Garrett-Evangelical News

Outstanding Dissertation Award Given to Garrett-Evangelical Alum

EVANSTON, Ill., March 2011 - Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary was well represented at this year’s annual meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society.  Five doctoral students, one alumnus, and one faculty member were present at the conference held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The theme of the 46th Annual Meeting was “Empire, Church, and the Missio Dei.” The highlight of the conference came as Dr. Brent Peterson (Garrett-Evangelical doctoral graduate, 2010) won the Outstanding Dissertation award.

brent_petersonDr. Brent Peterson, Associate Professor of Theology at Northwest Nazarene University, won the 2011 Outstanding Dissertation award for his Garrett-Evangelical thesis, A Post-Wesleyan Eucharistic Ecclesiology: The Renewal of the Church as the Body of Christ to be Doxologically Broken and Spilled Out for the World. Dr. Peterson states, “My dissertation attempts to listen well to the Wesleyan sacramental tradition, both the Wesley brothers and Wesleyan scholars of the mid to late twentieth century.  In this listening, I also desire to push the Wesleys and those in the tradition to greater levels of Eucharistic and ecclesiological sophistication. Hence, this project is intentionally post-Wesleyan, but not anti-Wesleyan.  I look upon my own denomination, the Church of the Nazarene, as a case study of the problems that can emerge when soteriology is separated from the sacraments and ecclesiology.

“Words cannot express my thanks for my professors and colleagues at Garrett-Evangelical.  My advisor Dr. Ron Anderson spent countless hours (and days) pushing me to do my very best.  His concern was not to simply find ways to pass me, but to ask me time and again to write with greater clarity, think more deeply, and probe with passionate care into the mystery of the Lord's Supper…. Alongside Dr. Anderson were other professors who introduced me to new ideas and material that have forever shaped my theology and pedagogy… I count it a wonderful joy to reflect upon how my colleagues and professors at Garrett-Evangelical invested in me in ways that have profoundly shaped me all for the glory of God.”

The award comes as a milestone in the relationship between the Wesleyan Theological Society and Garrett-Evangelical. The conference has become a productive avenue for Garrett-Evangelical students to present their research. At the 2011 meeting, six papers were read by Garrett-Evangelical students in various disciplines.  Brandon Winstead, 2011 graduate, states, “This year at WTS in Dallas, I became acutely aware of how my academic training at Garrett-Evangelical has helped me present new research in the field of African American religious history. I realized how the past five years have enabled me to be both a consumer and producer of sound academic scholarship.”

Dr. Barry Bryant, associate professor of United Methodist and Wesleyan Studies, states,  “The presence of these students and their representation of Garrett-Evangelical's Ph.D. program represents the growing awareness that ‘Wesleyan’ is an ecumenical term used by ecclesial communities who can benefit greatly from each other's fellowship and insights."  As Garrett-Evangelical continues to train academicians through its Ph.D programs, it is finding more and more able scholars to represent the seminary at various academic conferences.

Founded in 1853, Garrett-Evangelical 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 more than 30 denominations and many 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.