News October 2023 Perspective Online

Faculty and Staff News

Christina Rhodes, who has served a variety of roles in development and enrollment management at SMU since 2017, has been appointed Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management at Perkins School of Theology by Bishop Michael McKee, the Leighton K. Farrell Dean ad interim. Her appointment is effective October 16, 2023.

As Assistant Dean, Rhodes will play a pivotal role in crafting a vision for Perkins’ recruitment, admissions, and scholarship aid as well as developing strategies and implementing a comprehensive plan to market to, identify, recruit, and enroll graduate students in the degree programs at Perkins.

“Her passion, listening skills, and approachability will be essential for representing Perkins to prospective students,” said Bishop Michael McKee, the Leighton K. Farrell Dean, ad interim, at Perkins. “I am confident that her commitment to our mission, strong analytic skills, and collaborative style will help our entire community be partners in recruiting the next generation of leaders.”

After a nationwide search, a large debt of gratitude is extended to Associate Dean Hugo Magallanes who ably led the search committee consisting of Meredith Turner, Rev. Annette Owen, Dr. Elias Lopez, Dr. Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Dr. Alyce McKenzie, and Herbert Coleman, Diversity Officer. Also, a special thanks to Andy Keck, Chief of Staff, who served as Interim leader of Enrollment Management while the search was being conducted.

“I look forward to this new role at Perkins School of Theology,” Rhodes said. “I am excited about the opportunity to further guide Perkins to help our enrollment grow as theological education changes.”

Priscilla Pope-Levison, Research Professor of Practical Theology, gave the keynote lecture for the European Methodist Historical Conference in Velletri, Italy, September 6-9. She is featured in the UM News story about the conference:

In June, she and Jack Levison were the featured speakers at the North Alabama UMC Annual Conference. In early August, they gave the keynote lecturers during the Guder Scholars Conference at St. Andrews Hall, University of British Columbia.


Jesus Urdiales Rodriguez joined the CASA (Centro de Acompañamiento, Solidaridad y Adiestramiento) team as a Program Specialist. Urdiales Rodriguez comes to Perkins from Houston, where he worked as a Program Coordinator for Harris County. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Lamar University in 2022 and a Bachelor of Science from the College of Biblical Studies in 2018.


News October 2023 Perspective Online

Alumni Updates

To Come

News Perspective Online September 2023 Top Story

Welcome from the Dean

Dallas campus orientation

As the faculty and staff prepared for the beginning of the fall semester, I was interested in meeting with Perkins’ new students. The orientation for our new students showed that they are eager to begin their theological education and that they are excellent students who are ready!

Houston-Galveston hybrid program orientation

In my conversations with several of our new students, I discovered a wide range of academic interests. A few are curious about Biblical studies, some are interested in the Hebrew Scriptures, and still others are seeking a thorough understanding of the New Testament. Of course, there were students with a keen interest in the Biblical languages, either Hebrew or Greek. Those who enroll in a Biblical language have three semesters of work before them: two semesters of learning the language and a semester of exegesis. Certainly, it is challenging work.

Others are more interested in theology, while others are more drawn to the history of the Christian Church. As I listened, I learned most of our new students came prepared and interested in the Perkins theological education. This is an excellent group of students with knowledge, passion and determination.

As proud as I am of our new students, I am equally proud of our faculty. In the past few months, there have been occasions for conversations with our faculty and learning about that on which they have been working. They have shared their scholarship with me, and I am looking forward to the publishing of several books and articles. The faculty are diligent in their work, and I hope many of you are grateful for them.

In order for theological education to occur, there is a significant group of staff members who are vital to Perkins’ educational endeavors. It could not happen without the persons who work in Bridwell Library, the school’s administrative staff, the enrollment management team and several others who are deeply committed to Perkins and our work of forming students for their vocational callings.

Thank you to all for your commitment and your work for Perkins.

Bishop Michael McKee
Leighton K. Farrell Endowed Dean, ad interim

News Perspective Online September 2023

Fall Convo — Save the Date!

To Come

News Perspective Online September 2023

Development Update

As we begin the Fall 2023 term at Perkins School of Theology, I want to remind you that our Development office continually works to facilitate gifts to Perkins that benefit the important ministry of education.

My assistant, Rose Burns, and I are laser-focused to find sources for funds to aid the development of Perkins. Much of our attention is on raising money for scholarships so that our students do not incur insurmountable debt as they finish their various degrees. We continue to make strides in raising scholarship dollars. Generous donors make this mission possible, and you can be involved in this important work in many ways.

