Seminary news

May 20, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas ― The Rev. Kyser Cowart (K.C.) Ptomey Jr., professor of pastoral ministry and leadership at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary died May 9 at his home in Nashville, Tenn., after battling cancer. A service of witness to the resurrection will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville on May 18. His life and witness will be celebrated at Austin Seminary on May 24.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Ptomey graduated from Rhodes College and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He earned a D.Min. from McCormick Theological Seminary.

Prior to joining the seminary faculty, Ptomey served as pastor of Westminster-Nashville from 1981-2008. He also served churches in Collierville, Tenn., and Henderson and Arlington, Texas. He has served at all levels of the PC(USA), including as a trustee at Schreiner College and Rhodes College, as a member of the Alumni Board at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, as a member of the General Assembly Council, and on the Committee on Theological Education.

Ptomey is survived by his wife, Carol Tate, and by his children, Christopher and Patricia.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― The Rev. Byron L. Bland (M.Div. 1974) has been named San Francisco Theological Seminary’s 2013 Distinguished Alumnus by the seminary’s Alumni Council.

Throughout a distinguished career, Bland has served the PC(USA) as a pastor, campus minister, hunger and peace advocate, writer, Stanford University lecturer, international conflict resolution expert and college chaplain. Though he retired in 2009, he continues to serve as senior consultant for the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation (working primarily with Northern Ireland), as a lecturer at the Stanford Law School, and as chaplain/ombudsperson for Palo Alto University. He served a pastorate in San Francisco, as ecumenical campus minister at Stanford from 1976-1991, and has taught peace studies and worked in international conflict resolution since then.

A native of Georgetown, Ga., Bland graduated from Georgia Tech and SFTS. A member of San Jose Presbytery, he has served on the Hunger, Church and World, Racial Ethnic Ministries committees of the presbytery, as well as on local and regional ecumenical campus ministry boards. 

DECATUR, Ga. ― At its spring meeting, Columbia Theological Seminary’s trustees approved Kelly D. Campbell as the new associate dean and director of the John Bulow Campbell Library. Campbell is currently the director of library services and assistant professor of theological research at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif., where she oversees general operations of five campus libraries in four different states.

Campbell’s graduate degrees include a Masters degree in Library Science from Texas Women’s University and Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Golden Gate Seminary.  She is currently completing a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University.

Campbell has served as a Board member for the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) since 2007, including a term as chair of the Education Committee in 2011.

PITTSBURGH ― Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will host its annual Summer Leadership Conference, June 9-12. Participants will explore the theme “Spiritual and Emotional Growth through Life: Insights from the Ministry of Fred Rogers” while attending daily workshops and worship services.

Keynote speakers include Amy Hollingsworth, psychologist, college professor, and author of The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers; and Pittsburgh Seminary’s Martha A. Robbins, associate professor of pastoral care, and Steven S. Tuell, associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament.

The Monday, June 10 program focuses on the work of Fred Rogers in relation to children, spirituality, and healthy human growth, thus offering an exciting opportunity for a variety of professionals to share insights with each other.

PRINCETON, N.J. ― Two Princeton Theological Seminary students have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year. The two are Blake Jurgens (M.Div., 2013) and Cambria Kaltwasser (Ph.D., 2015).

Jurgens will begin his Fulbright year in the fall of 2013 in Munich, Germany. At Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, he will focus his research on re-assessing the role of dualism in the Dead Sea Scrolls. “I’m interested in reinterpreting dualistic thought in the Dead Sea Scrolls through sapiential literature — both outside the Qumran corpus as well as within the corpus,” he says. Following his Fulbright year, Jurgens hopes to enroll in a doctoral program and focus on the study of Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament.

In August, Cambria Kaltwasser will enroll in an intensive German language course in preparation for her Fulbright year, which will begin in September. She will live in Tübingen, Germany, where she will study at the University of Tübingen, under the direction of Professor Christoph Schwöbel. Her research will explore Karl Barth’s account of finite human freedom as responsibility within covenant with God and others. She will also have the opportunity to conduct research at the Karl Barth Archives in Basel, Switzerland. After completing her Fulbright year, Kaltwasser will return to the Seminary to finish her Ph.D. program and complete her dissertation. Ultimately, she hopes to be a professor of theology at an academic institution.

The Fulbright Program, which was established in 1946, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

DUBUQUE, Iowa ― Five books have been published this spring by University of Dubuque Theological Seminary faculty members.

Timothy Matthew Slemmons, assistant professor of homiletics and worship, has authored two resources in a planned four-volume series of Liturgical Elements for Reformed Worship (Cascade Books). When Heaven Stands Open consists of worship elements for use with biblical texts read in conjunction with Year B of the Revised Common Lectionary. Greater Attention is the first liturgical resource supporting of Slemmons' proposed expansion of the lectionary with a fourth supplementary year (Year D). Each volume in the series is intended for use by pastors, liturgists, and other planners and leaders of public worship in the Presbyterian, Reformed, and related Protestant traditions.

Elesha Coffman, assistant professor of church history, has published The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline (Oxford University Press) which examines “Protestantism’s most influential periodical.” Coffman argues that the Christian Century helped establish the mainline tradition in the first half of the twentieth century. Mainline ideals aligned with the magazine’s editorial emphases, including support for the newest biblical scholarship, the Social Gospel, and ecumenism.

Annette Bourland Huizenga, assistant professor of New Testament, published Moral Education for Women in the Pastoral and Pythagorean Letters: Philosophers of the Household (Brill Academic Press).  In this work Huizenga examines the Greco-Roman moral-philosophical “curriculum” for women by comparing the Pastoral letters of the New Testament (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus) and the pagan Pythagorean letters (dating from 200 BCE to 200 CE). Huizenga shows that the author of the Pastorals adopted nearly all aspects of the Pythagorean letters’ advice to women, but has supplemented these with theological justifications drawn from Pauline literature and traditions.

Bradley Longfield, dean and professor of church history, has published Presbyterians and American Culture: A History (Westminster John Knox Press).  Longfield argues that the current identity crisis of the PC(USA) is, at least in part, a function of the way the church has chosen to relate to the broader culture. In order to gain perspective on the current struggles of the church, this work explores the ways in which Presbyterian laity and clergy have influenced and been influenced by values, beliefs, and attitudes assumed by Americans from the early-eighteenth century to the late-twentieth century.

RICHMOND, Va. ― For the 22nd year, Union Presbyterian Seminary has granted its Congregational Leadership Awards to churches who have shown leadership in developing new and effective ministries.

The awards of $1,000 each have been given to congregations in 28 states, touching the lives of thousands of individuals. Among the criteria for selecting award recipients is the realization of significant change in the congregation as a result of the initiative. In times of budget decreases, declining memberships, and competition for time and resources of congregants, the 2013 Congregational Leadership Awards winners have proven that the church is still a vital force in the daily lives of those who seek God.

The 2013 Congregational Leadership Award recipients: 

  • Homestead United Presbyterian Church of Homestead, Pa., received The Al Dimmock Award for its excellence and congregational involvement in the empowerment of older adults.
  • The Community Presbyterian Church of Waldport, Ore., received the Elinor Curry Award for its ministry of outreach and social concern that addresses the call of the church to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God,” and in so doing changes the congregation.
  • United University Church of Los Angeles, Calif., received the W. T. “Tolly” Thompson Award for creatively meeting a vital Christian education need in the church community.
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church of Salem, Ore., received the Katherine Hawes Award for its effective youth ministry that engages youth in all areas of the church’s mission, extending beyond the church into the community and the world.

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