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Class Notes: 1940's, 1950's & 1960's
Dr. Bernard T. Lomas (BD), 1948
Dr. Bernard T. Lomas (BD) passed December 24, 2020 at the age of 96. As a clergyman, he served several churches in Ohio and became Senior Minister of Epworth Euclid Church in Cleveland, a showcase cathedral and one of the largest churches in the Methodist denomination. He was very active in the Cleveland community chairing an assembly of Fortune 1000 CEO's to improve the city's quality of life. He also converted a 5 star hotel into a one-of-a-kind senior living residence. In a time of strong anti-government and anti-establishment sentiment, he founded the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service to foster positive political participation. In that same period, he established The Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management to attract, train, and equip students for successful careers in business. He was then Counselor to the President of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., where an endowed fellowship remains in the Lomas name at the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. While at Heritage, he met with, offered ideas, and authored writings for three sitting U.S. Presidents. Posted 1.6.21
Dr. James A. Sanders (BA, BD'51), 1948
Dr. James A. Sanders (BA, BD'51) is a distinguished leader in New Testament scholarship, and has helped shape a more expansive biblical worldview for several generations of seminarians and the mission and work of ecclesial bodies. He is a living testimony to the vibrancy of biblical studies and to its relevance for contemporary issues on matters such as gender/sexuality, Jewish-Christian relations, and global Bible studies. Dr. Sanders was professor of intertestamental and biblical studies at the Claremont School of Theology (CST) from 1977 to 1997, while concurrently professor of religion at the Claremont Graduate School. Prior to going to Claremont Sanders was professor of Old Testament first at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester NY (1954-65) and then at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University in New York City (1965-77). He has overseen the publication of The Dead Sea Scrolls Catalogue and Index used by scholars around the world, and with West Semitic Research at the University of Southern California has published a diplomatic edition of films of Leningradensis (Eerdmans, 1998), the oldest complete Hebrew Bible in the world taken by the Center's photographers in Leningrad/St Petersburg in 1990. Posted 10.13.2020
Dr. James A. Sanders (BA'48, BD), 1951
Dr. James A. Sanders (BA'48, BD) is a distinguished leader in New Testament scholarship, and has helped shape a more expansive biblical worldview for several generations of seminarians and the mission and work of ecclesial bodies. He is a living testimony to the vibrancy of biblical studies and to its relevance for contemporary issues on matters such as gender/sexuality, Jewish-Christian relations, and global Bible studies. Dr. Sanders was professor of intertestamental and biblical studies at the Claremont School of Theology (CST) from 1977 to 1997, while concurrently professor of religion at the Claremont Graduate School. Prior to going to Claremont Sanders was professor of Old Testament first at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester NY (1954-65) and then at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University in New York City (1965-77). He has overseen the publication of The Dead Sea Scrolls Catalogue and Index used by scholars around the world, and with West Semitic Research at the University of Southern California has published a diplomatic edition of films of Leningradensis (Eerdmans, 1998), the oldest complete Hebrew Bible in the world taken by the Center's photographers in Leningrad/St Petersburg in 1990. Posted 10.13.2020
Bishop Joseph A. Johnson Jr., (BDiv, PhD'58), 1954
Bishop Joseph A. Johnson Jr., (BDiv, PhD'58) became the first African American to be admitted to Vanderbilt University in 1953. He went on to become the first African American to graduate, receiving the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1954, and the first to receive the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1958. In 1971, he was elected to the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and two years later preached at the Divinity School's Cole Lectures. Learn more about Bishop Johnson and the Bishop Joseph Johnson History Project. http://bishopjosephjohnson.org/ Posted 10.13.2020
Dr. Chris E. Hauer Jr. (BD) 89, 1955
Dr. Chris E. Hauer Jr. (BD) 89, died February 27. On June 15, 1955, Chris and Lena Elizabeth ("Liz") Buchanan were united in marriage. Chris was a prolific author. He was published on topics as wide ranging as music, philosophy and theology, theory of liberal education, and modern history, but his scholarly research concentrated on Biblical history, Jewish studies, and archeology. He co-authored An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds with his colleague, Dr. William Young. One of Chris' most satisfying avocations was research regarding the architecture of Sir Chistopher Wren, which he and Dr. Young parlayed into a book on the history of a Wren church that was transported from London and reconstructed in Fulton in the late 1960s (A Comprehensive History of the London Church and Parish of St. Mary, the Virgin, Aldermanbury). Chris was elected as a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London) and was also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Winston Churchill Memorial. Chris and Liz returned to Huntsville upon their retirement from Westminster in 1996. Posted 10.13.2020
Bishop Joseph A. Johnson Jr., (BDiv'54, PhD), 1958
Bishop Joseph A. Johnson Jr., (BDiv'54, PhD) became the first African American to be admitted to Vanderbilt University in 1953. He went on to become the first African American to graduate, receiving the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1954, and the first to receive the Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1958. In 1971, he was elected to the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and two years later preached at the Divinity School's Cole Lectures. Learn more about Bishop Johnson and the Bishop Joseph Johnson History Project. http://bishopjosephjohnson.org/ Posted 10.13.2020
Reverend Lloyd H. Dunham (MDiv), 1959
Reverend Lloyd H. Dunham (MDiv), 89, passed Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. He served the Dutch Reformed Church in Schenectady, NY before switching to the United Church of Christ and serving at the First Congregational Church in Chappaqua, NY. He was the senior pastor for many years at Second Congregational Church in Greenfield, MA. Lloyd was drawn to Unitarian Universalism. He was most comfortable among UU's in Ormond Beach and attracted to a group who were founding a new UU Church in Daytona Beach and became charter a member. Lloyd was a pulpit guest in a number of UU and UCC congregations in Central Florida while often speaking at CUUC where he served that church as president for three years. Posted 1.5.21
Eugene Efird (MDiv) 1960
Rev. Ernest Eugene (Gene) Efird (MDiv '60) of Little Rock Arkansas, left his earthly life and returned to his creator on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at the age of 90.
