Craig C. Hill

Anthony Elia named Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian, director of Bridwell Library

Anthony Elia, Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and Director of Bridwell Library, SMUAnthony Elia has been named J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and director of Bridwell Library in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, effective June 1, 2018. He succeeds retiring director Roberta Schaafsma, who has served in that role since April 2007.

Elia, director of library and educational technology at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis since 2013, will be responsible for providing vision, strategic direction and operational leadership for Bridwell Library. In addition, he will promote the development of collections and oversee the library’s public service and user education efforts.

“Bridwell Library is an extraordinary institution, both in the theological library world and the greater global community of research and scholarship,” Elia said. “It is a great honor to join such an exceptional staff and inclusive community, where students, teachers, scholars, lay community members, ministers, alumnae/i, and many others are able to work with world-class collections.

“The vision for Bridwell will be a vision of partnerships, engagement, and community participation, where all will continue to feel welcome to find inspiration and spirit in their work, life, and vocations,” he said.

Elia earned a B.A. degree in religious studies from St. Lawrence University, M.A. degrees in religious studies from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in history of Christianity from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and the Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree from the University of Illinois.

He brings significant expertise in library science and educational technology, which he has utilized in both U.S. and global contexts.  From 2010-13, he served as head Public Services Librarian at Burke Library, Columbia University, and was a lecturer in theological writing at Union Theological Seminary, both in New York City.  In addition, he has held positions at the JKM Library of McCormick Theological Seminary and Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the American Theological Library Association, and the Regenstein Library, University of Chicago.

The author of numerous publications, he will present “The Theology of Cybersecurity” at the June 2018 American Theological Library Association (ATLA) conference in Indianapolis.  Elia has held numerous leadership positions in his field, including membership on the Directors’ Committee of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), where he also served as secretary of the Executive Committee.  He was chair/president of the New York Area Theological Library Association (NYATLA) from 2011-12 and vice-president of the Chicago Area Theological Library Association (CATLA) in 2010.  In addition, he was chair and past co-chair of the International Relations Round Table IVC Committee, American Library Association (ALA) from 2013-15.

Elia has also been awarded a number of grants, including a 2015-16 Wabash Center Grant for “Pedagogy of the Archive.”

A composer, Elia served as Composer in the Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts Seminar at Butler University and was also invited by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to deliver a pre-concert lecture on Olivier Messiaen and Theology in 2016.

“Anthony Elia brings extraordinary energy and intellectual curiosity to this position,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “In addition to his academic degrees, he has studied some twenty languages, including work in Prague, Rome, and Nairobi. Just as important, he has demonstrated the ability to forge connections between a theological library and the wider university and community.”

The J.S. Bridwell Library—among the best theological libraries in the nation—includes a full range of theological, biblical, and historical materials relating to the development of Christianity. In addition to the material available in the basic lending collection of the library, which is strong in Methodist materials, Bridwell Library contains a number of special collections that are especially valuable for the study of topics related specifically to the background, rise, development, and present status of Methodism.

With total holdings exceeding 370,000 volumes, Bridwell Library’s Special Collections contain over 50,000 printed books dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Most of the printed works in these holdings, often in first and early editions, are in the fields of theology, church history, scripture, liturgy, and philosophy. Many of these editions are distinguished by fine illustration and typography, notable provenances, and historically significant bindings. Holdings also include manuscript correspondence by John Wesley and other important figures in early Methodism, archival collections of American Methodism and private presses, and a small group of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.

> Visit SMU’s Bridwell Library online: smu.edu/bridwell

SMU to commence $6.1 million Bridwell Library renovation

Bridwell Library, SMUSMU is announcing plans to move forward with renovation of Bridwell Library, one of the University’s most visible libraries and one of the United States’ preeminent theological libraries. Funding secured from the J.S. Bridwell Foundation is enabling the $6.1 million renovation project to move forward.

“We are very grateful to the Bridwell Foundation for partnering with SMU since the late 1940s to make Bridwell Library a center of excellence in providing services and resources for theological education and theological reflection,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As we look forward to this next chapter in Bridwell Library’s development, we cannot overstate the critical importance of the Foundation’s ongoing vision and support to ensure the Library’s stature and quality.”

“The Foundation is pleased to be able to continue to support the vision of J. S. Bridwell and his daughter, Margaret Bridwell Bowdle, far into the future,” said Bridwell Foundation President Mac Cannedy. “They would be proud of where Bridwell Library has come since they first envisioned it, and equally pleased with the direction it will go in the future with this latest renovation.”

Planned renovations include structural improvements to the facility to allow better accessibility for patrons, especially those with wheelchairs and other special needs. Students, faculty and scholars will gain new spaces for study, research and gathering, as well as instructional areas for teaching and presentations. The library will also add new features to enhance service spaces and overall user experience.

With more than 380,000 volumes, Bridwell Library houses one of the nation’s finest research collections in theology and religious studies. Its collection of rare books and manuscripts includes more than 50,000 items dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Among the special collections are the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection and the largest collection in the United States of manuscript letters written by John Wesley.

While it primarily serves Perkins School of Theology, Bridwell Library is also the principal bibliographic resource at SMU for the fields of theology and religious studies. In addition, it is an important resource for other university programs and for the extended religious, academic and bibliographic communities.

“Bridwell Library is vital to the strength and reputation of the Perkins School. These important capital improvements will greatly benefit students, faculty, and all who utilize the library’s outstanding resources,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Perkins School of Theology announces degree concentrations in Church Management, Social Innovation to begin in Fall 2017

SMU Perkins Chapel with blue foxgloves, 2015, by Hillsman S. Jackson - LRSMU’s Perkins School of Theology has added two new degree concentrations – in partnership with Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts – designed to strengthen future clergy in the area of church management and to equip those pursuing nontraditional forms of ministry that encourage social innovation.

