Brookline, MA – Peter Berger, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Sociology and Theology, died on June 27, 2017, at the age of 88. He was Professor Emeritus of Religion, Sociology and Theology in the CAS Religion Department, and was the founding Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA). At the School of Theology (STH), he most recently worked with the Center for Practical Theology in a series of conversations and he collaborated in the annual Peter Berger Lecture, co-sponsored by CURA and STH. Peter’s founding of CURA was a major gift to Boston University, and it continues to thrive as part of the Pardee School of Global Studies, with which STH continues to partner.
STH Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore reflects that Peter’s legacy “runs deep and wide in multiple fields, especially the sociology of religion, sociology of knowledge, and theology. His work has been ground-breaking for a vast range of people wrestling with thorny questions of human culture, religion, secularity, and meaning. His written legacy will go on, but his large personal presence will be missed by everyone who knew him.”
Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies Dean Adil Najam also shares that Peter “was amongst the most notable intellectuals of our age and his book The Social Construction of Reality is considered a classic. The founding and nurturing of CURA – now a part of the Pardee School family – is only one of his many outstanding contributions to Boston University.”
Nancy Ammerman, Professor of Sociology of Religion in the Sociology Department of the College of Arts and Sciences and in STH, offers that “Anyone who knew Peter not only knew his amazing intellect, but also his addiction to humor. He always had a new joke to share and frequently punctuated his theoretical excurses with a vivid story. But even more than humor, Peter was shaped by faith, the kind of faith that is built on skepticism, not certainty. Over the years he wrote almost as much about theological questions as about sociological ones, but his theological work was always deeply informed by his humanistic sociological sensibility. It’s a rare combination, but one I have valued and learned from.”
Please click here for additional information on Peter Berger’s life and work, courtesy of the Pardee School of Global Studies.
Click here to view the feature published by BU Today on Friday, June 30, 2017.
On Saturday, June 24, 2017, Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore sent the following email message to the STH Community:
With overwhelming sadness, I share the news of Dale Andrews’ death last night. Emilie Townes shared the note below on Facebook, and you will see that the family has requested for all communication to go through Emilie so they will not be deluged with communications. As most of you know, Dale was Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology at BU School of Theology from 2005-2010. He was beloved by colleagues and students alike, and he helped to shape the school as it is. He loved his family and students and colleagues far and wide, and he was a model of a teaching scholar-pastor and pastoral scholar-teacher. Words fail in the face of such loss.
Emilie Townes’ post regarding the passing of Dr. Dale P. Andrews:
“One and all,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to let you know that Dale P. Andrews, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and Distinguished Professor of Homiletics, Social Justice, and Practical Theology died last night, surrounded by his family, as was his deep wish.
Service arrangements are yet to be determined, but Barbara will pass along this information to me as soon as it becomes available so that I can let you all know. She writes, “We want to celebrate the life and love of a great man, father, husband, colleague, mentor, and friend.”
As requested before, please send your notes and cards to the Dean’s Office addressed to
Professor Dale P. Andrews
Vanderbilt Divinity School
411 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37240
We will be sure that Barbara and the kids receive them as soon as possible once we receive them. Please give Barbara some time before trying to call, email, or text as she has time to mourn and celebrate Dale’s life and also prepare for the future.
A great light has dimmed,”
Also, FYI, I am sharing a video featuring Professor Andrews:
Let’s keep Professor Andrews’ family, colleagues, and friends in our thoughts and prayers.
With sadness and prayer,
Mary Elizabeth Moore
Dean and Professor of Theology and Education
Boston University School of Theology
Wheaton, IL – Dr. Dana L. Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission and Director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission at the School of Theology, was awarded the American Society of Missiology (ASM) 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the annual conference in Wheaton, IL. She attended her first ASM Conference in 1984 and has been a strong contributor and supporter of the Society ever since. She received the award, presented by Frances Adeney and Bonnie Sue Lewis, in front of an audience that included 21 of her former STH students. Dana has said that her real contribution to the field was her students, so it was exciting to have large a great number of them present for this event.
Congratulations, Dana, on another outstanding achievement!
