Dear Alumni and Friends,
At this rich moment in the history of Drew Theological School, I am honored to be asked by President Vivian Bull to serve as dean for this interim period after the departure of Dr. Jeffrey Kuan for the Presidency of Claremont School of Theology, one of our sister United Methodist Seminaries. We were sorry to see Dean Kuan leave us and wish him well in his new leadership position at Claremont. The Theological School at Drew continues to exemplify excellence in every way, offering degree programs that prepare persons for outstanding service in the church, academy and world.
A national search for a new Dean of the Theological School will begin as soon as possible. President Bull is also serving in her office for the interim period until a new President is named in the spring of 2014. Meanwhile, I am honored to serve during this “in between” time and look forward to being able to meet with alums in my capacity as Dean.
I also look forward to welcoming you back home to the Theological School during the Tipple-Vosburgh lectures and any time you are near campus. You are always welcome here!
This year’s Tipple-Vosburgh lecture series is focused on exploring the needs of youth and young adults today from developmental and theological perspectives. It is based on the assumption that this population – as all others before it – need the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. The lectures, worship experiences and workshops are designed to address the practical and theoretical concerns and issues embedded in the challenges the church faces in its ministry to and with young people today.
A few years ago I had the privilege of serving as the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs at Drew University. While in this position for two years my firm conviction that youth and young adults need the support and guidance of the religious communities around them was reinforced on a daily basis. The complexities of life today as it relates to youth and young adults, society’s increased dependence on technology and its impact on the development and maintenance of relational skills, and the recent research on increased rates of depression among youth all warrant the Church’s attention and response. Any adult who has a relationship with a young person today will realize that the questions he or she faces and wrestles with are different from questions past generations faced. Issues that troubled and galvanized prior generations are often seen as “no-brainers” in younger generations today and generational differences are easily apparent. For many youth and young adults church is the last place they would turn to for help or direction.
This Tipple-Vosburgh series has been developed with the help of the Theological School Alumni Board and will offer biblical, theological and practical resources for helping the church BE the church and be transformed through ministry with, conversations with, and journeys taken with youth and young adults in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you will join me for this timely and exciting series.
Blessings in Christ,
Dr. Virginia A. Samuel
Dean, Drew Theological School