Garrett-Evangelical News

New Workshop to Encourage a Strategic Team Leadership Model for Local Churches

EVANSTON, Illinois, January 2012 – The Institute for Transformative Leaders and Communities (ITLC) at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will offer a two-day workshop, From Pastor-Centered to Strategic Team Leadership, on February 24-25, 2012.

The purposes of the Transition Workshop are to assist clergy and lay leaders in understanding the differences between a pastor-centered congregation and a strategic team leadership model, and to help them learn how their own leadership styles and competencies may need to adapt in order to be effective in a new and emerging organizational culture.

The workshop will address situations in which current clergy and lay leaders remain in place during a congregation’s transition, as well as situations in which clergy are newly appointed to team leadership settings.  The workshop is designed to be most beneficial for teams - clergy and at least one influential lay leader.

FowlerRev. Dr. Mark Fowler, executive director of ITLC and Murray H. Leiffer Associate Professor of Congregational Leadership at Garrett-Evangelical, will lead this two-day workshop.  Rev. Dr. Fowler has been active in team ministry and church growth as a pastor for many years and is a sought-after consultant and counselor to local churches and pastors experiencing growth and “turn-around” transition.  His academic work in congregational leadership that is focused on “mission, vision and compelling narrative” shapes his approach to his dynamic workshop leadership.

For more information or to register for the conference, please visit ITLC's website:

ITLC is focused on leadership where Christ’s mission engages the needs of a changing world! Located at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, the institute was founded in February 2010 out of the growing con­viction that the seminary should be “for the church” and be a networking resource to clergy and lay leadership in the ongoing mission of the church “for the transformation of the world.”

Garrett-Evangelical, founded in 1853, is a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 400 students from many 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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Death of Edward Spytek, Musician and Director of the Handbell Choir


Watch Live Webcast (Saturday, February 11, 2:30-4:30 p.m. CST)

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death on January 1 of Edward J. Spytek, musician and Director of the Handbell Choir at Garrett-Evangelical.  Mr. Spytek was also the husband of Dr. Lallene Rector, Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Spytek had been performing at the keyboard since age 11, and held a master’s degree in sacred music from Boston University.  He was an active accompanist throughout the Chicago area, performing for professional vocalists, instrumentalists, flute and string studios. Mr. Spytek conducted community “Messiah” sing-along concerts, chamber orchestras for choral works, musical dinner theatre ensembles, as well as adult choirs. In addition to being sought-after as a keyboard recitalist, he was most recently the Music Director for Hemenway United Methodist Church in Evanston, Illinois, and the Director of the Handbell Choir at Garrett-Evangelical.

A memorial service for Mr. Spytek will be held February 11, 2012, Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  A 30 minute "prelude" of music, at 2:30 p.m. will precede the formal beginning of the service at 3:00 p.m.  A reception will follow in Loder Hall.

Rev. Phil Blackwell of the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple will be preaching, Rev. Dr. Mark Fowler will be presiding over the Eucharist, and Rev. Dr. Ron Anderson will be in charge of music.

In her email to the Garrett-Evangelical community, Dr. Lallene Rector wrote:

Dear Beloved Members of the Garrett-Evangelical Community,

It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the sudden death of my husband, Edward Spytek.  Some of you will know him through his periodic work over the years in the music program at Garrett-Evangelical and most recently as the Director of the handbell choir.  Edward passed away on New Year's Eve in his sleep.  He was in Connecticut visiting one of his brothers for a couple of weeks to help with some home renovations.   The medical examiner ruled his death from natural causes - probably a massive heart attack.  

I know that Edward rests in the everlasting arms of our good God and I trust he is making his way to a new heavenly organ bench upon which to work his magic.  I give thanks for the gift he has been to me in so many precious and mundane ways for the last 28 years.

Lallene Rector

We offer our prayers of comfort for Dean Rector along with her family, the Spytek family, and a host of friends.  Letters of condolence should be sent to:

Dean Lallene Rector
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60201

Emails of condolence may be sent to

Recognizing Edward Spytek’s many musical gifts and the various ways he shared his gifts with the seminary community over the years, Garrett-Evangelical is establishing the Edward J. Spytek Endowed Music Fund.

If you wish to make a gift to this fund in Edward’s memory make a note on the memo line of your check that it is for the Spytek Endowed Music Fund.  You can also make an online gift at

Four Prominent Alumni to Commemorate the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK_Memorial_CropOn Martin Luther King Day, January 16, four prominent alumni of Garrett-Evangelical will commemorate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. as keynote speakers at events in Chicago and the nation.  James Cone, Walter Fluker, Myron McCoy, and Reginald Blount will each have the opportunity to speak on the significance of King and his "dream."  To learn how you can attend any of these four commemorative events see below.

The Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE) at Garrett-Evangelical celebrates each of these alumni and their contributions to the Church and the academy.  From its inception in 1970, CBE has prepared graduates of Garrett-Evangelical to be "leaders among leaders for the African American religious community and society-at-large" and each of these alumni have done just that.  From James Cone, founding father of Black liberation theology, to Reggie Blount and his expertise in youth and formation in our current context, these four alumni represent five decades of exceptional and bold African American leaders who have changed the discourse of Garrett-Evangelical, the Church, and our world.

Celebrating over 40 years, the fruits of CBE's labor are evident now more than ever.  Garrett-Evangelical has endowed seven scholarships to ensure that financial assistance is available to incoming Black students and numerous events and conferences are held each year.  Courses taught by CBE faculty are open to all students and offer opportunities for understanding Christian faith through interracial and cross-cultural perspectives. Graduates have distinguished themselves as capable pastors and Christian educators; denominational officers, including eight bishops; professors of religion and administrators in higher education; noted authors; and effective community leaders. CBE's mission remains strong and clear: to train and empower persons for the African American religious community and society-at-large. 

Building on this tradition, CBE and the Department of African-American Studies at Northwestern University will welcome legal scholar and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander on February 1, 2012.  Alexander is the author of the highly praised book, "The New Jim Crow."  To learn more, go to

Martin Luther King Day Events


James Cone (GBI, '61 and '65), the Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, will deliver his keynote addresss at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, on Monday, January 16.  (Learn More)

James Cone in the News


Walter Earl Fluker (G-E, '80), Boston University School of Theology, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership and the editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project, will deliver his address at the 42nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast in Boston, Massachusetts. (Learn More)

Walter Earl Fluker in the News


Myron McCoy (G-E, '82), president of Saint Paul School of Theology, is the featured speaker at a special observance on Sunday, January 15, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This celebration will be at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois.  (Learn More)

About Myron McCoy


Reginald Blount (G-E, '06), associate professor of formation, youth, and culture at Garrett-Evangelical and senior pastor at Trinity AME Church in Waukegan, Illinois, will address the community of North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, at a special service honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 16.  (Learn More)

About Reginal Blount


Garrett-Evangelical, founded in 1853, is a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church.  Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction.  Garrett-Evangelical offers degrees for the master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry.  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.