Dr. Dana L. Robert receives the 2017 American Society of Missiology Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented by Frances Adeney and Bonnie Sue Lewis.
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BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY TO OFFER DUAL DEGREES WITH BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Boston, MA – June 15, 2017 – Boston University School of Theology is happy to announce the launch of two new dual degrees in partnership with the School of Education beginning this fall. Students pursuing the Master of Divinity (MDiv) or Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degrees will now be able to combine those degrees with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with as little as one extra semester added to their STH programs. Students must be admitted individually to both schools.
Both the three-year MDiv and the two-year MTS at the School of Theology engage students in a deep exploration of theological traditions in dialogue with broad understanding of the complexities of the global context. Students in the MTS have opportunities to prepare for a variety of contributions to communities, to faith, and to knowledge while the MDiv educates prophetic religious leaders in multiple roles for a variety of contexts such as pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, the academy, and other forms of global, community, and ministerial engagement.
The Master of Arts in Teaching degree program in the School of Education is designed for college graduates who want to continue their studies in an academic field, and at the same time secure initial licensure to teach at the secondary level. Currently, the School of Education offers MAT degrees in English Education, Mathematics Education, Modern Foreign Language Education, Science Education, and Social Studies Education. While the MAT program requires students to possess an undergraduate degree, or equivalent amount of coursework, in the intended area of study, the program does not presume students have completed coursework in education. The MAT program leads to licensure as a middle or high school teacher in all states and in the District of Columbia through reciprocal licensure agreements. (Individual states may have other requirements).
Both the School of Education and the School of Theology have a long and distinguished history of offering dual degrees within Boston University. In addition to its joint program with the School of Music leading to the Master of Sacred Music (MSM) degree (the dual MDiv/MSM is also available), the School of Theology has for over 30 years offered dual degrees with the School of Social Work that provide holistic, integrated, and contextual training for those going into various forms of social ministry, advocacy work, or faith-based clinical and macro social work practice.
According to STH Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Bryan Stone, “Opportunities abound for religious educators in both secular and religious contexts, not only for the teaching of a particular religion, but for teaching any number of other subjects in religious or faith-based institutions. STH faculty believe the combination of expertise in theology and religion with the various academic fields for which the MAT prepares persons will uniquely position graduates from the dual degree as interdisciplinary leaders and educators with broad intellectual horizons and pedagogical depth.”
For more information on the new theology/education dual degrees, please contact the STH Admissions office at email@example.com.
Since 1839, Boston University School of Theology has been preparing leaders to do good. A seminary of the United Methodist Church, Boston University School of Theology is a robustly ecumenical institution that welcomes students from diverse faith traditions who are pursuing a wide range of vocations – parish ministry, conflict transformation, chaplaincy, campus ministry, administration, non-profit management, social work, teaching, justice advocacy, peacemaking, interfaith dialogue, and more. Our world-renowned faculty and strong heritage help students nurture their academic goals and realize any ministry imaginable. For more information, please visit bu.edu/sth.
Associate Dean Bryan Stone and several other faculty members have contributed their creativity and energy to grant proposals over the past few months, and the result of their efforts has paid dividends. Many thanks for these collaborative efforts that will lead the STH community to continue their innovative strides.
Dr. Jesudas Athyal, a visiting researcher at the School of Theology’s Center for Global Christianity and Mission, will be co-convener of the Hindu-Christian Dialogue of the National Council of Churches. He has been at the Center for Global Christianity and Mission for the past seven years, and he has extensive teaching and research experience in the areas of philosophy, theology, religion and social analysis. He is the author of An Adventure in Faith: The Story of Dr. A. K. Tharien (Tiruvalla, India, 2004), and co-author of Understanding World Christianity – India (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016).
“Dr. Jesudas Athyal is an outstanding choice to lead the Hindu-Christian dialogue of the National Council of Churches,” said Dr. Dana Robert, Director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission. “He has made major contributions to the history of religions in South Asia, and to the history and sociology of Christianity in India. His presence at the Center for Global Christianity and Mission enriches the intercultural and interreligious understanding of faculty and students at the School of Theology.”
Please see below for the full press release, available on www.nationalcouncilofchurches.us.
