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2012-01 Archive

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has received an additional $225,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the continued support of a professorship in global Christianity and world religions. The Foundation originally awarded a grant in 2009 to insure that students preparing for ministry have a deeper understanding of the religious landscape in the United States and our world. The renewed grant provides extended funding through 2016.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has been awarded a LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for the renovation of Loder Hall. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Building Rating System is a feature-oriented rating system that awards points for satisfying specified green building criteria. Following a thorough review of Loder Hall in six major environmental categories, the seminary received the certification in mid-November.

Rita Lester, professor of religion at Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU), has been named the 2012 Nebraska Professor of the Year. Lester was honored Thursday, November 15, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the country.

Garrett-Evangelical is pleased to announce the appointment of Angela Cowser as Instructor in the Sociology of Religion and the Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE), a center founded in 1970 that has helped lead Garrett-Evangelical to take strong stands for racial justice and understanding.

The presidents of Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary sent the following letter to their communities on Oct. 30:

Garrett-Evangelical offers its Christian sympathy for the loss of George S. McGovern on Sunday, October 21. McGovern died at 90.

A husband and father, teacher and politician, proud South Dakota Democrat, author and advocate for the poor, McGovern lived a life of service and Garrett-Evangelical is honored to have included him in its alumni family.  McGovern's full obituary appears below.

Memorial gifts in honor of George S. McGovern can be made at

We are delighted to announce that Mr. Grant Crusor has accepted the position of Assistant Director of Recruitment and will begin on Thursday, November 1, 2012.  Mr. Crusor received his B.B.A. in Business Management from Howard University in 2008 and a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical in 2011.  He has worked in various capacities in the fields of education and ministry, and brings with him experience in recruitment, teaching, management, and technology.  Most recently, Mr.

Mr. Jerre Stead, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, announced today that Dr. Philip A. Amerson has expressed his intention to retire as president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at the end of December 2013. He has served as president since June 1, 2006.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the establishment of the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. The Institute was developed by the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical as a new initiative for continuing education in spiritual formation.  In addition, the Institute has established unique partnerships with Hearts on Fire: United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders and A Covenant Community of Spiritual Directors.

Garrett-Evangelical is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Keller to the position of Senior Director of Development. Ms. Keller previously worked in development at the seminary and her return signals new opportunities for success.  Dr. David Heetland, Vice President of Development, stated, "I am delighted to welcome Jennifer back to Garrett-Evangelical.  She will be a wonderful addition to the development team."

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rev. Dr. Tex Sample, an ordained elder of The United Methodist Church and professor emeritus at The Saint Paul School of Theology, will be the keynote speaker at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s convocation on September 11, 2013. The event will be held at 11:15 a.m. in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful and all are welcome to attend.

Garrett-Evangelical is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Anna Johnson to Assistant Professor of Reformation History effective July 1, 2012. At their meeting in May, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve Dr. Johnson’s appointment.

Garrett-Evangelical is pleased to announce the appointment of Rev. Karla Kincannon to Director of Field Education and the Vocational Formation and Church Leadership program.

Since July 2011, Rev. Kincannon has been serving as the Interim Director of Field Education and Vocational Formation and Church Leadership (VFCL) program. She has also been serving as Garrett-Evangelical’s artist-in-residence since 2010. In the last year, Rev. Kincannon has introduced numerous activities into the VFCL program to encourage creative expression through various mediums.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Carder, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church and faculty member at Duke Divinity School, will be the keynote speaker at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s convocation on September 12, 2012. The event will be held  at 11:15 a.m. in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful and is open to the public.

Only six weeks after the 2012 General Conference, denominational leaders met to discuss theories, best practices and challenges for creating even more highly vital congregations in The United Methodist Church. The UM Vital Congregations Initiative held a conversation on the campus of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on June 12-13.

Vicki Brown, GBHEM

Certification for collegiate ministry will lift up best practices with a vital ministry that differs in key ways from local church work, according to campus ministers, agency staff, and seminary administrators.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Board of Directors approved a certification track for certifying those working in collegiate ministries at the March meeting in Nashville, Tenn., and several United Methodist theological schools are already working on course offerings that will fulfill the educational requirements.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is excited to introduce a new doctoral concentration starting in the fall of 2012. The Ph.D. in History of Christianity and Historical Theology, the newest of six concentrations, will focus on historical themes, issues, and methodologies in religious studies. Students in the program will have the opportunity to study a major historical emphasis and minor in another theological discipline or earn the seminary’s certificate in African American Studies.

Dr. Richard Gunderman, professor at Indiana University and president of the faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine, will deliver the address at Garrett-Evangelical's 155th commencement on May 11. The service begins at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Evanston with a reception to follow.

The Styberg Preaching Institute of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary welcomes Rev. Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown for the Drama and Delivery in Preaching workshop April 27-28, 2012. Dr. Fry Brown brings her experience as a speech pathologist, pastor, and homiletician to the workshop, where participants will learn how to improve their language, voice, and movement in preaching. Whether new to preaching or seasoned veterans, participants in this two-day workshop will be equipped to clearly communicate the Gospel to their congregation while keeping them engaged.

The 2012 Congregational Leaders Institute welcomes Rev. Dr. James A. Harnish and Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler on August 5-9, 2012 at Bay View, Michigan. Harnish and Fowler will be speaking on the theme: Will the Center Hold? Seeking Gravity in a Polarized Culture.  Is there a center of gravity that will provide stability in the tug and pull of our polarized culture?  Can the central affirmations of the faith draw us together rather than push us apart?  These questions and more will be explored in this five-day retreat.

Upon learning she had been selected to attend the Young Women’s Leadership Experience at the 56th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Tasha Sargent, Master of Divinity student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, shouted with excitement.  Tasha was one of nine women chosen by the National Council of Churches (NCC) to attend this year’s session on “the empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.”

With General Conference just weeks away, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) will sponsor a live webcast focusing on legislation pertaining to the Order of Deacon.  Held on Tuesday, March 13 at 1:30 p.m. (CST), this webcast will feature Dr. Margaret Ann Crain of Garrett-Evangelical and Rev. Anita Wood of GBHEM. 

Intersection, the newest program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, offers an innovative and simple way to earn Continuing Education Units, online. Intersection incorporates lectures by and reflection with the distinguished faculty of Garrett-Evangelical.

Garrett-Evangelical's mission is to prepare bold Christian leaders for the church and the world, and your help is needed. Make your gift to the 2011-2012 Annual Fund now and your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Jerre and Mary Joy Stead.  Recognizing the challenges that face Garrett-Evangelical in this volatile economy, the Steads invite others to join them in strengthening the seminary so that it remains a vibrant center for the preparation of Christian leaders.

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.

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.

On 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.