Alumni News

To the Class of 2020

Over the past few weeks, we have asked our community to extend congratulatory messages, photos, and well-wishes to the graduating Class of 2020. We are proud of the work you will do in the world, and we will miss you greatly!

To add your message to this collection, please email

Dear Amazing Graduates,

The faculty voted today [May 14, 2020] to approve your graduation and to celebrate your accomplishments as students and scholars. You are a stellar class, and your academic work and communal leadership reflect your passionate quest for learning and for developing your talented selves in ever-new directions. Thank you for being YOU. As I reflect on the individual and communal accomplishments you have made in these years, I smile. When I see each of your faces and ponder the lives you have touched, I soar with delight. You have been in STH during years when a great deal of disruption has taken place in the U.S. and the world – ecological, social, economic, political, and personal. Through that time, you have continually asked big questions and sought to be your best selves. You have awakened STH with your insights and concerns, and have reshaped who we are as a community. Oh my! I hate to see you leave.

With abundant gratitude,
Mary Elizabeth Moore

Philippians 1:2-5 

2 Grace to you and peace from
God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you,
constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,
because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.

Dana Robert

Congratulations to an awesome Graduate Assistant, Hanna Larracas!

Much aloha,
Charlene Zuill, 
Spiritual Life Coordinator, Lecturer in Spiritual Formation

Class of 2020! Heartfelt congratulations on this milestone! Learning beside so many of you has been an honor. Being inspired by those of you who offered leadership at STH has been a privilege. So many of you went the extra mile to offer me welcome when I was a mid-year transfer student. Many thanks for your graciousness and hospitality. Although I haven't met all of you, I am proud of each one of you! Blessings on all the future can hold!
Love, Caro Barschow

To the Class of 2020: Congratulations on completing this part of your life journeys. It has been a delight to learn and laugh and love alongside you all. Many blessings to y'all, and wishes of overflowing peace, joy, and love as you go to whatever is next!
Kyle Walden (Class of 2021)

Dear STH Class of 2020, 

Congratulations! You've made it to this point, and yes, there is much grieving alongside the joy of graduation. 

I remember that day in Marsh Chapel as one of my proudest, but also one of the saddest. I was grieving the goodbye to community, the goodbye to the rhythm of student life. The grief really took hold when I took my first professional job that August. 

And yet, I can easily say, I loved my time at STH because of those relationships, because of the spiritual growth, because of the active work of the Spirit. I have STH friends scattered throughout the country, and they have been my lifesavers during this time. I found in STH, people who--to use a term from Celtic spirituality--became my anam caras, my "soul friends." 

I pray that you found and continue to find--in your classmates, in your professors, in your spiritual communities and social networks--your anam caras. They will sustain you, they will surprise you, they will remind you of the wonderful work of God and the Spirit weaving throughout the world. 


Benjamin Mead, STH '14

Congratulations to Hanna Larracas and Tory Dillard, Spiritual Life Office Spring Retreat planning Team!


A word of appreciation and thanks to the faculty and students of the BU School of Theology:

I entered STH in 2016, already retired from a life in high tech, hoping to learn more about a life-long interest: theology. I hoped I would be tolerated as a much older student, and I found much more than toleration --- I found encouragement, engagement, and a whole lot of things I didn't know I would be learning, not just about theology, but about the Christian church, other religions, justice, peacemaking, science from a faith perspective, and film (movies) from a faith perspective. I'm grateful, first, for Boston University and the School of Theology for making this an affordable adventure, even though I wasn't targeting ordination or any specific theological vocation. I'm grateful to the United Methodist Church for its support of BU and STH, even though I'm not currently a Methodist (though I once was). I'm grateful to the faculty for treating me as equal to any other student and expecting no less of me on account of my age or previous background. I'm grateful to all three Deans, with each of whom I was privileged to take a course during my final two semesters. And I'm joyful to realize that I have been surrounded by greatness, found in both individual faculty and many individual students. I still don't know exactly what God is calling me to do, but I do feel prepared to go out into the world knowing so much more than I imagined I would know, and prepared to have the transformational conversations that I know are waiting to happen - whenever, wherever, with whomever. Thanks be to God.

