The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South

Senior Administration

The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander

The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander

Dean of the School of Theology, Professor of Liturgy, Charles Todd Quintard Professor of Dogmatic Theology

The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Th.D, D.D., was appointed Dean of The School of Theology on June 26, 2012.

Connie Patton Arrick

Connie Patton Arrick

Director of Operations and Financial Aid

Family is my deepest passion, and I am committed to making good things happen for them. I enjoy my work and being part of the caring community that is The School of Theology and my commitment stems from that same desire to make good things happen. Year after year, I watch the faculty, staff, students and their families grow, change, and effect positive changes in the world and in the Church. It feels good to know that, on some level, I support and contribute to those lives and that work. Maybe I put together a proposal to make better use of our funds; maybe I give a helpful analysis of a program or procedure that results in improvement; maybe I help spruce up a work or study space; or maybe I just listen to a personal story and respond with respect and kindness. As long as I’m here and able, I hope to do something that matters toward making good things happen.

Elsa Swift Bakkum

Elsa Swift Bakkum

Assistant Director for Training, Education for Ministry

I find Grace in every corner of every life. By taking a long compassionate look at our broader contexts, we can dare to name the Divine spark within. I watch ministry grow from this place of Essence. My passion for awareness of the heights and depths of life's challenges informs how I train mentors for their facilitating roles in Education for Ministry seminar groups and how I approach the empowerment of the trainers who prepare mentors. In EfM we encourage everyone to live into their calling. EfM at its best creates spaces for people to consider best ways to respond to God's love and abundance.

Sandra Brock

Sandra Brock

Administrative Assistant to the Dean

I have 25 years of office experience in many different fields that I draw upon in my daily work as the administrative assistant to the dean of The School of Theology.

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Bryan

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Bryan

C. K. Benedict Professor of New Testament, emeritus, Editor of the Sewanee Theological Review

I love words and texts, especially great texts — those that sustain the best attention of the greatest number of people over the longest time. The books of the New Testament have certainly done that. A story like Peter’s denial is in a way quite ordinary, even sordid: a police action involving a fisherman and a slave-girl. Contemporary writers would generally have made of it something either scurrilous or farcical. In the gospels it attains dignity, calling forth our sympathy and grief. As with all great art, we experience this as we surrender ourselves to it. But there is more. The Reformers said these texts possessed “transparency,” and they were partly right. Where the Scriptures are read in the fellowship of faith, under the guidance of creed and sacrament, transparency to Christ is a work of the Holy Spirit through them. All these are reasons why they fascinate me – indeed, why I love them.

Sukey Byerly

Sukey Byerly

Associate Director for Alumni/ae and Advancement

Coming from a family of educators and missionaries, having a firm belief in the value of community worship and ritual, and yet not feeling called to follow exactly in my father’s educator’s footsteps, I found the perfect niche for my sensibilities in advancement at The School of Theology. I get to spend every day with people who are teaching and learning, and then I get to tell other people about it. It is a great joy to be paid to have a role in growing the faith and enriching the lives of others.

Dr. Courtney Cowart

Dr. Courtney Cowart

Associate Dean and Director of The School of Theology’s Programs Center

In my position as associate dean and director of The School of Theology’s programs center, I draw on my background as a theological educator and my programmatic leadership with Trinity Grants in New York, as co-director of the office of disaster response in New Orleans post-Katrina, and with The Fund for Theological Education.The School of Theology is a trusted partner with a rich ecology of relationships throughout the Anglican Communion. The programs center is operationally suited to house a new generation of training initiatives, having supported Education for Ministry’s worldwide ministry for all these years. The resources in Sewanee and our network of relationships with other potential partners make for a very exciting combination. I believe the primary reason I am here is to give shape to that opportunity and to gather a community of collaborators to dream big and make those dreams reality.

Dr. James Warren Dunkly

Dr. James Warren Dunkly

School of Theology Librarian, Lecturer in New Testament

Bringing people together with the resources they need to do their work is my greatest reward as a librarian. As lecturer in New Testament as well as theological librarian, I am able to teach in my academic specialty as well as help students, faculty, and others with their needs and interests. To do so in this university environment is a particular pleasure in that enquiry and discussion here are so varied and stimulating.

