About People

"Kempton Baldridge doesn't dress like most pastors. He doesn't wear a formal robe or even a suit and tie. Instead, his attire includes steel-toed boots, a baseball cap and life vest. BaldrigeWhat Baldridge does isn't what most pastors do, either. He's not one to preach from a pulpit or deliver sermons from the front of a church. In fact, he doesn't have a church building. He's more likely to be found climbing gangways and riding on tugboats up and down the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Wabash, the Illinois and many of the other rivers of the Midwest."  Illinois Country Living, August 2012, "Ministering on the Mississippi," featuring the work of Kempton Baldridge '88 M. Div. with the Seamen's Church Institute.


View a Trinity Wall Street video featuring Baldridge:



To Tell the Sacred Tale: Spiritual Direction and Narrative (Crossroad, 2011), a book by Janet Ruffing, professor in the practice of spirituality and ministerial leadership, has been awarded second place in the pastoral ministry category by the Catholic Press Association in its 2012 book awards listing.  In announcing the award, the Press Association said, "A recognized leader in the field of spiritual direction, Janet Ruffing shares the wisdom she has garnered during her years of being involved in the ministry of spirituality and spiritual direction. Placing emphasis on the narrative of a directee, she focuses on the role the Spiritual Director plays in leading the directee to a deeper understanding of God s call in the unique experiences of his/her life."


"It's unfortunate that most white Protestants in the U.S. have always viewed unions with some degree suspicion, thinking of them as vaguely foreign (literally), vaguely Catholic (and/or Jewish), and thus vaguely alien to Our American Way Of Life. In fact, nothing is more American than the "chants democratic" expressed by grassroots labor organizing and union bargaining for a better future. Our once-strong unions gave us so many things that we used to take for granted--weekends, paid holidays, health and safety protections, decent pensions, employer-provided health care--but that are now under serious assault from our corporate overlords."  Peter Laarman  '73 Div, '93 M.Div., Sept. 3, 2012, writing in The Huffington Post, in the column "Faith in Working People."


HarmonCampbell Harmon '04 M.A.R., web coordinator at YDS, is developing a second career as a character actor, crisscrossing the country performing as poet Edgar Allan Poe.  In the past several years he has performed at many Connecticut libraries and schools, and in October 2011 he traveled to New Mexico for a series of performances. He says the most common questions posed to him (Poe) by audiences are:  "How did you die?" and, "Did you marry your cousin?"  Harmon next performs on Oct. 18 at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, NH.



"As a Christian, I believe in the miracle of forgiveness, and this is what I extend to the man who hurt me as I was trying to protect his life and the lives of others in the New Haven community.  God has been merciful to me and has spared my life in a situation where I could have been killed; this is an act of grace. As grace has been given to me, I in turn bestow my grace and forgiveness to the man who nearly took my life." Anthony Campbell  '95 B.A. '09 M.Div., Sept. 28, 2012, The New Haven Independent, in an article about his life as policeman/minister.


"It's a really neat way to put brushstrokes on prayers, to bring them to life in a really cool way, a blending of ancient and modern.  Jazz brings freedom into structure so there's room for the spirit to move. It's finding a middle path between freedom and structure."  Andy Barnett '12 M.Div., Sept. 21, 2012, The Living Church, in an article about the performance of his jazz group, The Theodicy Jazz Collective, at Canterbury Cathedral.  The group will also perform its Canterbury Jazz Mass at this year's Convocation and Reunions.


Among the Beatitudes Society Fellows for 2012 are two recent YDS grads, Rahiel Tesfamariam '09 M.Div. , a writer, social activist, theologian and founder of UrbanCusp.com, and John Helmiere '10 M.Div., convener and founder of Valley and Mountain Fellowship, a new church in Seattle that is described as "a radically hospitable community, rooted in grace, that practices deep listening and creative liberation."  The Beatitudes Fellowship equips a select group of innovative faith leaders with the resources and relationships that empower them to create new models for church and the pursuit of social justice. During the yearlong Fellowship, Fellows develop their own projects, working in their faith communities, and gather four times each year for customized leadership training workshops that include evaluation and strategic planning.


Otis Moss III '95 M.Div. of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago is among the men to be honored at the  GENIUS FOR MEN celebration being hosted by Alisha Jones and her sister, Angela Jones, on Oct. 13 at the Next Level Exhibition Area in Washington, DC.  Genius for Men is a men's empowerment forum that encourages community between men and women, celebrates male achievement, and honors men who seek to transcend the limits within their professions.  This year's theme is "Social Justice and Direct Action."

Omer Salem '13 M.A.R., a Muslim YDS student involved in seeking solutions to peace in the Middle East, delivered a talk on Sept. 12 in Washington, DC at the conference "The Road Map to a Culture of Peace in the Middle East: Track Three Diplomacy."  Sponsoring the conference, held at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, were The Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Global Ethics, the European Foundation for Freedom, the Knesset Caucus for Israel and Global Ethics, and the Christ the Redeemer's Friends Trust.  In his talk, Salem said, "Because the world is more religious than secular, religion will continue to dominate world politics, especially in the Middle East, and religious solutions must be found before addressing political and economic issues in dealing with the conflict. Why? Religious beliefs inspire far greater passion among supporters than the opportunities for political or economic gain."

Read excerpts from Omer Salem's talk on Middle East peace:


"Religion has been and continues to be a mixed bag. It has been, more often than not, a source of conflict, a ground for racism, sexism and war. And yet, religion has also inspired some individuals and communities to peace and justice. The premise of this course is that religion should be much more about struggling with questions than offering answers." T. James Kodera '71 Div., Sept. 21, 2012, Wicked Local Sherborn (MA), in the article "Sherborn Lifetime Learning offers 'Introduction to the Academic Study of Religion.'"


"Our seminary and graduate school students are fortunate to have had this bright young scholar and theologian as one of their professors for the last five years. Now we are all blessed to have his services as the associate academic dean of the school."  Albert J.D. Aymer, president of Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC, announcing the appointment of Trevor Eppehimer '99 M.Div. as associate academic dean of Hood.


"One thing our church was known for was its choir and music and it is one thing we want to restore.  Hawaiian churches had a song festival and this church used to win some of them." Gwendolyn Kehaunani Hill '03 M.Div., Sept. 5, 2012, The Garden Island (Lihue, HI), in the article "A calling to faith and service: Hill returns to serve community that inspired her." http://thegardenisland.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/religion/a-calling-to-faith-and-service/article_8e5df8ea-f723-11e1-9d16-0019bb2963f4.html


Chatham HallThree YDS grads share links to another school as well:  Chatham Hall, an Episcopal all-girls boarding and day school in southern Virginia.  Pictured, left to right, are Ned Edwards '85 M.Div., chaplain at Chatham Hall, Herman Hollerith IV '81 M.Div., bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and father of Elizabeth, Chatham Hall Class of 2015; and Gary Fountain, '73 M.A.R., rector at Chatham Hall.


Date Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 - 3:44pm