National Council of Churches Announces Two New Dialogues
The National Council of Churches USA and The Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out are pleased to announce their intention to explore the formation of a new Buddhist-Christian Dialogue and a new Hindu-Christian Dialogue. These dialogues, both national in scope, will be concentrated primarily on the west coast.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC’s 38 member communions — from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches — include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact: Steven D. Martin: 202.412.4323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
School of Theology Professor of philosophy, theology, and ethics, Wesley Wildman, has adopted computer simulation to help him tackle previously unanswerable questions in the field of religion. The answers he and his research students seek might help explain potential benefits from religion, such as better mental health, to its evils, such as violence in the name of God.
View the full story on BU Today at http://www.bu.edu/today/2017/what-computer-modeling-can-tell-us-about-religion
Concern for Covenant and Courage: Sharing from my heart
Dear Beloved Community,
How can a church body give public witness again and again to the “illegality” of LGBTQ persons? People can disagree in their perspectives on homosexuality and gender identity without focusing the church’s energies on upholding one view of biblical interpretation and holiness, and doing so in ways that violate human lives and silently feed violence in the larger society. That is what a covenantal community is: a community held by God, seeking to love one another in all of our differences and seeking to love the world together.
No one is beloved if all are not beloved. Love cannot be stingy! The witness of the Christian Church, and the witness of any religious tradition, cannot be less than full love for every person and every being in God’s creation. Why then can the United Methodist Church (my beloved church!) persist in naming one group of people as violators of church law, thus shaping social attitudes that can quickly turn against people in the LGBTQ community, and against immigrants, persons of color, and any other community who have been subject to generations of discrimination?
The United Methodist Judicial Council ruling of April 28, 2017, can be debated legally and the consequences are still in the hands of due process. The Judicial Council’s decision was to declare the consecration of Bishop Karen Oliveto against Church law, though Bishop Oliveto remains in good standing in the United Methodist Church until such time that due process might conclude otherwise. This is more than a legal decision, however. It is a symbolic public witness. Such witness places judgment in the limelight, rather than commitment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31a). Ironically, the decision is made as the UMC Commission on a Way Forward seeks a path of unity that can embrace all people, while also recognizing that people hold conflicting and sincerely-held perspectives.
In the aftershock of this ruling, I think of our BU School of Theology community. As a people, we are diverse in every way, including gender identity and sexual orientation, faith tradition, race, country of origin, abilities, social class, immigration status, and theological and social perspectives. What does it mean to be in covenant with such a community – to love and live well with all? Similarly, what does it mean for United Methodist to be in covenant with a large, global denomination? One thing it does not and cannot mean is that everyone in the community looks and thinks alike, that the community is bound by agreement. In Christian perspective, covenant is a gift of God, and it binds all people and creatures to God and one another.
Bishop Oliveto understands this herself. She wrote on Facebook after the decision was rendered: “There is much more to say but for now remember these words from Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Let our love for each other (which is a good and holy thing) and the love of God (which never fails us) be our guide in these days. May we all have courage to live in such a Spirit-led, covenantal way!
With deep compassion for all of you,
Mary Elizabeth Moore
 See http://www.umc.org/decisions/71953 for a digest of the Judicial Council decision. Key elements include: “Paragraph 304.3 prohibits the consecration as bishop of a self-avowed practicing homosexual … Under the long-standing principle of legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore, or negate Church law. It is not lawful for the college of bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop. Paragraph 310.2(d) requires that all clergy persons make a complete dedication to the highest ideals of the Christian life, including but not limited to, their commitment to abide by and uphold the Church’s definition of marriage and stance on homosexuality. An openly homosexual and partnered bishop is in violation of these minimum standards.”
 Quoted with permission.
Congratulations to Brenda Lifland Buckwell (STH’98), who recently published a book titled, The Advent of God’s Word: Listening for the Power of the Divine Whisper, Skylights Path Publisher.
Brenda is the founder of Living Streams Flowing Water (2016) online and onsite spiritual formation ministry provides spiritual direction, coaching, educator, consultation with leadership teams for integration of spiritual formation as foundation of ministry and retreat leadership. www.livingstreamsflowingwater.com
Boston University School of Theology alumna Jennifer Quigley (STH ’11) has been named one of 21 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellows for 2017 at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
The Newcombe Fellowship is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for doctoral candidates in the humanities and social sciences, addressing questions of ethical and religious values. Each Fellow receives a 12-month award of $25,000 to support their final year of dissertation work.
