February Brings Two Fellows-in-residence to Sewanee

School of Theology sign on front

Fellows-in-residence are clergy and laity who spend two weeks at The School of Theology for a time of reflection, recreation, study, and sharing in community. While there is no formal program, fellows are provided with faculty consultants, if they so desire, and opportunities to attend classes and other University events. The Easter term brings two fellows to Sewanee from Feb. 11–22—The Rev. Dr. Stanley Runnels and the Rev. Aaron Stauffer.


The Rev. Dr. R. Stanley Runnels, T'83, T'12

Runnels is originally from the Diocese of Mississippi, and is currently the Diocese of West Missouri. In addition to many years of parish and school ministry, he has served in a variety of diocesan leadership roles in the dioceses of Mississippi and West Missouri and has served on interim bodies of General Convention for The Episcopal Church. He completed a six-year term on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church in 2018.  He served as deputy or alternate to six General Conventions

Locally, Runnels is engaged deeply in social justice/social gospel actions, working with both ecumenical partners and poor and marginalized communities. In recent years, he participated in direct actions of civil disobedience in Missouri and Washington D.C.  He was on the planning team for the event at the Hutto Detention Facility in Texas during the 2018 General Convention.

Runnels is working on three projects and wants to use the in-residence time to “polish” at least one of these projects to final form. 


The Rev. Aaron K. Stauffer

Stauffer’s work lies at the intersection of the academy, the Christian church, and community organizing. His dissertation is focused on the political role of sacred value in broad based community organizing. Drawing from a tradition of radical democracy, constructive feminist and anti-racist critiques of liberal political theory, and the rising field of “lived religion,” Aaron’s dissertation argues for the value of religious language in the practice of community organizing. His theological interests lie primarily in neo-Augustinian political theology and the influence of John Locke on contemporary political economy and political theology of race. His work draws heavily from the fields of Christian social ethics, political theology, and political philosophy.

Stauffer most recently was the executive director and then special advisor of Religions for Peace USA, where he helped launch a national anti-Islamophobia program based in the southeast, along with organizing national senior religious leaders on issues of common concern such as mass incarceration, immigration and climate change. Before his doctoral work, Stauffer was an organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation in San Antonio, Texas. He is active in his denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and has been active participant in international ecumenical and interfaith organizations, such as the World Council of Reformed Churches and the World Council of Churches

Stauffer plans to write his doctoral dissertation addressing the political theology of community organizing.