  • Each year, Perkins holds three Faith and Business Luncheons. The first on this year will take place Monday, Sept. 18 and features Mr. David McAtee, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel for AT&T. David is an outstanding Christian layman. He will be sharing his story in an interview format. The luncheon is free and open to all by reservation. To make a reservation click here. Be on the lookout for future announcements about the January and April luncheons.
  • Our annual spring Scholarship Luncheon will take place March 19, 2024, and will feature Mr. Clark Hunt, a member of the SMU Board of Trustees and Chairman and CEO of the Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs. Details of how you can secure a seat for yourself or, even better, sponsor a table for you and your guests will be available soon. The event will take place on the SMU campus in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom.
  • This fall, the final installation of the Caren and Vin Prothro Organ is being accomplished. The organ is a historic E. M. Skinner organ built in 1917 and totally refurbished for Perkins Chapel. Our organist professors tell me that it is a perfect size and sound for our Chapel. A dedicatory concert will take place in the early spring on a yet-to-be-determined date. It will be in service for the Lessons and Carols of Christmas at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30. Watch for an announcement of that important and well-attended event. We have many to thank for this instrument … not the least of which are Bill and Gay Solomon, who gave the lead gift so the purchase in rebuilding could be made. Gay is a member of the Perkins Executive Board. For information about the organ, click here.
  • Two important committees will each meet twice this year. The Perkins Campaign Steering Committee convenes on the morning of October 4 and again on March 8, 2024. As of this month, the Perkins Campaign has raised almost $31.5 million. We expect that total to increase significantly during the course of this year.

The other important committee is the Perkins Executive Board, a group of individuals who care deeply about Perkins’ mission and its students, faculty and staff. For information about the Executive Board, click here.  I will be introducing you to the Executive board members in a future article.

Next month I will introduce you to this year’s Perkins Scholars and Baugh Scholars. Remember, every scholarship dollar is important. Don’t forget about the Perkins giving page or, if you would rather reach out and talk, here is our information:

Perkins Office of Development
PO Box 750133
Dallas, TX 75275-0133

John A. Martin, Director of Development

(cell) 585.230.3036


Rose Burns, Advancement Associate

News Perspective Online September 2023

Student Life at Perkins: Ministry Dallas, Fall Banquet and more

Ministry Dallas at Joppy Momma’s Farm

Before fall semester classes started, students, faculty and staff had an opportunity to go out in the Dallas community to serve others. As part of this year’s Ministry Dallas activities, held Aug. 16-20, Perkins students and staff spent a day at Joppy Momma’s Farm to assist with the farm work and then to

Ministry Dallas at Bonton Farms Market Cafe

Bonton Farms Market Cafe for lunch. The following days took them to

Lovers Lane UMC and Crossroads Community Services, and many people gathered together for worship at Hamilton Park UMC on Aug. 20.

Welcome Week at Perkins was full of activities, including a Popsicle Party, the Feast of Beginnings, and the Fall Banquet.

Ministry Dallas at Joppy Momma’s Farm
Perkins Popsicle Party
Feast of Beginnings


Fall Banquet
Fall Banquet
News Perspective Online September 2023

Faculty News

Dr. James Lee, Associate Professor of the History of Early Christianity, was interviewed for the University of Notre Dame’s Wisdom Project on YouTube. The Wisdom Project at Notre Dame explores various dimensions of Wisdom, both in and beyond religious traditions. The Wisdom Project’s YouTube channel is hosted by Dr. Gabriel Said Reynolds, Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology. Dr. Reynolds asked Dr. Lee about wisdom in the book of Job, Augustine’s understanding of wisdom in relation to faith and reason, and wisdom according to the early Greek Christian tradition.

Dr. Lee also was invited to teach a 3-week theology course at the University of Notre Dame in July entitled, “Christian Doctrine for Catechists,” for the Echo Graduate Service program. The Echo program helps to form lay leaders for service in the church. Students serve at a parish or school during the academic year while earning a Master of Arts in Theology from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Susanne Scholz, Professor of Old Testament, is organizer of the upcoming research symposium “Law, Religion and Social Progress in the Age of COVID-19,” scheduled for Sept. 17-19 at Perkins School of Theology. The pandemic has had great impact on social progress within and across societies. This symposium, sponsored by SMU’s Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute (DCII), explores notions of social progress, during pandemic and ‘post’-pandemic times, within a diversity of national and international contexts, primarily through the prism of law and religion. Scholars from around the world (Britain, Canada, Japan, Nigeria and the United States) will present their work located in various academic disciplines (religious studies, law, anthropology, rhetorical studies, political science, social science and theological studies). For more information and to register:

Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, Professor of New Testament and Director of the Baptist House of Studies at Perkins, was part of a panel – “Sacramental Plants and Fungi: Historical and Scientific Insights for the Religious Life – at the recent Parliament of the World’s Religions gathering in Chicago. The panel, moderated by religion historian Elaine Pagels,  also included noted author and speaker Richard Rohr.