The Church Management and Social Innovation and Nonprofit Engagement (SINE) concentrations will be available beginning Fall 2017 to Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) students.

The Concentration in Church Management is an 18-credit-hour interdisciplinary graduate-level concentration that will provide world-class business education to students in tandem with critical theological preparation. Courses offered by the Cox School, which was ranked No. 6 globally for quality of faculty in 2016, will focus on the needs of nonprofit managers in areas including organizational leadership, staff and volunteer management, membership generation, cross-cultural management and targeted marketing.

“This concentration is both badly needed and highly distinctive,” said Perkins Dean Craig Hill. “It leverages SMU’s considerable strengths in both theological and business education to provide a program that addresses needs of church bodies in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

Offered in partnership with the Meadows School’s Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, the Concentration in Social Innovation and Nonprofit Engagement is designed primarily for students who do not intend to work as pastors in a local church setting, but in nontraditional ministries. The 15-credit-hour interdisciplinary graduate-level concentration will focus on innovative approaches to addressing social issues and the needs arising from technological, demographic and societal changes. Through courses including social entrepreneurship and innovation, business and professional communication, financing for the social good, and others, students will learn how to form effective, practical and sustainable responses to these emerging challenges.

“Perkins students enrolled in the Social Innovation and Nonprofit Management concentration will be able to apply intellectual rigor and spiritual integrity to communication theory, and to practice research, strategy, consulting and advocacy in light of critical theological inquiry,” Dean Hill said. “Many of our students, including those who pursue ordination, find themselves on the cutting-edge of nontraditional ministries within communities across the United States. Perkins and Meadows are committed to equipping leaders not only for current societal realities but also to face future challenges.”

“Students receiving a theological education with either of these concentrations will be better prepared to lead churches, non-profits, and other ministry settings,” said Bishop Michael McKee, episcopal leader of the North Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, member of the SMU Board of Trustees and chair of the Perkins Executive Board. “SMU and Perkins will be providing a better-prepared person for service in our rapidly changing culture.”

> Read the full story at the Perkins School of Theology website

Duke theologian, researcher and administrator Craig C. Hill named dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology

Craig C. Hill, dean of Perkins School of Theology, SMUCraig C. Hill, a Duke University leader in theological education with strengths in practice, research and church relations, has been appointed the new dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, effective July 1, 2016.

Current Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence announced in September 2015 that he will retire from the position on May 16 and take a leave of absence during the 2016-17 academic year, possibly returning to SMU as professor of American church history after that time.

Since 2010, Dr. Hill has served as executive director of the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Christian Practice programs at Duke, as well as research professor of theological pedagogy.

He previously served the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where he held several positions: professor of New Testament, executive director of academic outreach, director of the Wesley Ministry Network, co-director of the dual degree program with The American University and director of the Master of Theological Studies degree program.

> Learn more about the SMU Perkins decanal search committee

“Dr. Hill’s broad achievements as a scholar and pastoral leader make him well-equipped to guide and strengthen the next century of theological higher education at SMU,” said Steven C. Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Theology was one of the first subjects taught when SMU opened in 1915, and today Perkins School of Theology remains central to the mission and character of the University. Dr. Hill will further cement the close relationship between Perkins and The United Methodist Church, as well as with other faith-based organizations in the region, nationally, and around the world. We are delighted that Dr. Hill will join the academic leadership of SMU as dean of the Perkins School of Theology.”

“Perkins School of Theology has from the beginning sought, in the words of Charles Wesley, to ‘unite…knowledge and vital piety,’ to pursue the highest standard of theological scholarship, not simply for its own sake, but for the benefit of the Church,” said Dr. Hill. “I was delighted to discover one of the school’s earliest mottos: ‘Take the School of Theology to the Church.’ My own career has been defined by that same goal, so I feel incredibly privileged to join the Perkins community as it seeks faithfully to fulfill its mission in its second century of service to the Church.”

From his experience at theology schools of other distinguished universities, Dr. Hill brings a broad overview of best practices and evolving challenges in different regions of the nation and world. These positions include those at seminaries in Moscow, Russia; Seoul, Korea; and the University of Cambridge, England. In the United States, he has been a visiting professor at Howard University Divinity School and at Indiana University and was a Henry Luce Fellow at Yale Divinity School. Based on his experience at Duke University, Dr. Hill will bring insights into how theological education aligns with other academic programs in a global research university with a liberal arts tradition, such as SMU.

“Trends in theology education, the growing need for outreach to underserved communities and the importance of preparing ministers for new challenges and opportunities – all demand the balance of theological practice and reflection that Dr. Hill will bring to his leadership of Perkins,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Among Dr. Hill’s church positions, he served as director of Christian Education at First United Methodist Church, Meriden, Connecticut; as chaplain at Christ Church College, University of Oxford; as associate pastor at First United Methodist Church, Peoria, Illinois; and as associate pastor at Woodside United Methodist Church, Springfield, Illinois.

“In a very competitive field, Dr. Craig Hill stood out for a number of reasons,” said Samuel S. Holland, chair of the search committee and dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. “He has served in various executive positions at Duke Divinity School and Wesley Theological Seminary, in other words both in a theological school embedded in a research university and at an independent institution. He brings an international perspective to SMU. In all, he will provide ecumenical breadth and theological depth that Perkins School of Theology will need going forward.”

Dr. Hill is the author of numerous scholarly articles and the forthcoming book, The Greatest Among You: Reclaiming a New Testament Perspective on Status and Ambition. His previous books include In God’s Time: The Bible and the Future and Hellenists and Hebrews: Reappraising Division within the Earliest Church.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford (Christ Church College).

Review Craig C. Hill’s curriculum vitae