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Latest News from Bridwell Library

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, November – December 2021

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Fall 2021

The thirteenth issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; a story about the newly renamed Center for Methodist Studies at Bridwell Library; a tribute to Ian Tyson; a staff profile; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Fall 2021 Issue of The Bridwell Quarterly.

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, August – October 2021

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Summer 2021

The twelfth issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; reports on the library’s reopening, the Dante Festival and the arrival of a new major collection; upcoming online exhibitions; a staff spotlight; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Summer 2021 Issue of The Bridwell Quarterly.

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, April – July 2021

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Spring 2021

The eleventh issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; updates on the library’s renovations; upcoming online exhibitions; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Spring 2021 Issue of The Bridwell Quarterly.

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, January – March 2021

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Winter 2021

The tenth issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; recent acquisitions and winter gifts to Bridwell; updates on the library’s renovations; upcoming online exhibitions; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Winter 2021 Issue of The Bridwell Quarterly.

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, July – December 2020

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Fall 2020

The eighth and ninth issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director, Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; passages and experiences of staff; updates on the library’s renovations; upcoming online exhibitions; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Summer / Fall 2020 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

Bridwell Quarterly – Spring 2020

The seventh issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director, Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; passages and experiences of staff; updates on the library’s renovations; upcoming online exhibitions; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Spring 2020 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, February – April 2020

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Winter 2020

The sixth issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director, Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; passages and experiences of staff; updates on the library’s renovations; upcoming online exhibitions; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Winter 2020 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, November – December 2019

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Fall 2019

The fifth issue of The Bridwell Quarterly includes a note from Bridwell Library Director, Anthony Elia, reflecting on the past few months; passages and experiences of staff; updates on the library’s renovations; upcoming online exhibitions; and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Fall 2019 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, September – October 2019

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, May – August 2019

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Summer 2019

The fourth issue of The Bridwell Quarterly completes the first annual cycle of publishing, and includes a note from Bridwell Library Director, Anthony Elia, passages and experiences of staff, a reflection on the library’s current state of change, and many more topics we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click to read the Summer 2019 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

Bridwell Quill – Latest Note, March & April 2019

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Spring 2019

The third issue of The Bridwell Quarterly features a range of activities and events, not least of which is an old (though now discontinued) tradition, which former Bridwell staff member Charles Baker writes about: Savonarolafest.

Click to read the Spring 2019 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

Bridwell Library – May 2019

The Word Embodied

This fine press catalog, limited to two hundred copies, was designed and printed by Bradley Hutchinson at his letterpress printing office in Austin Texas. Reflecting the style of many of the items featured in the exhibition, the catalog comprises loose folios and sheets housed in a four-flap paper portfolio. The type is Espinosa Nova, designed by Cristóbal Henestrosa and based on the types of Antonio de Espinosa, the first typecutter in the New World, who was active in Mexico City between 1551 and 1576. The paper is Mohawk Superfine and the illustrations were printed by Capital Printing of Austin, Texas. The portfolio was constructed by Santiago Elrod. Images were prepared by Rebecca Howdeshell, Bridwell Library, using an i2S SupraScan Quartz A1 book scanner. 100 pages, folios housed in paper wrappers; color illustrations; 28 x 21 cm. Please visit to purchase your copy.

  • Arvid Nelsen, Curator and Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian

All of Bridwell Library’s publications, including past issues of the Bridwell Quill and Bridwell Quarterly can be found here:

Bridwell Quill – Spring 2019

Read the update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Library – February 2019

Bridwell Library announces an exhibition of some of the earliest and most important publications printed in Greek, which runs through May 20, 2019. The selection offers a glimpse into the richness and significance of materials accessible for study and appreciation at Bridwell Library Special Collections. For more information, visit our website.

From the January 2019 Issue of Perspective Online

Bridwell Quill – January 2019

Read the monthly update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

Bridwell Quarterly – Winter 2018

The second issue of The Bridwell Quarterly explores hidden aspects of the library’s collections, plus some remarkable encounters with people who have visited the library in recent months.

Click to read the Winter 2018 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

From the December 2018 Issue of Perspective Online

Bridwell Quill – December 2018

Read the monthly update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.


From the November 2018 Issue of Perspective Online

Introducing Bridwell Quarterly, a new seasonal publication from Bridwell Library.

“In these pages and those of future publications, we hope to speak as a fellowship of colleagues, who support our patrons, neighbors, and friends. We welcome you all to Bridwell Library and hope that you will enjoy reading about the many events, projects, and activities that are happening in our community.” – Anthony Elia, Bridwell Library Director 

Click to read the Fall 2018 Issue of the Bridwell Quarterly

Bridwell Quill – November 2018

Read the monthly update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.


