A Conversation with the new Academic Dean

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin King has been busy, not the least of that is accumulating titles—professor of Christian history, associate dean for academic affairs, director of the Advanced Degree Program, and most recently, a member of The Roberson Project working group. Features sat down with Professor King to learn more about the many aspects of his job— the curricular changes he has helped usher in, his involvement with the Roberson Project, and some of the highs and lows of providing a top-notch learning environment in the time of Covid-19.

A Ministry of Healing

The Rev. Joseph N. Green Jr., T’65, H’10, has the distinction of having earned a master of sacred theology (S.T.М.) from the School of Theology in 1965. In doing so, he made history as one of the first of two African American students to earn a degree from the University of the South. His cousin, William (Bill) Fletcher O’Neal also graduated in 1965 with an S.T.M. As the University launched a year-long celebration of “55 Years of Black Alumni” at the beginning of the academic year, Green’s life-long accomplishments stand as one of the hallmarks of the School of Theology’s history.

Contextual Education in the Time of Covid-19

When the pandemic drastically impacted Americans in March 2020, the School of Theology had to consider alternative avenues of contextual education. Despite the limitations on travel and in-person practice, however, the pandemic created an opportunity for seminarians to engage with a broader region of the United States without traveling.

Appreciating the Beauty of God’s Creation: Sister Elizabeth Carrillo

As you look at the student profiles of the 2019–2020 entering class at the School of Theology, one profile jumps out—Sister Elizabeth Carrillo, T’21, a Catholic nun pursuing her master of arts degree in religion and environment. That might seem surprising, but as Carrillo explains, she saw it as an “ecumenical opportunity.”

Forming and Sharing Religious Public Policy

The inconvenience of the Gospel is that it requires us to dedicate our lives to God above all—above our family, our friends, and indeed above the empire and our politics. Yet, living above politics still requires us to share the good news with those whom Jesus sought, groups that are systematically debilitated by those in positions of political power. Thus, it becomes the job of the Church as the unified representative of Christ to not only share the Gospel with those who are marginalized, but also to remind those in power of their duty to the marginalized as well.

Faith and Politics

From the Mountain surveyed thousands of participants of Education for Ministry (EfM) and asked had any been elected or appointed to political office. We received responses from city council representatives, cabinet secretaries in state governments, state legislators, school board officials, and former White House officials. They were men and women, straight and LGBTQ+, and members of the Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials.

Outreach Model—RIP Medical Debt

RIP Medical Debt makes it easy for your parish to help your community. Running a fundraising campaign with RIP Medical Debt is simple, and the process can begin by filling out a form found on their website. Of course, it would be wonderful to build a society in which these kinds of initiatives weren’t needed—a society where necessary medical care wouldn’t bankrupt you and where medical debt wasn’t one of our nation’s largest contributors to poverty—but in the meantime this is one way that a church can help.

Preaching Today: Prophesy and Partisan Politics

There is a a clear distinction between politics and partisanship, a distinction that is critical for preaching in today’s fractious, fragmented world: being political, that is, addressing the status quo among institutions of power, is not the same as being partisan, allowing bias and prejudice to negate the efforts and interests of others.

The Path to Faith and Justice

Kimberly (Kimi) Dement Dean, T’13, sometimes reflects on her unexpected path to faith and justice which began with a law and theology pilot partnership between the University of Tennessee (UT) Law School and the University of the South’s School of Theology in 2013. In Dean’s view, the promise of that pilot was worth considering, so that she might one day be the first of many law and theology students from Sewanee to enter public life in Tennessee.

An Argument for the Existence of God

The Rev. Dr. Robert MacSwain, associate professor of theology at the School of Theology, has embarked upon a fascinating research project this year, underwritten by a generous grant from the Templeton Religious Trust. "Features" caught up with MacSwain to get the details about his research to write "An Argument for the Existence of God."

