies on Nov. 10 at New York’s Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church with a Faithful Servant Award from Presbyterian Welcome. Evans and two others are being recognized as “exceptional leaders in the movement for full inclusion of all people without regard to sexual orientation and gender identification in the life and leadership of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”  Michael J. Adee, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, said, “Patrick has faithfully and joyfully taught our pro-LGBTQ movement how to sing and worship our way into justice.  Internationally recognized for creation and leadership of affirming worship, Patrick is a remarkable organizer and advocate for LGBTQ equality.”

RuffingOn Oct. 11, Janet Ruffing, professor of the practice of spirituality and ministerial leadership, delivered the William Johnston Inaugural Lecture sponsored by the Irish Jesuits in Dublin, Ireland. Her paper was entitled "A Path to God Today: Nurturing Imagination and Symbol." More than 250 attended the event at All Hallows College, including Patrick McDevitt CM, president of All Hallows College, Dublin City University, and formerly of DePaul University, Chicago; Bernadette Flanagan PBVM, director of Research, All Hallows College, and co-director of the Spiritual Capital Ireland Centre; Michael O'Sullivan SJ, director of the MA in Applied Christian Spirituality, All Hallows College, and co-director of the Spiritual Capital Ireland Centre.


People Note

The fall meeting of the YDS Board of Advisors took place at Fifth Ave. Presbyterian Church and at Christ Church United Methodist Church.  Over the last two years the BOA has engaged in conversations about the new challenges for preparing leaders for ministry in congregations.  The context of this meeting provided opportunity for presentations by the alums who serve these two vital congregations.  Scott Black Johnston ’89 M.Div. is the senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, which has been engaged in an intentional “birthing” another new congregation. Steve Bauman ’79 M.Div. is Senior Pastor of Christ Church Methodist, where he has led a process of “rebirth” of his own urban congregation. They introduced the Board to their ministerial settings and offered insights into two different but successful models of urban religious life.  Another highlight of the Board meeting was a conversation between Board member Wes Avram and Reflections Magazine Editor Ray Waddle.   They shared thoughts growing out of the latest issue of Reflections titled: "iBelieve: Facing the New Media Explosion" for which Avram contributed the lead article.  Lively conversation followed the discussions during Q&A involving alums and guests, clergy and laity, representing many different denominations. 

“We lean toward the love and forgiveness side of the spectrum. We do not lean toward the fire and brimstone side.” Rebekah Davis ’06 M.Div., Oct. 8, 2011, Casa Grande (AZ) Dispatch, in the article “Lutheran intern sees strength in faith of all.”


“Catholics and Protestants alike hold certain theological, doctrinal and liturgical traditions sacred, and the real differences among our various Christian tribes should not be casually dismissed or glossed over. But imagine the possibilities if we were able to trust in God enough to set them aside for a bit for a greater purpose. Imagine tearing down barriers, if only for an hour at a time, and worshipping together, with a vision of unity animating our thoughts and words.” Michael O’Loughlin ’09 M.A.R., Oct. 20, 2011, Huffington Post, writing in the column “Worship First, Debate Later.”

J. Scott Barker ’85 B.A., ’92 M.Div., was consecrated the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Nebraska on Oct. 8 at the La Vista Convention Center in Omaha, NE.  Ecumenical and interfaith guests were included in the gathering, considered a "homecoming" for Barker, 48, an Omaha native who had served congregations locally and in upstate New York prior to his June 4 election.  Oct. 10, 2011, Episcopal News Service.

“My job is to manage the parish and handle pastoral care, preach, visit hospitals – all the tasks of the parish. I also have developmental tasks such as helping to come to terms with the past, raising up and developing a new lay ministry, renewing relationships with the diocese and getting the parishioners ready to receive a new rector.” E. Bevan Stanley ’74 UGrd, ’83 M.Div., Oct. 14, 2011, Bethwood (CT) Patch, in the article “Interim Rector Appointed at Christ Episcopal Church.”