Paul Sawyer, STH MTS 2020

Dear Class of 2020, 

I've learned from you since your first days at STH, and I look forward to learning from you as you transition to your respective ministries. I wish you well, and I wish you the energy to continue to do amazing things!

Kimi Macdonald, Communications Director 

Congratulations grads on your well-earned degrees! BU and STH are proud of you, and we wish you well as you step into the next stage of your lives. You have been given many words of wisdom so I leave you with just a short quotation from T. S. Eliot: Not fare well, But fare forward, voyagers!

Andrew Shenton, Professor of Music, James R. Houghton Scholar of Sacred Music

“There are two ways to live your life.” One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

You each represent hard work, tenacity, dedication, and a life of miracles, particularly graduating this semester! Congratulations!

I wish you the best as you envision and live into future miracles; unfolding peace and justice in the communities you will join and serve.

Judith Oleson, Director, The Tom Porter Program on Religion and Conflict Transformation

Congratulations class of 2020! May you be richly blessed in all your future work of ministry. You will all be missed!

Chris Evans, Professor of the History of Christianity and Methodist Studies


As you leave STH, I trust that you will carry wonderful memories with you. I also hope that, in spite of the challenges of this last semester, you will be able to look to the future. From the prophet Isaiah, after he had listed many challenges to the people, he offered this hopeful word: 

"Look! I'm doing a new thing: now it sprouts up; don't you recognize it? I'm making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness."

Keep looking for -- and discovering that new thing! 

Susan Hassinger, Bishop-in-Residence 

I hope you leave this place with your hearts widened and your minds sharpened. And I hope you tend to your body; give it time to rest and restore. I am grateful to have walked with you for a few steps on your life path. Holding you close, while celebrating from a distance. 

Shelly Rambo, Associate Professor of Theology 

Congratulations, Courageous Graduates! You’ve persevered and made us proud. May you serve your community well, feel blessed in the work, continue to grow in strength, and stay in touch with STH. 

Courtney Goto, Associate Professor of Religious Education

Congratulations Class of 2020

You’ve done it! The readings, papers, examinations; the community building, spiritual wandering, intellectual exchanging; the crying, the laughing; the falling apart, and the reconstructing — you’ve done it all, yet the journey is not complete. 

Having traversed the halls of BUSTH, Howard Thurman’s reminder to us is that “A crown is placed over our heads that for the rest of our lives we are trying to grow tall enough to wear.” My prayer is that you continue growing in wisdom and stature so that every person you encounter is inspired, edified, and appreciated. In other words, keep hope alive!

All the best,
Andrew Kimble (STH ’19), Assistant Director of Alumni and Donor Relations

Dear STH Class of 2020,

We are so fortunate and blessed to now call you alums of STH. Congratulation on your many accomplishments to get you to this point especially given the unprecedented challenges since March. Please take advantage of your new network both your now fellow 3,600 STH alumni and beyond to all of BU’s 336,000 former students. And remember the STH Development and Alumni Office will always be here for you. Onward and upward!

Ray Joyce, Assistant Dean for Development 


Director of Faith Development and Community Outreach, part-time, First Parish Church: Weston, MA

First Parish Church in Weston

Job Description: 

Title: Director of Faith Development and Community Outreach
Reports to: Minister, Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell
Supervises: Volunteers and other staff as assigned by the Minister
Status: Part-Time (20-24 hours or more up to Full-time, to be determined by mutual agreement with the Minister)
Salary Range: $62,000- $70,000 full-time; adjusted for part-time
Benefits: Health care insurance and other benefits are provided

Job Summary
The Director of Faith Development and Community Outreach works with the Minister to inspire children, youth and families to be engaged in the mission of the First Parish Church in Weston. S/he organizes religious education programs, worship, and events online and in person when safe to do so. S/he is an active, visible youth advocate within the extended community served by First Parish. Her/his work contributes to growth of the First Parish congregation.

