About People - May 2013

Claassen“Sabbath is really about pausing in your daily life and returning your gaze back to the divine,” said Scott Claassen ’11 M.Div. in a recent interview about his year long bike trip—“a Carbon Sabbath”—across America to talk with churches about a Christian response to climate change, “In taking a Carbon Sabbath my intention was to look at the divine presence in our lives apart from all of the frenzy that leads us to mindlessly contribute to climate change.” Claassen is a leader of Thad’s, an experimental community of the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles. Online on 89.3 KPCC - Southern California Public Radio, April 19. >Read the full story.

Carol Rose Ikeler ’50 B.D. passed away earlier this year on February 16. Ikeler was a fourth-generation minister and in 1958 became the first ordained woman in the Philadelphia Presbytery. In addition to a lifetime of ministry and service in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Ickler served for six years on the YDS Alumni Board. “Those of us who were here in the 1950s reaped the wonderful harvest of the new World Council of Churches,” said Ickler in a 2011 story for Notes from the Quad “...the cutting edge in Protestantism and ecumenism, and many of us really profited by that because the whole faculty was into the World Council of Churches. I mean, we had never been this global before.” >Read her obituary


Thomas W. Ogletree, Frederick Marquand Professor Emeritus of Theological and Social Ethics, and former dean, is facing charges that he violated ecclesiastical rules of the United Methodist Church. Read more from the New York Times. Ogletree issued a response in a Washington Post blog post. Vicki Flippin '08 M.Div. was quoted in the New York Times article and issued a response on her blog page for Church of the Village.

Dean Gregory E. Sterling released the following statement: "Last October Tom Ogletree performed a same-sex wedding ceremony for his son at the Yale Club in New York City. Some have seized upon the gracious response of a father to a son’s request and made an ecclesiastical case out of it. Efforts to turn the act of a loving father into an act of ecclesiastical disobedience only make Christianity appear to be loveless. Tom is a man of faith and principle. As a colleague and Christian, I want to express my full support for him. Our world does not have enough Tom Ogletrees."


For the first time in it’s 290-year history, the Church of Christ, Congregational in Newington, Connecticut will have a female senior pastor. “It shows how times have changed,” said Melanie Enfield ’90 M.Div. who will pastor the church, “People are very accepting and open to it and I appreciate that. There are plenty of women in ministry but their aren’t as many in a senior pastor position.” Online in The New Britain (CT) Herald, April 5. >Read the full story 


"I think poetry, whether or not it's explicitly religious, is one of the best modes that theology, or talking about God, can take,” said poet Nate Klug ’13 M.Div. in an interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition, “…Poetry is a form where the language is under so much pressure, and that can really bring about these wonderful surprises and insights in our ways of talking about God or thinking about our faith." >Read the interview


“The government is seeking to change laws; the communities of faith are working to transform lives,” wrote George C. Anastos ’80 M.Div. in a blog post about gun control for Patheos.com, “The government is enacting law to contain societal violence; the church is grounding itself in incarnate Love to release the common good. It will take both ends of the spectrum, and all places in between, to achieve the ends.” Online on Patheos.com, April 5. >Read Anastos’ full post


For the second year in a row, the Associated Church Press has honored YDS’ Reflections with the top award for theological journals, as well as several other awards. Congratulations to the entire Reflections staff including editor Ray Waddle, managing editor Gus Spohn ’73 M.A.R., and Editorial Director John Lindner on their well-deserved recognition. >Read Reflections

John Dykstra Eusden ’49 B.D. ’54 Ph.D. passed away on April 27. Eusden was chaplain and Nathan Jackson Professor of Christian Theology at Williams College from 1960 until 1992. He later served as the minister of First Congregational Church in Bennington Vermont. >Read his obituary.

Brent Damrow ’10 M.Div. has recently been selected as the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge (MA). “When he preaches he seems to actually ‘glow with the holy spirit’” said members of the Search Committee, “He prays with genuine faith and conviction in a most comforting way.  He is intelligent, compassionate, articulate and accepting.” Online on The Berkshire Eagle, April 26. >Read the announcement.  


“You don’t need to be a Richard Dawkins fan or groupie to point out the many paradoxes, or irrationalities that just the Holy Week conjures. There are plenty – and I was more than happy to point them out these past days in my sermons,” wrote Kazimierz Bem ’10 M.Div. ’11 S.T.M., “But Christianity over centuries has resisted rationalizing itself, minimizing its paradoxes or smoothing out differences, chucking out mysteries for sound solid evidence and logic.” Online in the Marlborough (MA) Enterprise, April 5. >Read Bem’s full column

Jarvis Streeter '82 S.T.M. was presented with the Honorary Alumnus of California Lutheran University where he has been a professor of religion for 25 years. The award honors those “who have rendered outstanding service and brought honor and distinction to the university.” Online on callutheran.edu, April 25. >Read the press release


The Yale University Office of Sustainability has recognized Troy Savage ’13 M.Div. for his work developing a culture of sustainability at YDS. Savage is one of the student Sustainability Coordinators at YDS. >Read about sustainability at YDS


“More than two-thirds of congregations who said sports and fitness programs were a specialty of the congregation reported more than a 10 percent growth in attendance from 2000 to 2010,” wrote David Briggs ’85 M.A.R. in a column for Huffington Post Religion. “In contrast, only a third of churches with no athletic programs reported such growth.” Online in Huffington Post, April 3. >Read Briggs’ full column.

Delfin Bautista ’10 M.Div. has been hired to direct the LGBT center at Ohio University for the 2013-2014 school year. "It's been a passion for me to create safer spaces where people can be just who they are,” said Bautista in the announcement, “Whether that is in terms of legislative advocacy or creating a place to share and ask questions.” Online on Compass, April 22. >Read the story.


“One of most extraordinary things was watching people down on the ground sorting themselves out,” said Nancy Taylor ’81 M.Div. who saw the Boston marathon bombings from atop Old South Church, where she is senior minister, "Some people were running literally towards the danger to help people out. The courage I was witnessed from 246 feet up was amazing." Online on CNN, April 28. >Read the story.


“The current state of our world leaves many among us as people who have no hope for things to improve,” said Kent Siladi ’81 M.Div. who was recently elected as the UCC’s Connecticut Conference Minister. “Yet, isn't it true that the paradox of the Christian faith is that when things are looking the darkest, that's the moment that hope breaks in upon us as a surprise from beyond us? We are a people who cannot give up. We are a people of hope.” Online on ctucc.org, April 22. >Read the story.

Kaji Spellman ’06 M.Div. has been elected senior minister of United Church of Christ of La Mesa. “My prayer is that God has given me the grace to integrate these gifts into a ministry that welcomes people from all backgrounds and affiliations into a community that manages its precious resources deliberately with love and care,” said Spellman. Online on ucclum.org, April 1. >Read the announcement.  

Alan Sorem ’66 M.Div. has recently published a novel: Time: Jesus in Relationships (Wipf & Stock, 2013). The novel “explores the time that Mary and Jesus had together before the beginning of his ministry” as well as “Jesus' relationships with brothers and sisters, with neighbors, and, most important, his relationship with God.” >Read more about the book.

Peter B. Panagore '86 M.Div. will be the featured preacher May 12 on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally syndicated ecumenical radio program also accessible online at Day1.org. >Visit Day1.org

Date Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 6:50pm