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eSpire Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 2 - November 2010

Hope Upending and Unending
Sermon for the 33rd Annual PRIDE Interfaith Service Old South Church in Boston
June 12, 2010
The Reverend Ann B. Day, MDiv’78

*The Reverend Ann B. Day, MDiv’78, received the annual PRIDE Interfaith Award at the PRIDE Interfaith Service at Old South Church in Boston.  The first minister to receive this award, Day also gave a first-ever sermon at the service.

Reading from the Torah: Genesis 17:15-20
Reading from Christian Scripture: Romans 4:18-21

Since accepting the invitation to preach on this fabulous occasion, I have been looking at some of the articles and advertising about Boston PRIDE Week. I learned that its official kickoff was the raising of the rainbow flag at City Hall on June 4th, and it will end with a “Pride at Night Finale” tomorrow, June 13th. That told me one of two things: you never got the memo saying a week has seven days, or you just felt ten days was the minimum to celebrate 40 years of LGBT progress from “Riots to Rights.” I’ll go with the latter.

Forty years...1970 to 2010. How many of you can’t remember 1970 because you weren’t born? How many of you just don’t want to remember because it ushered in the decade of platform shoes? (I know some of you still have those platform shoes, but we’ll have to talk about that later.)
(Read more from Hope Upending and Unending - Click here)


Reminiscing, Rekindling, and Reconnecting

Celebrating Homecoming/Reunion 2010

(Click photos to see larger images)

The Vanderbilt Divinity School welcomed alumni/ae and friends back to campus on October 21 and 22 to celebrate Homecoming/Reunion 2010.  From Singapore to Texas, alumni/ae returned to remember their Vanderbilt experience.

The Class of 1960 celebrated their golden class reunion and spent Thursday afternoon reminiscing about their distinct role in the School’s history.  Our 50th class was the first group to take classes and graduate from the existing building and location of the Divinity School, and they lived through “the Lawson Affair”. From telling epic stories about how they passed time outside the classroom to sharing how transformational it was to stand alongside their classmate, Reverend James Lawson, the Class of 1960 reconnected and rekindled their lasting bonds within the Oberlin Quadrangle this Homecoming.

On Thursday evening and Friday, the Class of 1960 was joined by other VDS/GDR graduates. Homecoming/Reunion was a time to remember our past, to share the present, and to imagine the future through the participation of great alumni/ae, friends, faculty, staff, and current students. Another highlight of the weekend was our annual Cole Lectures. For the Thursday night and Friday morning events, we were joined by many of our Catholic alumni/ae and friends as the Reverend John W. O’Malley, S.J.,  of Georgetown University delivered two lectures on “What Happened at Vatican II.” You may view this year’s Cole Lectures by clicking on the following link:

Thank you to all the volunteers who made Homecoming/Reunion such a success, and we hope you can make plans to attend next year’s celebrate. Please mark your calendar for Homecoming 2011 on October 20-22, 2011.

Then and Now: 1960 and 2010

The Class of 1960 gathered on October 21, 2010 for a walk down memory lane. Here is a photo of the class as they were in 1960.

And, here they are today with their spouses and Dean James Hudnut-Beumler.

Pictured: front row, L to R, Leah Flowers, Gwen Efird, Bedford Transou, Carol Transou; back row, L to R, Gene Efird, Ron Flowers, Sally Paulsell, Bill Paulsell, Russell Gallimore, Wayne Fesmire, Dean Hudnut-Beumler.



What are you grateful for when you think of Vanderbilt Divinity School/Graduate Department of Religion?

Dear fellow alumni/ae and friends,

What are you grateful for when you think of Vanderbilt Divinity School/Graduate Department of Religion? As we approach the end of another year, I wanted to share words of gratitude expressed by other members of the Divinity School community:

  • “The summer I spent in Guatemala changed the way I view myself, others, and the world. Those memories will challenge my thoughts and actions for the rest of my life.”—Rachelle Barina, MDiv2
  • “My colleagues and professors encourage me to think, act, and pray at the intersection of the Academy, the Church and the streets.” —Kyle Lambelet, MTS2
  • “I am grateful that Vanderbilt is the kind of place where students don’t just learn how to be pastors but where they are nurtured to be prophets.”—Erin Racine, MDiv’08

Giving is an act of gratitude that continues to create transformational opportunities and inspire Vanderbilt Divinity School/Graduate Department of Religion students. I invite you to express your gratitude by making a gift before December 31.

Whether you choose to give in honor or in memory of your favorite professor or in appreciation of the education you received, please know your gift—no matter the size—will be used to make a Vanderbilt theological education possible. Our gifts are creating opportunities and inspiring the service of the next generation of religious leaders, scholars, and community advocates.

Thank you for your commitment to Vanderbilt Divinity School/Graduate Department of Religion. I am grateful for your continued support of our School.

Best wishes during this holiday season,
Description: Marcy H. Thomas signature
Marcy H. Thomas
Alumni/ae Council President


Vanderbilt Divinity School in the News
Father Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P., author of A Theology of Liberation; History, Politics, Salvation and other ground-breaking works on issues of spirituality and Latin American history, spoke on the Vanderbilt University campus November 8, 2010.

Associated Press: Church in Cub Scout flap: Mormons aren’t real Christians
A Presbyterian church has told a Mormon couple that they cannot serve as leaders of their sons’ Boy Scout troop because the church that hosts the meetings does not consider them real Christians. Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history, is quoted.

For the annual Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt University, the Reverend John W. O’Malley, S.J.,  delivers two talks about “What Happened at Vatican II.”

Vanderbilt students create online directory to help Nashville immigrants
An online directory designed to help connect Nashville immigrants to resources for English instruction and other services has been launched by students at Vanderbilt University. The website,, went online on Sept. 30. Designed for use by agencies who serve the immigrant and refugee population, it was developed by fellows from the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions at Vanderbilt.

Jewish Daily Forward: Synagogues rarely mention God in appeals, unlike churches
This continuing series comparing fundraising efforts of Jewish and Christian congregations finds that Christian congregations tend to frame appeals in spiritual terms while Jewish congregations focus more on community benefit. James Hudnut-Beumler, dean of Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School, is quoted.

Jewish Daily Forward: On the pulpit, rabbis earn more than Christian clergy
A survey of the way churches and synagogues raise and spend funds found this pattern across the country: Rabbis are generally paid far more than their non-Jewish counterparts, in part due to differences in congregation size and education, as well as a congregation’s financial obligations to their denomination’s national offices. James Hudnut-Beumler, dean of Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School, is quoted.

Reuters: Guest View: U.S. synagogues, churches collect similar donation
Which costs more: belonging to a synagogue, or belonging to a church?  A survey conducted by the Forward has found that Jewish and Christian religious institutions appear to raise about the same amount per member, despite the fact that church giving is voluntary and synagogues charge membership dues. James Hudnut-Beumler, dean of the divinity school, is quoted.

Huffingtonpost: To the Quran-burning church: Thou shalt not bear false witness
A controversial Florida minister recently made news when he announced he is organizing members of his congregation to burn copies of the Quran on September 11. John Thatamanil, assistant professor of theology, writes about the growing problem of Islamophobia in America. He suggests such fear and suspicion not only erode our Constitution, but also carry a heavy moral and spiritual price.


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