Essential Functions

  • Spiritual Care & Worship Leadership
  • Program Management
  • Administration & Communication
  • Additional Functions of Full-time Service

Interested candidates can email their resume and cover letter to Mary Pat Hinckley at

For more information or for the full job description, click here: Dir Faith Dev Job Desc 2020[2]

Interim Director for Children and Youth, part-time, Congregational Church: Winchester, MA

Name of Church/Institution:  First Congregational Church In Winchester (FCCW) located at 21 Church Street, Winchester MA 01890

Job Title: Interim Faith Formation Director for Children and Youth

First Congregational Church in Winchester (FCCW) is a Christ-centered, nurturing community, growing in faith, serving in love and welcoming all with joy. Our large and vibrant suburban UCC church is seeking an energetic and organized individual to direct the children and youth ministries for what will likely be a one-year period as we seek a permanent Children's/Youth Minister.

The applicant would be responsible for administering and managing the existing Children and Youth Faith Formation Program of FCCW and fostering an environment where the children, youth and adult volunteers of the church can learn about their faith and develop a personal relationship with God in both large group and smaller relational environments. The applicant will work in tandem with Children and Youth Faith Formation Ministry (CYFORM), adult volunteers, and the Ministry Team to plan, develop, and implement all aspects of a balanced children and youth ministry.

The position is part-time; expected hours of 20-30/week with fluctuations over the course of the church/school calendar.

While this position is largely administrative, if the right candidate has an interest in more ministerial responsibilities, that is welcome and possible.

Salary:  $25-$30/hour. Benefits include paid vacation, paid sick time, and holidays.

Please see Job Description for more complete description of the position. Please also see our website.

To apply:  Send cover email and resume to

Deadline to Apply: None
Contact Email:

Director of Children’s Ministries, full-time, UMC: High Point, NC

Director of Children’s Ministries

Interested in working in the Furniture Capital of the World? Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church ( of High Point, NC is seeking a full-time Director of Children’s Ministries who will work cooperatively with clergy, program staff, and appropriate lay leadership to ensure that children’s ministry opportunities support and strengthen the congregational mission, vision, and goals as well as the vision for the children’s ministry.

In addition, the director will work in partnership with the Children’s Ministry Team to design and implement ministries and programs for children’s ministry that include, but are not limited to: Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Special events such as Trunk-OrTreat, Hanging of the Greens, Children’s Nativity, and Palm Sunday Easter Extravaganza, Bible Explorers (Sunday evening), and Wednesday evening program. The church is also seeking someone who can lead the Children’s Ministry Team in imagining and implementing new initiatives to help children and their families grow spiritually and to grow the children’s ministry numerically.

Qualifications for this position are:
• BA or equivalent in Education/Christian Education/Child Development/Family Relations or related field. MA preferred.
• Three years of previous significant, successful experience in developing children and family programs in a medium or large congregational setting.
• Knowledge of theory and techniques required to manage and maintain a vital children’s ministry in a large congregation.
• Current experience in the recruitment, development, and management of a significant number of volunteers.
• Knowledge of planning, coordination, and execution of basic business functions.

Qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume to

Director of Children’s and Family Ministries, part-time, UMC: Melrose, MA

Director of Children’s and Family Ministries

First United Methodist Church in Melrose is seeking a Director of Children’s and Family Ministries. This half-time position (20 hours/week) offers an abundant range of congregational experience and is ideal for anyone in the process of discerning the call to ministry. In consultation with our pastor and leadership team, the DCFM will oversee the Sunday school program, develop outreach initiatives to children and families in the church community and beyond, and ensure that children and families are integrated into the total life of the congregation. The DCFM will also have occasional opportunities to preach and lead adult education programs, and will always be encouraged to contribute their unique talents to the life of the church.

Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent life experience, must care deeply about the spiritual formation of children and youth, and have some experience with them in a congregational or educational setting. Knowledge of Methodism is helpful but not necessary.

