January 2023 News Perspective Online

Alumni/ae Updates: January 2023

Anthony Everett to Lead Siloam Project

Anthony Everett (M.Div. ’08) was recently appointed to the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky (BSK) staff as coordinator of the school’s Siloam Project, effective Dec. 15. Everett is a human rights advocate, public theologian and congregational coach/consultant. Previously he served as executive director of Mission Behind Bars and Beyond, a Louisville, Ky.-based organization that advocates for formerly incarcerated individuals as they seek to build a new life beyond prison walls. At BSK, he will provide leadership for an initiative to accelerate the seminary’s congregation-centered approach to theological education. Funded by a nearly $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, the Siloam Project also will develop a network of “learning churches,” which will inform and help shape BSK’s approach to contextual theological education. Read a Baptist News Global story on Everett’s new appointment here.

Remembering E.P. Sanders

The influential New Testament scholar E. P. Sanders (M.Th. ’62), who devoted his career to promoting more accurate and sympathetic understandings of early Judaism, died November 21 at age 85 in Durham, North Carolina. While studying at Perkins, he was encouraged by William R. Farmer (then the senior New Testament scholar at Perkins) to study Hebrew abroad. Contributions from a Methodist church and a synagogue, Temple Emanu-el in Dallas, allowed Sanders to study in Israel.  “I felt overwhelmed by their generosity, and I especially vowed that the gift from Temple Emanu-el would not be in vain,” he later wrote. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Sanders published a series of books, including “Paul and Palestinian Judaism,” “Jesus and Judaism” and “Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE–66 A.D.,” exploring the relationship between early Judaism and early Christianity.

“In his work and personally he forcefully called on fellow scholars to reject caricatures of Judaism and to immerse themselves more deeply in ancient Jewish sources,” wrote Mark A. Chancey, professor of religious studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University, in a Religion News Service opinion piece. “Few … would question the impact of his demand that representations of Jews and Judaism be fair and accurate and not grounded in negative stereotypes. Especially at a time when antisemitism in America and elsewhere is on the rise, his presence will be sorely missed.” Click here to read Chancey’s tribute to Sanders.

Obituary: The Rev. Dr. Randy Mays Fitzgerald

The Rev. Dr. Randy Mays Fitzgerald (M.Th. ‘76) passed away on December 21 at age 70. Services were held December 26 in Palestine, Texas, with the Rev. Ken McEachern officiating. Fitzgerald started preaching at 18 years old and pastored numerous United Methodist churches in the East Texas area. He is survived by his wife Karen; and family: Jack & Lauren Dunaway, Liberty and Finley; Jamie & Bryan Duke, Rylan, Kinley and Jameson; Tiffany Gulledge, Peyton and Preslie. In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorial gifts be made to Samaritan’s Purse, P. O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607. Read the obituary here.

 Obituary: The Rev. Michael Head

The Rev. Michael “Michi” Thomas Head (M.Div. ‘90) of Geismar, La., died December 22 at age 62. He was serving as senior pastor at New Life Community United Methodist Church in Luling, La., at the time of his death. Previously, he was senior pastor at Jefferson UMC in Baton Rouge and Maguire UMC in West Munroe. He also served the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana in various roles since 2012, most recently as the Chairman of the Board. A funeral was held at Jefferson United Methodist Church on December 28.  Read the obituary here.

Obituary: The Rev. Carr Dee Racop, Jr.

The Rev. Carr Dee Racop, Jr. (M.Th. ‘58) passed away on December 22 at the age of 91 in Plano, Texas. During his career as a minister, Racop was appointed to several United Methodist churches, including one in College Mound, Texas, and several in Arkansas including Bearden, Sheridan, Gurdon, Portland, Ashdown, Sherill and Little Rock. He also spent several summers leading Camp Tanako in Hot Springs, Ark. During his career in ministry, Racop was passionate about youth ministry and advocated for change regarding social issues, including civil rights. After he retired from the ministry in 1997, he held positions in Arkansas state government and with H&R Block. A memorial service will be held on January 14 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Little Rock. Read his obituary here.