David Price ’64 B.D., ’69 Ph.D., a U.S. Representative from North Carolina, has been awarded the Caldwell Award by the North Carolina Humanity Council, the Council’s top honor.  The Caldwell Award is given to "individuals whose life and work illuminate one or more of the multiple dimensions of human life where the humanities come into play: civic, personal, intellectual and moral."  Oct. 17, 2011, Raleigh (NC) News and Observer.

Jason Turner ’06 M.Div. has been elected chairman of the New Have Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners.  He is hoping to create a more “holistic” approach to the public housing agency.  Oct. 24, 2011, New Haven Independent.

Urban, a progressive lifestyle magazine focusing on urban culture, faith and social change celebrated their recent launch on October 15, 2011 at Lounge 201 on Capitol Hill.  Rahiel Tesfamariam ’09 M.Div. is the founder and editorial director of the magazine.

William Randolph Sengel ’49 B.D., ’50 S.T.M., 88, who was pastor of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, VA from 1960 until he retired in 1986, died Oct. 17 at Westminster at Lake Ridge retirement community in Woodbridge, VA.  Washington Post, Oct. 26, 2011.

Elizabeth “Lib” MacGregor Crooker Bates ’43 Div., died on Oct. 21, 2011 at her home in Center Sandwich, New Hampshire. In her 92nd year, she was profiled as founder of a group of retired hikers in the book, Over the Hill Hikers, and she won L.L. Bean's 2011 Outdoor Hero Award.  Oct. 28, 2011, The Laconia (NH) Daily Sun.

William Willimon ’71 M.Div., will present the annual Morningside College Wright Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Grace United Methodist Church, 1735 Morningside Ave, Sioux City, IA.   He will lecture on the subject "The Unexpected Jesus" that will address themes from his book "Why Jesus?"  Nov. 5, 2011, Sioux City Journals.

“There is this general sense or sentiment that something is radically missing from both parties, especially with the gridlock we have faced over the last year or so related to a whole host of social issues.”   Keri Day ’04 M.A.R., Nov. 3, 2011, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, IL, in the article “Social ethics professor to return to Springfield for Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.”

Ross Paulson, a Research Fellow at Yale Divinity School in 1964-1965, died Monday, Oct. 31, 2011, at Auburn Manor Care Center, Chaska, Minn. From 1962 to 1995, he was a professor of history at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, reaching the rank of full professor and retiring as professor emeritus in 1995.  Nov. 1, 2011, Quad-Cities Online.

Pittsburgh Presbytery has canceled a planned discussion on gay ordination that would have included Chris Glaser ’77 M.Div., a nationally prominent gay rights advocate from Atlanta.  The presbytery voted 94-68 to rescind an invitation to Glaser to speak at a presbytery meeting.  Oct. 22, 2011, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Wong and WieselAs a winner of a third-place prize in the national Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics essay writing contest for the year 2010, Stephanie Wong ’13 M.Div. participated in an all-day seminar in New York on Oct. 26 discussing each of the winning ethics essays, and then attended the winner's ceremony in the evening at the Lotos Club near Central Park.  Said Wong, “It was an honor to meet Elie Wiesel, whose humble goodness showed in the way he talked so generously with us about our essays and the need for ethics in today's world.”  The ceremony was originally scheduled for Jan. 17 and 18 but was postponed when Wiesel fell ill.


Gladys Minear, the widow of YDS Professor Paul Minear and longtime resident of Guilford, CT died on October 23, 2011 at the age of 105.   She and Paul were high school sweethearts and married in 1929.  A memorial service will be held on Friday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. in the First Congregational Church on the Green in Guilford, with a reception to follow.  Gifts in memory of Gladys Minear may be made to the Deacons’ Fund at the First Congregational Church and to Connecticut Hospice.  Further information is available from Larry Minear, 508-255-3430 (

“The message isn’t simply come as you are. It’s come as you are and leave transformed. The church isn’t simply an exercise in affirming people’s life and experiences in the dominant culture of the day. It’s about calling people to transformation that is a result of a relationship with Jesus and with God.” Peter Johnston ’09 B.A., ’14 M.Div., Oct. 21, 2011, The Yale Herald, in the article “Seminary on the Hill.”