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eSpire Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 1 - September 2010

What a Roman Catholic, neo-orthodox, existentialist, evangelical, liberationist Christian learned at Vanderbilt Divinity School
Justin Rosolino
MDiv ’10, recipient of the Wilbur F. Tillett Prize for Theology

Hello, I’m Justin Rosolino, and I’m a Roman Catholic, neo-orthodox, existentialist, evangelical, liberationist Christian who has been heavily influenced by Eastern Orthodox theology.  I am hopeful I just made everyone in the room feel both included and confused… that seems to be my life’s story.

In fact, I think one the most accurately descriptive statements that I can make about myself is that I have never been blessed with a good amount of ‘common sense.’  I seem to have a talent for making bizarre choices and muddying things up along the way.  I don’t know, maybe it’s this post-modern distrust for all things linear, neat, narrow and common sensical that made me so attracted to Johann and Christoph Blumhardt, two Lutheran pietists whom I discovered I during the Karl Barth class with Professor DeHart. 
(Read more from What a Roman Catholic Learned - Click here)


James Hudnut-Beumler
Opening Worship
August 25, 2010

Psalm 24 and Job 38: 1-7
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

is a big thought.

You see, my friend Walter Brueggemann says that the portion, “and the fullness thereof,” is not just a throwaway line. Instead it is an intensifier.  It might be best translated for our ears as “the earth is the Lord’s — and that means all of it!”

That is a very big thought indeed.

And this is the place we gather each week that school is in session to think big thoughts, and to pray big prayers, and to make big commitments. Welcome to Wednesday community worship at the Divinity school.
(Read more from Ecology - click here)


Exploring the Adventures of Summer
From Megiddo, Israel to Nogales, Mexico and everywhere in between, Vanderbilt Divinity and Graduate Department of Religion students spent the summer actively engaged in the creation of new knowledge and the broadening of their understanding and awareness of theological issues facing today’s society. The scarcity and power of water, immigration, and peace in the Middle East were among the topics many of our students wrestled with outside the walls of Vanderbilt. We invite you to explore with us the adventures that took place in northern Israel and on the border of Mexico and Arizona through photos provided by our Megiddo diggers and “A Line in the Sand” Maymester course participants.
(See pictures from The Megiddo Expedition - click here)
(See pictures from A Line in the Sand- click here)


  It’s the perfect time to reminisce, rekindle, and reconnect with your Vanderbilt Divinity School classmates. Please make your plans now to attend.
GIVE BACK   Making a Reunion gift is a great expression of gratitude for your theological education. Every dollar you give is an investment in the rising generation of religious leaders, scholars and community advocates. Please make your gift today.
If you are interested in volunteering with Homecoming/Reunion, please contact Meagan Burton-Krieger at or at 615-322-6749.
We are looking forward to seeing you in October!


VDS welcomes new director of admissions and student services
Katherine Smith is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and grew up cheering for the Commodores.  After graduating with an A.B. in English from Princeton University, she worked for several years helping college graduates explore public service through Princeton Project 55, Inc. (now AlumniCorps.)  Sensing a call into ministry, Katherine completed a M.Div. at Duke Divinity School in Durham, NC, and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Most recently, she served under Leadership Education at Duke Divinity as Director of the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation, a summer program for high school students exploring faith and vocation.  Katherine is married to Bart Smith, a native of Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas.



Alumna takes on new role as executive director of development and alumni/ae relations
Kitty Norton Jones came to Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1995 as a student. After receiving her master of divinity degree in 1998, she remained at the Divinity School as administrative assistant for the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality, and the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies. In 2001, she became the administrative assistant in field education. Then, in 2003 she joined the Divinity School development and alumni/ae relations team where she helped restart the Divinity School reunion program and the Mills-Buttrick congregational giving society. Kitty is ordained in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. She is married to Douglas E. Jones. Kitty accepted the position of Executive Director of Development and Alumni/ae Relations for the Divinity School in April of 2010 after Beth Boord joined the Medical Center Development and Alumni Relations as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Children’s Health in March.


