Garrett-Evangelical News

Rev. Cynthia Wilson to Serve as Dean of Students

Cynthia WilsonEVANSTON, Illinois, August 2012 – Garrett-Evangelical is pleased to announce the appointment of Rev. Cynthia Wilson as Dean of Students.  During the 2011-2012 academic year, Rev. Wilson served as Interim Dean of Students. During that time she worked closely with the seminary’s diverse student body in creating a space for intentional community amongst diverse theological convictions and social perspectives. She has found, and continues to find, creative ways of providing support for the seminary’s students and their families.

"The Garrett-Evangelical tradition of having excellent leadership in the area of student life continues with the appointment of the Rev. Cynthia Wilson as Dean of Students,” said President Philip Amerson. “Last year, working as Interim Dean she demonstrated her wisdom, imagination and care for students. Cynthia is a highly valued member of the leadership team at the seminary. She keeps 'raising our game' in terms of the quality of student life. It is a joy to have her playing this significant role.”

Rev. Wilson is an Ordained Deacon in The United Methodist Church and a member of the Kansas West Annual Conference. She has received degrees from Dillard University and Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology. Additionally, she studied at Eastman Conservatory and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Presently, Rev. Wilson is completing her dissertation entitled “The Incarnational Nature of Congregational Song: A Deeper Level of Performance” and is working towards a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies and Theology from Garrett-Evangelical. “Garrett-Evangelical has been on the cutting edge of theological education for decades. My journey here as a student has been invigorating! Needless to say, as a new member of the staff, I am honored to join such a visionary team,” said Rev. Wilson.

In addition to her role as the Dean of Students, Rev. Wilson brings the gift of music to the seminary. As an award-winning singer, she has performed all over the world, including Carnegie Hall and the Washington National Cathedral. Having answered the call to music ministry, Rev. Wilson is committed to the task of keeping God’s Word alive through biblically and theologically sound music that raises an awareness of the issues of justice, love, and liberation. Her work as a consultant to local churches and ministries in the areas of liturgy and sacred music has helped to produce the Songs of Zion (1981) and Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation (2007). Both of these United Methodist Publishing House worship resources fitly represent the ethos and pathos of indigenous Black Church music and continue to enrich worship in the twenty-first century for all generations, cultures and denominations.

Garrett-Evangelical, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

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Garrett-Evangelical to Welcome 110 New Students To Campus

Erin FloydEVANSTON, Illinois, August 2012 – Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will welcome 110 new students to campus during New Student Orientation beginning on Wednesday, August 29.  This three-day orientation, four-day for international students, will provide a wealth of information for new students including an introduction to theological education led by members of the faculty. In addition, a number of activities have been planned such as worship services, a dinner at the president’s home, and a tour of First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple located in Chicago’s Loop.

Key administrators and faculty have been planning this year’s orientation for months in anticipation of the new students’ arrival. “We are excited to welcome our new students to Garrett-Evangelical, the cities of Evanston and Chicago, the shores of Lake Michigan, and the campus of Northwestern University,” said Rev. Becky Eberhart, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management. “These students will join a community that is over a century and a half old and includes thousands of living alumni/ae that are engaged in ministry across the country and throughout the world.” 

In preparation for orientation, new students were asked to read Living the Hospitality of God by Lucien Richard (Paulist Press, 2000), a book of poetry, Astonishments, by Anna Kamienska (Paraclete Press, 2007) and two short stories, The Second Tree from the Corner by E.B. White and The Lame Shall Enter First by Flannery O’Connor. Dr. Philip Amerson, president of Garrett-Evangelical, will offer reflections and foster discussion on these readings at the opening session of orientation.  Riding the momentum of 2011, President Amerson will continue the seminary community’s theme of hospitality for the 2012-2013 academic year. This focus comes in part from the seminary’s mission statement: “Our teaching and learning settings will be places of hospitality where we pursue respect and reconciliation in all encounters.”

Using a variety of social media platforms, new students have expressed their excitement and anxieties about moving to Evanston, Illinois, and beginning their seminary education.  Via Twitter, new M.Div. student Paige Boyer recently tweeted, “Goodbye Cleveland! I'll miss you! New adventures await! On the road for @GarrettSeminary.” New students have posted pictures of their arrival to campus on Facebook, including posing next to Garrett-Evangelical’s sign on Sheridan Road.  “In this age of digital communications, community happens well beyond the physical boundaries of the seminary,” said Shane Nichols, Manager of Communications and Events. “More then any previous year we have been able to connect with our new students before their arrival to campus. We are looking forward to continuing these relationships in the classroom, throughout the community, and online.” Twitter hashtags for this year’s orientation include #GETSNSO (GETS New Student Orientation), #G2GETS (Going to GETS), and #BoldLeaders. The Going to Garrett Facebook page, maintained by the office of admissions, can be found at www.facebook.com/GoingToGarrett

Orientation for international students begins on Tuesday, August 28, with orientation for all students August 29-31.  For additional information, including the schedule of events, go to, http://garrett.edu/index.php/going-to-garrett.

