By Christopher Broadwell

Ronald Angelo Johnson (STH ’06)

January 16th, 2014 in Alumni/ae Publications

Recent Alumn Ronald Angelo Johnson has recently had his book, Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance” by University Georgia Press. He will be hosting a book signing on 24 March 2014 at The Athenaeum in Salem, MA.

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“The first history of the unlikely diplomatic alliance between the fledgling nations of the United States and Haiti”


“Ronald Angelo Johnson’s Diplomacy in Black and White offers a new, compelling, and highly readable account of an important episode in the early history of American foreign policy.”
—Michael Mandelbaum, author of Democracy’s Good Name: The Rise and Risks of the World’s Most Popular Form of Government

“John Adams’s presidency and Saint Domingue’s revolutionary regime rarely get the attention they deserve in explaining the acquisition of Louisiana and shifts in the slavery debates in the United States. Ronald Angelo Johnson’s carefully argued and persuasive new book gives us an illuminating take on the equal partnership forged between the Adams administration and Toussaint Louverture—a fascinating and original study of diplomacy across the color line.”
—Nancy Isenberg, author of Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr


From 1798 to 1801, during the Haitian Revolution, President John Adams and Toussaint Louverture forged diplomatic relations that empowered white Americans to embrace freedom and independence for people of color in Saint-Domingue. The United States supported the Dominguan revolutionaries with economic assistance and arms and munitions; the conflict was also the U.S. Navy’s first military action on behalf of a foreign ally. This cross-cultural cooperation was of immense and strategic importance as it helped to bring forth a new nation: Haiti.

Diplomacy in Black and White is the first book on the Adams-Louverture alliance. Historian and former diplomat Ronald Angelo Johnson details the aspirations of the Americans and Dominguans—two revolutionary peoples—and how they played significant roles in a hostile Atlantic world. Remarkably, leaders of both governments established multiracial relationships amid environments dominated by slavery and racial hierarchy.  And though U.S.-Dominguan diplomacy did not end slavery in the United States, it altered Atlantic world discussions of slavery and race well into the twentieth century.

Diplomacy in Black and White reflects the capacity of leaders from disparate backgrounds to negotiate political and societal constraints to make lives better for the groups they represent. Adams and Louverture brought their peoples to the threshold of a lasting transracial relationship. And their shared history reveals the impact of decisions made by powerful people at pivotal moments. But in the end, a permanent alliance failed to emerge, and instead, the two republics born of revolution took divergent paths.



Robert Thornburg, Dean of Marsh Chapel

January 16th, 2014 in Alumni/ae Deaths

Robert Thornburg died shortly after Christmas. Bob was the Dean of Marsh Chapel for many years and was a member of the STH faculty. You will see below that his memorial service will be held on February 15 at 1:00 in Marsh Chapel.

1927 – 2013 | Obituary 

THORNBURG, Robert Watts Dean Emeritus of Boston University, passed away at his winter home in Estero, Florida, on December 29th. Robert was born on October 10, 1927, in Chicago. He graduated from DePauw University with graduate study at Garrett Theological Seminary atNorthwestern University and at Union Seminary at Columbia University and received honorary Doctorate Degrees from DePauw University and Illinois Wesleyan University. He joined his father and his twin brother as an ordained United Methodist (UMC) Minister, serving parish churches in Chicago, Northbrook and Peoria, Illinois, before becoming the Associate General Secretary of the UMC Board of Higher Education and Ministry. While in Chicago, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce named him one of their Ten Outstanding Young Men. During the 1960s and 70s he was an active leader in human and civil rights, chairing the Human Rights Commission in Peoria, Illinois. From 1978 until his retirement in 2001, Robert was Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University, with responsibility for the religious activities at the University, as well as serving on the faculty of the School of Theology. For 23 years he was the voice of Marsh Chapel on Sunday morning on WBUR. During the 1980s he became a nationally recognized expert on destructive religious cults through writings, speeches and work with cult members and their families. His love of sports made him a major fan of the BU Basketball team, traveling with them to virtually every game. The University honored him with his induction into Phi Beta Kappa and the Scarlet Key award. During his 50-year career he received many honors and awards, but he was most proud of the Thornburg 1 jersey given to him by the BU Basketball team. Throughout his life he served as a trustee of numerous other charitable, religious and educational organizations, often in leadership roles. Bob was known for his passion for his work and his love of people always looking at the bright side of life and the good in everyone. As John Silber, the BU President said, The problem with you, Thornburg, is that youre a congenital optimist. His greatest love was for his family, including gatherings in their Boston, Berkshires, and New Hampshire homes along with great reunion trips for the children and grandchildren he often called them his investment in memories. When Bobs mobility became more limited, he enjoyed regular Facebook communication with his grandchildren and a wide circle of friends including many former Boston University students. Along the Boston waterfront he was always recognized in his wheelchair on his daily walks with his dogs. He is survived by his second wife of 35 years, Ann, his twin brother Richard (Peabody, MA) and his sister Mary Cooper (Rochester, NY); his children, Beth Thornburg (Ashland City, TN), Rob Thornburg (Allentown, PA), Judy Zimmerman (Franklin, TN), Anne Mann (Eugene, OR); 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren; his first wife Carol Thornburg (Nashville, TN); and his faithful canine companions, Queen and Princess Bean. A private service for the family was held in Florida. A memorial service will be held on February 15th at 1 p.m. at Marsh Chapel at Boston University (735 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston). The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to the Animal Rescue League of Boston or a charity of the donors choice . Condolences may be expressed online at

