The Fund for Drew

Dear Alumnus: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.” I believe baseball’s accidental philosopher, Yogi Berra, was on to something when he said this. All of us who have been fortunate enough to study at Drew Theological School can recognize the deep truth in this Yogi-ism.  The world, as we know only too well, is an imperfect, fallen place.  There is a gulf – a gulf sometimes seemingly impossible to bridge – between the way things ought to be and the way things are.  The relationship between vision and reality, between theology and application, between theory and praxis, is an uneasy one. And yet both theory and practice are necessary, especially for those of us called to ministry as pastors, chaplains, teachers, and leaders.  We know from hard experience that we cannot separate them or approach them in isolation.  Otherwise, we fall victim to one of two powerful temptations: to try and force all things to conform to our “perfect” theories, or to give up all hope of making the world a more just and peaceful place. It is only by understanding the original beauty, goodness, and wisdom of God’s creation that we […]

Greetings from Dean Jeffrey Kuan

Drew Theological School Needs You. To be more precise, theological education needs you. As I’m sure you know, theological education has increasingly come under attack during the past several years. Many of the “mega-churches,” for instance, are now training their own clergy, convinced that this apprentice style of learning is superior to the pedagogical approach found in most divinity schools and seminaries. There is, of course, nothing wrong with providing future pastors and ministers with experiences in real-world church contexts. Indeed, it is necessary. And Drew Theological School has long prided itself on the many opportunities it offers students to develop the wide-ranging, practical pastoral skills needed to serve congregations and communities. We thus remain committed to not just sustaining but enhancing and expanding our already-innovative supervised ministry and pastoral internship programs as well as – for all alumni/ae like you – our lifelong learning initiatives. Yet, as you also know and have no doubt experienced, the curriculum of theological formation found at Drew is also essential to leading a community. The ability to navigate and communicate complex theological, moral, and spiritual concepts – an ability acquired through conversations with faculty and fellow students in classes on systematic theology, church […]

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United Methodist Annual Conferences

Annually, Drew Theological School and the Office of Theological School Advancement coordinate gatherings at many of the United Methodist annual conferences that take place throughout May and June. These gatherings, small or large, provide alumni a great opportunity to get together, reconnect, and learn about the latest news from Drew. It is also a wonderful opportunity for prospective students who may be interested in starting their theological education to share in the good community that is Drew Theological School.   The Annual Conference gatherings couldn’t happen without the help of our many alumni volunteers. We are thankful for their continued support and dedication. If you would like to volunteer at an Annual Conference this year, please contact Melissa Fuest at 973.408.3695. Click here for the schedule of Drew gatherings at the 2012 Annual Conferences. Keep checking this page for updates on the gatherings, or call the Office of Theological School Advancement at 973.408.3695.

Holy Land Trip

Jerusalem Institute for Biblical Exploration Archaeological/Historical Visit to the Holy Land May 22 – June 2   Professors Herbert Huffmon and Carl Savage invite you to join us in a 12-day visit/study course under the auspices of the Jerusalem Institute for Biblical Exploration.  We will visiting archaeological and historical sites in Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank. The inclusive cost, apart from lunches, will be ca. $3,600 (double occupancy).  We are actively negotiating for the best airfares. Academic credit is available by transfer from the Jerusalem Institute. Both Dr. Huffmon and Dr. Savage have led previous trips to the Holy Land, and we are joining together for the first Drew trip to the Holy Land of the last several years.  Dr. Huffmon has excavated at various sites in Jordan and the West Bank, including Peetra; Dr. Savage has excavated at various sites in Galilee, especially Bethsaida, and in the Qumran area.  We are eager to share our experience of the sites and the land with you. Prompt response, if interested, is essential, as the list will be closed about the end of February. For the details of the itinerary, concentrating on the Jerusalem area and the Galilee, while including Qumran, […]

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New Faculty

Dr. Elias Ortega-Aponte is an Afro-Latino scholar from Puerto Rico whose areas of expertise are critical race theory, critical theory, cultural sociology, Latino/a cultural studies, Africana studies, and religious ethics. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Social Ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary. His primary concern is with the theorization of how the intersection of race and political actions leads to acts of resistance among Afro-diasporic communities. Dr. Ortega-Aponte approaches teaching from a transdisciplinary perspective that is committed to social justice. His research interests includes prison and economic justice, social mobilization, and issues broadly affecting Black and Latino/a communities. Dr. Kate M. Ott is Assistant Professor of Christian Social Ethics. She holds a doctorate from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Her academic and activist work place children and youth at the center of inquiry using a feminist and critical social ethics lens. Dr. Ott is co-editor of the recently published Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation. Her essay “Searching for an Ethic: Sexuality, Children, and Moral Agency” is in New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views. She teaches the Christian Ethics core course along with seminars in medical and healthcare ethics, feminist ethics, and children, youth, and young adult […]

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Daniel Flores & Mayra Rivera Share Their Stories

