May 2020 News Perspective Online

Alumni/ae Update

Bryant Phelps Featured in COVID-19 Story

The Rev. Bryant Phelps (D.Min. ‘17) is shepherding a congregation of mostly senior citizens in one of the Dallas County ZIP codes hit hardest by the coronavirus. “While he has no fears about the church universal surviving the pandemic, it’s the 150 or so people who make up Church of the Disciple in DeSoto – and those in other congregations of color – whom Phelps worries about,” writes columnist Sharon Grigsby. Read the story in The Dallas Morning News story here.


The Rev. Kellie Sanford. Photo c/o DMS and by Jennifer Griffin.

Perkins Alums on Front Lines

Two Perkins alums, the Rev. Kellie Sanford (M.Div. ‘17) and Eric Markinson (M.Div. ‘17), hospice chaplain at CC Young retirement home in Dallas, were quoted in a United Methodist News story about the challenges faced by chaplains during the COVID-19 crisis. Flexibility is key as they cope with families who can’t see their loved ones – sometimes even dying loved ones – because of the coronavirus that has killed thousands as it spreads around the world. Read the story here.


Blair Thompson-White’s Easter Op-Ed

The experience of preaching to an empty room has been “awkward and awe-some,” writes the Rev. Blair Thompson-White (D.Min. ’18) in an op-ed published on Palm Sunday in The Dallas Morning News. While it feels odd preaching with no people in the pews, she said, “I am in awe at how God can work through technology. I should have known this, of course, but I have always been a bit more like Thomas in the Gospel of John, who needs to experience the data firsthand in order to believe.” Thompson-White is senior pastor of Arapaho United Methodist in Richardson.


Bishop Mueller named for Arkansas Task Force
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has named Bishop Gary Mueller (M.Th. ’79) to the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force that will provide guidance for opening the state of Arkansas following the COVID-19 global pandemic. The state task force is made up of 27 individuals that represent industry, small businesses, outdoor recreation and sports, agriculture and other groups. Read the story here.



Mask-Making as Ministry

The Rev. Kristin Hanna (M.S.M. ‘12), associate pastor of worship and mission at Christ United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, N.C., has sewn nearly 400 masks to donate to health care workers at Duke Hospital, Wake Med, the Ambulatory Health Center at UNC, pediatric facilities and a nursing home in Chapel Hill. She has also sent masks to California, Louisiana and New York. Read the story about her work on the North Carolina Conference website.


Rushing Accepted into Eastern U Degree Program

Michelle Rushing (M.Div. ‘15) has been accepted into the Doctor of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Studies degree program at Eastern University. She is scheduled to begin her studies on May 11, 2020.


Kellner in Ironman

Thomas Kellner (M.Div. ‘16) will be competing at the Ironman World Championship in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii in October. He is a little worried about the limited opportunities to practice his swimming between then and now – due to the closing of so many facilities because of COVID-19 – but otherwise is looking forward to the event.


Friends We Will Miss

Charles Frederick Hahn

Charles Frederick Hahn (M.Div. ’55) died March 27 in Bloomington, Indiana, at the age of 89.  From his earliest days as president of his Oklahoma City District Methodist Youth Fellowship, Charles’ life was defined by his calling as a pastor. He received his undergraduate degree from SMU, and while at Perkins, met Doris Schulze, whom he married in 1955. After serving as pastor for several churches in the United Methodist Church Southwest Texas Conference, Charles requested a special assignment to work with the Ecumenical Institute and then the Institute of Cultural Affairs, initially teaching courses in religious and cultural studies and later doing community development work around the world. Charles is survived by his wife, Doris, two daughters, a grandson and three great-grandchildren. Memorial service plans will be announced at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to Hoosier Hills Food Bank in Bloomington; email to let them know your donation is in Charles’ memory. Read the obituary here. Online condolences may be made to the family at