Gene was born on December 17, 1932 to Ernest Miles and Jewel Hall Efird in Little Rock where he was raised along with his sister Jo Anne. He attended Little Rock Public Schools and graduated from Little Rock Senior High School in 1951 after serving in the Concert Choir, as a cheerleader, and being a member of the wrestling team.
Gene and his family were active members of Forest Park Methodist Church, now St. Paul United Methodist Church. Gene loved to spend time hiking around the area near his family’s Cantrell Road home, and spent many hours in contemplation among the trees in the hills and creek now known as the Kingwood neighborhood. At a young age he answered the call to ordained ministry.
He began his studies at Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas, while serving nearby churches. After graduating from Hendrix in 1955 where he had been a resident of the boarding house known as The Robin’s Nest; he spent a year in Oakland, California building cars for Chevrolet.
In the Fall of 1956, Gene began his Divinity studies at Vanderbilt School of Divinity in Nashville, Tennessee. That Fall, while walking to the Wesley Foundation, he met a young nursing student, Gwendolyn (Gwen) Lapham, from Islip, Long Island, New York. They quickly fell in love and married in Islip, in June of 1957. They honeymooned that Summer while working at Camp Winslow.
They then moved into the parsonage of Owen’s Chapel Methodist Church, outside of Nashville, where Gene served as the pastor for two years. They lived in Nashville during the school year of 1959-1960 while Gwen worked at the Vanderbilt Medical Center and Gene finished his studies. One of Gene’s classmates, Rev. James Lawson, had been recruited by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the students in the Nashville Student Movement and the Nashville Christian Leadership Council, in the Nashville area, where they began the Sit-ins in the Spring of ‘60. After the school expelled Lawson for “encouraging others to break the law”, Gene and other classmates took the non-violence training and joined the sit-ins, including a protest at the school’s administration building which was covered by national media.
After Gene and Gwen left Nashville in May of ‘60 Gene served the Methodist Church at Des Arc. Following a time at Pullman Heights Methodist Church, in Hot Springs, the family moved to Grady where Gene was both the pastor at the Methodist Church, and a Chaplin at Cummins Prison. Gene began to be concerned about the incarcerated men and worked to expand Spiritual services there. He saw a need for rehabilitative opportunities for these individuals and began connecting with people who could help make this a reality.
He started the Arkansas Release Guidance Foundation while serving the Tillar Charge and, in January of 1968, the family moved to Little Rock where Gene was able to open the New Life House. He continued this work until January of 1975 when he began serving Henderson United Methodist Church, in Little Rock. Following that appointment, Gene served the UMC church in Sardis, and subsequently the England-Keo charge, before beginning his last appointment, Capitol View UMC in Little Rock.
Additionally, Gene, for many years served as a part time Chaplin at VA Medical Center.
Gene was a consummate reader and consumer of information, especially on the topics of Theology and History. He had a vast library of beloved books. Gene and Gwen loved the outdoors and Gene was very talented in camping skills. Gene and Gwen took many trips together, including a 60th Anniversary trip back to all of their old places, and enjoyed their retirement at the family home in the Kingwood neighborhood, right next to the creek in which Gene had wandered as a young man. They were married for 65 years.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife, and his parents. He is survived by a daughter Wendy Lynne Efird, of Little Rock; a daughter Debra Sue Efird (Pete Cvietusa), of Denver, Colorado; a son David Gene Efird (Helen Baldridge), of Little Rock; his sister Jo Anne Efird, of Little Rock; and grandchildren Josie Lenora Efird, Lucas Adams Efird, Audrey Grace Cvietusa, and Miles Owen Cvietusa. He also leaves behind a sister-in-law, many nieces and nephews, and a lifetime of good friends!
A service celebrating his life will be held next month at his boyhood church, St. Paul United Methodist Church, in Little Rock.
