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2020-01 Archive

Rev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt, Rueben P. Job associate professor of spiritual formation, will retire on December 31, 2020, after over seven years as a faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In addition to regular teaching duties, Schmidt is director of the Rueben P. Job Institute for Spiritual Formation (Job Institute) at Garrett-Evangelical, director of the master of arts in spiritual formation and direction, and supervisor of the doctor of ministry in spiritual direction track. Upon his retirement, Schmidt will be named a Senior Scholar of Garrett-Evangelical.

The Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values (Stead Center) at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has launched a new website,, a first step in developing a new model for implementing the center’s mission. The website serves as a hub for promoting discourse, events, online education, and more in the areas of religion, theology, and ethics.

Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart, associate professor of theology and ecology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been appointed to the Murray H. Leiffer Chair of Public Theology and Ministry, effective immediately. Formerly held by Rev. Dr. Richard D. Tholin (1985-1993) and Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler (2000-2016), Eberhart is the third person to be appointed to this chair since its establishment in 1984.

The Hispanic-Latinx Center at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the North Central Jurisdiction Mission Council to equip local church leadership for Hispanic congregations in the North Central Jurisdiction. The grant will support a series of webinars focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color, with particular focus on the Latinx community.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the Course of Study School Class of 2020! We are extremely proud of the COS Class of 2020 and all they have accomplished. The Course of Study School prepares pastoral leaders for local church ministry through a 5-year, 20-course curriculum established by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion has awarded Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh, professor of theology and culture at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a grant for her project, “Toward a Trauma-Informed Pedagogy during a Global Pandemic and Remote Learning in Theological Education.” In addition, Joh was also invited by Wabash Center to participate in their year-long symposium, “Teaching and Improvisation: Virtual Symposium Using Creativity Pedagogy.”

What if? What if Jesus had not died on the cross? How would he have lived his remaining years, and what would he say about his life, his ministry, and his alleged death? In his new book, Postcards from Egypt: Reimagining Jesus from the Gospel of Mark (Wipf and Stock, October 2020), Dr. Osvaldo Vena, emeritus professor of New Testament interpretation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, explores an alternative version of Jesus’ life both before and after the crucifixion.

There are a lot of factors to weigh when deciding to follow God's call and pursue a theological education. A central concern for most is how to pay for one’s education. Through Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s new Early Action Scholarships program, we will help students get the information they need even sooner. The Early Action Scholarships program will guarantee prospective students a decision no later than January 15, 2021, and they will have the opportunity to qualify for new scholarships ranging from 65% to 100% tuition.

Garrett Biblical Institute alumna, Rosalie Jane Bentzinger (GBI 1958) of Donnellson, Iowa, died on October 25th at the age of 96. Among her numerous contributions and life of service to the church, Bentzinger was instrumental in the formation of Diaconal Ministry as an important part of laity in service to the Church. As a seminary community we offer our condolences to her family and loved ones and we give thanks be to God for Rosalie Bentzinger and her remarkable legacy.

Two of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s faculty, both from the field of pastoral care and counseling, have been selected to participate in year-long cohorts for theological educators, referred to as digital salons, at the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology. Rev. Dr. Trina Armstrong, assistant professor of pastoral theology and pastoral care, will participate in salon one, focusing on mid-career African American faculty. Dr. Rolf Nolasco, professor of pastoral theology, will join salon five, looking at ways to engage imagination as theological educators.

Taurean J. Webb, director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE) and instructor of religion and race at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, was named a 2020-2021 non-resident fellow in the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative (RCPI) at Harvard Divinity School. In addition to supporting his scholarship and integrating him into the intellectual life of the RCPI, the program has also commissioned Webb to produce a visual arts exhibition, featuring the works of African- and Arab- descended artists.

The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW), in partnership with Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, is hosting a virtual women’s leadership summit, I AM Her, October 8-10, 2020. Registration is now open at

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the following Honors and Awards which have been conferred upon selected students for the 2019-2020 academic year.

In his 35-year tenure as vice president for development at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. David L. Heetland learned a thing or two about effective fundraising. Under his leadership, Garrett-Evangelical consistently ranked as one of the top seminaries in the nation in dollars raised and in percentage of alums supporting the institution. The seminary also completed three major capital campaigns, including the most successful capital campaign in the seminary’s history, which raised more than $100 million.

On Wednesday, July 22, the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously elected Bishop John F. White as vice-chair of the Board. In this role, Bishop White will perform a multitude of duties on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the seminary community at the request of the chairperson of the Board of Trustees. In addition, he will serve as co-chairperson for the newly formed "Garrett Together" Task Force.

Dear Garrett community:

On July 6, the Department of Homeland Security-Immigration and Customs Enforcement unexpectedly announced intentions to modify its Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). If taken into effect, the ruling would reverse the temporary exemptions provided in SEVP’s Spring Semester 2020 guidance for nonimmigrant F-1/M-1 visa students to take online classes in Fall 2020. The students would potentially face deportation should their schools only offer online courses in the fall semester.

