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Seminary news

November 19, 2012

LOUISVILLE ― David Alden Steere, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary professor emeritus of pastoral care and counseling and a distinguished alumnus, died Oct.19 at his home. A pioneer in pastoral counseling, Dr. Steere led the Seminary to national recognition through its Marriage and Family Therapy Program (MAMFT), which he helped found and for which he served as the first director.

A memorial service for Steere was held on Oct. 25, at Caldwell Chapel on the seminary campus.

“David was a vital member of this faculty and an important scholar representing Louisville Seminary nationally and beyond,” said Louisville Seminary President Dr. Michael Jinkins.

Steere, 81, whose teaching career spanned 34 years, was the leading force in establishing the Seminary’s MAMFT program, based on the integration of secular psychology and theology. Today, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) recognizes this program as one of the top seminary-based, accredited programs in the nation. Since the first graduating class of marriage and family therapists in 1993, the program has become one of the most popular degree programs at Louisville Seminary, enrolling near-capacity numbers each year. It remains one of the most ecumenically representative and diverse programs on the campus.

“David was one of the pioneers of pastoral counseling,” said Dr. Loren Townsend, who became the seminary’s professor of pastoral care and counseling upon Steere’s retirement in 1996, and also serves as the director of the MAMFT program. “He had a vision for pastoral counseling training that moved outside of established paradigms and into new territory. One result was the MAMFT program. He was responsible for our initial accreditation. This had a significant impact on the stature of our program today and on the field of pastoral counseling.”

Born in Akron, Ohio, Steere held degrees from Centre College (BA), Louisville Seminary (BD ‘56), and Union Theological Seminary (PhD), where he also served as supervisor of field education. In 1962, Louisville Seminary called Steere as associate professor of pastoral theology and as the director of its field education program.

Following his retirement from the Seminary in 1996, Steere continued his ministry in private counseling. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Margaret Enos; children Andrew Steere, Tevis Steere, and Elizabeth Monroy; and four grandchildren.

PRINCETON, N.J. ― Post-election 2012, at a time when issues of immigration and globalization are at the center of the national debate, Daniel G. Groody, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will address a faith perspective on these issues in Princeton Theological Seminary’s annual Students’ Lectureship on Missions.

The three lectures will be held on Monday, Nov. 26 and Tuesday, Nov. 27 on the topic “Dying to Live: Migration, Theology, and the Human Journey.”

Groody, a Roman Catholic priest, holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, M.Div. and S.T.L. degrees from the Jesuit School of Theology, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union. As director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture, Groody teaches, writes, and lectures on U.S. Latino spirituality, globalization, and the relationship of Christian spirituality to social justice.

Groody has worked with the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the World Council of Churches, and the Vatican on issues of theology, globalization, and immigration. He teaches courses on U.S. Latino globalization, Christian spirituality, and social justice, and lectures widely in the United States as well as Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― The Rev. Jim McDonald, president of San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the Rev. James Noel, professor of African American Christianity at the seminary, have contributed to a unique commentary that helps preachers identify and reflect on the social implications of the biblical readings in the Revised Common Lectionary.

Preaching God’s Transforming Justice is the second of three volumes of a collection of essays that concentrates on the themes of social justice in the weekly texts. It also highlights how those themes can become teachable moments for preaching social justice in the church. McDonald and Noel also contributed to the first volume.

In addition to providing commentary for each day in the lectionary calendar, the series features 22 Holy Days for Justice. These days are intended to enlarge the church's awareness of God's call for justice and of the many ways that call comes to the church and world today. The days include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Earth Day, World AIDS Day, International Women's Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Yom HaShoah and Juneteenth.

McDonald, writing about World Food Day, suggests that preachers can encourage their congregations to engage in comprehensive efforts to end hunger by directly providing food for hungry people, by pressing for patterns of growing and using food that benefit local communities, by taking action designed to change systems of food production and distribution, and by advocating healthy and responsible eating. 

“God’s presence is assured when we do justice, not because our actions make us better people, but because doing justice changes our relationship with others and transforms the world in accord with God’s purposes,” McDonald said. “This is why ending hunger is sacred work.”

Noel begins his essay by discussing judgment, justice and righteousness. “Justice occurs when God delivers the poor and oppressed from their plight and in so doing renders them justified or righteous,” Noel writes. He also points to prominent metaphors of slavery and freedom in Paul’s letters, cautioning against downplaying their eschatology in favor of individualistic interpretations and applications.

RICHMOND, Va. ― The Rev. Duck-ho Oh, a Ph.D. graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary was elected as the new president of Hanil University and Theological Seminary in Junju, Korea by its board of trustees on Sept. 27, 2012.

The fifth president of the seminary, Oh is a graduate of Seoul National University. He received his M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary in Seoul. He studied for his STM degree at Boston University before earning his doctorate at Union seminary in New Testament studies. 

Oh served as professor at Ho Nam Theological Seminary in Gwangju, Korea, from 1986 until 2002 when he was called to serve as pastor of Susuk Presbyterian Church in Gwangju.