His family misses him, but is so grateful for his life, well lived, and all of the people he touched! Posted 05.17.23
Lt. Col. Joseph C. Way (BD), 1960
Lt. Col. Joseph C. Way (BD), analyzes fundamental questions about God, Jesus, and humanity in his latest book, Getting Right with God. Read More:
The Reverend Joe H. Moore (BD), 1963
The Reverend Joe H. Moore (BD) of Dover, TN, died March 8 at his residence. He was born November 7, 1927 in Hustburg, TN, son of the late Putman and Ressie Arney Moore. Mr. Moore retired after working 40 years as a United Methodist minister. He was 92. Posted 10.13.2020
Reverend Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree (PhD), 1963
Reverend Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree (PhD) is a United Methodist clergyman and a distinguished scholar of theological ethics and Christian social ethics. His lived commitment to social justice stretches back more than five decades to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Ogletree's dedication to civil rights includes his participation as a Vanderbilt student in the Nashville sit-in movement to integrate lunch counters. He was a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee while working with James Lawson, John Lewis, Diane Nash and other social justice activists. Later, as a Vanderbilt professor, he supported school integration through his advisory board role with Concerned Citizens for Improved Schools. Ogletree taught as a theologian at Yale Divinity School before his retirement in 2009, and before that at Drew Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary. He served terms as dean at both Yale and Drew and is a past president of the Society of Christian Ethics. Posted 10.12.20
Dr. James L. Crenshaw (PhD), 1964
Dr. James L. Crenshaw (PhD) was born in Sunset, South Carolina. He majored in English at Furman University, graduating in 1956 with a bachelor of arts. Four years later, he received a bachelor of divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Crenshaw earned his doctorate in religion in 1964 and taught at Atlantic Christian College and Mercer University before returning to Vanderbilt in 1970. He taught on campus for 17 years before going to Duke University, where he became the Robert L. Flowers Distinguished Professor of Old Testament. Crenshaw has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Society of Religion in Higher Education and American Council of Learned Societies, among others. He was named a Pew Evangelical Scholar in 1996. After becoming an emeritus professor, Crenshaw moved back to Nashville, where he has taught in the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning at Vanderbilt. Posted 10.12.20
The Reverend Dr. Fred Craddock (PhD), 1964
The Reverend Dr. Fred Craddock (PhD) revolutionized the art of preaching. Learn more about Dr. Craddock. https://www.cnn.com/2011/11/27/us/craddock-profile/ Posted 10.12.20
Reverend Charles "Chuck" Davis (MDiv), 1965
Reverend Charles "Chuck" Davis (MDiv), 93, of Berlin, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. Chuck was formerly employed as the head of Social Services for the Town of Berlin and was well known as a Pastor in the Berlin area and as a State of CT Police Chaplin. (Posted 1.5.21)
Forrest Lammiman (MDiv) 1969
Forrest Lammiman (MDiv '69) is now almost retired after 39 years as a lawyer (Iowa, with High Distinction) prefaced by 5 years of teaching Religious Studies and Philosophy after obtaining his Ph.D. from Yale. He is blessed with 47 years of wonderful marriage to his beautiful wife, Barbara, and a beloved relationship to his daughter, Kirstin. They live in Chicago along the lake. Lammiman practiced business bankruptcy law and business litigation here and in Milwaukee for this almost one-half of a century. He was in many of the biggest Chapter 11 cases in the country for many years, and like the favored worker in Ecclesiastes, found joy in his labor under the law's sun.
Lammiman treasured his time and learning at VDS, which elevated his personal faith and intellectual background in many ways, with the help of wonderful mentors such as Lee Keck, Jim Laney and Walter Harrelson. Despite some health problems (to be expected as I near 80), I am a happy man and lucky to have been so blessed. Posted 05.17.23
Class Notes: 1970's
Larry Sharp (MDiv) 1970
Larry Sharp (MDiv '70) After practicing law in Dallas for 37 years, Larry has set up a small office at home and is happily semi-retired. Posted 05.17.23
Reverend James Lawson, 1971
Reverend James Lawson is an activist and university professor. He is a leading theoretician and tactician of nonviolence within the American Civil Rights Movement. During the 1960s, he served as a mentor to the Nashville Student Movement and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Read more: https://www.pbs.org/thisfarbyfaith/witnesses/james_lawson.html Posted 10.12.20
The Reverend Jerry L. McGlone, 1973
The Reverend Jerry L. McGlone, 71, died after a short illness April 8 with his wife by his side. He married Janet on May 29, 1971. Jerry went on to serve as the pastor of the First Christian Church in Shenandoah, Virginia and the First Christian Church in Narrows, Virginia. In the summer of 1984, Jerry became the pastor of Payne Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Tonawanda, New York, where he served until he retired on December 31, 2013. Jerry was well known for his skill in the pulpit. His sermons could make you laugh, cry, and soar. He was also a trusted counselor and ministered to many in their times of need. Posted 10.13.2020
Reverend Edward A. "Monk" Malloy, C.S.C., (PhD), 1975
Reverend Edward A. "Monk" Malloy, C.S.C., (PhD) was born in Washington, D.C. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Notre Dame in 1963 and 1967. He also received a second master's degree in theology in 1969 while studying for the priesthood. Malloy has been a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1974, and was ordained to the priesthood in the Sacred Heart Basilica on that campus in 1970. He earned a doctorate in Christian ethics from Vanderbilt in 1975. Father Malloy is president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame. In 1998, Vanderbilt established the Edward A. Malloy Chair in Catholic Studies (currently held by Bruce Morrill, PhD, professor of Theological Studies). He was honored for his service to the Catholic Church and higher education, and his leadership efforts to promote community service and combat substance abuse, including being a founding director of the Points of Light Foundation. Posted 10.12.20
Dr. David Kirk, 1976
Dr. David Kirk Major, USAF, retired, died February 14. He served United Methodist churches in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. He was founder of The House of the Carpenter in Wheeling, WV, a community service agency of the United Methodist Church. He became Chaplain in the United States Air Force in 1969. After leaving the Air Force, David became CEO of ChildServ, a United Methodist Family Service Organization in Chicago, Illinois. In 2000 He retired as President/CEO of Children's Home and Aid Society of Illinois in Chicago and moved to Clearwater where he served as CEO of Family Service Center and most recently as Chaplain at Suncoast Hospice. He was 83. Posted 10.13.2020
James Tidwell (MA), 1977
James Tidwell (MA) will be remembered as a fine scholar, a beloved teacher, and an outstanding athlete. More than anything, he loved a good discussion on topics ranging from Existentialism to the Detroit Lions. He was intrigued by the basic contradictions of humanity - good and evil, cynicism and altruism, love and loss. Dave died at home on December 31, 2020. Posted 1.5.21
Dr. Sharon Welch (MA, PhD'82), 1977
Dr. Sharon Welch (MA, PhD'82) has shown herself to be a skillful artist of the difficult blend among academic theology, social activism and training for ministry. In achieving this important mix with integrity she has shown herself to be a true child of Vanderbilt Divinity School. She stands out as a model for VDS students who wish to be successful in academia, social change or ministry, or who wish to combine all three. Dr. Welch is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Humanist Studies and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network. She served as Provost and Professor of Religion and Society at Meadville Lombard for ten years. She has held positions as Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri from 1991-2007. She was assistant and then associate professor of Theology and Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School from 1982 to 1991. Posted 10.15.20
The Rev. Linda C. Parker (MDiv), 1979
The Rev. Linda C. Parker (MDiv)
Prayer Request-for the family of The Rev. Linda C. Parker in her passing. Linda was a retired minister and member of Vine Street Christian Church, Nashville, TN, and former minister to congregations in Virginia, Tennessee, and Indiana.
