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 www.aardvarkjazz.com.
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
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 (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!
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.
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 http://www.
Here’s a link to a recent newsletter from Notre Dame Mission Volunteers that contains an update from our alumni and friends, Micah and Jocelyn. They are currently serving in Peru, teaching English at two different high schools and serving in the local mission. What an exciting journey they are taking.
Please collect remembrances at: www.bu.edu/chapel/mmremembrances/
The Rev. Brenda Payne, second from left, is shown with her family, son Justyn, husband Jerryl, daughter Bryanna and son Jeremyah at her graduation ceremony recently at Boston University.
June 14, 2013
The Rev. Brenda Payne was on a mission. After 26 years, the former pastor of Payne Chapel AME Church in Houston had returned to Boston University’s School of Theology to finish her Master of Divinity degree.
It was tough, she said. She experienced extremes, from health problems to snowstorms, and felt Boston’s pain after the marathon bombings.
“I had some very harrowing experiences, but God had put me there,” Payne said. “With his grace and my perseverance, I made it through.”
That she did, and on the dean’s list, too.
Read the full article here.
Congratulations to Dr. Nicole Johnson (STH 07)! She was awarded tenure at the University of Mount Union in Ohio! http://www.mountunion.edu/faculty-members-receive-promotions-and-tenure
STH Student Tackles Questions of Faith, Through Comics
Gaining a better understanding of what it means to be human
07.18.2013By Jessica Ullian (GRS’09)
Andrew Tripp (STH’09,’16) says that the superheroes popularized in comic books have much to teach us about what it means to be human. Photo by Ryan Hyde
Andrew Tripp believes in the power of stories, and his favorites tackle questions about Christianity, morality, and humanity. The Book of Job is one. Spider-Man is another.
“Peter Parker is finding out what it means to be a good person and how to use your talents for the common good,” says Tripp (STH’09,’16), a doctoral candidate in the School of Theology’s Center for Practical Theology, of the teenager behind Spider-Man’s mask. “There’s a huge segment of our culture that’s not religious, but has its moral cultivation met through that story.”
Comic books aren’t the core of Tripp’s research—he’s writing his dissertation about urban congregations with strong antipoverty programs—but they’re far more than a side interest. The self-proclaimed nerd is fascinated by the pop-culture narratives that people explore when they turn away from the church—and in using those narratives to understand how people think about right and wrong.
“As America grows more secular, there’s a need for clergy to understand how the unchurched have had their moral development,” Tripp says. “When you’re pastorally caring for someone, and you’re helping them integrate into a healthier story, you need to know the stories that have shaped their lives.”
Andrew Tripp’s favorite stories, among them the Book of Job and Spider-Man, tackle questions about Christianity, morality, and humanity. Photo courtesy of the School of Theology
His interest in the issue is more than academic. Raised in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, he found himself drifting away from the church at the end of high school, after his mother died. Still wrestling with questions about spirituality, he found solace in comics, where each character seemed to be struggling with issues he found familiar: Iron Man constantly battled his personal weaknesses while trying to represent peace and justice. The Fantastic Four’s Thing appeared impenetrably strong, but mourned for the loss of his humanity.
“It gave me a place to play,” Tripp says. “The superheroes and the comeback characters spoke to something profound about what it meant to be human.”
He studied chemistry in college and took a job in information technology after graduation. But he found himself longing for the sense of community a church provided, and he joined a congregation near his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. As he became involved with the church’s committees and community service programs, he learned how the older parishioners had made service to the needy a priority throughout their lives and careers.
“Christian love can be such a nebulous term, but the Bible stories concretize what love is: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked,” Tripp says. “And in a community that lives out the stories, the wisdom we have about moral discernment comes from those stories.”
His “call moment,” when it came, was inspired by the many members of his congregation who asked him which seminary he’d be attending—before he’d even applied. “The world was saying, ‘This is for you,’” he says. After hearing the stories of the church elders, he was finally ready to begin writing his own.
Tripp, who earned a master’s degree at STH before continuing on to the doctoral program, hasn’t strayed far from the path that brought him to divinity school: his dissertation focuses on three affluent Boston-area churches that run homeless shelters in their sanctuaries and invite the homeless to participate in regular worship. They’re taking Bible verses about economic responsibility very literally, he says, in a way that many affluent congregations do not.
“I want to see if the way they tell the Christian stories differs and affects how they live out the Christian story,” he says.
Throughout his studies at STH, and his work as a hospital and hospice chaplain, he’s also found a rich life beyond the page. In his conversations with parishioners and patients, he’s come to value the discussions that emerge around Scripture as much as the Scripture itself. Much as The Avengers helped him develop moral reasoning, the conversations he’s had have helped him refine it.
“When Scripture’s only read as a book of truth statements, it reduces it. What’s important isn’t one side or the other; it’s the discussion,” he says. “When people have that conversation, the many different voices and many different minds will have a greater wisdom than any one could have.”
That’s not to say he’ll ever leave comic books behind. He contributed a chapter to Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels (Continuum, 2010), edited by BU lecturer A. David Lewis (GRS’12) and Christine Hoff Kraemer (GRS’08), and remains an enthusiastic consumer—and critic—of the ongoing Marvel Comics movie franchises. True to form, he prefers the human struggle of Iron Man to the glamorous deities of The Avengers.
“I’m never going to be Thor,” admits Tripp, referring to the superhuman strength and powers over nature possessed by Marvel’s thunder god character. “But some days, I can be Iron Man.”