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.
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.
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.
Reverend David Farley (STH ’78) has ministered for more than 30 years as pastor of Echo Park United Methodist Church in the urban core of Los Angeles. Pastor Farley & Echo Park UMC were involved in both the original Sanctuary Movement for Central American Refugees in the 80s and the New Sanctuary Movement for undocumented families in more recent years. In 2012 David was one of those recognized as a “Giant of Justice” by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-LA) in recognition of his contribution to the interfaith struggle for the rights of workers and immigrants. David was named School of Theology Distinguished Alumnus in 2013.
Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey (STH ’76) first felt a calling to the ordained ministry while a student at Boston University School of Theology. Ordained Deacon in 1974 and Elder in 1977, she served churches in the Iowa Annual Conference. She was elected to the episcopacy in 2004 at which time she began serving as the Bishop of the Dakotas Area Annual Conference. In July of 2012 she was assigned to the Michigan Area. She has received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from both Iowa Wesleyan College (in 2004) and Dakota Wesleyan University (in 2012). She was named School of Theology Distinguished Alumna in 2013.
The Rev. Dr. K. James Wu (STH ’99 (M.Div.), STH ’08 (Th.D.)) is an ordained deacon in full connection with the Conference of Methodist Church in Taiwan. Dr. Wu has been appointed to serve as Research Fellow at the Center for Global Christianity and Mission of BUSTH. In 2009, Dr. Wu was called to serve as Assistant Professor of Christian Theology at the Methodist Graduate School of Theology, Taipei, Taiwan and is now serving as Dean of Academic Affairs of the school. Appointed by the Conference of the Methodist Church in Taiwan, Dr. Wu also serves as a committee member of the Liturgical Committee and Theology Committee in the World Federation Chinese Methodist Churches, a global Wesleyan body affiliated with the World Methodist Council.
Reverend Dr. Yo Han Bae (STH 2007) graduated from Boston University with a Th.D. and has been teaching at Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary since 2008. Prof. Bae’s primary research interest is the comparative study between Christian Theology and East-Asian religious traditions (Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism). He is also interested in seeking the solid and evangelical Christian theology by encountering post-modern trends and East-Asian religious traditions. His book, “Understanding Confucianism with the View of an Christian Theologian (Sinhakjaga pureosseun Yugo Iyagi),” is the first book which is one of the books in the series, “Understanding of East-Asian religious tradition with the View of an Christian Theologian (Sinhakjaga pureosseun Dongyang jonggyo Iyagi),” and received the Somang Prize in 2012. His next book will be published September 2013. He still misses Boston and remains a Boston Red sox fan along with his two sons.
Soo-Young Kwon (STH ’95) is Professor of Pastoral Theology at United Graduate School of Theology, Yonsei University, Korea. Dr. Kwon is also director of Yonsei University Center for Counseling and Coaching Services. He initiated the very first academic training program of Coaching (Clergy/Pastoral Coaching, Business Executive Coaching, and Study/Life Coaching programs) in Korea in 2007. The Center has over 400 counselors/coaches-in-training and has offered approximately 15,000 sessions annually. Dr. Kwon was a recipient of the Best Researcher Award in Humanities (2007) and Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching three times at Yonsei University. He is the author of more than 10 books on Pastoral Theology and Counseling, Spirituality and Coaching. Kwon holds a BA in Theology from Yonsei University, an M.Div. from Boston University, and Th.M. from Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. in Religion & Psychology from GTU, Berkeley.