Submitted by John Shuler and their children, Grant Shuler and Kennedy Shuler. Posted 02.14.2022
Class Notes: 1980's
Roy Herron (MDiv & JD) 1980
Roy Herron (MDiv '80) finished his fourth book in 2021, Faith in Politics: Southern Political Battles Past and Present (University of Tennessee Press) and his eleventh 140.6 mile Ironman triathlon (Ironman Chattanooga).
LT COL (Ret) Jadell Janes (MDiv), 1981
LT COL (Ret) Jadell Janes (MDiv), 75 of Columbia, Ky, died Friday, December 4, 2020. Jay answered God's call to pastoral ministry in 1971. Following ordination, he joined the Air Force as a chaplain. He spent over 20 years of distinguished service in a variety of assignments. When he retired from pastoral ministry, he enjoyed playing golf with his friends at The Pines at LWC Golf Course. He loved spending time with his family, for whom he made many sacrifices. He loved giving gifts and he rarely ate a family meal that wasn't "the best he ever had!" Posted 1.5.21
Dr. Sharon Welch (MA'77, PhD), 1982
Dr. Sharon Welch (MA'77, PhD) has shown herself to be a skillful artist of the difficult blend among academic theology, social activism and training for ministry. In achieving this important mix with integrity she has shown herself to be a true child of Vanderbilt Divinity School. She stands out as a model for VDS students who wish to be successful in academia, social change or ministry, or who wish to combine all three. Dr. Welch is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Humanist Studies and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network. She served as Provost and Professor of Religion and Society at Meadville Lombard for ten years. She has held positions as Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri from 1991-2007. She was assistant and then associate professor of Theology and Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School from 1982 to 1991. Posted 10.12.20
Roger Ray (MDiv), (DMin '89), 1983
Roger Ray (MDiv), (DMin '89) wrote about Roe v. Wade in LA Progressive. Read more: https://www.laprogressive.com/roe-v-wade-at-risk/ Posted 11.20.2020
John Talbott (MDiv), 1985
John Talbott (MDiv)
Obituary for Rev. John Thayer Talbott
John Thayer Talbott died peacefully at his home on November 30, 2021. He was born in New York City in 1939, the son of Harold E. Talbott Jr. and Margaret Thayer Talbott.
John attended the Buckley School, Deerfield Academy, and received his Masters in Divinity from Vanderbilt University. As a young man, he served in the 101st Airborne, Fort Campbell, KY, before meeting the love of his life, Anne, on Fishers Island, NY. They spent 42 wonderful and adventurous years living in Texas, California, Tennessee, Washington D.C., and Connecticut as well as Fishers Island, New York. John was filled with intellectual curiosity and explored a variety of professions, including finance, farming, and retail before finding his true vocation as a minister. After his studies at Sewanee University, he was ordained in the Episcopal Church. He served as rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and St. Augustine's Church in Washington, D.C., before retiring to Connecticut where he continued his pastoral care and service as Curate at St. Ann's Church, Old Lyme, and as an interim and supply priest throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.
While in Washington, D. C., John had the great honor to participate in the memorial service for Justice Thurgood Marshall. The prayer he wrote to honor Justice Marshall's impact and life's work is shared annually throughout the Anglican Communion as part of Episcopal Church Liturgical Calendar.
John shared a deep and abiding love of community and a commitment to supporting those in need. He provided pastoral care and bereavement support to those in Middlesex County and served on the Zoning Commission in Old Saybrook. His great joys in life were reading and study and spending time with family. John was devoted to his family and friends be they close or far, new or old. He will be remembered for his dry wit and that particular twinkle in his eye. We will all miss his birthday messages.
John was predeceased by his life-long love, Anne Kinsolving Talbott, and is survived by his three daughters, Thayer, Kemp, and Polly, and two granddaughters as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews, and loved ones.A memorial service is being planned for March and a private burial service will be held in the summer.In lieu of flowers, the memorial contributions may be made to one of the following:Bare Necessities, 24 West Main Street, Suite 414, Clinton, CT 06413Community Foundation of Middlesex County, 49 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457Middlesex Hospice Program, Middlesex Health, 28 Crescent Street, Middletown, CT 06457Posted 02.04.2022
Nancy Victorin-Vangerud (MDiv, PhD), 1986
Nancy Victorin-Vangerud (MDiv, PhD) retired in August 2021 from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, after 14 years as the University Chaplain and Director of the Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice. She also retired from itinerant ordained ministry in the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This past winter, Feb. 28th, she gave the annual Susan Draper White Lecture in Women's Studies and Religion at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN. The title of her lecture was "Re-Soil/ing the New Jerusalem: Dream-Reading Revelation (22:2) and Women's Speculative Fiction for Futures that Feed Us." Posted 04.25.22
Mary McClintock Fulkerson (PhD), 1986
Mary McClintock Fulkerson (PhD) is professor emerita of theology at Duke Divinity School and an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She completed her B.M. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master of divinity degree at Duke University, and earned her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. She began teaching at Duke in 1983 and was the longest serving member of the faculty at the time of her retirement in 2019. An outstanding scholar and teacher, Mary broke new ground in theology's approach to and understanding of gender, race, and disability. Her work is published in journals such as Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and Modern Theology. She is also the author of Changing the Subject: Women's Discourses and Feminist Theology and Places of Redemption: Theology for a Worldly Church. Posted 10.12.20
The Reverend Kenneth S. Robinson, (MDiv), 1986
The Reverend Kenneth S. Robinson, (MDiv) is a native of Nashville, TN. He holds a bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Harvard University; a doctor of medicine degree from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Robinson has served as pastor and chief executive of St. Andrew AME Church in Memphis, Tennessee, since 1991. He practiced and taught internal medicine at Vanderbilt for 10 years and served for 12 years as an assistant dean at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He founded The Works, a nonprofit organization that partners with United Way to impact lives in the Memphis area. A lifelong advocate for improving the health of the public, Dr. Robinson served as Tennessee's first African-American Commissioner of Health under Governor Phil Bredesen. Last February he became president and CEO of the United Way of the Mid-South. Posted 10.12.20
Dr. Ralph Steele (MDiv), 1987
Dr. Ralph Steele (MDiv) has published his 22nd book: Prayer, Fasting, Healing & Deliverance. Posted 05.17.23
Richmond Adams (MDiv), 1988
Richmond Adams (MDiv) has two recent journal publications:
1) "'In Harper, There's Nothing to be Afraid of': The Stranger and the Etiquette of Post-War American Life." Retreats from Oblivion: _The Journal of Noircon_. Fall, 2021. https://retreatsfromoblivion.com.
