News and Info

NEWS

CDSP News

Church Divinity School of the Pacific has named Jennifer Snow, associate for discipleship ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of California, to a dual position as director of extended learning and assistant professor of practical theology.

“Jennifer Snow is well positioned in background and sensibilities to take on the leadership of our extended learning program,” said the Very Rev. Mark Richardson, CDSP’s president and dean. “She brings a probing, analytic intellect and collaborative spirit to her work. I am delighted that she will be guiding the planning and implementation of our extended learning initiatives.”

Snow, who holds a Ph. D. in religion from Columbia University, is the author of “Protestant Missionaries, Asian Immigrants, and Ideologies of Race in America.” She has also written several articles on religion, immigration, and faith-based activism.

Snow, who was previously deputy director of Progressive Christians Uniting in Los Angeles, said she is excited by the opportunity both to develop CDSP’s distance learning offerings and online pedagogy, and to teach in a seminary classroom.

“Being extended learning director will be really interesting because I love the challenge of both identifying people’s needs and then finding the people who can fill them,” Snow said. “I can continually meet people and say ‘Oh that sounds interesting. I bet we can make a great course out of that.’

“For the practical theology part, I love teaching and being able to teach in a faith-based institution is very exciting to me,” she added. “I am looking forward to teaching people who are deeply committed to their own faith journeys, and to creating an environment in which people’s discernment is respected and is part of the classroom context.”

Snow will arrive at CDSP as the seminary is reshaping its extended learning program, currently known as the Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL). While the program’s mission—“to bring the broadest possible Anglican theological education to the widest possible audience using the best educational technology available”—will not change, its offerings and approach to online education will.

“I wanted to develop a better pedagogy for the people teaching the course so they have all of the resources availability to create exciting courses,” Snow said. “People who are really good teachers in person can become really good teachers online, but it’s not the same.”

Richardson said Snow’s arrival is well timed. “It is commonly understood that our church and our bishops are in a dynamic phase regarding how they will support needs for theological education to serve the future of the church” he said. “CALL is very well positioned to offer creative options to enhance the classic approaches taken to theological education.”

Snow, who begins work in June, is married to the Rev. Teresita Valeriano, a Lutheran minister. Their son, Taal Charles, is almost two.

At its 121st commencement on May 22, CDSP will give the following awards and prizes:

The Right Rev. Richard Millard Prize for Excellence in Preaching 

The Right Rev. Richard Millard (CDSP M.Div. ’60) is former rector of Christ Church, Alameda; former Bishop Suffragan for the Diocese of California; former alumni director for CDSP; former director of mission development for The Episcopal Church; and retired bishop of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe. 

The Fran Toy Prize for Multicultural Ministry at a Field Education Site 

The Rev. Dr. Fran Toy (CDSP M.Div. ’84, D.D. ’96) is the first Asian-American woman ordained in The Episcopal Church, in 1985, and is a former Director of Alumni/ae and Student Affairs at CDSP. 

The L. Vernon Trabert and Martin L. Graebner Scholar’s Resource Award

L. Vernon Trabert, father of Bertita Graebner, provided both practical funding and presence to the mission efforts of his church. Martin Graebner, father of Michael Graebner, practiced his mission through the use of the original languages of Scripture in everyday settings.

As a memorial to both, Bertita and Michael Graebner established this award to encourage the study of the New Testament in the original Greek.

Kellor Smith Scholarship for Youth Ministry

Kellor Smith is Youth and Family Minister at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Oakland, California. The scholarship fund was created in honor of her dedication to youth ministryand her decades of service to youth. The scholarship is awarded to a CDSP seminarian who has demonstrated a special interest in, and talent for, youth ministry.

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, a well-known Lutheran ethicist, has accepted a joint appointment as professor of Christian ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and CDSP.

Moe-Lobeda has taught at Seattle University since 2004 and is co-author of the forthcoming book, “The Bible and Ethics in the Christian Life: A New Conversation.”  Her other books include “Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation” and “Public Church:  For the Life of the World.”

“Cynthia Moe-Lobeda is a widely recognized expert on the ethical dimensions of globalization, the environmental crisis and the impact of race, class and gender on moral decision-making,” said the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, dean and president of CDSP. “She will make an important contribution not only to the formation of our students at CDSP, but also to seminarians from Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia and the Pacific who study with us here in Berkeley.”