James M. Goodmann

James M. Goodmann

Associate Director of the Programs Center

I have 20 years of experience in working with young people in vocational discernment and with institutions that support that discernment (campus ministries, universities, non-profit grants work). The cumulative experience of those years causes me describe myself as one who listens deeply with others, creatively engaging with them to carve pathways of practice and discernment for the church that wants to be born. Sewanee is a particularly apt place for those engagements: passionately committed to learners who change lives and who are especially conscious of the company of the Holy Spirit — and of the company of similarly committed men and women — in their chosen vocations.

The Rev. Dr. Deborah Jackson

The Rev. Dr. Deborah Jackson

Associate Dean for Community Life

Years ago, when I was seeking a seminary to attend, I fell in love with The School of Theology at Sewanee. It was certainly the right place for me as a seminarian and now I am thrilled to be back and in a role that allows me to assist others in their formation for ministry. In my role as associate dean for community life, I work closely with students and their families to connect them with a variety of resources that can enhance their seminary experience. I also collaborate with faculty, staff, and others as needed to help provide an environment of seamless pastoral care and support. I am passionate about overseeing key aspects of community life for students — from new student orientation to deployment assistance for upcoming graduates. It is an exciting time to be at Sewanee, and an honor to facilitate community building that equips church leaders to do the ministry to which they have been called.

Karen M. Meridith

Karen M. Meridith

Executive Director, Education for Ministry

I consider myself a practical theologian. I am most interested in faith in action and faith on the ground, so one of the things I love best about my work is being part of the vast web of interdependent relationships that extend Education for Ministry well beyond this mountaintop. I love knowing that the people of God who have been in EfM’s communities of learning over the past 38 years are out there across the globe, participating in what Verna Dozier called “the Dream of God”: doing what they can where they are to bring wholeness to a broken world. At its heart EfM is not simply a course of theological study but one that integrates learning with a spiritual discipline of lifelong discernment in community and allows us to examine our own faith and life experiences in that context. When I asked, “Where is God calling me?” it was in the community of my EfM seminar group that I heard that call most clearly.

The Rev. Annwn Hawkins Myers

The Rev. Annwn Hawkins Myers

Associate Dean for Recruitment and Admissions

After 23 years serving the University as associate chaplain, I was offered the opportunity to move 'across the street' to create a brand new position, that of associate dean for recruitment and admissions. I love Sewanee; my family has been raised here; I know the town and her people, the college and the seminary, and so it seemed right and natural to be the one who could 'hit the road' and share this extraordinary place and what we do here so well, with others. What I love most is meeting new people, being an integral part of their discernment process, and reconnecting with our alums along the way.

Mary Ann Patterson

Mary Ann Patterson

Director of Marketing and Communications

I moved to Sewanee, Tenn., from a small town in the northern Piedmont area of Virginia, surrounded by mountains and farms. I was drawn to Sewanee after graduating from the Education for Ministry program at my local church and found Sewanee's landscape of mountains and farms to be equally breathtaking. The offer to live and continue to learn in such a beautiful place was one that I couldn't turn down. Sharing wonderful stories and exciting news has always been a passion of mine. I consider my position at The School of Theology as having provided me with the chance to now tell the best story of all.

The Rev. Canon James F. Turrell, Ph.D.

The Rev. Canon James F. Turrell, Ph.D.

Norma and Olan Mills Prof of Divinity, Assoc. Dean for Academic Affairs, Sub-dean of the Chapel of the Apostles

I am passionate about the study of religious practices in the past and about preparing clergy to lead effective worship in the present and future. The historical perspective helps us to understand what we are doing and to resist the merely trendy, instead pointing us towards the things that endure, translated for an evolving culture. I am both a historian and a priest, and both of these vocations inform my work as a scholar and teacher. My interest in dead Britons of the Tudor and Stuart era coexists with my enthusiasm for good liturgy done well in the present, in the service of God and God’s people.

The Rev. Kathryn Mary (Kammy) Young

The Rev. Kathryn Mary (Kammy) Young

Director of Contextual Education and Lecturer in Contextual Theology

It is great, after 20 years of loving life with congregations in parish ministry, to have to this experience with others preparing to serve as priests. Jesus’ way of abundant life and love has been the inspiration of my passion for recovering the interrelatedness of spirituality and justice, stewardship and mission. It is a true joy to connect with brilliant students in partnership with excellent faculty and outstanding area clergy mentors to create environments in which leaders for the church’s mission can develop. My goal is to prepare the way for The School of Theology’s contextual education program to take next steps in addressing the most urgent and important task facing the world in our day – that of shaping leaders for transformational Christian ministry.