2) "'About as Radical as Cotton Tom Heflin': Atticus Finch, _To Kill a Mockingbird_, and Post-1945 American Life." Accepted for Publication in _Southern Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the South_. Volume 29.1. Approximately Spring, 2022 Posted 01.20.2022
Roger Ray (MDiv '83) (DMin), 1989
Roger Ray (MDiv '83) (DMin) wrote about Roe v. Wade in LA Progressive. Read more: https://www.laprogressive.com/roe-v-wade-at-risk/ Posted 11.20.2020
Class Notes: 1990's
The Reverend Becca Stevens (MDiv), 1990The Reverend Becca Stevens (MDiv) will receive the 2020 Alumni Public Service Award from the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2020/06/23/alumni-association-board-announces-2020-alumni-award-recipients/Posted 10.13.2020
The Reverend Becca Stevens (MDiv) is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home. Twenty years later, the organization continues to welcome women with free residence that provide housing, medical care, therapy and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four social enterprises. The Global Market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1,800 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities. Learn more about Rev. Becca Stevens and Thistle Farms. https://thistlefarms.org/pages/leadership Posted 10.12.20
Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus (MA '86, PhD '91), 1991Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus (MA '86, PhD '91) is a Professor of Religion at Wheaton College (MA) and was awarded the Henrietta Jennings Faculty Chair for Outstanding Teaching there in 2020. In 2017, he received an honorary D.Div. from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College to recognize his 25 years of service as a rabbi. He has taught "The Rituals of Dinner" First Year Seminar at Wheaton for over twenty years, as well as courses such as: Gender and Violence in the Bible, Intro. to Comparison of Religions, Smells and Bells: The Sensual Dimension of Religions, and Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Well-Being from a Comparative Religious Perspective.He is the author of Gastronomic Judaism as Culinary Midrash (Lexington Press, Dec. 2018) and has published numerous articles on food rituals and Jewish food in the Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, Studies in Jewish Civilization, and other journals, and has translated Rabbenu Bahya ben Asher's fourteenth-century Hebrew mystical manual on food, Shulhan Shel Arba (Table of Four) into English which is available online. He regularly stages meal rituals at home and at Wheaton and other places, even virtually. He's currently working on a book on the myths and meal rituals of American Thanksgiving. He lives, cooks, eats, and gardens with his wife Maia, an elementary school teacher in Providence, RI. Posted 11.12.2021
David Ingram (MTS), (MD'94), 1992
David Ingram (MTS), (MD'94), has been promoted to executive vice president and chief medical executive at Indiana University Health. Read more: https://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/42892586/iu-health-promotes-ingram Posted 11.20.2020
Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs (DMin), 1992
Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs (DMin) served as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, CT, from 1997-2011. Prior to his service at Beth Israel, Rabbi Fuchs was Senior Rabbi at The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom in Nashville, TN, for 11 years, and was the first full-time spiritual leader at Temple Isaiah in Columbia, MD, for 13 years. Following his retirement from Beth Israel, he began an appointment as President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). He traveled the world while serving in that role until October 2012. Currently, Rabbi Fuchs writes and lectures extensively, both domestically and abroad. He has worked hard to convey that the essence of Jewish values are found in gemilut hasadim - concrete acts of caring and kindness that make a difference in the lives of others. Posted 10.12.20
W. Antoni Sinkfield (MDiv), 1994
W. Antoni Sinkfield (MDiv) is senior pastor at Payne Chapel AME in Nashville, TN. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Tennessee Technological University and a master of divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. Reverend Sinkfield has continued his Doctoral studies at United Theological Seminary in Ohio; Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma; as a Beeson Pastor Scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary; and as a PhD. Candidate with an emphasis in Ethical and Creative Leadership at Union Institute and University. As co-founder of Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (N.O.A.H.), Antoni has been an advocate for social justice in the Nashville community, and has influenced the lives of numerous students going into ministry and service. Posted 10.12.20
Reverend Dr. Eric Wendel Lee, Sr., (MDiv), 1996
Reverend Dr. Eric Wendel Lee, Sr., (MDiv), Senior Pastor for Springfield Baptist Church in Covington, Georgia, is welcomed to the Piedmont Newton Hospital Board of Directors. Rev. Dr. Eric W. Lee joined Springfield Baptist Church as the church's senior pastor in May 1999. The church has over 10,000 members and serves the communities of Newton and Rockdale through more than 40 ministries such as the Food Ministry, Nursing Home Ministry, Recovery at Work Substance Abuse Ministry, and Transitional Prison Ministry. Rev. Lee graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in History. Rev. Lee earned his Doctor of Ministry at the Gordon-Conwell Theological School in 2019. He is a member of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association, a member of the Executive Council of the Hampton University Minister's Conference, and was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. International Board of Preachers in 2018. Posted 2.12.2021
