News November 2019 Perspective Online

Alumni/ae Update

New Book by Jonathan Chism

Rev. Jonathan Chism (M.Div. ’08)

In his new book, the Rev. Jonathan Chism (M.Div. ’08), takes readers on a spiritual journey with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“On this first day of our journey, I invite you to embrace, remember and appreciate the special love God has for us,” he writes in 30-Day Journey with Martin Luther King Jr. (Fortress Press, 2019.)

Chism is assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown, where he teaches students about his favorite subjects: history, the civil rights movement, religion and the African-American religious experience. Read the story in the Houston Chronicle here.


Interviews with Alumni

Rev. Bryant Phelps (D. Min. ’17)

The Rev. Bryant Phelps (D. Min. ’17), Senior Pastor of Church of the Disciple in DeSoto, Texas, was recently interviewed by VoyageDallas; read the interview here.

For Hispanic Heritage Month, the Rev. Dr. Edgar Bazan (M.Div. ’14) was asked to share his experience and insights as a Mexican immigrant to the United States in an interview on the TMF website. Bazan is Senior Pastor of Casa Linda United Methodist Church in Dallas. Read the interview here.


The Rev. Cecil Williams Celebrate 90th Birthday

Glide Church in San Francisco hosted a celebration of the Rev. Cecil Williams’ 90th birthday on September 22.  The day of special celebrations honored Williams (M.Th. ’55), a social and civil rights activist, community influencer, and spiritual leader.  The event included a fashion show with members of the legendary Glide Ensemble modeling vintage dashikis worn by Cecil Williams over his 55-plus years at Glide, open-mic birthday wishes, a rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung by the congregation and visitors and a historic video and photo tribute.  In 1996, Williams was recipient of Perkins’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  Read the full story announcing the event here.



Rev. Dr. Donald Ray Benton

The Rev. Dr. Donald Ray “Don” Benton (D. Min. ’74) passed away on October 23 at the age of 88.  Don served as senior pastor of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church from 1977 until 1995, helping boost membership from 8,000 to more than 12,000 during his tenure.  After his retirement, he served on numerous boards and as president of The Kindness Foundation. Don was happily married to Rose Marie for 65 years and they had five children, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.  Read his obituary here.  A celebration of life and memorial service was held at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church on November 6 at 11 a.m.


Rev. Christy Summers

The Rev. Christy Summers (M.Div. ’95) passed away on October 22. She is survived by her husband Blair and her three children, Peyton, Reed and Olivia James, and many other beloved family and friends. Read her obit here.  She was also remembered in this news story. In her memory, the Oklahoma Methodist Foundation has created the Rev. Christy Germany Summers Scholarship.  Donations can be sent to the Oklahoma Methodist Foundation, 4201 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73118-2400