Garrett-Evangelical, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from various denominations and cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

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Plus Program Bridges the Academy and the Church to Seek Best Practices for Ministry Leaders

PlusLogoEVANSTON, Illinois, August 2012 – Garrett-Evangelical’s innovative Plus Program, an executive education program for congregational leaders and other faith-based organizations, will begin its third cohort this fall. Though the Plus Program was just launched in 2010, it is already having great impact on our churches and communities.

“I have been able to take the lessons learned through the Plus Program and apply them directly to the practice of ministry,” said Rev. Wesley Dorr, Minister of Education and Outreach at Rogers Park United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois. “I have learned new ways of leading staff and have gained a better understanding of how to budget for outreach ministries. It has been refreshing to get a business education to compliment the M.Div. I earned from Garrett-Evangelical.”

In collaboration with the Center for Non-Profit Management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, faculty members from both Kellogg and Garrett-Evangelical have designed six seminar sessions held over the duration of three years, one each in the fall and the spring. Seminar topics include developing personal leadership; financial and general management; building external relationships; and managing people and resources.  

While the Kellogg School of Management is most often sought-after by corporations and CEOs, the faculty has also worked with a number of faith-based leaders including members of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago and The Jewish Federations of North America. With the combined expertise of the Kellogg faculty and the senior faculty at Garrett-Evangelical, the Plus Program curriculum has been customized specifically for clergy and other faith-based leaders. The program has enabled participants to hone their skills and to develop additional competencies necessary to meet the number of problems facing our churches and communities in today’s ever-increasing complex world.

The Plus Program has also provided an opportunity for Garrett-Evangelical to work more closely with annual conferences in The United Methodist Church. Recently, two annual conferences, anticipating the limited space available in each cohort, reserved spaces for pastors entering the program this fall with talks of reserving additional spaces for the 2013 cohort. “We continue to listen to the needs of the church and are doing our best to prepare highly regarded and effective spiritual leaders in a world under a great deal of stress," said Dr. Philip A. Amerson, Garrett-Evangelical president. “In light of limited resources and shrinking budgets, it is evident that for clergy to be effective we must equip them with additional skills and best practices.” Garrett-Evangelical remains committed to the church and programs such as Plus fulfill the seminary’s mission to prepare leaders who are equipped to live and proclaim the Gospel.

Enrollment in the Plus Program is open to leaders of congregations and other faith-based organizations, regardless of denominational affiliation or ministry setting. Cohorts for the fall of 2012 are forming now and space is limited. The next session will be held October 16 and 17 at Kellogg’s Chicago campus located at Wieboldt Hall, 340 E. Superior Street. For more information, including registration, go to www.transformativeleaders.org.

Garrett-Evangelical, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

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Dr. Timothy Eberhart to Serve as Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of COS

Tim EberhartEVANSTON, Illinois, August 2012 – Garrett-Evangelical is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart as Visiting Assistant Professor of Moral and Public Theology and Director of the Course of Study (COS). Eberhart brings a wealth of ministerial and educational experience to Garrett-Evangelical. His unique role will serve the seminary and beyond.

“I understand my vocation to exist in the spaces in between the academy, church and public square,” states Eberhart.  “In my teaching and scholarship, I seek to serve the mission of the church for the sake of the world God so loves. I'm thrilled to be part of a seminary community that has long held together a holistic Wesleyan focus upon personal and congregational piety, social justice and a faith that seeks critical understanding.”

Lallene Rector, Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, installed Eberhart as the new director of the Course of Study program at the 2012 COS graduation on July 27. In her remarks Rector offered words of thanks for Rev. Mary Ann Moman’s dedicated work as the COS director for the past two years and wished her well in her newest role as Director of the Rejuvenate Ministries of the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana.  Rector expressed the seminary’s delight in welcoming Eberhart in his new role as director and affirmed that Eberhart’s appointment complements the seminary’s mission to provide quality theological education on multiple levels.

Eberhart will also serve as Garrett-Evangelical’s representative for the newly formed Seminary Stewardship Alliance (SSA), a consortium of schools dedicated to reconnecting Christians with the biblical call to care for God’s creation. Eberhart will assist in Garrett-Evangelical’s effort to meet SSA’s goal for member seminaries to teach, preach, live, inspire and hold each other accountable for good stewardship practices. Most recently, Eberhart taught a course at Garrett-Evangelical titled “The Oikos of God: Economy and Ecology in the Global Household.”  This course sought to construct charitable, just and sustainable solutions to the economic and ecological crises facing our world. 

Eberhart earned his B.A. in Religion from St. Olaf College, where he graduated magna cum laude, and his M.Div. from the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University and Ph.D. from the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University.  His Ph.D. focus was in theological ethics and his dissertation, under the direction of M. Douglas Meeks, was titled “Rooted and Grounded in Love: Joining God’s Feast of Holy Communion in the Global Market Economy.” He has taught courses on ethics and theology at Garrett-Evangelical and in local church settings. Eberhart is an ordained Elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church and has served on various boards and committees of The United Methodist Church as well as other community based organizations. He and his wife Rev. Becky Eberhart, the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management at Garrett-Evangelical, and their three children reside in Evanston, Illinois.  

Garrett-Evangelical, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

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UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.