The Rev. Dr. Laura Barbins (MA), (PhD'01), 1998
The Rev. Dr. Laura Barbins (MA), (PhD'01) was elected to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Read more: https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8062 Posted 11.20.2020
Representative Harold M. Love, Jr. (MTS), 1998
Representative Harold M. Love, Jr. (MTS) was born in Nashville to the late Rep. Harold M. Love Sr. and Mary Y. Love. He attended Metro Nashville public schools and graduated with honors from Whites Creek High School. He enrolled at Tennessee State University, where he marched in the Aristocrat of Bands and was active in his school's chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and finance with a minor in political science in 1994. He earned a master of theological studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1998. Representative Love was honored for his civic and religious leadership through several board and council memberships and for founding the Harold M. Love, Jr. Leadership Academy. This pilot summer program for boys ages 9 to 11 promotes higher education, nutrition and healthy habits, and responsible citizenship. Posted 10.12.20
The Reverend Loretta Allen Stutz, 1999
The Reverend Loretta Allen Stutz died April 19. Of the many things in life she enjoyed, she loved sharing God's word and helping others. Loretta completely gave her life to God. In 2003 she was ordained as an Elder of the United Methodist Church. At the time of her retirement, she was serving in the Western North Carolina Conference at Mount Carmel United Methodist Church in Lexington, North Carolina. She was 76. Posted 10.13.2020
Class Notes: 2000's
Reverend Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart (MDiv), 2000
Reverend Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart (MDiv), associate professor of theology and ecology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, has been appointed to the Murray H. Leiffer Chair of Public Theology and Ministry, effective immediately. Formerly held by Rev. Dr. Richard D. Tholin (1985-1993) and Rev. Dr. Mark A. Fowler (2000-2016), Eberhart is the third person to be appointed to this chair since its establishment in 1984. Eberhart joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in 2010 and was promoted to associate professor in the spring of 2020. In 2017, he was named director of the master of arts in public ministry program that he helped design and implement, as well as the advisor for a new concentration in Ecological Regeneration. Posted 1.5.21
Herbert R. Marbury, (MA, PhD'03), 2000
Herbert R. Marbury, (MA, PhD'03) was a featured panelist on the Vanderbilt Divinity School-sponsored webinar, Harnessing the Prophetic and Pastoral Nature of Black Faith to Cultivate a Transformed Future. See video: https://www.facebook.com/180317336357/videos/625327138329959/?__so__=channel_tab&__rv__=all_videos_card Posted 10.13.2020
The Rev. Dr. Laura Barbins (MA'98) (PhD), 2001
The Rev. Dr. Laura Barbins (MA'98) (PhD) was elected to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Read more: https://elca.org/News-and-Events/8062 Posted 11.20.2020
Reverend Dr. Chandra Taylor Smith, (BA'83, PhD), 2001
Reverend Dr. Chandra Taylor Smith, (BA'83, PhD) pass Tuesday, February 14, 2017. She was a nationally recognized pastor, speaker and writer who dedicated her life to theological education, public education, and environmental justice. She served as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at the National Audubon Society. In this role she managed the national operational support and program development for Audubon's unparalleled nationwide network of 42 nature Centers and more than 460 local Chapters as well as Audubon's education department and flagship corporate partnership, Toyota TogetherGreen. With a background in education policy and an academic concentration in ecological theology, Chandra brought to Audubon's extensive network of environmental learning opportunities her passion and commitment to education and her life-long interest in the intersections of the cultural, spiritual, and physical health dimensions of human connections with nature. Posted 10.12.20
Shelli Yoder (MDiv), 2002
Shelli Yoder (MDiv) was elected State Senator for Indiana District 40. Read more: https://www.idsnews.com/article/2020/11/shelli-yoder-declares-victory-as-district-40-indiana-state-senator Posted 11.20.2020
Shelli Yoder (MDiv) earned her bachelor of arts degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. She has a master's degree in counseling and human services from Indiana University South Bend, and a master of divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. Throughout her career, Shelli has used her platform as a public leader to empower women, break down barriers, and advocate for justice, equity and inclusion. Shelli currently serves on the County Council (1st District) for Monroe County, Indiana, and is a lecturer at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. She founder and leader of the South Central Opioid Summit and former Executive Director of Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee. Posted 10.12.20
Kyoshin Ahn (MA) (PhD), 2003
Kyoshin Ahn (MA) (PhD) was named Division Secretary for the Seventh-day Adventist Church's North American Division (NAD). Read more: https://www.nadadventist.org/news/kyoshin-ahn-named-north-american-division-secretary Posted 11.20.2020
Herbert R. Marbury (MA'00, PhD), 2003
Herbert R. Marbury (MA'00, PhD) was a featured panelist on the Vanderbilt Divinity School-sponsored webinar, Harnessing the Prophetic and Pastoral Nature of Black Faith to Cultivate a Transformed Future. See video: https://www.facebook.com/180317336357/videos/625327138329959/?__so__=channel_tab&__rv__=all_videos_card Posted 10.13.2020
Lisa Dordal (MDiv), 2005