First United Methodist Church is a reconciling congregation committed to full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the life of the church, and has a deep commitment to fostering social and racial justice. To learn more about us, please visit our website.

Applicants will apply to:
First United Methodist Church
Melrose, MA  02176

Dean Moore: Invitation to Lament

Beloved Community,

In this week of horrifying tragedy, I invite you to pause together to remember and mourn the coronavirus deaths of more than 100,000 people in the United States and more than 360,000 worldwide. Then, pause again and pray for people who have suffered and continue to suffer from the virus, while the known cases now surpass 1.76 million in the U.S. and 5.9 million across the globe. Every one of these numbers represents a human being who was and is precious in God’s sight and in the sight of those who loved and cared for them. Let them be precious to you and me as well. God, have mercy.

On this mournful night, I also beseech you to lift your pain-filled prayers and anguished cries for George Floyd, who was violently murdered on the streets of Minneapolis on May 26. Such violence against a fellow human being calls for collective mourning and for unceasing prayers for Mr. Floyd’s family, loved ones, and angry, hurting community. And pray for a radically transformative justice in Minneapolis and in your own communities that are spread far and wide.

In the next 24 hours, I invite you to light a candle or pause to breathe deeply of the pain and loss. Today is not a day to be conservative, progressive, or “middle of the road”; nor is it a day to be a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian. It is a day to be HUMAN – to draw from the deepest wells of your faith and to lament. We need to mourn as a community, and we can only do so if we dare to be still and let the tragedies soak into the depths of our being. Lament is a pathway to share pain, to be fully human, to journey toward the heart of God, who holds more pain than all of us together can imagine and who will never let us go.

Blessings and prayers,

Mary Elizabeth

Ms. Cassandra Valentine Helms (STH ’12)

"Cassandra 'Cassie' Valentine Helms, 35 of Hoover, Ala. passed away Saturday, May 16, 2020 at Shelby Baptist Hospital. A private family graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 21, 2020 at Evergreen Memorial Gardens. The service will be live streamed from Rainey Family Funeral Service website at and their Facebook page.

Cassandra was born in Bethesda, Maryland to Chester Ethane Helms and Cheryl Valentine Helms.  She received a BS Degree in Anthropology and Linguistics from Emory University, an MAT from Agnes Scott College and a M. Div. from Boston University School of Theology (2012). She was a teacher at Grace Ministries, a faith-based counseling, education and writing center. Cassie had a passion for learning and helping others so her job allowed her to teach and minister. She especially loved being able to help teenage girls find their way in life. She is survived by her parents, Chet Ethane and Cheryl Valentine Helms of Valdosta; and her paternal grandmother, Inez Helms of Cordele. She was preceeded in death by a sister, Melissa June Helms, paternal grandfather, A.M. Helms; and maternal grandparents, Marjorie Louise and Ira Valentine.

Memorials to honor Cassie being made to Grace House Ministries, P.O. Box 547, Fairfield, Ala. 35064 would please the family."

Rev. William A. Nicoll (STH ’50 and ’51)

"William A. Nicoll, 100, of Frankfort, joined his Lord February 20, 2020 at Wesley Manor. He was born in 1919 in Owatonna, Minnesota to William R. and Nellie (Loomis) Nicoll. He married Mary Louise Howard in 1942; she preceded him in death in 1981. He subsequently married Ruth (Laque) Bruehl in 1983; she preceded him in death in 2011.

William graduated from DePauw University & Boston Theological Seminary (1950 and 1951). He also attended Harvard. He was a veteran of WWII earning a Bronze Star as a 1st Lieutenant serving in the Army Medical Corp. He was a United Methodist minister for churches in the following cities in Illinois: Evergreen Park, Zion, Oregon, South Lawn in Chicago, Prophetstown-where he supervised construction of a new church, Stockton-where he supervised construction of an education wing, Rockford and churches in Massachusetts, before retiring after 36 years of service. William was a member of St. Matthew United Methodist Church and sang in the choir. He was a president of family counsel at Wesley Manor, a member of Singing Saints, videotaped chapel services until his 100th birthday, past president of Rotary in Evergreen Park, Ill., and was a chairman and helped organize Waukegan Crisis Intervention Hotline in the 1970's. In Oregon he helped establish Blackhawk retirement apartments, and volunteer ambulance service, serving as a driver/attendant. While serving in the Rock River Conference in Northern Illinois, William served on committees to secure insurance and pension for pastors. William served his god faithfully, shepherded his family and his congregations, pursued equality and justice, and supported causes to save nature and the planet.