Dr. Rodolfo R. Nolasco Jr., professor of pastoral theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been selected to attend the 2020 Summer Faculty Enrichment Retreat with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion program. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the retreat will be held via Zoom August 10-13, 2020.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, a 1978 alumnus of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been named Distinguished Alum. In addition to Ough, Rev. Sue Laurie, a 1995 alumna, was also named Distinguished Alum (To read more about Laurie, click here). 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. Sue Laurie, a 1995 alumna of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been named Distinguished Alum. In addition to Laurie, Bishop Bruce R. Ough, a 1978 alumnus, was also named Distinguished Alum (To read more about Bishop Ough click here). 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.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is honored to welcome Dr. Yara González-Justiniano as visiting assistant professor of practical theology and community engagement, effective July 1, 2020. This two-year appointment was made possible through the Louisville Institute’s Postdoctoral Fellowship González-Justiniano was awarded earlier this month. Her research interests include Latinx theologies, cultural identity and memory studies, postcolonial theory, popular culture, and popular religion.

Garam Han, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary PhD student, has been selected as a 2020 Doctoral Fellow by the Louisville Institute. Han is in the Christian education and congregational studies track of the seminary’s PhD program.

“I am deeply pleased and honored to receive this prestigious fellowship and am also looking forward to meeting and learning from other doctoral students and mentors at the meetings in the Louisville Institute. Again, I am so thankful for the opportunity,” said Han.

Originally Published by Project Transformation

Young adults who serve internships with Project Transformation will have an opportunity for early admission and scholarship consideration at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, thanks to a new partnership.

EVANSTON, Illinois, June 12, 2020 – An extraordinary minister, teacher, and administrator, the Reverend Dr. Javier A. Viera has been named the next president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, effective January 1, 2021. Viera’s impressive resume and experience in church leadership, rigorous academic study, and community building will provide the right mix of skills, education, experience, and faith to further Garrett-Evangelical’s mission “for such a time as this.” Viera will succeed Dr. Lallene J.

The Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously approved the promotion of Rev. Dr. Mark R. Teasdale from associate professor to full professor as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism effective July 1, 2020. Additional information regarding his installation service will come later this year.

The Board of Trustees of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary have affirmed the promotions of four faculty members to associate professor, effective July 1, 2020. They are Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount (Christian education), Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart (theology and ecology), Dr. Débora B. A. Junker (Christian education), and Dr. G. Brooke Lester (Hebrew Bible).




Authored by the Black faculty and affirmed by faculty members of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

All around us are forces that continue unabated to dehumanize and destroy black lives and the lives of other people of color in the United States. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery are the most recent victims of a longstanding regime of violence. We must say their names.

Sara A. Williams will join the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as assistant professor of community-based learning, ethics, and society, and will direct our field education program in that capacity, effective February 1, 2021. This appointment comes as the seminary seeks to expand its field education program to incorporate community-based pedagogies into the curriculum. Williams brings a wealth of expertise in the areas of community-engaged and experiential learning, social justice, Christian ethics, ethnographic research method, and religion and the social sciences.

Published by Southern Illinois University Press in February 2020, Fortune and Faith in Old Chicago, was authored by Dr. Charles H. Cosgrove, who serves as professor of early Christian literature and the director of the PhD program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. This engaging biography of Augustus Garrett and Eliza Clark Garrett tells two equally compelling stories: an ambitious man’s struggle to succeed and the remarkable spiritual journey of a woman attempting to overcome tragedy.

After the successful completion of a three-year strategic plan aimed at deepening the seminary’s environmental ethos and commitments, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has attained certification from the Green Seminary Initiative as a “Green Seminary.” Through this certification process, the seminary’s Green Team, led by Rev. Dr.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is proud to announce Gina A. S. Robinson has been selected to receive a 2020 Doctoral Fellowship from the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) for a second year in a row. Robinson is studying in the Christian education and congregational studies field of Garrett-Evangelical’s doctor of philosophy program. Her doctoral research seeks to expand the academic canon by cultivating womanist epistemologies and imagining curated alternative spaces for the thriving of Black girls and their community.

Shane Nichols, assistant vice president of marketing and communications, and Tasha Sargent, assistant director of marketing and communications, received an Award of Excellence from the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) for their work in logo and branding development for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Held annually, the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given to active members of RCC who demonstrate excellence in religious communication and public relations.

Beginning July 1, 2020, Rev. Dr. Andrew Wymer will join the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as assistant professor of liturgical studies. A doctor of philosophy graduate of Garrett-Evangelical, the seminary community is delighted to welcome Wymer back to campus. His research engages liturgical and homiletical theory and practice with attention to  race, social justice, and ecology.

Garrett-Evangelical is excited to announce that Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong will join the faculty as Assistant Professor of New Testament Interpretation, effective July 1, 2020. Jeong brings a wealth of expertise including biblical studies and languages, social justice, race and ethnicity, and posthumanism.

This week the Center for Faith and Service announced its list of Seminaries that Change the World: Class of 2020. We are delighted to report that for the fourth consecutive year Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has been recognized by the Center in its listing of Seminaries that Change the World.

Dr. Luis R. Rivera, associate professor of theology and former academic dean at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, was awarded a $40,000 2020 Sabbatical Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute. He is grateful to President Lallene J. Rector, Academic Dean Mai-Anh Le Tran, and Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez for their support during the application process.

Mr. Jerre Stead, chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, announced today that Dr. Lallene J. Rector has expressed her intention to transition out of her leadership role in the Office of the President, effective August 1, 2020. An esteemed faculty member of Garrett-Evangelical since 1986, she served as academic dean and vice president of academic affairs from 2006-2013, and as president beginning January 1, 2014.

Dear Garrett-Evangelical Community,

I hope you have all enjoyed the holiday season including some time for rest and relaxation.