– See more at:

New Publication by Darrell Reeck, Ph.D

January 16th, 2014 in Alumni/ae Publications

Just published: Growing Green Two Ways!

 Darrell Reeck

Memoir examines a 1940s boyhood spent in the Pacific Northwest

Dec. 17, 2013 — Pacific Northwest native and former University of Puget Sound professor Darrell Reeck, Ph.D., looks back at his childhood and the world that encapsulated it in Growing Green Two Ways!, his just-published memoirs of growing up in Western Washington at a time when the region still had characteristics of the frontier but was increasingly urban, industrial and militaristic.

The book is a warm and nostalgic coming-of-age story that chronicles Reeck’s boyhood adventures from 1939 in a working-class Tacoma neighborhood to 1960 in Seattle and its preparations for the World’s Fair. Reeck describes the freedoms and fears of this momentous time in history while telling tales of fishing alongside whales, hunting bears, mountain climbing, fishing, berry picking, forest firefighting, working in a canning factory and camping in the great outdoors.

Reeck also recounts the immigration of his ancestors to the region as well as the transition his parents made in moving from the dry side of Washington State, with its wheat fields and cattle ranches, to the “wet side” on the shores of Puget Sound. He describes in amazing detail the Tacoma neighborhood where he grew up and the family members, friends, neighbors, teachers and mentors who influenced him.

“Tacoma’s Oakland neighborhood was Darrell Reeck’s base from birth to age 13, until the family moved to University Place,” said former Washington State Rep. Dennis Flannigan. “Historians memorializing Tacoma overlook Oakland, a forgotten patch of fewer than 500 homes, just south of 38th and Center Street. In Growing Green Two Ways!, Darrell reflects on this neighborhood and how it influenced his childhood, life and dreams. It was a cap-gun cowboy childhood in a world without soccer moms, movie blockbusters or too-busy dads. This memoir illustrates how place and family affect lives, how community counts.”

Throughout the book, Reeck also reflects on the instruction he received from and often questioned within the church, which was an important part of his boyhood experience and formed the basis of his lifelong work. Reeck before his retirement was a professor of religion and United Methodist pastor.

Reeck, who has published several academic books and articles in the past, felt compelled to write Growing Green Two Ways! because the collected stories occupy a precipitous time in history.

“The period (1940 to 1960) was quite unique in the Pacific Northwest,” Reeck said. “I wanted to tell stories of people and places emerging from the frontier into an urbanized way of life. My childhood provided me with opportunities to explore the frontier past and the urban future without leaving my city. I’ve told these stories to my family. They’ve said, ‘Dad, you’ve just got to write about the people you knew and places you explored.’ “

Reeck added that Growing Green Two Ways! “brewed” for nearly three years before he wrote it and is Part One of a pair of memoirs.

“In the second piece, I, the self-confessed frontier hick, explore Old World Europe, still recovering from World War II, and West Africa in the throes of anti-colonialism,” Reeck explained. “I come back transformed from roaming the world—more global in outlook and more clear about my purpose in life.”

Reeck holds a doctorate degree in religious studies from Boston University and served for many years as a professor and administrator at the University of Puget Sound. He has provided interim ministry for four congregations in the Seattle area. He also has worked in money management at three companies, including the United Methodist Development Fund in New York City and Portfolio 21 Investments in Portland, Ore.

