News October 2019 Perspective Online

Alumni/ae Update

Christian S. Watkins (M.Div.’19)

Christian S. Watkins Heads to D.C.

Christian S. Watkins (M.Div.’19) left Dallas in September to accept a position as the 2019-20 Wendland Fellow for Faith and Justice with the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), an agency of the United Methodist Church based in Washington, D.C.  During the fellowship, he’ll be learning more about GBCS’s activities and helping to equip and work with local church justice teams in the North Texas and Central Texas Annual Conferences. Christian boasts that he’ll enjoy the world’s shortest commute; he’ll be living next door to the GBSC offices and across the street from the Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol.

Alum Forges Wesley-Rankin/Shelton Partnership

All students deserve to be taught in the way they can best learn. That simple idea led to the Wesley-Rankin Scholars program, a partnership between the Wesley-Rankin Community Center in west Dallas and the June Shelton School and Evaluation Center.  Helping spearhead the program is Wesley-Rankin’s executive director, Shellie Ross (M.Div. ’11), who initiated the conversations that led to the launch of the Wesley-Rankin Scholars program in the fall of 2018. Read the story on the North Texas Annual Conference website here.

Rev. Debra McKnight (M.Div. ’08)

Perkins Alum Pastors Urban Abbey

The journey of Rev. Debra McKnight (M.Div. ’08) hasn’t been without obstacles. The freedom to live out her calling as a pastor came on the heels of immense testing, resistance to conformity, persistent theological reflection, and the pursuit of God’s will. McKnight, a 42-year-old mother, is the founding pastor of Urban Abbey in the Old Market in Omaha, which started as a satellite of the First United Methodist Church but became independent nearly four years ago. With the motto “coffee, cause, communion,” Urban Abbey will celebrate its eight-year anniversary in November. Read the story in Omaha Magazine here.

Trouble the Water

The Rev. Dr. Rebecca Dwight Bruff (M.Div. ’95, D.Min. ’11) recently shared the story behind her new work of fiction, Trouble the Water (Koehler Books, 2019) at the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas in Little Rock. Bruff was living in Dallas, serving in a church, when she made a brief visit to South Carolina with her husband. “We only had a couple of days to visit, so our first afternoon we took one of those touristy horse-drawn carriage rides through the historic part of town,” she said. “Along the way, we heard a story that neither of us had ever heard before.” The tale was so riveting that it inspired her to move to South Carolina and write the book. Trouble the Water is available on Amazon.

Alum Leads Border Immersion

Rev. Dr. Owen Ross (center) co-led an immersion trip that gave clergy and laity an up-close look at life along the Texas-Mexico border in Matamoros. Photo courtesy of the North Texas Conference of the UMC.

The Rev. Dr. Owen Ross (M.Div., ’02) recently co-led a two-day immersion trip offering clergy and laity an up-close look at life along the Texas-Mexico border. Participants spent a day learning about immigration issues and training to cross the border. The next day, participants crossed the border to meet asylum seekers and hold a vigil at the Gateway International Bridge, praying for migrants and demanding Congress to protect migrant children and families on U.S. soil. Read the story on the North Texas conference’s website here.

Religious Scholar Awards

A Perkins alum is one of 50 recipients of the Church Mutual Insurance Company’s 2019 Religious Scholars awards. Each scholarship winner will receive $5,000 to use toward the completion of the 2019-20 academic year. Raquel Cajiri Feagins (M. Div. ’07) is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Spirituality from the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Justin Barringer, a current student in SMU’s Graduate Program of Religious Studies (GPRS) also received the scholarship.

Keeping the Earth

Can science and religion agree on the most urgent issues of conservation and climate change? Perkins alum Dr. Roy May (M.Th. ’70) recently spoke on the topic, along with Dr. Stefan Summer, at a Sept. 7 event hosted by the Cottonwood Public Library in Cottonwood, Ariz., and the Northern Arizona Climate Change Alliance (NAZCCA). They examined the current issues raised by climate change and our spiritual and human responsibilities in the face of this global crisis. Dr. May also holds a Ph.D. in theology from the VU University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For 30 years he taught theology and ethics at the Latin American Biblical University in San Jose, Costa Rica.



The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Molton Dickson

The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Molton Dickson (M.Th. ’58, D.Min. ’75) died August 13 in Long Beach, Miss. A graduate of SMU, he was a proud member of the Mustang Band as an undergraduate. He was ordained an elder and served Highland Park United Methodist Church for 42 years. Dickson is survived by his wife, Dr. Mary Jane Ramsey Dickson; children Rev. Dr. Dorothy Dickson Rishel (Rod) of Long Beach, and Rev. Kenny Dickson (Michelle) of Plano Texas. In addition to a funeral in Mississippi, memorial services were celebrated at Highland Park United Methodist Church on Friday, September 6. Memorial gifts may be sent to First United Methodist Church, 2301 15th Street, Gulfport, MS 39501 or Haiti Missions, C/O Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75205.

Read his obit here.

The Rev. Robert Scoggin

The Rev. Robert “Bob” Scoggin (M.Th. ’54) of Rochester, Minn., passed away peacefully on July 27 during a musical rehearsal with beloved friends. Scoggin was ordained as a deacon in 1952 and as an elder in 1956 and had several appointments in the North Texas Conference. He was a Minister of Music in Wichita Falls and Dallas, Texas, then in Rochester, Minn. Bob was the Minister of Music at Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester for 30 years and continued to play and give lessons after his retirement in 1993. In 2017, Bob and his bride, Pat, celebrated 65 years of marriage. A celebration of his life took place on September 14.

Read the obituary here.