Daniel Flores, Co-pastor of La Trinidad UMC-Fort Worth (Ph.D. 2004) In 1999, I received the MPhil in Theological and Religious Studies from Drew’s Graduate School. Since I was writing my dissertation on early American Methodism, I needed to travel to repositories in distant places. The Edwards-Mercer Prize enabled me to visit the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England.  While searching for correspondence from English Methodist Jabez Bunting, I discovered original documents written by John Wesley, apparently torn from his journal. These holographic entries were misfiled in a box of letters for almost one hundred years. Curiously, they were not included in the Jackson and Bicentennial editions of Wesley’s Works. My wife Thelma, also a Drew alumnus, helped me transcribe the journal entries, which were published in Methodist History July 2000. I later received my PhD in 2004. Subsequently, I was invited to apply for the position of director of studies at the Charles Wesley Heritage Centre (CWHC) in Bristol, England. Scott Kisker, another Drew alumnus, and his wife were leaving the post to have their second baby. During my eighteen- month tenure at the CWHC, Thelma provided hospitality at Charles Wesley’s house while I guided several ex-patriot researchers through the […]

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TSA Update

by Lauren Godwyn This fall the Theological Student Association welcomed two new caucuses to our community: SPECTRUM provides support for LGBTQQIA students while encouraging and challenging the school to be open and welcoming of all people, and MA focuses on the needs of students in the Masters of Art program.  How blessed and enriched our community will continue to be with the additions of these caucuses.  Also this fall, the Theological Student Association partnered with the Korean Caucus to provide a community meal, one of many ways the TSA creates opportunities for community while exercising good stewardship with the money we receive from student fees. The TSA will continue to partner with different caucus groups in the Spring 2012 semester. We anticipate some of the following activities:  sponsoring a TSA chapel service in February, offering a spirituality forum, and holding town hall meetings to address the needs and concerns of students.  One concern we hope to address is the way hospitality is extended to those who travel from far distances to attend Drew, especially international students.  The TSA experienced much growth in fall 2011, and we are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for ministry with our community in […]

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Prisons and P.R.E.P. Unite University

In summer of 2007, when Deans Beach and Yardley decided to take a chance on piloting the Partnership for Religion and Education in Prisons (PREP) concept as presented by recent graduate Margaret Atkins (T ‘07), they had no idea what they were setting in motion.  More than four years later, the thriving PREP program has trained 20 faculty/staff  (5 from other schools), reached over one hundred students at Drew, and seventy students in two NJ correctional facilities in its eighth semester of facilitating theological courses in a combined learning community inside prison walls.  Recently one student commented, “PREP is one of the best programs we have here at the Theo School.” What the deans didn’t know is that they were giving life to much more than a program at the Theological School.  Dr. Kesha Moore, assistant professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts, had been running a Drew chapter of the national Inside-Out program and bringing her Drew classes into the prisons when she and Margeret Atkins joined forces. Thanks to their partnership, PREP would become one of the crucial factors in uniting and inspiring Drew University to undertake the administration of the College Bound Consortium (CBC) degree […]

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Rev. Dr. Ernest Shaw Lyght

December 31, 2011, marked the official retirement of the Rev. Dr. Ernest Shaw Lyght, a graduate of Drew Theological School’s class of 1968, as a bishop of the United Methodist Church.  Growing up in a Methodist parsonage, Bishop Lyght has dedicated his life to the church and serves as a shining example for all alumni and students. Through his deep knowledge of the faith, understanding of the world, and enduring commitment to theological education, he has brought great distinction to Drew University for nearly five decades. We are honored to have this opportunity to recognize his years of service to the United Methodist Church, to the larger community, to general church agencies and boards, and to his alma mater. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in history from Morgan State University, he came to Drew for his Master of Divinity degree. He later went on to Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees. Ordained deacon and elder by the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, Bishop Lyght served four pastoral appointments, including ten years of pastoral ministry at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Montclair, NJ, followed by seven years as a district superintendent. He was elected […]

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Greetings from the Dean

It’s the start of the spring semester here at Drew Theological School. As I celebrate my first year as Dean, I am grateful to be a part of this welcoming community, in which students, faculty, staff, and alumni incarnate what it means to be Christian leaders, pastors, teacher-scholars, and servants to the community at home and across the globe. We at Drew are preparing our students to develop a robust understanding of how Christians ought to live in a world that is no longer a cosmos of largely independent and unconnected societies, but has progressively become a single global village. To this end of ensuring both the global relevance and local impact of theological education, we have taken several decisive steps to enhance our already-distinctive and highly-regarded programs of pastoral formation and academic study, to launch new initiatives such as the Communities of Shalom, the Partnership for Religion and Education in Prisons, and the Center for Christianities in Global Contexts, and to create a truly multicultural M.Div. curriculum that will provide a model for other seminaries. Also in this connection, I am pleased to launch the inaugural electronic issue of our newsletter, The Theo Spirit. As the host of the […]

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