Growing Green Two Ways! currently is available at in print and on Kindle. Additional information about the book and author can be found at

Reeck’s other publications include Ethics for the Profession: A Christian Perspective and Deep Mende: Religious interactions in a changing African rural society, also found at

Orlo Strunk (GRS ’57, STH ’55)

January 16th, 2014 in Alumni/ae Deaths

Orlo Strunk, Jr. Fellow, died on September 24, 2013. Please see the attached obituary in the Journal of Pastoral Care. Orlo received the AAPC Distinguished Contribution Award in 1999. His Family, Friends, and Colleagues will miss him.

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

December 5th, 2013 in Alumni/ae News

Mark Sumner Harvey (STH ’71, GRS ’83) is the Director of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra and they will be presenting its 41st Annual Christmas Concert on December 21 at Emmanuel Church,  15 Newbury Street, Boston.  This will be a blend of traditional carols in jazz arrangements and the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn version of The Nutcracker Suite.  And it benefits the Pine Street Inn.   You can check out the orchestra at

Gerald (Jerry) Anderson (STH ’55, GRS ’60)

December 5th, 2013 in Alumni/ae News

Gerald (Jerry) Anderson (STH’55, GRS’60) met Pope Francis, gave a lecture and received
an honorary Doctor of Missiology degree from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome on
November 14.

The degree was presented to him by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Chancellor
of the university. It was the first time an honorary degree has been given to a Protestant by
this university that was founded in 1627 and is owned by the Sacred Congregation for the
Evangelization of Peoples. Dr. Anderson, a former UM missionary in the Philippines and
president of Scarritt College in Nashville, is emeritus director of the Overseas Ministries Study
Center in New Haven, CT, and resides in Hamden, CT.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful news with us, Jerry!

Chad Smith News

December 5th, 2013 in Alumni/ae News

Chad Smith (STH ’08) and his wife Christi Beebe welcomed their son, Carter Christian Smith, into the world on September 29, 2013.

Thanks for sharing and many congratulations and blessings to your family!

Ernest S. Frerichs (STH ’52, GRS ’57)

December 5th, 2013 in Alumni/ae Deaths

Ernest S. Frerichs (STH ’52, GRS ’57) of Warren, RI died on November 11, 2013.

He was a Professor of Religious Studies and of Judaic Studies at Brown University. He served both as Chair of Religious Studies and as Director of Judaic Studies. He also served as Dean of the Graduate School. He served for many years as Executive Director of The Dorot Foundation of Providence, RI. He was a retired member of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He served as a Sargeant in the 398th Infrantry Regiment of the 100th Infantry Division in the European Theater of World War II.

USA Today MLK Tribute

December 5th, 2013 in Alumni/ae News

Here is the link to the digital version of USA TODAY’s Special Edition on the life and witness of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We hope that you enjoy it and we are sure you will benefit greatly from the many reflections inside. You may even come across the ad for BU STH on page 32.


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Kathy Charland (MDiv., 2009)

November 5th, 2013 in Alumni/ae News

Boston University Grad Endorsed for Missionary Service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Kathy Charland, a Boston University School of Theology graduate (Master of Divinity, 2009), has been endorsed by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) to serve as a missionary in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Kathy resides in Westfield, Massachusetts.

Working with IM partner, the Baptist Community of Congo, Kathy will work at the Mitendi Center in Kinshasa which provides training in job and life skills to women at risk. Jill Lowery, current IM missionary, has been serving at the Mitendi Center since it opened its doors in 1999, and will serve as Kathy’s mentor as she becomes accustomed to the new environment.

Kathy currently serves as Associate Minister at Progressive Community Baptist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. She is also a teacher at a private Christian school and the registrar and an instructor for the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM) School of Ministry.

When asked why she feels called to this ministry, Kathy responded, “When I traveled to Zambia [and worked with IM missionaries, Charles and Sarah West] in 2007, I was struck by the vast disparity between those in the world who live comfortably and those who do not. I wondered how best to assist people like those I met there. My experiences in Zambia were never far from my mind.”

The regional Executive Minister of TABCOM, the Rev. Dr. Tony Pappas, is in full support of Kathy’s endorsement. “We have long known that Kathy’s heart was to serve the Lord and we are thrilled that such a significant opportunity is opening up for Kathy to do just that.  Our prayers and blessings go with her!”

As an endorsed missionary, Kathy will be working in the months ahead to build her Mission Partnership Network.  She will be inviting individuals, groups and churches to partner with her by committing to share the spiritual, relational and financial support needed to begin her ministry in the DRC.

Please join IM in celebrating this new endorsement and praying for Kathy as she invites others to join her in ministry. You may send words of encouragement and communicate directly with Kathy at Emails may be sent directly to Kathy at