Seminary news

April 6, 2011

SAN ANSELMO, Calif.

The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) and founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco, has been named San Francisco Theological Seminary 2011 Distinguished Alumnus.

Reyes-Chow, who earned his M.Div. from SFTS in 1995, became the 15th member of the Seminary community to serve as moderator of the PC(USA). He recently announced his departure as pastor of Mission Bay church.

Candidates for the Distinguished Alumni award are nominated by the SFTS Alumni Council and approved by the Board of Trustees. The award honors a seminary graduate who demonstrates exemplary dedication and service to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Reyes-Chow will be recognized during the spring commencement ceremony on May 21 here.

Reyes-Chow, a third-generation Filipino/Chinese American, is particularly passionate about the intersections of faith, justice, culture and politics as he continues to work with communities on everything from immigration, labor, racial reconciliation and poverty. Theologically progressive, he is part of a generation of emergent church leaders who are eager to see a church that engages in discourse that is not limited by traditional theological, political or ideological bounds.

LOUISVILLE ― Women at the Well of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary hosted a ministry retreat for women, Women in Ministry: A Radical Journey, April 1-2 on the seminary campus here. 

Keynote speaker April 1 was Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the 117th bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

April 2 workshops included “Radical Preaching for the 21st Century” led by the Rev. Debra J. Mumford, assistant professor of homiletics; and “Women in Ministry: Managing Money  & Power” led by the Rev. Dianne Reistroffer, professor of ministry and director of Methodist studies.

DECATUR, Ga. ― George W. Stroup, professor of theology at Columbia Theological Seminary, is the author of Why Jesus Matters, released this month by Westminster John Knox Press.

Incorporating new, diverse voices of theologians and thinkers from around the world, Stroup offers a concise presentation of historic and contemporary views about Jesus Christ. This volume is a revision of his book Jesus Christ for Today, published in 1982.

“I didn’t write this new book for professional theologians,” Stroup says. “It’s really for people without formal theological education who are interested in thinking about important topics in Christian faith. And certainly there is no topic more important for them than Christology.

“As the living Christ, Jesus asks each new generation who they believe him to be,” says Stroup. “I first tried to address that question in [my earlier book] Jesus Christ for Today. Now, nearly 30 years later, I am a different person and we live in a different world — a world in which people other than Western males have said some important things about Jesus. In Why Jesus Matters, I attempt to assess the contribution these new voices have made to our understanding of Jesus.”

PRINCETON, N.J. ― Anna May Say Pa, former principal of the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT), was honored as a Princeton Theological Seminary Distinguished Alumna when she visited the campus March 9. She earned a Master of Theology at the Seminary in 1980 and a Ph.D. in Old Testament in 1989.

President Iain Torrance presented the award, which gave testimony to her introducing and interpreting the mission and witness of Myanmar churches in a Burmese Buddhist country, and recognized her ecumenical work in the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia, and her commitment to interfaith dialogue, to international peace, and to the equality of women.

Two of Say Pa’s former professors at the seminary joined her for the award ceremony, Katharine Doob Sakenfeld and Dennis Olson, both Old Testament scholars whom Say Pa followed into that field. Say Pa honored Sakenfeld with a chapter in a 2006 book by Linda Day, Engaging the Bible in a Gendered World: An Introduction to Feminist Biblical Interpretation in Honor of Katharine Doob Sakenfeld. Say Pa wrote about interpreting the Book of Ruth from an Asian woman’s perspective.

Myanmar (Burma), the second largest country by geographical area in Southeast Asia, has an ethnically diverse population, with more than 135 distinct ethnic groups. It is primarily a Buddhist country, but about four percent of the citizens practice Christianity. In 1989, its name was officially changed from Burma to Myanmar. Myanmar Institute of Theology was founded by Baptist missionaries in 1927, and today is led by nationals and serves all Christian churches in Myanmar. Say Pa became its principal in 1998.

DUBUQUE, Iowa ― The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary will host the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s National Conference for Commissioned Lay Pastors (CLPs) and CLP candidates, June 9-11.

The conference will feature the Rev. Thomas Gillespie, emeritus president and professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary as the keynote speaker.

The conference will provide an opportunity for CLPs from around the country to share ideas and visit with others who are serving in this unique calling. Basic CLP classes will be offered for those candidates who have not yet been commissioned, while advanced CLP classes will be available as continuing education for those who have completed the foundational requirements of the PC(USA). Opportunities for fellowship and relaxation will also be provided, including an evening cruise on the Mississippi River.

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary has been on the cutting edge of Commissioned Lay Pastor education. Over the past ten years, the seminary has had over 3,000 registrants in its CLP distance learning program. Says UDTS President Jeffrey Bullock: “Our church is in a time of incredible transition. As we explore new models for providing pastoral leadership, Commissioned Lay Pastors will play an increasingly important role. Our seminary is committed to providing quality preparation for these leaders. This conference is another way we can support their ministry.”

PITTSBURGH ― Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will host archaeologist Robert Connolly from the University of Liverpool April 14. He will discuss “Mummies of the 18th Dynasty: New Approaches to Ancient Evidence.” The 7:30 p.m. lecture is free and open to the public.

Connolly will discuss current techniques and results in the examination of 18th-dynasty Egyptian mummies. The lecture will cover several disputed topics, including the possible cause of Tutankhamen’s death, as yet unpublished data on relationships within the dynasty, and the mystery of the two stillborns or young babies found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Connolly is lecturer in anatomy in the Department of Human Anatomy at the University of Liverpool. He has conducted forensic research on human remains from the Bronze Age, through the historical periods, and all the way to modern, high profile police cases.

Connolly was part of the team that studied Lindow Man, a naturally mummified bog body dating to the 1st century AD. During Connolly’s 40 years of studying mummies of 18th-dynasty Egypt, he has explored such topics as ancient family.

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