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Seminary news

December 13, 2012

DECATUR, Ga. ― Marsha Snulligan Haney, professor of missiology and religions of the world at Johnson C. Smith Seminary in Atlanta, and Khalia J. Jelks, a 2011 graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and currently a graduate student in liturgical studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., are recent additions to the leadership team for the 2013 January seminars at Columbia Theological Seminary. This event includes 14 workshops, two plenary sessions and five worship and hymn fest gatherings.

Dr. Haney will deliver the closing plenary presentation at 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 30 and will focus on the connections between worship, music and the work of God’s people in the world.  Closing worship will follow, with Thomas G. Long preaching. Long is professor of preaching at Candler School of Theology.

Jelks will lead a workshop on Jan. 29 on the topic “Real Life in Liturgy: Engaging Spirituality in Worship” and lend her expertise in the leadership of other workshops and worship.

The public is invited to two special events connected to this event. At 5:00 p.m. on Jan. 27, Three Days/Three Ways: A Triduum Festival of Psalms will take place in the Campbell Hall Chapel on campus. Seminary musician and Psalm expert Michael Morgan will lead this evening service ― a journey of orientation, disorientation and reorientation from Good Friday through Easter Sunday. Psalm settings from several new Psalters, including Psalms for All Seasons, Glory to God and Timeless will be included.

On Jan. 28 at 7:00 p.m., theologian and hymn writer Mary Louise “Mel” Bringle, chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, will lead a hymn festival featuring songs from the new Presbyterian hymnal, GLORY TO GOD, at the Columbia Presbyterian Church adjacent to the seminary campus. The conference worship services are also open to the public.

All events are sponsored by The Center for Lifelong Learning at the seminary.

AUSTIN, Texas ― Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary has appointed Asante Uzuri Todd to serve as instructor in Christian ethics, effective July 1, 2013.

Todd served the seminary as a visiting lecturer in Christian ethics during the 2011-2012 academic year through a partnership with the Theology and Practice program at Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is currently completing his requirements for the Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, writing a dissertation titled “Political Sovereignty and Its Theologically Cultured Despisers: Prospects for an African American Political Theology.” Todd will advance to the rank of assistant professor upon completion of his degree.

“Asante Todd will be a magnificent addition to our faculty in the years ahead,” President Ted Wardlaw said. “He brings a deep formation in the Christian faith, the life of the church, and the field of Ethics to our community, and he will bless his colleagues and students with the capacity to inspire — both in and out of the classroom.  He was a wonderful MDiv student here; he now comes back with the promise of being an equally wonderful teacher.  Austin Seminary is fortunate, indeed!”

Todd earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 and his Master of Divinity degree from Austin Seminary in 2006, serving as president of the student body and receiving the Rachel Henderlite Award, given to a graduating student “who has made a significant contribution to cross-cultural and interracial relationships while at Austin Seminary.” 

Prior to attending Austin Seminary he worked for the Austin Area Urban League and served as youth minister at St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Austin. He was the recipient of the 2011-2012 Fund for Theological Education Dissertation Fellowship. His publications include “Thomas Hobbes on Human Nature,” an essay in Beyond the Pale: Reading Ethics from the Margins (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011).

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― San Francisco Theological Seminary, the Graduate Theological Union and McGee Avenue Baptist Church in Berkeley, Calif., are teaming up to offer the second annual Womanist Symposium entitled “But Who Do They Say I Am?” The symposium will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at McGee Avenue Baptist Church.

“This symposium offers an opportunity to engage womanist theology within the context of Black women in the local church setting,” said the Rev. Martha Taylor, symposium convener and adjunct faculty member at SFTS. “By holding the symposium in a church setting, it bridges the gap between the academy and the church. Taking the academy to the church is an excellent opportunity to engage theory with praxis.”  

The Womanist Symposium is part of the Black Church/Africana Religious Studies Certificate Program offered through the GTU. The certificate program director is the Rev. James Noel, professor of American religion and chair of African American Christianity at SFTS.

The two segments of the symposium are:

  • “Media Madness,” which will bring to light how the media has a history of stereotyping African American women negatively, resulting in a misrepresentation in the ways Black women are perceived by America. The depictions of Black women in the media as domestics, Jezebels, welfare queens and hypersexual beings serves to perpetuate a long standing history that casts Black women negatively. The invited scholars will use a womanist approach to counter these depictions through the praxis of responsibility and action.
  • “My Mama’s Shoes Don’t Fit My Feet,” which will address the intergenerational divide. Black youth/young adults grow up in a pop culture society. Yet, they stand on the shoulders of their ancestors without the lived experiences of the struggles for equal human rights during the Jim Crow era. Many of the older generation feel there is a lack of appreciation for the struggle that opened the doors. What is a womanist approach to building a bridge between the generations?

CHICAGO ― McCormick Theological Seminary’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Worship & Praise Celebration will be held on Friday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at Progressive Community Church in Chicago..

This year’s featured speaker is the Rev. Carolyn Ann Knight, founder and president of Can Do! Ministries, Inc. For 10 years, Knight served as assistant professor of homiletics at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, which includes PC(USA)-related Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary.

A native of Denver, Knight received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bishop College in Dallas. Her theological training began at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y. She later transferred to Union Theological Seminary in New York City to study with her mentor, Cornel West.  She received a Master of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology at Union. Knight earned a Doctor of Ministry from Union Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Trinity United Church of Christ’s Imani Ya Watume Choir will enhance the festivities of the evening as well as the Liturgical Dance Team from Progressive Community Church. 

PITTSBURGH ― Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has elected two new members to its Board of Directors—Robert Agbede and J. Stephen Lee. They will begin their service to the Seminary in May 2013.

Robert Agbede is president and CEO of Chester Engineers, a leading water/waste water, facility design build, scientific research and management company. Chester, headquartered in Pittsburgh, has offices throughout the country as well as international affiliates. Agbede acquired the firm, that turned 100 last year, in 2003, making it part of the ATS Group, the company he founded in 1987. Chester Engineers is the largest African-American-owned environmental and engineering design firm in the United States and the largest water and wastewater treatment plant design and management firm in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Agbede has developed a work culture that emphasizes the importance of giving back, viewing corporate social responsibility as good business. Chester engages with small/minority businesses and students in areas of mentoring.

Stephen Lee is president of H.L. Zeve Associates Inc., an investment firm. Prior to joining Zeve, Lee owned and operated an oil and gas exploration company in Louisiana, where he managed private and corporate funds and discovered and operated five oil fields. He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Pittsburgh. Lee is current chair of the board of trustees of Shady Side Academy, past president of the Shady Side Academy Alumni Council, an elder of the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, and a past member of the board of trustees of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.

RICHMOND, Va. ― Is your congregation or a congregation in your presbytery doing innovative ministry?

Each year, Union Presbyterian Seminary awards Congregational Leadership Awards for innovative ministry for a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation. Since 1991, 93 churches in 28 states have received these awards. Each of the eight awards carries a $1,000 prize to support the congregation in its ministry.

For more information or to apply for one of the UPSem Congregational Leadership Awards, visit  www.upsem.edu/leadership_institute/congregational_leadership_awards/ or request an application from April Swofford by email at aswofford@upsem.edu or by phone at 1-800-229-2990, ext 231. The application and instructions are only available electronically.

The deadline for the 2013 awards is Feb. 15, 2013.

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