June 2020 News

Alumni/ae Update

Pastoring a Vulnerable Population

The Rev. Bryant Phelps (M.Div. ’17) was featured in a column in The Dallas Morning News recently about his ministry as a 29-year-old millennial shepherding a senior-citizen congregation in one of the Dallas County ZIP codes hit hardest by the novel coronavirus. “This pandemic has underscored, in a great way, the intersections of class, race, health disparities, power imbalance, ethics that – in addition to a respiratory virus – are asphyxiating entire subgroups of people,” he said. Phelps is pastor of Church of the Disciple in DeSoto, Texas, south of Dallas. Read the column here. Phelps was also featured in Morehouse College’s online Meditation Moment on May 6.


Todd von Helms Profiled

Alum Todd von Helms (D.Min. ’15) was recently featured in an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette looking at how Christian teenagers with a shallow knowledge of the Scriptures often have their faith challenged once they head to university. He is the author of Before You Leave: For College, Career, and Eternity. Read the article here.


Alum Leads GLS Mini-Lecture

Perkins alum Regina Franklin-Basye (M.Div. ’15) was the first lecturer featured in the SMU Graduate Liberal Studies’ virtual mini-lecture chats program. In each segment, participants heard a mini-lecture from a faculty member and then had the opportunity to pose questions in a virtual Q&A discussion. Franklin-Basye previewed her GLS class, which begins June 1, on “Responding and Coping with Public Tragedy in the Face of COVID-19.”

Upper Room Devotional

Perkins D. Min. student Chad Mogus (M.Div. ’19) wrote a devotional featured on June 1 in the Upper Room. “It may seem easier to simply throw in the towel during these turbulent times and leave ministry for when things are back to ‘normal,’” he wrote. “But when have things ever truly been normal?” Read the devotional here.


Friends We Will Miss

The Rev. Norman Moyer

The Rev. Norman Moyer (M.Th. ’81), retired elder in the Arkansas Conference, died at age 66 on May 11 after many weeks in the ICU with COVID-19. His wife, the Rev. Bonda Moyer (M.Th. ’80), also a retired UM elder from the Arkansas Conference, contracted the virus but recovered after a brief hospitalization. During his ministry, Moyer served churches in Boone County, Marianna/Bear Creek Camp, Holly Grove, Russellville, Forrest City, Clinton, Leslie/Marshall and Leola/Moore’s Chapel. Condolences can be mailed to the Rev. Bonda Moyer, 1630 Doe Trail, Conway, AR 72034.

See a news report here and read an obit here.

The Rev. James Scott Moore

The Rev. James Scott Moore (M.Div. ’10), a deacon who retired from the Arkansas Conference in 2019, passed away on May 11, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Debbie, and family. During his ministry, Rev. Moore served at Baptist Health, Methodist Family Health and Saint Paul UMC – Little Rock. Condolences can be mailed to 12 Meadowbrook Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205.

The Rev. John Ed Francis

The Rev. John Ed Francis (M.Th. ’59) passed away on May 11, 2020. He retired from the Central Texas Conference in 1999. He is survived by his two children, their two spouses, four grandchildren and three spouses.

The Rev. Ralph Smith

The Rev. Ralph L. Smith (M.Th. ’61), retired elder in the North Texas Conference, passed away on May 22, 2020, at the age of 91 in Irving, Texas. His obituary is below. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private family service and burial were held. Cards and notes may be sent to Rev. Smith’s wife, Alice Smith, at 1295 Kinwest Parkway, #408, Irving, TX 75063. Read his obituary here.