William is survived by his children; Dale William (Marilyn) Nicoll of Concord, California and Jane (Dr. Carl) Nicoll Stover of Park Forest, Ill.; step-children; Dr. Richard A. Bruehl (Nancy Stott) of Brentwood, Tenn., Step daughter-in-law Ellen Bruehl, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and brother and sister-in-law John & Ann Howard, Mt. Vernon, IL.; five grandsons, 4 great grandchildren, 11 step-grandchildren, and 12 step-great grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews. Along with his wives, he was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Corwin, and sisters, Louvinia Zartman and Josephine Broholm, stepdaughter, Marcia Kauten, stepson, Robert A. Bruehl II, nephews, Harvey Zartman and niece, Sandra Zartman Nason.

Visitation will be Wednesday, March 4, 2020 from 12:30 p.m. until the start of the memorial service at 1:30 p.m. at Amanda Reed Memorial Chapel, Wesley Manor. His niece, Nancy Hardin of Urbana, Ohio will officiate. Memorial contributions may be made in William's honor to Wesley Manor."

CDC Offers Guidance for Faith Communities During Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published guidelines for communities of faith to practice their beliefs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines include "Safety Actions" such as promoting healthy hygiene practices, wearing cloth masks, cleaning and disinfecting, and social distancing. The article also offers guidance on how to plan for a staff member or a congregant coming down with the illness.

Please find the full article published on the CDC website here

BUSTH Announces Faculty Publications for May 2020

The School of Theology is pleased to announce the following faculty publications for the month of May 2020.

  • Filipe Maia: “The Pan-Amazon Synod,” in Concilium (n. 385: 2020/2). Info about the issue can be found at
  • Mary Elizabeth Moore: “Sacred, Revolutionary Teaching: Encountering Sacred Difference and Honest Hope,” Religious Education (April 2020), 1-13. [Doi: 10.1080/00344087.2020.1738044]
  • Shelly Rambo: Foreword in Karen O’Donnell and Katie Cross, Feminist Trauma Theologies: Body, Scripture & Church in Critical Perspective Paperback. SCM Press, 2020. Several of the essays engage Prof. Rambo’s work. Available as an eBook through the BUSTH Library here.
  • Steven Sandage: “The growing dangers of clergy narcissism, and some humble solutions,” The Association of Religious Data Archives (April 27, 2020).
  • James Walters:
    • Dedication -- “This volume is dedicated to James C. Walters in honor of his scholarly acumen, his dedication to teaching and learning, and his collegial spirit. James helped initiate the collaboration that led to this volume and it is in part the fruit of his labors.”Daniel Schowalter, Sabine Ladstätter, Steven J. Friesen and Christine Thomas (Eds). Religion in Ephesos Reconsidered: Archaeology of Spaces, Structures, and Objects. Novum Testamentum Series, Supplements, Volume: 177.Religion in Ephesos Reconsidered provides a detailed overview of the current state of research on the most important Ephesian projects offering evidence for religious activity during the Roman period. Ranging from huge temple complexes to hand-held figurines, this book surveys a broad scope of materials. Careful reading of texts and inscriptions is combined with cutting-edge archaeological and architectural analysis to illustrate how the ancient people of Ephesos worshipped both the traditional deities and the new gods that came into their purview. Overall, the volume questions traditional understandings of material culture in Ephesos, and demonstrates that the views of the city and its inhabitants on religion were more complex and diverse than has been previously assumed. Available as an eBook through the BUSTH Library here.