By Danielle Marie Stecher
Elizabeth Smith (STH ’09) is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the Catholic University of America working on a dissertation on the function of ecclesiology in ecumenical dialogues, specifically highlighting the function of ecclesiology in dialogues between Anglicans and Lutherans over the last couple of decades that ultimately led to their entering full communion with one another, and using the theology of Yves Congar to evaluate their approaches from a Catholic perspective. Recently, she moved back to Boston to serve as assistant professor at Regis College. This is an interdisciplinary position that serves her dual interests in theology and music.
Smith is also directing two college choirs, the Regis College Glee Club and the select group, the Regis College Chamber Singers and preparing for two upcoming European concert tours. She also has a private violin studio, teaching violin to twelve students this year. Additionally, Smith is the director of the Children’s Choir and Adult Choir at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Catholic Church in Waltham. Smith has also traveled a lot recently for various reasons (presenting papers, performing in concert tours, or vacationing) to locations such as: Poland, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
Kyle Bozentko graduated from STH in 2010. His research interests include public opinion research, health and economic policy and social movements. He has worked as a health policy organizer, a policy analyst and his most recent appointment was as Executive Director of the Jefferson Center and Jefferson Action in Saint Paul, Minnesota, an organization dedicated to making democracy work for everyone. Kyle received a B.A. from Hamline University in 2007 (Religious Studies and Political Science), Master of Theological Studies (MTS) from the Boston University School of Theology with an emphasis on sociology of religion and politics, and Master of Science from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud Minnesota in Aging Studies.
Bozentko’s experience includes a decade of political strategy and public policy expertise. As a health policy organizer, he initiated outreach activities among local social service, human service, religious communities and public officials in the area to promote health care reform. In his role as policy analyst at the Jefferson Center, Bozentko developed and designed intensive public-policy based civic engagement processes and agenda components to maximize the effectiveness of citizen voices in engaging, processing and contributing to public policy debates.
Bozentko moved quickly from Co-Director of the Jefferson Center to Executive Director due to his extensive outreach efforts with deliberation and dialogue organizations, local, regional and national media, as well as private and university-based public policy institutions to develop strong partnerships and coalitions for expanding the breadth and scope of civic engagement projects.
Currently in his role as the Jefferson Center’s primary public representative, Bozentko works to cultivate the Jefferson Center’s network, develop collaborative initiatives, and works directly with media partners, community leaders, partner organizations, policy experts, participants and staff to develop and implement successful civic engagement and deliberative projects. He continues his work in justice-seeking civic engagement.
Reverend Faith Fowler (STH ’86) is the Senior Pastor of Cass Community United Methodist Church and Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services (CCSS), a Detroit nonprofit agency which responds to poverty with programs for food, health care, housing and employment. She has held these roles since 1994. She graduated from Albion College and also received two graduate degrees: Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from BU STH and a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She currently serves as an adjunct professor for the University of Michigan – Dearborn. She is a Distinguished Alumna of Albion College, University of Michigan-Dearborn School of Education and BU STH. She was also named Michiganian of The Year 2003 by The Detroit News and Detroit districts’ Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award – 2003. She has a book coming out in September: This Far by Faith: Twenty Years at Cass Community.
Canon Dr. Titus Presler is a pastor, scholar and missionary who has offered leadership in diverse settings in the USA, Africa and Asia. He is Principal of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan, a church institution where most of the faculty and the 2,800 students are Muslim. A missiologist specializing in mission theology, missionary identity, and gospel-culture interactions, he holds the Th.D. from Boston University School of Theology (1995). Presler is a 2014 School of Theology Distinguished Alumnus. Read more about Presler and the other 2014 Distinguished Alumni.
For some years The Hymn Society in the US and Canada has encouraged seminary and church music students by giving them scholarships to their annual conference. STH has had a number of such Lovelace Scholars, as they are known. This year, for the first time The Hymn Society has begun an extension of this program by offering second-time scholarships to five former Lovelace Scholars from across the United States and Canada. Two of these five positions have been awarded to STH students Ginny Chilton and David Bjorlin. This is an especially wonderful endorsement and recognition of our liturgy and music programs.
Lieutenant Commander John Miyahara (M.Div., STH ’95) is a native of Denver, CO and is an ordained Elder in the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Upon completion of training in the Navy in 2001, he entered the reserves and was assigned to Earl, NJ, where he was a Staff Chaplain. Chaplain Miyahara completed the CREST (Chaplain and Religious Program Specialist Expeditionary Skills Training) training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Miyahara has worked closely with the JAG and EOA designing the “Charting Your Course” class for junior sailors to make informed life decisions. He has also partnered with the Guam Department of Mental Health to provide ASIST (applied suicide intervention skills training) for over 100 FCB sailors. Lieutenant Commander Miyahara’s military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. Lieutenant Commander Miyahara is married to Mrs. Andrea Imazeki-Miyahara of Sunnyvale, CA. They have one son, Ben, who is three years old.
Reverend Dr. Kim Hao Yap (STH ’54, STH ’68) is the first Asian Bishop of The Methodist Church in Malaysian and Singapore. He also served as General Secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, an ecumenical organization of over a hundred churches in Asia. In his current retirement, Rev. Dr. Yap serves as Pastoral Advisor to the LGBT-affirmative Free Community Church in Singapore. As a strong straight ally and vocal advocate of LGBT equality, in 2007 he was awarded the Dignity Award by People Like Us in recognition of his unyielding support for the LGBT community in Singapore. Rev. Dr. Yap won the STH Distinguished Alumni award in 1988 and in 2014 was nominated for the first ever Asia Pink Awards, the region’s premier LGBTQI event celebrating the emergence of a progressive Asia in equality.
Dr. Love Henry Whelchel (M.Div., STH ’62) is a professor of Church History at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Dr. Whelchel received his Ph.D. from Duke University and teaches courses on the African-American religion and American religious traditions as well as history of Christian thought. He also has a special interest in the Civil Rights Movement. Some of his most significant publications include: Hell without Fire: Conversion in Slave Religion; My Chains Fell Off: William Wells Brown, Fugitive Abolitionist; and How Long This Road: Race, Religion, and the Legacy of C. Eric Lincoln, History and Heritage of African American Churches, and Sherman’s March and the Emergence of the Independent Black Church Movement.
Alejandro F. Botta, ed. In the Shadow of Bezalel. Aramaic, Biblical, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Bezalel Porten
Twenty nine scholars from Israel, Europe and the Americas came together to honor and celebrate Prof. Bezalel Porten’s (Emeritus, Dept. of History of the Jewish People, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) academic career. Covering a wide variety of topics within Aramaic, Biblical, and ancient Near Eastern Studies, In the Shadow of Bezalel offers new insights and proposals in the areas of Aramaic language, paleography, onomastica and lexicography; ancient Near Eastern legal traditions, Hebrew Bible, and social history of the Persian period.
Rev. Dr. Michele Shields (STH 1981, M.Div.) is the Director of Spiritual Care Services at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and oversees 20 chaplains. She is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and has been an ordained minister since 1981. She is a certified supervisor with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. Michele was named STH Distinguished Alumna in 2013.