Lisa Dordal (MDiv) will release her second collection of poetry, Water Lessons, from Black Lawrence Press in April 2022. In the collection, Dordal scrutinizes the patriarchal underpinnings of the world she grew up in as well as her complicity in systemic racism as a white girl growing up in the 70s and 80s. Woven throughout the book are meditations on a divine presence that is both keenly felt and necessarily elusive, mirroring Dordal's ultimate celebration of her unborn daughter as a "lovely fiction" who is both here and not here. Posted 01.20.2022
David Dault (MA, PhD'09), 2006David Dault (MA, PhD'09) has been appointed assistant professor of Christian spirituality at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Read more:https://www.luc.edu/ips/about/faculty/daviddaultphd.shtml Posted 10.13.2020
Shantell Hinton Hill (BE, MDiv'16), 2006Shantell Hinton Hill (BE, MDiv'16) writes about caring for our souls in the middle of a pandemic. Read more:
Leah Payne (MTS '06, MA '10, PhD '13), 2006
Leah was delighted to join the 2022-2023 cohort of the PRRI Public Fellows Program as part of PRRI's Religion and Renewing Democracy Initiative. Learn more here. Posted 05.17.23
Chris Friedman (MTS) 2007
Chris Friedman (MTS '07) has joined Husch Blackwell as a partner in its Financial Services & Capital Markets business unit. A resident of Nashville, Chris is based in the firm’s virtual Link office. Read more here. Posted 05.17.23
Michelle Nielsen Ott (MTS '07), 2007Michelle Nielsen Ott (MTS '07) has won 4 awards for leadership and/or community service in 2021:ATHENA Young Professionals Award, Peoria Chamber of Commerce, 2021
40 Leaders Under Forty, Peoria Magazines, 2021
25 Women in Leadership Award, WEEK-TV, 2021
Community Leader Award, Women in Leadership of Central Illinois, 2021She is also starting a new job as Assistant Professor, Science/Health Sciences Librarian at the Cullom-Davis Library at Bradley University in Peoria, IL on November 30, 2021. Posted 11.12.2021
Josh S. Tatum (MDiv), 2008
Josh S. Tatum (MDiv) has been admitted to Plews Shadley Racher and Braun LLP partnership, effective January 1, 2021. Josh has a broad practice that touches on all the firm's major practice areas and includes religious organizations, nonprofit and for-profit entities as clients. He represents businesses and nonprofits in employment matters, corporate formation and governance, insurance coverage, commercial law, and environmental issues. He also advises religious organizations and other nonprofits on a variety of other legal issues. Josh volunteers as a den leader for his son's Cub Scout Pack, serves on the board of directors for the Indianapolis Association of Wabash Men, and is an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Posted 1.6.21
Ryan Fasani (MDiv) 2008
Ryan Fasani (MDiv '08) has published three books and two e-books. Consuming Hope grapples with personal story faith and life in the midst of grief and death. Walking Trees is a short collection of Gospel stories turned through different lenses to find the newness of the Divine Life for the world. Learn more about Ryan's books here, including his newly released book Curated Coals. Posted 05.17.23
David Dault (MA'06, PhD), 2009David Dault (MA'06, PhD) has been appointed assistant professor of Christian spirituality at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Read more:https://www.luc.edu/ips/about/faculty/daviddaultphd.shtml Posted 10.13.2020
Class Notes: 2010's
Monique Moultrie (PhD), 2010
Monique Moultrie (PhD'10) is excited to announce the publication of her second book Hidden Histories: Faith and Black Lesbian Leadership, published in March 2023 by Duke University Press. The book examines oral histories of Black lesbian religious leaders to show how their authenticity, social justice awareness, spirituality, and collaborative leadership extends beyond LGBTQ and racialized communities and provides models of religious and community leadership.
Additionally, she was thrilled to receive a $250,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to develop a digital and physical archive highlighting Black women religious leaders’ contributions to religious communities and activism in the United States. Dr. Rosetta Ross and Dr. Monique Moultrie are co-principal investigators for The Garden Initiative for Black Women’s Religious Activism; their website launched in March 2023.
Tara Lentz (MDiv), 2011
Tara Lentz (MDiv'11) was recognized in the Nashville Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list. Tara is Senior director of strategic growth at Conexión Américas.
Reverend Kira Austin-Young (MDiv), 2011
Reverend Kira Austin-Young (MDiv'11) speaks about faith amid tornadoes and a pandemic. Read more: https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/features/article/21129488/the-rev-kira-austinyoung-on-faith-amid-tornadoes-and-a-pandemic Posted 10.12.20
Lisa Thompson (MA), (PhD'13), 2011
Lisa Thompson (MA), (PhD'13) was a featured panelist on the Vanderbilt Divinity School-sponsored webinar, This is Woman's Work: The Worth and Witness of Womanism in Times Like These. Read more: https://www.facebook.com/180317336357/videos/274215623695282/?__so__=channel_tab&__rv__=all_videos_card Posted 10.12.20
Eric Paul (MDiv) 2011
Eric Paul (MDiv '11) is leading the Church of the Nazarene in Hawaii in restorative justice work in order to address harm and conflict within congregations and the communities in which they are a part. You can read more here on pg. 26 of the NCM Summer 2022 issue, "Nazarenes in Hawaii make Restorative Justice a priority." Posted 05.17.23
Rev. Katherine Museus Dabay (MDiv), 2013
Rev. Katherine Museus Dabay (MDiv) has been named ELCA University Pastor at Valparaiso University. Read more: https://www.valpo.edu/news/2020/11/17/valparaiso-university-names-next-elca-university-pastor/?fbclid=IwAR1_rhkyEPB_8UPLOPibggjhh1xU60tz_RnSEd-m_zwFsSjduFBXCc6BgTQ Posted 11.20.2020
Lisa Thompson (MA'11, PhD), 2013