Full-time assistant director of development and alumni/ae relations turns attention to increased alumni/ae engagement
Meagan Burton-Krieger joined the Vanderbilt Divinity School Development and Alumni/ae Relations team in December as Assistant Director. She relocated to Nashville after receiving her M.Ed. from the University of Vermont in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs to join her partner, Eric, a third year master of divinity student at Vanderbilt. Upon graduation, Meagan became an accreditation consultant and assisted her undergraduate alma mater, Albion College, in preparation for their ten year on-site visit. Meagan brings a broad breath of knowledge to the development office from her work within the Provost Office at the University of Vermont, her service on the Albion College Board of Trustees, and several internships in the areas of admissions, athletics, and development. Originally from South Carolina, Meagan has enjoyed her return to the South.


Vanderbilt Divinity School in the News

Vanderbilt News: FTE awards prestigious fellowship to Vanderbilt Divinity student
Anthony Sandusky, a rising second-year master's of divinity candidate, has been awarded a $10,000 fellowship by The Fund for Theological Education to support his future in the ministry.

National Geographic News: Noah’s Ark found in Turkey?
A team of evangelical Christian explorers claim they’ve found the remains of Noah’s ark beneath snow and volcanic debris of Turkey’s Mount Ararat. But some archaeologists and historians are taking the latest claim that Noah’s ark has been found about as seriously as they have past ones—which is to say not very. Jack Sasson, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies and Hebrew, is quoted. Sasson was also quoted in the story reported by UPI .

Christian Century: Habits of anti-Judaism
Ted Smith
, assistant professor of divinity, and Amy-Jill Levine, Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, co-authored this opinion piece examining the ways anti-Jewish sentiment persists even among the most well-intentioned Christian organizations.

Baptist Standard: Physical and spiritual exercise meet in NIA, Divinity student says
Claire K. McKeever-Burgett, Master of Divinity candidate at Vanderbilt Divinity School was featured by the Baptist Standard in an article about faith and fitness.

Out & About:
Vanderbilt hosts HRC scholarship class
The last week of July is fairly quiet on college campuses, but the Human Rights Campaign got some conversations going at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School. The national civil-rights organization has created its Scholarship and Mentorship Program for Religion and Theological Study, with the inaugural class’s summer institute held at Vanderbilt.

PBS: Thistle Farms
This report about Thistle Farms and Magdalene House includes an interview by founder Becca Stevens, Episcopal chaplain at Vanderbilt’s St. Augustine Chapel


Make Plans to Attend
Vanderbilt Divinity School Calendar of Events 

Community Breakfast
Notes from the Border: Theological Reflections on Immigration
With Viki Matson, Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ministry
September 23, 2010
7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Vanderbilt Divinity School Reading Room

Relevant Religion Series
Be Joyful Though You Have Considered All the Facts: Honest Hope and Environmental Crises
Presented byEmily Askew, Adjunct Professor, Vanderbilt Divinity School 2010-2011 and Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Lexington Theological Seminary
September 27, October 4, and October 11, 2010
Vanderbilt Divinity School
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Cole Lectures
Thursday, October 21, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
What Happened at Vatican II

Friday, October 22, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
Interpreting What Happened at Vatican II

Presented by The Reverend John W. O'Malley, S.J., University Professor in the Department of Theology, Georgetown University 
Vanderbilt Divinity School
Benton Chapel

Homecoming/ Reunion 2010 – October 21-23, 2010
Thursday, October 21
Class of 1960 50th Reunion lunch
11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Tillett Lounge
Reunion welcome and registration
4:30–6:30 p.m.
Tillett Lounge
Check in and enjoy wine and cheese with old friends.
Alumni/ae and friends reception
Following the Cole Lecture
Divinity School Reading Room (the former refectory)

Friday, October 22
Coffee and doughnuts
8:30 a.m.
Divinity School Reading Room (the former refectory)
Alumni/ae and faculty memorial service
9 a.m.
All Faith Chapel
Reunion class lunch
11 a.m.
Divinity School Reading Room (the former refectory)
Cost: $10 per person
Reunion class chair and volunteer meeting
1:30 p.m.
Divinity School Reading Room (the former refectory)
Check in begins at 1 p.m.

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