CHICAGO ― McCormick Theological Seminary has announced that the Luis R. Rivera has accepted a call as the vice-president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

His last day at McCormick was Aug. 31. His role as dean at Garrett will begin on Jan. 1, 2014. He will be the first Latino dean to serve at the United Methodist seminary in Evanston, IL

Rivera joined the faculty of McCormick in 1995 and most recently served as dean of the faculty, vice-president for academic affairs and professor of theological education. He has offered courses in English and Spanish in the Masters and Doctoral level programs. As one of the instructors for Introduction to Theology, all students at McCormick have experienced his insight and encouragement. He has taught courses in Ecclesiology, Between Hostility and Hospitality (Theology and Immigration), Latin American Liberation Theology, and a Seminar on the work of Leonardo Boff.

Besides teaching, Rivera has been a member or chair in multiple committees ranging from the JKM Library Board to the Strategic Planning Committee to several review and search committees. Rivera also made programmatic contributions to McCormick through his leadership in the Center for the Study of Latino/a Theology and Ministry. Guided by this vision, the Center received in 2006 a LUCE Foundation grant to support three of the Center’s programs: a yearly lecture series on Hispanic Theology; a Consultation on Second Generation leaders in Ministry; and a year seminar on intercultural relations for Latino/a and African American pastors. 

Rivera’s association with McCormick started in 1987 when he became the recruiter and coordinator for McCormick’s Doctor of Ministry Program extension in Puerto Rico from 1987 to 1995. He holds degrees from the University of Puerto Rico (B.A.), the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico (M.Div.), and Harvard University, the Divinity School (Th.M., Th.D.).

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― Through Sept. 15, San Francisco Theological Seminary is accepting applications for its 20th class in the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction (DASD) program, which begins with the 2014 January term.

Twenty years ago, SFTS was one of the first Protestant seminaries in the country to offer this innovative program, which provides students with the tools to enable individuals, groups and organizations to identify and respond to God’s call. As students grow in the art of listening, discernment, and spiritual direction, they gain invaluable experience applicable in every ministry setting, whether that is in a church, hospital, or coffee shop.

The schedule for the three-year DASD program includes three weeks of intensive classroom time each January, followed by hands-on experience working as spiritual directors in a student’s local context under a well-developed supervision program. This means only three weeks a year are spent on the San Anselmo campus. Courses may also be applied towards other degrees offered at SFTS.

Traditional DASD programs prepare students to help individuals discern their calls. The DASD program at SFTS goes a step further by preparing students to discern the calls of groups and institutions as well, enabling and equipping those who wish to help shape the direction of worshipping communities, non-profit organizations, or any other structured body.  

DECATUR, Ga. ― The Rev. Neal D. Presa, Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will speak at the Opening Convocation for Columbia Theological Seminary’s 186th academic session Sept. 5 at 10:00 a.m.

Presa holds degrees from San Francisco Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.M.) and Drew University (M.Phil. and Ph.D.). At Drew, Presa was a Henry Luce Foundation Graduate Fellow for the Center for Christianities in Global Contexts.

Presa has served the PC(USA) at all levels and has also been heavily engaged in global ecumenical relations. He is moderator of Elizabeth Presbytery and serves as chair of the General Assembly Special Committee on the Heidelberg Catechism. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Somerset Christian College and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

PRINCETON, N.J. ― Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Art Gallery will feature a mixed media exhibit titled “Beyond the Horizons 2: Landscapes, Watercolors, and Drawings,” by local artist Benjamin Colbert, beginning on Saturday, Sept. 21, and running through Wednesday, Oct. 30.

The exhibit is a retrospective of Colbert’s artwork in several genres — the main one being his abstract “linear landscapes.” Variable bands of color are placed on a carefully prepared canvas to convey land areas, water, skyways, and other elements. A portion of the white canvas surface is left unpainted to give added focus to the painted area and to convey the vastness, variety, and creativity found in the natural environment.

 “I am honored to be invited to display my work at this outstanding venue in Princeton. It is special because it gives me the opportunity to thank patrons for their support and allows me to display pieces that have not had a public viewing. The greatest joy for an artist is to achieve some public recognition while alive.”

Colbert is an award-winning artist who has exhibited widely in the United States, including one-man shows at Emory University, the University of South Florida, Image South Gallery in Atlanta, and the Environmental Protection Agency in Trenton. A native of Georgia, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in education from Savannah State College and his Master of Fine Arts in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia. He is a retired program administrator for Educational Testing Service in Lawrence Township, New Jersey.

An artist’s reception will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Erdman Art Gallery.

AUSTIN, Texas ― Incoming Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Master of Divinity junior Sara Wildt is a recipient of the 2013 Fund for Theological Education (FTE) Volunteers Exploring Vocation Fellowship, which provides up to $10,000 over three years to help meet expenses and to fund a ministry internship opportunity.

The fellowship is designed to foster leadership and diversity in pastoral ministry.

Wildt was a Young Adult Volunteer for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who has been participating in Austin Seminary’s AYAVA House program for the past year.

She was chosen by a national selection committee of educators and church leaders to receive the FTE fellowship for her demonstrated gifts for ministry and passion to serve others. In August she attended the 2013 FTE Leaders in Ministry conference in Atlanta.