I pray that this issue of Theo Spirit finds you well in every way and that you are already enjoying a good 2014. I am writing to let you know of some of the exciting developments in the Theological School.
We welcome Dr. Gerald Liu to our faculty this spring semester. Dr. Liu is our Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Worship Arts and will teach the basic preaching course as well as upper level courses. Dr. Liu received his PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2013 and the title of his dissertation was Musics and the Generosity of God. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology in 2004 and is an ordained Elder in the Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has served parishes both in the United States and in Great Britain. His interests in preaching and the arts will enrich our community in multiple ways and I hope that you will find ways to greet him when you are on campus.
This fall I had the opportunity to travel to Seoul, South Korea to visit churches, universities and alums. The Theological School receives not only wonderful students from Korea; we also have received financial support in the form of scholarships for students. I had the opportunity to go to several places that trace their roots to Drew alum, Henry Appenzeller. Rev. Appenzeller graduated from Drew and immediately went to Korea arriving on Easter Sunday, April 5. 1885. Known as the “Prophet of Love,” Appenzeller was the kind of missionary who related to the peoples of Korea with respect, admiration and collegiality. He founded schools, churches, and helped to translate the Bible into Korean. I was rightfully proud to hear about him over and over again in the time I was in Korea and to see his picture and multiple statues erected in his honor. In 2015 the 130th anniversary of his arrival in Korea will be celebrated. Watch for announcements about the ways that we will be honoring this Drew Theological alum. We hope you will join us for the celebration!
This spring we will be welcoming several groups to campus including the North East Jurisdictional Board of Ordained Ministry. This body, made up of the chairs of annual conference Boards of Ordained Ministry in the jurisdiction, will be on campus in early April. I serve as chair of the NEJ BOOM and have as one of my goals fostering of the ongoing dialog between the seminaries in the jurisdiction, namely, Boston University School of Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Drew Theological School.
There is a search for the new President of the University in progress. It is expected that the Board of Trustees will approve a candidate for this position at its February 2014 meeting and that the new President will take office in July 2014. Likewise, a search for the new Dean of the Theological School is underway. We expect that the name of the successful candidate will be presented to the Board of Trustees for its approval at its May 2014 meeting. I hope you join me in praying for the successful outcome of both of these searches.
The enrollments in the Theological School are strong and the spirit in the community is good. We have much to be grateful for! I hope you will come back to campus this spring as you can. You will hear more about our special lectures as the semester goes on and you are always welcome to join us for these special events. Chapel is held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday starting at 11:20. On Thursday, February 6 Dr. Kenneth Ngwa, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible will give the Matriculation address. This special gathering is the time when all new students’ names are read and they are invited forward in Craig Chapel to sign the historic book. If you have never signed this book, let us know and we will arrange for you to join alums going back to the 1800’s and “sign in” the book.
Think of us as your home away from home! We are here to help you across the years and always glad to see you.
Virginia A. Samuel
Dean, Drew Theological School