May 2022 News Perspective Online

Alumni/ae News: May 2022

Alum Creates Musical about Simon of Cyrene

The Rev. Henry Masters (M.Th. ’71, D.Min. ‘90) produced his own full-length musical about Simon of Cyrene in April at Hamilton Park UMC in Dallas. The Biblical figure is a long-time fascination for Masters — about 20 years ago, he wrote and published a book about Simon, the African man summoned from the crowd to carry Jesus’ cross to Calvary. Now, at age 76 and retired as a United Methodist pastor, Masters made his debut as a theatrical director with “Simon of Cyrene: The Musical.” The project was the subject of a UM News article by Sam Hodges. “Others might write Simon off as a bit-part Biblical character, briefly mentioned by three of the gospels,” Hodges wrote. “Masters finds him fascinating — and highly relevant in a 21st-century America still struggling with race relations.”  Read the story here.

Posthumous Honor for Jack Singleton

At its 138th Commencement on May 14, Hendrix College will award posthumously the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree to alumnus and civil rights activist Jack Singleton, who died in 2019. The degree was to be presented in Spring 2020, but COVID-19 forced a postponement.

After graduating from Hendrix College in 1963, Singleton earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1966 from Perkins, where he became involved in the civil rights movement. He marched in Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and hosted King on a visit to the SMU campus. Later in his life, he was instrumental in starting Arkansas’ first Habitat for Humanity affiliate and served on the Board of Our House Shelter.

Singleton also was a graduate of Little Rock Central High School. According to a Hendrix release, “His sadness over the division and anger of the community surrounding integrating the school inspired his life-long passion for justice. Through his service to the College and to humanity, and his efforts in working for justice, Jack Singleton inspired fellow members of the Hendrix community, modeling what it means to live a life of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy.” Read the release here.

Scholarship Fund Named for Alum

A scholarship fund has been named after Perkins alum the Rev. Bryant X. Phelps (D.Min. ‘17).  The Bryant X. Phelps Endowed Scholarship with the United Negro College Fund is currently open and will support Black students from Texas attending a four-year college/university, with preference given to those attending Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Huston-Tillotson University, Prairie View A&M University and Texas Tech University.  “While this fund bears my name, it is dedicated to my cloud of witnesses,” Bryant said in a Facebook announcement. “I pray that whoever receives this award this year, and in the years to come, realizes that they too stand upon the shoulders of women and men who dared to dream.” Phelps is senior pastor of the Church of the Disciple in DeSoto, Texas. Read more here.

Shane Pair Named to Chaplain Post

The Rev. Shane Pair (M.Div. ’03) has been selected as the National Guard Bureau’s Chaplains Chief of Readiness and Resources, located at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. “I am thankful, humble and nervous all at the same time,” Pair said in a Facebook announcement. “I am honored that the Air National Guard leadership has chosen me to serve. I ask for your prayers that I will have the wisdom of God to lead in every area called upon. I ask you pray for my family as my wife will continue to pastor in Arkansas. Pray for our Airmen who give tirelessly of themselves to ensure this Great Nation remains strong.” Pair is an ordained elder in the Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church and is assigned to the military as an extension ministry. His wife, Sara Cole Pair, a Duke Divinity alum, is the senior pastor at Sequoyah UMC in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

Paige Alvarez Hanks to Austin

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin, Texas, has announced that the Rev. Paige Alvarez Hanks (M.Div. ’18) is the church’s next Priest for Pastoral Care. Hanks currently is serving as a clergy associate at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City; she will begin her ministry at Good Shepherd at the end of May. “The search advisory committee and I found Paige’s personality to be very warm and engaging,” said the Rev. Channing Smith, Good Shepherd’s rector, in the announcement. “I believe Paige is the right person to help us create new possibilities for this ministry. She is a self-starter and a joyful presence of God’s love.”  Read more here.

Obit:  Rev. Dr. Victor E. Green

The Rev. Dr. Victor E. Green (M.Th. ’60) passed away April 16. He served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church for more than 50 years, mostly in The Arkansas Conference, including appointments as senior pastor in Batesville, Tyronza, Fort Smith (Wesley), McCrory, Pocahontas, Beebe, and Stuttgart (Grand Avenue). After retiring, he served as Pastor Emeritus at First United Methodist in Benton, Ark., where he and his late wife, Mary, were very active in the life of the church. Services were held April 23 at the First UMC in Benton.  Read his obit here.

Obit: Rev. Robert Younts

The Rev. Robert W. (Bob) Younts (M.Th. ’56) died at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center in Athens, Georgia on March 28. He began The Wesley Foundation in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and served as director of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In 1965, he joined the Northern Illinois Conference (Rock River) as pastor of Wellington Park UMC in Chicago. During his time in this conference, he served as local pastor for the following congregations: Mount Carroll, Lake Villa, Freeport and Park Forest. After 29 years in the Northern Illinois Conference, he moved back to the South to lead the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta for three years. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn P. Younts, a retired Methodist minister. A funeral was held on April 4 at the Winder First UMC. Read his obit here.