From the October 2018 Issue of Perspective Online

Perkins Names Anthony Elia New Director of Bridwell Library

Anthony Elia has been named J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and Director of Bridwell Library at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, effective June 1. He succeeds retiring Director Roberta Schaafsma, who served in that role since April 2007. Read the full release here.

Bridwell Quill – October 2018

Read the monthly update from Bridwell Library Director Anthony Elia.

December 2018 News Perspective Online

A Message from Dean Hill: Advent 2018

Advent is a time of expectation.  The seasonal hymns are full of anticipation: Come, Thou Long Expected JesusO Come, O Come, Emmanuel; Savior of the Nations, Come. 

But it is not only Christmas, the coming of God’s Messiah to the Bethlehem manger, that Christians anticipate.  The biblical hope also includes the expectation that God in Christ ultimately will right all wrongs and bring in everlasting peace.  It is this hope that is expressed so powerfully in Revelation 21:  

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

But there is at times a gap between what we hope for and what actually happens, between our interpretation of God’s intentions and their fulfillment. When Christmas arrived two millennia ago, it was all a bit of a surprise.  No one expected the Messiah to come like this, in such a place, in such humility.  In retrospect, birth in the Bethlehem manger might seem the perfect start to this most exceptional life, but no one at the time appears to have expected it.  

When Jesus later began his ministry, he proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the reign of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” There was a large audience well prepared for this message. People had been hoping for centuries that God would act on behalf of Israel, an expectation encouraged by John the Baptist. Still, while the message might have sounded familiar, there appeared to be something wrong with the messenger.  Jesus wasn’t at all the Messiah people had expected.   

It was not until after the death and resurrection that Jesus’ own disciples came to understand what the coming of the Christ meant.  In particular, it revealed the character of God in ways far beyond their expectation. God in Christ joins with us, suffers with us, lives with us. The reign of God had begun in a new way among them, but to see it, they themselves had to become a new creation.  

During the Advent season, Christians celebrate the coming of Christ, believing that we, at least with the benefit of hindsight, got this one right.  The future Advent of Christ also is eagerly anticipated by many millions of Christians, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. Matthew’s Gospel, for example, enjoins us to keep our lamps lit, to stand at the ready, to watch and pray. Indeed, on a practical level, none of us knows when our own end will come. Even if the world goes on for millions of years, these are for us the last days, and it behooves us to live at the ready, to redeem the time, to watch and pray. 

Unfortunately, the perspective found in most popular books about the biblical future is deeply problematic. It takes a piece of this and a piece of that, joined together with extraordinary imagination, and creates a version of God’s ultimate reign that is actually foreign to every biblical author. In other words, people are tempted to homogenize various perspectives for the sake of a larger interpretation that itself is not found in any biblical book, prying texts free of their context and effectively drowning out the distinctive voices of the individual authors.  

It is not the case that the Bible gives us a simple roadmap to the ultimate advent of God’s reign.  At the end of the day, that’s probably a good thing.  Those who do think of these texts in that way are always in danger of constructing a religion of escapism, whose main business is that of departing this world and leaving behind (certainly not solving) its problems.  

We might instead take a lesson from Christ’s first Advent. Jesus did not offer his contemporaries what they wanted, which was escape from Roman occupation. Instead, Jesus offered them almost the reverse, telling them to love their enemies, shown in a willingness to carry the enemy’s cloak a second mile. He submitted himself to them, even when he knew it would kill him.   

Jesus offered hope, to be sure: hope both for God’s presence, forgiveness, and meaning in our lives today, and hope for God’s ultimate victory, for the final triumph of meaning, justice, purpose, and love. But he did not offer escape. If anything, he is the model of one who chooses to do the will of God without exercising the escape clause.

Many people in the early church understood that, which is why they experienced so much liberation and joy in the present. They had something to hope for and something to do in the meantime. Living lightly to possessions and pride, to things that the world gives and therefore can threaten to take away, they were set free to live much more fully in the world, not to evade it.  

It is possible to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good, and, conversely, to be so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good.  The best thing, in the only moment in which we can actually choose and influence–which is of course the present–is to bring heaven to earth, to live as God equips us today. Not because we have no future hope, but because we rest in it and are set free by it from all that would weigh us down and make us ineffective, self-absorbed, and afraid.   