Jennifer is completing her ThD dissertation titled Divine Accounting: Theo-economic Rhetoric in the Letter the Philippians, at the Harvard Divinity School. Congratulations, Jennifer! Please view the full press release from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation below.
PRINCETON, NJ (Tuesday, May 2, 2017)–Today, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has announced awards to 21 exceptional scholars who make up this year’s class of Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellows.
The Newcombe Fellowship is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values. The highly selective program provides each Fellow with a 12-month award of $25,000 to support the final year of dissertation work.
The 2017 Fellows are writing on such topics as literary representations of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, from 1650 to 1865; the definition of sin as a violation of divine law; how religion has shaped institutional structures and experiences of mass incarceration in the United States; and blasphemy as a legal category in early and medieval Islamic history. (See the full list of Fellows below.)
Fellows are completing their research at some of the nation’s top institutions. They are working toward the Ph.D. at Brown University, the University of Chicago, Duke University, Harvard University, the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Funded by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the Fellowship was created in 1981 and has supported just over 1,200 doctoral candidates, most of them now noted faculty and thought leaders in their fields. The Fellowships are designed to encourage original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences.
For more information on the Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, please visit http://woodrow.org/fellowships/newcombe/.
About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.
Daniel Cochran • University of Wisconsin – Madison, art history
Building the Body of Christ: Art, Architecture, and the Formation of Early Christian Identities
Zebulon Dingley • University of Chicago, anthropology
Kinship, Capital, and the Occult on the South Coast of Kenya
Samuel Gavin • University of Pittsburgh, philosophy
Constitutivism and Natural Normativity in Ethics
Ean High • Northwestern University, English
Quakerism, Silence, and the Religious Body in American Literature, 1650–1865
Randeep Hothi • University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, Asian languages & cultures
Sikhism Will Be Televised: Recognition and Religion-Making At Diasporic-Sikh Television Networks
Craig Iffland • University of Notre Dame, theology
Following and Not-Following the Divine Law
Sarah Islam • Princeton University, Near Eastern studies
Blasphemy as a Legal Category in Early and Medieval Islamic History
Gustavo Maya • Princeton University, religion
Resisting Exploitation: The Farmworker Struggle for Justice and the Ethics of Means
Alexander McKinley • Duke University, graduate program in religion
Mountain at a Center of the World
Kalonji Nzinga • Northwestern University, learning sciences
The Social Conscience of Rap: Moral Socialization Within Hip-Hop Culture
Cyrus O’Brien • University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, anthropology and history
Faith in Imprisonment: Religion and the Development of Mass Incarceration in Florida
Daniel Platt • Brown University, American studies
Race, Risk, and Financial Capitalism in the United States, 1870–1940
Jennifer Quigley • Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School
Divine Accounting: Theo-economic Rhetoric in the Letter to the Philippians
Hannah Scheidt • Northwestern University, religious studies
Practicing Atheism: Culture, Media, and Ritual in the Contemporary Atheist Network
Brian Smithson • Duke University, cultural anthropology
Piety in Production: Moviemaking as Improvised Religious Practice in Benin
Debby Sneed • University of California—Los Angeles, archaeology
The Life Cycle of Disability in Ancient Greece
Emiko Stock • Cornell University, anthropology
Touching History: An Anthropology With Images | Cham | Sayyids | Cambodia | Iran
Elizabeth Thelen • University of California—Berkeley, history
Intersected Communities: Urban Histories of Rajasthan, c. 1500 – 1800
Sabine Tsuruda • University of California—Los Angeles, philosophy
Moral Agency and the Workplace
Daisy Vargas • University of California—Riverside, history
Mexican Religion on Trial: Race, Religion and the Law in the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands
Arthur Zárate • Columbia University, history
Disciplining the Soul: Materialities of Belief and Moral Technologies of Self on the Eve of Islamic Revival in Egypt, 1947–1967