By Nathan Bieniek
Congratulations to Doctor of Ministry student, Ricardo L. Franco, who has been selected as a Research Fellow for the Latino Protestant Congregations Project!
Ricardo is a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry at Boston University School of Theology. He is a Colombian, ordained Presbyterian minister who has worked with Latin@ immigrant communities in the United States and Central America for more than a decade. His focus of interest and research is in Latin@ Spirituality, particularly the experience of immigration as locus for theological reflection on the spiritual practices of these communities.
The Latino Protestant Congregations Project (LPC) is a nationwide study of Latino Protestants in the United States designed to illuminate the variety and complexity of Latino Protestant congregations and their worship practices through a qualitative approach. The research seeks to draw data from all strands of Protestantism (Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Mainline), to be attentive to generational dynamics (new immigrants to well-established Hispanics), and to notice alternative liturgical structures (language dominance, places of worship, styles of music and preaching). Ricardo will be working with scholars from across the country over the next two years as he contributes research on Latin@ Protestant congregations in the New England region.
Emma Escobar, who will be graduating in May with a Master of Divinity degree, joined other students from across the country on a Journey Toward Ordained Ministry retreat.
Six scholars involved in a scholarship and mentoring program for racial-ethnic students seeking ordination as deacons or elders will complete their M.Div. degrees this year, bringing the total number of graduates to 25 since the program began in 2004. Five more will complete their degree in 2015.
Scholars and mentors in the Journey Toward Ordained Ministry program gathered for a retreat at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry in Nashville, March 13-15, 2014. The program combines much-needed scholarship support with ongoing mentoring by United Methodist clergy.
Students agreed that they learn a great deal at the retreats and from mentors in the program, in addition to the financial support of a $5,000 scholarship each year. Kihwan Choi of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary lauded the program’s ability to connect him with others from many different ethnic and economic backgrounds.
“When we come together—many of us Korean, Latino, African-American—we can see the intersections of our work and similar challenges we face reaching church members who come from such diverse backgrounds.” Choi said. The retreat, he explained, is a great time to talk about these connections and brainstorm together.
Posted by permission of The Pilot:
“Hello, Bishop? Would you mind picking up two prisoners, driving them alone behind enemy lines into a war zone, and completing a prisoner exchange for two kidnapped Christians?” This paraphrases part of the experience related by His Grace Bishop Elias Toumeh, Antiochian Orthodox bishop of Pyrgou in Syria, to an academic convocation March 28 in Brookline which was also an ecumenical gathering of Christians united in listening to his peoples’ plight.
STH Student Nico Romeijn-Stout Receives Scholarship from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Nico Romeijn-Stout has never lacked for role models in his path to attending Boston University School of Theology. Both his parents are ordained United Methodist elders in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference, as were his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-uncle. Boston University School of Theology is one of the 13 colleges and seminaries supported by The Ministerial Education Fund.
“I have also come to know many other professionals in ministry — clergy and lay — who helped to raise me, mentor me and shepherd me through discerning my call,” he said.
The three cycles of sermons included here provide a spiritual geography, an announcement of the gospel set in New York State. The sermons were given life in the vibrant life of Asbury First United Methodist Church, Rochester, New York, over several years beginning in 2000. The collection is meant to exemplify a thematic form of preaching that addresses and creates a collective consciousness in the life a community. One series is set on “A Village Green.” Another invites those along the Finger Lakes to travel “Once More to the Lake.” The third traverses the major cities of the state, and their capacity to become “An Empire of the Spirit.” The sermons here try to unfold an interpretation of Scripture by engaging local settings to produce a geography of the Spirit.
Author information: Robert Allan Hill
The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman is a four-volume, chronologically arranged documen¬tary edition spanning the long and productive career of the Reverend Howard Thurman, one of the most significant leaders in the history of intellectual and religious life in the mid-twentieth-century United States. As the first to lead a delegation of African Americans to meet personally with Mahatma Gandhi, in 1936, Thurman would become one of the principal architects of the modern nonviolent Civil Rights Movement and a key mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1953 Life magazine named Thurman as one of the twelve greatest preachers of the century.
