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Garrett-Evangelical Names Crutchfield and Dahl 2017 Distinguished Alums

May 17, 2017
Stephen Dahl, Lallene J. Rector, Carmichael Crutchfield

The Rev. Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield and the Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Dahl were named the 2017 Distinguished Alums at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s 160th Commencement on May 12, 2017. Each year Garrett-Evangelical chooses two alums to be honored as Distinguished Alums. One alum is chosen from the most recent 25 years of graduates, and one alum is chosen from alums who graduated over 25 years ago.

Rev. Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield is a native Tennessean. He received a master of divinity with honors and a doctor of ministry degree from Memphis Theological Seminary. He received a doctor in philosophy in Christian education and congregational studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2010.

Crutchfield is the general secretary of the Department of Christian Education for the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church; associate professor of Christian education, spiritual formation, and youth ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary; and the pastor of Lane Chapel CME Church in Humboldt, Tennessee. He presently serves as a trustee for Lane College, Paine College, and Phillips School of Theology. Throughout his pastoral ministry, Crutchfield has an impressive history of service in the community and on numerous boards.

He is an established author having written several books and articles. As a Fellow in 1992 with the Congress of National Black Churches, he produced a book titled, Enlightened Males: A Rites of Passage Manual for African American Boys. His most recent publication is “Identity Formation and Leadership in Process,” an essay included in the book, Educating for Redemptive Community.

Crutchfield has been recognized for his contributions in the classroom, church, and community with numerous awards. Recently, Garrett-Evangelical’s Center for the Church in the Black Experience named him as one of its 45 outstanding alums, in honor of the Center’s 45th anniversary.

During the commencement service, Crutchfield expressed a deep gratitude to all the people and institutions who shaped his life and ministry journey. In his remarks he said, “I’m grateful to Garrett for accepting me, a very non-conventional applicant, into a PhD program and providing me an excellent theological education under the tutelage of Drs. Blount, Crain, and Seymour, that affords me now to research, teach, and learn with those who explore theological education across the world.”

Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Dahl knew from an early age that he would study for the ministry and seek ordination within what is now the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC). That calling led Dahl to pursue a master of divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary in 1967. Dahl served as assistant and then senior pastor of various churches within the Northern Illinois conference. These roles provided him with unique missional settings preparing him for his future ministry.

In 1985, Dahl was appointed to serve as the president and CEO of Bethany Methodist Communities (BMC). Over the past 30 years, Dahl has profoundly influenced BMC’s governance, management, and operational structures; its role within the Church; and its impact on clients, staff, and the communities in which its facilities are located.

Dahl contributed significantly to the body of senior- and health-care knowledge and practice in church-related workplaces across the country. Over his decades-long leadership with the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries (UMA), he served in multiple board roles, most recently as chairman and the immediate past chairman.

Dahl advocated for the UMC, its annual conferences, and their respective agencies to use the gifts of connection to strengthen their shared ministries on behalf of God’s people served by those many bodies. To that end, he and two successive UMA presidents convened meetings among the UMA, the General Board of Global Ministries, and the General Council on Finance and Administration. Those sessions resulted in the unanimous adoption at the 2008 General Conference of “A Resolution on Quality United Methodist Healthcare” and the unanimous vote at the 2012 General Conference to adopt new legislation for the Book of Discipline.

“Thank you to Garrett-Evangelical,” said Dahl in his remarks. “I’m reminded of the firm foundation that theological education provided my journey in ministry. The world today is not unlike the 60s – divisiveness and nationalism rampant – and I’m reminded of the Wesleyan tradition when John Wesley said it’s the world that’s our parish. And that’s because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, in whose name we carry as mission and ministry.”