Dr. Jack Levison, W.J.A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrea, recently was interviewed by Kevin Krueger for the “Breakaway” podcast on WGTS-FM (Washington, D.C.) Listen to the in-depth interview on Levison’s latest book, Seven Secrets of the Spirit-Filled Life.


News Perspective Online September 2023

Alumni Updates


Rachel Mumaw

Rachel Mumaw (M.Div. ’23) is the newest pastoral resident at Second Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri. Rachel is getting married in September to her fiancé, Noah, and will start her new position on Oct. 2.


Dr. Charles Barker

Dr. Charles Barker, (d. June 2023), Perkins Alum (M.T.S. ’14), who initiated moves in making DFW a compassionate city following the Charter for Compassion and who served as President of Compassionate DFW for many years, was given the Karen Armstrong Humanitarian Award at a banquet during the Parliament to the World’s Religion in Chicago. His beloved spouse, Conoly, flew in from Dallas and attended the Parliament banquet in his honor to receive the posthumous award in his stead.

Dr. Christinah Kwaramba

Dr. Christinah Kwaramba’s (M.T.S. ’09) work in Clinical Pastoral Education was featured in an article on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s website.



Laura Cooper Fitzgibbon

Laura Cooper Fitzgibbon (M.Div. ’07) has accepted a call to Manassas Presbyterian Church in northern Virginia, beginning Sept. 15.


July 2023 News Perspective Online Top Story

Perkins Mourns the Passing of Two


Joseph L. Allen, Professor Emeritus of Ethics who served on the faculty of Perkins School of Theology from 1957 until his retirement in 1998, passed away May 3 at the age of 94. Among his scholarship, he wrote and published the 1995 Love & Conflict: A Covenantal Model of Christian Ethics and the 2011 Perkins School of Theology: A Centennial History.




The Rev. Carlton R. “Sam” Young was a comprehensive contributor to church music for decades. He was Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program at Perkins from 1964-75 and established the program as a vital force in graduate professional church music. He also founded the Church Music Summer Seminar at Perkins, a program that continued for over four decades, training countless local church musicians who could not attend seminary.

Young edited The Methodist Hymnal (1966) and The United Methodist Hymnal (1989), and earned distinction as a composer, arranger, conductor, teacher and scholar. Young died May 21 at age 97. Read more about Young’s life and legacy in this profile.






July 2023 News Perspective Online

OEM gearing up for a full slate of recruiting events

Summer is in full swing, and the Office of Enrollment Management (OEM) continues to review Fall 2023 applications weekly in addition to the many other ways in which we are working to engage students. For Annual Conference season alone, OEM participated in nine trips to connect with our UMC constituents and alumni.

One summer event we look forward to every year is hosting our Project Transformation students on campus. This year’s visit included an impromptu piano recital — we have some talented students and look forward to seeing where their ministry goals take them!

All of us in OEM look forward to meeting prospective students and sharing the exciting story of how God is working through Perkins School of Theology. A reminder: everyone in the Perkins community plays a part in our recruiting effort. That includes faculty, staff, alumni, current students and friends. Please let us know about any of your church members, friends or associates who may be considering a theological education. We’ll reach out and support them in any way we can.

Much is uncertain these days; but Perkins OEM stands ready to receive inquiries and applications for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. To that end, here are a few key dates to keep in mind:

  • Fall 2023 Dallas Campus Application Deadline: August 4
  • Spring 2024 Houston-Galveston Hybrid Application Deadline: December 1
  • Spring 2024 Dallas Campus Application Deadline: December 15

With this momentum, we are eager to approach the recruitment season and have already planned to increase the number of virtual sessions by continuing our creativity of content, format and sensitivity to prospective student schedules. Another exciting addition to our calendar for the coming year is the introduction of Saturday Inside Perkins events, allowing students to visit campus on the weekend. We also will be traveling across the United States, visiting schools and ministries with students who are discerning whether seminary is the right next step for them.

Lastly, we would like to congratulate Stephen Bagby on his new position, working with Church of the Incarnation. We are grateful to Stephen for his five years of service in OEM. We will miss his presence in the office and his natural capacity for connection but are excited for this next step in his journey!

Thank you for your continued support of OEM! We ask for your prayers as we continue striving to find the future leaders of our church and community.

All the best,

The Office of Enrollment Management