AUSTIN, Tex. — Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Professor Ellen Babinsky, who has taught church history since 1988, retired effective Aug. 1, 2009.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Babinsky was associate dean for student academic affairs since 2005. She also served in 2002 as a faculty representative on the Presidential Search Committee and has played a central role in the community as chair of the seminary’s Student Life and Student Standing Committee for more than 10 years.

Babinsky is an acknowledged expert in the Early, Medieval, Reformation and Modern periods of church history with a specialization in medieval heresy and Christian mysticism. A regular participant and contributor to the Medieval Institute in Kalamazoo, MI, and Ghost Ranch Conference Center in New Mexico, Babinsky is the author of several publications including her own translation of and introduction to a 13th-century French mystical text, Marguerite Porete's The Mirror of Simple Souls.

A committed ecumenist, Babinsky has served on Theology Committee of the Caribbean and North American Area Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations. She was a PC(USA) delegate to the 1997 World Alliance of Reformed Churches General Council in Debrecen, Hungary.

Babinsky earned a B.A. from Earlham College, an M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary, an M.Th. from Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, and the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She was associate pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis from 1976-1983 and has served as a parish associate at Genesis Presbyterian Church in Austin while teaching at the seminary.

PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of a new faculty member and the election of four new trustees. 

Loren T. Stuckenbruck was named the Richard Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies with tenure, effective July 1. A graduate of Milligan College and Princeton — where he earned both his M.Div. and Ph.D. — Stuckenbruck previously taught biblical studies at Durham University in England.

The seminary’s four new trustees are Dorothy A. Johnson, vice-chair of The League, a national initiative to increase giving and volunteering, headquartered in Newark, New Jersey; F. Carter “Bud” Karins, chief executive officer of Karins Engineering Group in St. Petersburg, FL; Jinsoo Kim, founder, president, CEO, and software developer of Image Solutions, Inc., in Whippany, NJ; and the Rev. Susan F. Wonderland, Class of 1983, associate executive of the Synod of the Trinity, who was elected by her fellow alumni/ae as an alumni/ae trustee.

New officers of the board of trustees are the Rev. Robert W. Bohl, president; Leslie W. Braksick, vice chair; and the Rev. John T. Galloway Jr., secretary.

CHICAGO — Beginning this fall, McCormick Theological Seminary will offer a Certificate in Executive Leadership program for Christian clergy and lay leaders.

According to a press release from the seminary, “the program, drawing on McCormick’s 35 years of experience in leadership development, is built for the leadership needs of today’s ordained and non-ordained leaders such as senior and executive pastors, committee and board leaders, and denominational and judicatory leaders.”

The program includes four two-and-a-half day class sessions offered in September, November, February, and April. Topics (and dates) include:

  • Foundations for Leadership: What is Leadership? Who Are You as a Leader? (Sept. 24-26, 2009)
  • Developing a Vision: Where Are We Going? (Nov. 12-14, 2009)
  • Systems and Contexts: You’re Not in This Alone (Feb. 25-27, 2010)
  • Change, Collaboration and Conflict: Addressing the Challenges (April 15-17, 2010)

DECATUR, Ga. — Columbia Theological Seminary will host “Rural Ministry Today: Retooling the Toolbox” on the seminary campus Sept. 22-24.

The conference will feature keynote speaker Betty Grit, program manager of Worship Renewal Grants for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, MI. It will also include a lecture by Rodger Nishioka, associate professor of Christian education at the seminary.
Workshop leaders include Kimberly Bracken Long, the seminary’s assistant professor of worship and coordinator of worship resources for congregations; Trace Haythorn, president of The Fund for Theological Education; Bonnie Orth, 2009 Rural Ministry Fellow; and Tom Tewell, executive director, Macedonian Ministries.

Registration deadline is Aug. 22. For details, download the program. PDF icon

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. — Eleanor Krivin, who during the course of 60 years served as a trustee, student and major donor at San Francisco Theological Seminary, has left a gift of $1 million to the seminary following her death last month at the age of 93.

“Our hearts are filled with gratitude for this kind person whom most students, faculty and staff never had the chance to meet, but who was very proud of all of us,” said SFTS vice-president for institutional advancement the Rev. Peter Crouch. “Ellie’s eyes sparkled with happiness that her gift, a true legacy of faith, would become part of the seminary’s enduring endowment and benefit the seminary for years to come.”

In 2006, Krivin agreed to fund a charitable annuity — administered by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation — that would pay her income during her life and then provide SFTS with the  designated donation at her death. She also established an annuity to benefit the Mary Magdalene Project, which was started in 1980 by West Hollywood Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Women to give women victimized by street prostitution the opportunity to turn their lives around.

A member of First Presbyterian Church of Encino, CA, Krivin developed a special connection to SFTS’s campus in Pasadena CA. Her pastor, Rev. Curtis Webster, received his Master of Divinity degree from the SFTS's Pasadena campus, a unique commuter degree program that provides evening and weekend classes to accommodate working adults.