A Resurrection-Shaped Life

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana offers his fourth book, A Resurrection Shaped Life: Dying and Rising on Planet Earth, as an introspection into our ordinary lives. Owensby presupposes that the resurrection of Jesus occurred as God’s definitive act of love. This “good news” is not just a static moment in time to be evangelized as an answer to what happens after we die, but rather an example of God’s love being poured into our day to day

Balancing Private and Pastoral Practices

The Rev. Danáe Ashley, T’08, loves dancing “with wild abandon to Celtic music and serious karaoke” as well as being a priest and a practicing, licensed marriage and family counselor. An emerging breed of “free-range” priests, she does not, however, consider herself bi-vocational. “Two pieces of work, one vocation,” she states.

Opening up to the Holy Spirit

Many think we can plan the details of our lives, but God has different objectives. Sometimes we need reminding that wrong turns can lead to unique and beautiful destinations we never thought we would experience. Such is the case of two remarkable individuals who are all too familiar with the ways of the Holy Spirit. Enter the Rev. Stuart Higginbotham, T'17, and Kate Eaton, who will lead a workshop, "Engaging Ministry; Practices of Prayer, Worship, and Community," on the campus of the University of the South Jan. 30–Feb 1.

The Scholarship of Dr. Paul Holloway

Dr. Paul Holloway is the University Professor of Classics and Ancient Christianity, teaching at both the college for the past three years and the seminary for the past 10. An internationally recognized Pauline scholar, we sat down with Holloway to get a little insight into the man, his scholarship, and life on his family's mini-farm.

Why Newman is Important to Anglicans

On Oct. 13, John Henry Newman became the first canonized English saint since 1970, and the first canonized non-martyr in more than 600 years. The Rev. Dr. Benjamin King of the School of Theology was invited to attend the canonization and speak during a conference on Newman held at the Vatican. We asked King to reflect on the importance of Newman's theology to Anglicans. "He was a bridge between communions, transferring a Catholic vision to worldwide Anglicanism and then bringing some of his Anglicanism with him when he became a Catholic."

Warren Swenson—Pastor, Priest, Teacher

The Rev. Warren Swenson, T'18, says that one of the greatest things about Sewanee is that he doesn’t feel pigeonholed; he can work as a priest in local parishes while simultaneously studying for his master of sacred theology degree and teaching undergraduates. “Even though the course I teach, public speaking, is a secular course, a big part of my ministry is the passing on of knowledge. We have this idea that the Church’s only ministry is feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, etc. I think it’s the teaching and sharing of knowledge that is the true ministry of the Church.”

We Are All Sewanee

When he spoke recently at the “Launching of a New Year” service in All Saints’ Chapel, Gray Hodsdon, T’20, had a unifying message for members of the University community—undergraduates, seminarians, faculty, staff, and others: “We are all Sewanee.” As the president of the St. Luke’s Community student body, Hodsdon was invited to speak during the annual service along with undergraduate student leaders and the vice-chancellor.

Helping Women Find Their Voice

Although the first evangelists were women, there are only a few places worldwide where women are approaching parity in ministry. One School of Theology-trained priest, the Rev. Jean Mweningoma, is working to encourage the shift toward equal church leadership in his corner of the world—the Diocese of Buye in the Republic of Burundi in East/Central Africa.

Speaking the Truth in Love

Paul Marcuson of Williamsburg, Virginia, received many glowing remarks as the winner of the 2019 SUMMA Award at SUMMA Theological Debate Camp, held July 16–25, at the School of Theology. All campers and adult leaders vote anonymously at the end of SUMMA Camp for the youth they believe best exemplifies “speaking the truth in love,” a standard that is upheld throughout camp.

The Gospel and a Rocket Stove

Bartholomew Segu, T’16, travels around Tanzania with a gospel message and a ceramic insulating rocket stove design. While much of the world has transitioned to gas and electric stoves, half the earth’s population continues to burn solid fuels like wood, coal, and biomass. In Tanzania, most cooking takes place indoors where some households have a metal charcoal stove and ventilation is often poor or non-existent. As a result, acute respiratory infections have been named as the leading cause of the deaths of four to five million children every year.