George Floyd Vigil
Perkins alumnae/i and staff were present for a vigil May 25 to mark the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, held at Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. The event was co-presented by Lake Highlands Area Moms Against Racism, a Facebook group which created a “Say Their Names” display honoring those who died due to racial or gender related violence. Participating were the Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson (M.T.S. 1983, M.Div. 1989, D.Min. 1996), pastor of Hamilton Park UMC; the Rev. Cathy Liles Sweeney (M.T.S. 2015), pastor of Arapaho UMC in Dallas, Rabbi Nancy Kasten of Faith Forward Dallas, Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life at Perkins and Megan Elizabeth Lilburn Turner of Northway Christian Church. Candles were extinguished as the last seven words of George Floyd were read at the vigil marking the one-year anniversary of his death.
Perkins Alum Dr. Jonathan Chism (M.Div. 2008) was interviewed May 26 on the news program “Prime with Charles Blow” on the Black News Channel (BNC) about efforts to ban critical race theory in Texas schools. View the video here.
The Caring Congregation
The Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford (M.T.S. 2013) is co-author of two books recently published by Abingdon Press, The Caring Congregation Ministry Implementation Guide and Care Minister’s Manual with Karen Lampe. Gepford is the Intergenerational Discipleship Coordinator of the Great Plains Conference, in which she helps congregations establish healthy discipleship systems. In praising the books, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, in Leawood, Kansas, said: “It’s impossible to overstate the importance of providing excellent care in a local church. The Caring Congregation Ministry offers the very best program for training laity in congregational care. This book provides a step-by-step guide for implementing the program in any size congregation.” Read more here.
Heal Our Divides
The Rev. Justin Hancock (Master of Church Ministries, 2008) is a contributor in a new book, How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide, compiled and edited by Brian Allain and Adam Thomas. Other contributors include Brian McLaren, Parker Palmer and Shane Claiborne. The book highlights organizations that are taking real action to address issues of inequity and systems of oppression and to heal deep divisions in our society in effective and practical ways. Check out the book here. Hancock is also author of The Julian Way: A Theology of Fullness for All of God’s People (Cascade Books, 2018.)
Oviedo Publishes in Theology Journal
Pablo Oviedo, a 2019 graduate of Perkins’ Th.M. in Spanish program, has published an article in the journal “Teología y Cultura,” a Spanish-language magazine published by Instituto Wesley, de la Universidad del Centro Educativo Latinoamericano. His article, “Contributions to a Latin American Wesleyan Theology: New Creation in Liberating Grace,” is a continuation of an article he wrote for a previous issue of the magazine. Oviedo reinterpreted the classic theological theme of “grace” through the lens of Wesleyan Latin American theology. Oviedo proposes two “hermeneutical keys”: to think theologically from “the struggle for equality in all its forms (especially that of gender embodied by feminist theology)” and to think theologically from “the cultural contributions of indigenous peoples.”
Obituary: The Rev. L. George Buck
The Rev. L. George Buck (M.T.S. 1960), former director of Pastoral Care and Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), died May 12. After graduating from Perkins, he became certified as a Chaplain Supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Training in a program founded by the progenitor of the clinical pastoral training movement, Anton Boisen. He spent 25 years as Director of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Training at the Austin State Hospital in Austin, Texas. In 1994, he accepted the position of Director of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education at UAMS and served there for the remainder of his career, retiring in 2016. Buck is survived by his wife of 27 years, Virginia Sue, and two sons, Corey of Victoria, Texas, and Palmer (RuthAnne) of Austin, Texas. Plans for a celebration of his life will be announced at a later date. Read his obit here.
Obit: The Rev. Richard Fleming
The Rev. Richard Fleming (M.S.M. 1970, D.Min. 1980) passed away peacefully at his home in Richardson, Texas, on May 1 at the age 87. An ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, he served pastorates in Illinois. After earning an MSM degree from SMU, he served as Minister of Music at Grace UMC in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1968 to 1972 and at First UMC, Richardson until his retirement in 1999. He was an accomplished choral conductor and organist and a member of the Choristers Guild and American Guild of Organists. His adult choirs performed many master works and toured Europe three times. He also directed the Chapel Singers Youth Choir and inspired countless youth to pursue careers in music and ministry. He also served as director of the Turtle Creek Chorale from 1982 –1984. Richard is survived by Kay his wife of 63 years. Read his obit here.