“We are very pleased that Dr. Moe-Lobeda has chosen to cast her lot with the community at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary,” said Rev. Brian Stein-Webber, interim chief administration Officer at PLTS.  “Her books are already an important part of our curriculum, and to have her wisdom and insight and care being delivered in person is as much as we could hope for!  We pray for her and her husband Ron’s transitions in the coming months.”

Moe-Lobeda is well known in ecclesial, faith-based organizing and theological education circles. She received her Ph.D. in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York where she wrote her dissertation, on “…economic globalization and Luther’s Indwelling God as source of subversive moral agency.” 

Moe Lobeda had previously received an M.T.S. from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., and an M.S.W. from the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, Seattle.  She did her undergraduate work at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. She will assume the responsibilities of this PLTS/CDSP joint appointment in the fall semester.

“We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Moe-Lobeda,” said Alicia Vargas, interim dean at PLTS. “She will bring distinction, prophetic spark, and dedicated and world-engaged scholarship and teaching to PLTS.  With this, Moe-Lobeda will contribute to the tradition of excellence and Lutheran strength of our seminary within the richness of the GTU.” 

For some, biblical Hebrew is an impediment to studying the Old Testament. For Julián Andrés González Holguín, it was the main attraction.

“Back in my country, a pastor very dear to me said, ‘Julián, would you like to learn Hebrew?’” said González, a native of Colombia. “ He was and is a member of the society that is translating the Hebrew Bible into Spanish. I have always liked languages and learning languages. From there began the idea of doing something with the Hebrew Bible.”

Something life-changing, as it turns out.

González, who recently completed his Ph.D. with honors at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, will join CDSP’s faculty this summer as an assistant professor of Old Testament, a joint appointment with Pacific Lutheran Seminary.

“Julián offers a fresh new voice in the world of scholarship and teaching in the context of theological education,” said the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, CDSP’s dean and president, in announcing the appointment. “He is very integrative in his approach to studies in sacred texts, looking for contemporary analogies to the experience of God in the ancient Middle East.

“For example, he explores contemporary issues of immigration in light of Old Testament experiences of exodus and diaspora. It is a hermeneutic of lively immediacy that will bring new insight from scriptural studies.”

González’s research, publications and teaching have focused on how religious ideologies and Biblical narratives have been used to provoke and justify violence. He comes by his interest in violence through experience, he says.

“My country has been in violence since the late 1940s and early 1950s,” González says. “We have had guerilla groups since the 1950s. We haven’t been able to come to a peace agreement. Colombia is a country against itself. I have had experiences myself that have led to an interest in looking at the texts of violence in the Bible and how we interpret them, how we deal with them and how we use them nowadays.”

González has a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali, and worked for four years as a software developer at Shell, before entering Truett Seminary at Baylor University in 2006 where he and his wife, Viviana Urdaneta, earned master’s degrees in divinity. Urdaneta, who also earned a master’s degree in social work at Baylor, a therapist in Dallas, is president of Latinos Against Domestic violence and the organizer of the Madrinas, a program that trains indigenous leaders to support victims of abuse.

While at Baylor, the couple volunteered at First Baptist Church. “We were involved in ministry with migrant population, especially Mexican citizens,” González said. First Baptist is a primarily white church in a predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhood. “We were trying to be a bridge between both communities,” he said.

While at First Baptist, González developed HABLA (Hablando Alrededor de la Biblia con los Amigos – Speaking around the Bible with Friends), a program in which members of the local Hispanic community and church members met to share food and read the Bible together. Through common study, they came to understand better how their life experiences and cultural assumptions shaped their understanding of scripture.

“Most of those attending were migrants,” González said. “They were happy to express their own concerns and to see Biblical texts as a means to express their concerns. But if people are not part of these marginalized communities, but from communities that perhaps benefit from the violence in our society, their reception is different. They don’t want to read it that way. It raises issues that they don’t want to deal with. It has different reception depending on the circumstances on the audience.”