The four volumes of this collection, culled from over 58,000 documents from public and private sources, will feature more than 850 selections of Thurman’s sermons, letters, essays, and other writings–most published here for the first time. Each volume will open with an editorial state¬ment, followed by a thematic introductory essay to guide the reader through the dominant themes in Thurman’s thought: his understanding of spirituality and social transformations, his creative ecclesiology, and his conception of civic character and the national democratic experi¬ment. Detailed annotations to each document illumine Thurman’s personal, professional, and in¬tellectual development and place the texts into their historical context. The volumes are further augmented with detailed chronologies and representative illustrations.
Volume 2 (April 1936-August 1943) documents Thurman’s years after his return from South Asia and his final years as a professor of philosophy and religion and dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University. The texts, images, and editorial commentary presented here reveal the maturation of Thurman’s theological and social vision, formed by his memories of his time in Asia, his meeting with Gandhi, and his growing commitment to radical nonviolence. His writing also reflects the context of his time, responding to the great events of the day: the Depression, the Great Migration, the birth of the modern Civil Rights Movement, and the coming of World War II. This volume ends immediately prior to Thurman’s decision in late 1944 to leave the security of Howard University to copastor a fledgling church in San Francisco, the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, one of the first churches in the United States to be organized on an explicitly interracial basis. Critical to understanding the full scope of Thurman’s career, the myriad writings gathered in volume 2 also illustrate the early germination of ideas central to the twenty-three books Thurman subsequently authored. Their publication here gives new opportunity to understand these pieces in the context of his life and the genesis of his vision.
Author Information: Walter E. Fluker
More than two hundred years ago, John Wesley declared: “There is no holiness save social holiness!” He meant thereby to reject an exclusively individualistic version of Christianity, and to affirm his intention to “spread scriptural holiness across the land, and reform the nation.” In Wesley’s view, the spheres of influence denoted in the biblical terms “sin” and “salvation” thus have communal dimensions which both engage and encompass every individual life. This collection of affirmations of faith, based on sermons delivered from a United Methodist pulpit, stands under the long shadow of Wesley’s view. Sin is a corporate and cultural manifestation of separation from God. Salvation occurs through the invasion of God’s grace, remaking common life. Preaching describes the separation and announces the invasion.
Author information: Robert Allan Hill
In Science and the World’s Religions, experts with scientific and religious backgrounds explore vital existential or practical issues, drawing on whatever sciences are relevant and engaging at least two religious traditions. The multidisciplinary essays exhibit rigorous intellectual, scholarly thinking but are written to clearly communicate to educated adult lay readers.
The first volume addresses questions about the origins and purpose of the cosmos and the human project. The second volume investigates the roles of religion and spirituality in human existence, considering issues ranging from the brain and religious experience to the human life cycle. The third volume tackles controversies in which both religion and science are stakeholders, showing how both can deepen understanding and enrich human experience. Together, these three books present readers with powerful tools that enable them to think through the challenge of integrating science with their religious beliefs and spiritual practices.
Author information: Wesley Wildman
This volume contains Luther’s prefaces to the works of others from 1532 to 1545. Amid the outpouring of print in the wake of the Reformation, Luther–especially in the prefaces to his own works–sometimes expressed the wish that his own books might disappear and give place to the Bible alone. In his prefaces to the works of others, however, Luther developed the opposite rhetorical strategy, hailing their books as faithful guides to the Scriptures or as edifices that, because of their confession of Christ, would ”surely stand secure on the Rock upon which they are built.” Although he complained of the many ”useless, harmful books” with which the Gospel’s opponents flooded the world, the multiplication of ”good books” in print–of which there could never be too many–was a sign of God’s present blessing on the church in restoring the light of the Gospel, and Luther was pleased to encourage the works of faithful colleagues and friends. Many of the works for which he wrote prefaces he declared superior to his own for their insights, style, and more refined approach. Luther was grateful for help in the shared work of Evangelical literary production in all its genres, in constructive work as well as in polemics, and his prefaces give a broad survey of the Reformation’s literature.
Author Information: Christopher Brown
Never before in English, this volume presents Luther’s prefaces from 1520-32 for the writings of both colleagues and opponents. In Luther’s day, the preface was sometimes the most important part of the book. The preface used the most beautiful of language to praise the author, his work, and his arguments–and to decry his opponents. Publishers knew that having Luther’s preface brought instant fame to any book.
Some of Luther’s prefaces are short, witty, and incisive; others are as long as treatises, with thorough discussions of important theology. Satirical, earnest, tender, combative–in his prefaces Luther is all these things. Over and over, Luther calls his readers to remember why the Reformation was needed, and not to take it for granted.
Author Information: Christopher Brown