Lisa Thompson (MA'11, PhD) was a featured panelist on the Vanderbilt Divinity School-sponsored webinar, This is Woman's Work: The Worth and Witness of Womanism in Times Like These. https://www.facebook.com/180317336357/videos/274215623695282/?__so__=channel_tab&__rv__=all_videos_card Posted 10.13.2020
Lindsey Krinks (MTS), 2013
Lindsey Krinks (MTS) a street chaplain, activist, and co-founder of Open Table Nashville, has written the book "Praying With Our Feet," to be released in February 2021. Read more: https://bakerbookhouse.com/products/235899?fbclid=IwAR3sCL2C0XACEY_0iMIykqIgdtnPtXGeI3CY7TNLnnVrrt4Tryf-MNRWc3M Posted 10.13.2020
Christophe Ringer, (MDiv'05), (PhD), 2014
Christophe Ringer, (MDiv'05), (PhD) spoke about his forthcoming book Necropolitics: The Religious Crisis of Mass Incarceration in America, during a lunch and learn conversation on forgiveness and race hosted by the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions. Read more: https://www.facebook.com/VUCalTurnerProgram/videos/751337365467347
Breanna Mekuly (MTS), 2014
Breanna Mekuly (MTS) was interviewed by U.S. Catholic about millennials seeking spiritual community. Read more: https://uscatholic.org/articles/202006/millennials-are-seeking-spiritual-community-where-are-they-finding-it-32103 Posted 10.13.2020
Lucas Wilson (MTS), 2015Lucas Wilson (MTS) wrote an article for RVA Magazine about Liberty University's group conversion therapy program and its aftermath.Read more: https://rvamag.com/gay-rva/group-conversion-therapy-and-its-aftermath-at-liberty-university.html?fbclid=IwAR3HJacsdrynHvGjIh5I5gkZqHH0MExJ6doTole6gHvHqhXn2zDJ4g8rLPoPosted 10.13.2020
Jennifer Awes Freeman (MA' 14, PhD '16), 2016
Jennifer Awes Freeman (MA' 14, PhD '16) Her first monograph, The Good Shepherd: Image, Meaning, and Power, was published with Baylor University Press in September 2021. Read more: https://www.baylorpress.com/9781481315371/the-good-shepherd/ Posted 11.12.2021
Shantell Hinton Hill (BE'06, MDiv), 2016Shantell Hinton Hill (BE'06, MDiv) writes about caring for our souls in the middle of a pandemic. Read more:
Stephanie Fulbright (MTS), 2017
Stephanie Fulbright (MTS) is the co-host and co-producer for a new history podcast, Church Historia, releasing on all platforms on November 20th. Listen to the podcast: http://churchhistoria.com/. Posted 11.19.2020
Dawn Bennett (MDiv), 2018
Dawn Bennett (MDiv) was interviewed by LGBTQ Nation and received the LGBTQ Nation Hometown Hero award 2021 for her advocacy work and ministry with LGBTQ+ and marginalized person's.
In 2020 Pastor Bennett was called by the ELCA Southeastern Synod to form and lead The Table, the region's only LGBTQ+ centered Lutheran denominational church. Posted 01.20.2022
Kelsey Davis (MDiv), 2018
Kelsey Davis (MDiv) is celebrating her wife giving birth to their first child, Noah Ash Davis. Gratitude for all the wisdom and support from fellow classmates as I have worked to co-found and launch Christian Athlete Circles, the first open & affirming athlete ministry in the country. Gratitude to be invited to shape and form a new trust fund, Support the Players National Emergency Trust, that will support women's professional soccer players daily need and advocate for pay equity in the NWSL. Posted 01.20.2022
Teresa Pecinovsky (MDiv), 2018Teresa Pecinovsky (MDiv) will be publishing her debut picture book, Mother God, in March of 2022 with Beaming Books:With lyrical, rhyming text and exquisite illustrations, Mother God introduces readers to a dozen images of God inspired by feminine descriptions from Scripture. Children and adults alike will be in awe of the God who made them as they come to know her as a creative seamstress, generous baker, fierce mother bear, protective mother hen, strong woman in labor, nurturing nursing mother, wise grandmother, and comforting singer of lullabies.This gorgeous picture book welcomes children into a fuller, more diverse understanding of what it means to be made in the image of God. Posted 10.18.2021
Mary Early-Zald (MDiv) 2018
Mary Early-Zald (MDiv '18) was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist Minister on Saturday, 09/10/2022 in a ceremony at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation. The ordination was celebrated by Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation and First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. Posted 05.17.23
Greg Thompson (MTS), 2019Greg Thompson (MTS) started the podcast "Out Loud: LGBT Stories of Faith." Listen: https://outloudstories.com/Posted 10.13.2020
Class Notes: 2020's
Class of 2020–2023
Do you have news you would like to share or just want to let everyone know what you are up to these days?
Send us your news items, personal milestones, or career achievements online:
Brian Frelix (MTS) 2020
Brian Frelix (MTS '20) began pastoring a church in Flint, MI. God showed him the city where his abilities can best be used. All prayers are welcome. Posted 05.17.23
Brandon Evans (MDiv) 2022
Brandon Evans (MDiv '22) accepted an offer with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville, TN. His ordination was on October 2, 2022. Posted 05.17.23
Josefine Parker (MDiv), 2023
Josefine Parker (MDiv'23) has been hired as Vanderbilt University's first Program Coordinator for Gender Diversity. Housed in the Office of Health and Wellness with a dual placement in the K.C. Potter Center, Josefine will create university programming, including the TGNB Author Series, and serve as the primary point of contact for trans, nonbinary, and gender-diverse community members.
Additionally, Josefine 'Voyager' Parker wrote liturgy called "Rites of Transition" that is sprinkled in three parts throughout Mergoat Magazine, "No. 3: Kindly of a Queer Nature — The Transecologies Issue". Mergoat Magazine is a publication that provides a collective, interdisciplinary record of the ecological situation throughout Southern Appalachia and the broader Southeast.