González said he was moved to apply for the faculty opening at CDSP in part because of the opportunity to teach in the diverse interfaith environment of the Graduate Theological Union, and in part by a sentence on the seminary’s website which says that CDSP “integrates scholarship, reflection and worship with the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“That balance between reflection and preparation, that double emphasis is very important to me,” he said.

González is a member of the Hispanic Theological Initiative, which was founded in 1996 to support Latino and Latina students and faculty members in theological education. “In the Latino community, there many identities” he said. “There is not a single lens. I think what I can say as a Colombian is that I bring this concern about violence, and as a migrant I understand the experience of being in a place that is not yours and that is sometimes hostile but sometimes welcoming.

“Coming out of that context, I think I see myself as encouraging and supporting a Latino voice that can contribute to the understanding of these issues of migration and fellowship with the other.”

While González knows little about the Bay Area, he has already seen enough to know that it speaks to him in one particular way.

“I love hiking,” he said. “I really love that. I miss mountains. In Colombia, I used to take my bike and the mountains were three blocks from my home. Here in Texas everything is flat. So I am looking forward to hiking again.”

Tamra Tucker is an explorer.

When she was an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma she’d occasionally just drop into her car and go for a ride, ending up in Florida or Minnesota, or Boston, which she had always admired from a far.

In August, Tucker will begin to explore Berkeley when she takes up residence at CDSP. She has been awarded her one of the seminary’s two coveted Excellence in Ministry scholarships, which include full tuition and a $1,000 stipend.

Thanks to alumni and donors who have contributed to funds through estate plans and endowed gifts, CDSP has expanded its range of scholarships and financial aid for the 2015-2016 academic year.

“I think right now CDSP is the most stable and life-giving community that there is,” says Tucker, who will soon be a postulant for Holy Orders from the Diocese of Massachusetts, and serves as the operations manager at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston’s Back Bay.

The admiration is mutual. “Over the years, CDSP has been fortunate to welcome excellent students from the Diocese of Massachusetts,” says the Rev. Andrew Hybl, CDSP’s director of admissions. “Tamra's energy and passion for ministry are palpable. I believe the gifts for ministry that she brings will be expanded during her time at CDSP, which will prepare her to excel in any ministry setting."

Tucker grew up in Oklahoma, a diocese that she says had a strong youth ministry program. “We were all close,” she says of participants in the program. “And our camps and chaplains were encouraging of asking difficult questions about our faith. That led many of us to discernment for the ministry.”

As an undergraduate, Tucker sang in the choir and worked as an intern at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norman, where CDSP alumna the Rev. Twila Smith (MDiv ’14) was a lay member of the parish staff.

“I learned a lot from her about ‘finding the gap’—figuring out what services were missing in a community and then figuring out whether the church could help to provide them,” Tucker says of Smith.

Smith, now a missioner at Church of the Mediator in Allentown, Pennsylvania, says the “stirrings toward ordained ministry” were apparent in Tucker during her undergraduate years. “You don’t have to be around Tamra long to hear and see her love of God and love of the church, and her dedication to both seem to grow with each passing year,” Smith says.

After college, Tucker moved to Boston—which she “fell in love with” on one of her impromptu road trips—to participate in Life Together, a part of a national network of intentional communities for young adults called Episcopal Service Corps.

Tucker and the other interns in the “relational evangelism” branch of the program received training in community organizing and were sent out to talk with people about their needs and hopes, and to help organize the community to bring about political change. The work was not easy, Tucker says. “But I like struggle. I like working things through and going the hard way, so I enjoyed it.”

When the program ended, she found a series of jobs that allowed her to remain in Boston, and began worshiping with The Crossing, a community that convened at St. Paul’s Cathedral. “I was a co-convener, which is their version of a vestry, and was part of the leadership of the worship circle,” she says. “I loved discussing liturgical design. We’d form partnerships with churches that wanted a fresher expression of worship and work with them.”

Eighteen months ago, she began working at Emmanuel, a church that is a popular venue for concerts, weddings, 12-step meetings, and other kinds of events that keep an operations manager busy. As she made her way through the discernment process, her thoughts turned to CDSP.

“I’ve had a list of seminaries in my head for ten years since I first started to think about becoming a priest when I was 18,” she says. “And I’ve come to realize that the thing I yearned for most was a different atmosphere, a different environment than what I had been serving in, or what I had grown up in. I needed to experience as much as possible before I settle in one place.”