His installation service was held at the University on Nov. 8. The Rev. Syngman Rhee, special assistant to the president for global ministry and advancement at Union seminary, attended and brought greetings and congratulations from President Brian K. Blount.

CHICAGO ― McCormick Theological Seminary first year Master of Divinity student Mark Eldred is the recipient of the 2012 Presbyterian Writer's Guild scholarship.

The scholarship is annually given to a full-time seminary student who has a special interest in writing of all genres. In addition to a cash award, Guild members will mentor Eldred.

Eldred said, “I am humbled and honored to receive a writing scholarship through the Presbyterian Writer's Guild. As a hobby, I have been working on several writing projects for many years. It is a blessing to be provided professional mentoring and guidance through the Guild. Having recently completed a bachelor's degree in English Literature at Northeastern Illinois University, a higher education process that spanned several universities and more than twenty years of my life, it is both gratifying and reaffirming to be honored for my writing work. I look forward to sharing the process and progress of my Presbyterian Writer's Guild mentoring work with MTS students and faculty over the next year.”

The Guild supports and enhances the art and craft of writing and publishing for Presbyterian writers. It sponsors a General Assembly luncheon biennially and issues awards for distinguished writer and first- book. At the 2012 luncheon, the Rev. John M. Buchanan was named winner of the David Steele Distinguished Writer Award, which is given to a writer who has distinguished himself or herself in journalism, literature or scholarly writings.

PITTSBURGH ― Pittsburgh Theological Seminary co-sponsored  a Nov. 15 conference entitled “Safeguarding Your Call: Ethical Challenges Related to Information Sharing and Confidentiality. ”

It was designed “to address ethical dilemmas related to information sharing that are commonly faced by those in pastoral or counseling roles, included ministers, professional counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists.”

The event ― co-sponsored by Pittsburgh Presbytery and Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute ― was led by Cynthia Magistro, professor of counseling psychology at Chatham University, and Diane Shepard, Priest-in-Charge of The Church of the Redeemer in Pittsburgh.

“Those who work in positions of trust are taught to value confidentiality,” conference planners said. “For instance, in accordance with the Professional Code of Ethics of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), ministers, staff, and church members pledge to respect the privacy of individuals and not divulge information obtained in confidence without express permission, unless an individual is a danger to self or others.

“However, due to the complexity of human relationships,” the planners continued, “this promise can pose personal and ethical dilemmas even for those who do their best to uphold it.

DECATUR, Ga. ― A “pre-event for the next cycle of the Compass Points certification program ― developed by the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA) and Columbia Theological Seminary ― recently took place during the PCCCA annual conference at Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center in Harrisonburg, Va.

The program is designed “for those looking to deepen their understanding of camp and conference ministry” and for prospective seminary students who may be considering a call to camp and conference ministry.

Compass Points consists of eight courses of study, which are scheduled on a repeating two-year cycle. Each class covers key areas that are relevant to this unique ministry, including:

  • Articulating our mission, role and value (Genesis Event)
  • Biblical and Reformed theological foundations
  • Program design and implementation
  • Personnel and leadership
  • Non-profit business management
  • Development
  • Site administration
  • “Capstone” event

Courses will be held throughout 2013. For more information about the Compass Points certification program, visit www.compasspointsprogram.org or contact Joel Winchip, PCCCA executive director, by email at joel@pccca.net or by phone at 803-322-0232. 

AUSTIN, Texas ― Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary will host its 2013 MidWinters lectures Feb. 4-6 with four dynamic speakers addressing topics relevant to today’s Christian ministry. They are the Rev. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, the Rev. Margaret Aymer, the Rev. Joseph Small and preacher the Rev. Karl Travis.

Hinson-Hasty will deliver the three-part Thomas White Currie Lecture, entitled “Grace-filled Economy” The Way around the Ethic of Scarcity Toward an Ethic of Enough.” The lecture will address the unequal distribution of wealth, patterns of consumption and ecological devastation. Hinson-Hasty is chair of the Department of Theology at Bellarmine University in Louisville.

Aymer will be the Robert F. Jones Lecturer. Her two lectures are entitled “The New Testament as Migrant Writing” and “Migrant Writings as Scripture.” She is associate professor for New Testament and chair for biblical studies at the Interdenominationl Theological Center in Atlanta, of which Johnson C. Smith Seminary is a constituent member.

Small is the E.C. Westevelt Lecturer. His two-part series is titled “The Last Shall be First: Ecclesiology as Initial Theological Problem.” Small, who served as director of the PC(USA)’s Office of Theology and Worship until his retirement in 2011, will discuss the “theological afterthought of eccesiology and what it is to be one holy catholic apostolic church.

Travis ― pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, will lead the event’s worship services.

The event will also include a lunch discussion on “Faith and Public Life” featuring the Honorable David Peeples, a Texas judge and seminary trustee, and a luncheon honoring the seminary’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipients: John McCoy (M.Div. 1963), Greg McDonnell (M.Div. 1981) and Helen Locklear (M.Div. 1989).

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