She’s also eager to study with CDSP’s partner schools in the Graduate Theological Union. “I like going to the source of things,” she says. “I can imagine studying at a rabbinical institute for Hebrew, studying preaching with Baptists. Even if I put my own Anglican spin on it, I can see what it is like to get that cultural perspective.”

Tucker says she is drawn to prison ministry and working among the homeless, but adds, “I think I would really love and be challenged by parish ministry. To commit your family and your life to an already-formed community, and then to be charged with leading that community in some direction, I think that is a challenge I would find very enlivening.”

Author James Carroll will give the address at CDSP’s 121st Commencement on May 22, 2015 at 10:30 am in the St. Margaret’s Courtyard. The event is open to the public and will be broadcast live online at www.cdsp.edu.

Carroll, who will be awarded an honorary doctorate, is the author of 11 novels and eight works of non-fiction and is a regular columnist for The Boston Globe. In a profile for the Spring 2015 issue of Crossings, CDSP's magazine, he said, "All of my work has been preoccupied with trying to reconcile the relationship between the Christian religion and...grotesque outbreaks of violence, especially anti-Semitism."

At the ceremony, CDSP will award the Master of Divinity degree to 15 candidates and will also grant the Master of Theological Studies and Doctor of Ministry degrees, the Master of Arts degree in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union, and the Certificate of Anglican Studies.

The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, bishop of Utah, and the Rt. Rev. Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan of North Carolina, will receive the honorary Doctor of Divinity at the ceremony.

Hayashi, who was elected bishop of Utah in 2010, is known as an advocate for health care, immigration reform, and respect for other faith traditions. Before becoming bishop, he was canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Chicago for five years and served parishes in Washington, Utah and California. Hayashi, who converted to Christianity at age 15, earned a certificate of studies from CDSP in 1984, an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Washington.

Hodges-Copple, who was elected bishop suffragan of North Carolina in 2013, is a 1984 graduate of the Pacific School of Religion, one of CDSP’s partners in the Graduate Theological Union. Her MDiv studies included coursework at CDSP. Prior to seminary, Hodges-Copple was a community organizer. Since ordination, she has served congregations in the Diocese of North Carolina and as Episcopal chaplain to Duke University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in public policy in 1979.

Priority for parking in the CDSP lot will be given to our honorees and those who require special access. Some parking may be available on the morning of the event, but please leave extra time to find street parking.

Dear Friends:

Grau Marion II thumbBefore you all take a well-deserved break next week, I want to let you know that Professor Marion Grau has accepted the positions of professor of systematic theology and missiology at the Norwegian School of Theology and editor of the Norwegian Journal of Missiology beginning this fall.

Marion’s impressive research, which includes three books and numerous journal articles, has made substantial contributions to her field and the wider church’s understanding of systematic and constructive theology. You may know that, for the last several years, Marion has been conducting research on pilgrimage sponsored by the Norwegian Research Foundation’s Ritual and Democracy Project. Her new position will make it possible both to return to Europe full-time and to extend this important new academic work and the relationships that have developed from it. While I will be sorry to say goodbye to Marion, who has been at CDSP for fourteen years, I hope you will all join me in congratulating her on this prestigious new position.

Between now and the end of the spring semester in May, we will find opportunities to celebrate Marion’s time with us. Most immediately, I hope that you will plan to attend, in person or online, the forum on her new book, “Refiguring Theological Hermeneutics:  Hermes, Trickster, Fool,” tomorrow evening at 7:45 pm. More information is available on the website.

MacDougall headshot thumbI am glad to announce that Scott MacDougall will join us for the 2015-2016 academic year as visiting assistant professor of theology. Scott, whose MA thesis I directed at General Theological Seminary in 2007, holds a PhD in theology from Fordham University and has taught there as a teaching fellow since 2010. In addition to his first-rate academic career, Scott is also an experienced grants manager who has worked for the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and other New York-based non-profit organizations. While Scott joins us in Berkeley, his husband, Michael Angelo, will remain in New York, where he is the founder and creative director of the prestigious salon Wonderland, and will visit us during the year.

Faithfully,

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson
Dean and President