We are called to newness of life today. It is in fact a much greater act of faith to live Christianly in this present world than it is, in effect, to check out of this world in expectation of a divine escape.   

Of course, none of us would want to miss out on God’s future.  At the same time, we ought to be careful not to miss out on all that God would do with and through and for us right here, right now. 

Wishing you the joy and reality of Christ’s Advent,

Craig C. Hill 

December 2018 News Perspective Online

Office of Enrollment Management Update

For the second year in a row, enrollment at Perkins has increased significantly, and applications are on track for yet another uptick in enrollment by next fall. 

It’s a happy milestone for the Office of Enrollment Management, Perkins’ recently reorganized admissions and recruiting function.  The office was formed in 2017, following the arrival of Dean Craig Hill and the hiring of Margot Perez-Greene as Associate Dean for Enrollment Management. 

“With the new vision brought forth by Dean Hill, it was an ideal time to refocus and re-energize the team,” said Perez-Greene. 

The Office of Enrollment Management’s mission: to engage and recruit prospective students, shepherding them each step through enrollment, whether on our Dallas campus or as part of the newly launched hybrid Houston-Galveston Extension Program.  That means not just boosting enrollment but also finding students who will thrive and flourish at Perkins, helping them leverage financial aid to best advantage, and overcoming any barriers that might keep them from applying. 

“Enrollment management is much broader in scope than simply processing admissions applications,” Perez-Greene said. “It includes the entire school – faculty, programs and services, marketing, groundskeepers, financial aid staff and staff hospitality and services.” 

Behind the comprehensive approach to Enrollment Management is the notion that “recruitment is everybody’s responsibility.”   

“It’s up to all of us to attract students who are a good fit for Perkins, retain and graduate them,” Perez-Greene said.  “Enrollment management is shaping the institution by recruiting students whose goals align with its mission. We have what they need; we deliver what we say we have; and our students are successful.” 

Perez-Greene notes that the Office of Enrollment Management posts its staff travel schedule so everyone at Perkins may stay informed – and alert the staff of potential connections. 

“If we’re visiting a place where you know someone we should talk to – a faculty member, a personal connection, a student with an interest in Perkins – please let us know, and we’ll be sure to follow up,” she said.  

So far, this new approach seems to be working. This fall, Perkins experienced a 14.1% increase in enrollment over the previous year—building on 2017 totals, when the increase was more than 40% over 2016.  And next year is looking promising, too – so far, the Office has received about 50 percent more applications for the fall of 2019 than it had this time last year.  

Meet the Staff

The Office of Enrollment Management invites faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders to join this effort. Do you know a prospective student who is considering graduate theological education?  Refer someone here  or alert them to on-site information events this fall through  Inside Perkins. 

Margot Perez-GreeneAssociate Dean of Enrollment Management, leads the team of recruitment and admissions personnel, focused on making theological education possible and the admissions process seamless. Perez-Greene encourages all members of the Perkins community – faculty, staff, students and alumni – to contact her with any leads, connections or events that might help her staff connect with potential Perkins students. 

Stephen BagbyDirector of Recruitment and Admissionsmeets with prospective students and helps them through the admissions process. He also coordinates individual visits and Inside Perkins events. One of his greatest joys is calling applicants to let them know they’ve been accepted to Perkins School of Theology.  


Yazmin StraussRecruitment and Admissions Specialistassists students as they move through the application process, managing the applications process through a customer relationship management (CRM) system. She is also actively involved in events planning.   


John LoweryMinistry Discernment Associatetravels extensively throughout the U.S. meeting prospective students and chatting with them about the call to vocational ministry in its various forms, as well as the diverse and inspiring learning environment of Perkins School of Theology. 


Caleb PalmerMinistry Discernment Associatealso travels extensively to campuses, camps, and churches, and cultivates connections with Wesley Foundation leaders and religious faculty members at undergraduate colleges.      


Sandy OswaltFinancial Aid Coordinator and Administrative Assistant to the Associate Dean, gets involved the minute a student is admitted to Perkins to assist with financial aid. She also serves as the point of contact for all questions and issues regarding financial aid.    


Jean NixonFinancial Literacy Coordinator, is working to help make seminary students financially savvy, in terms of affording seminary, staying out of debt and budgeting. She leads an educational program of workshops and monthly events, funded by the Lilly Foundation.  





By Mary Jacobs, a Dallas-based freelance writer and former staff writer for The United Methodist Reporter and the Dallas Morning News.

December 2018 News Perspective Online

Office of Development: End of the Year Giving and Gift Planning

Perkins’ fiscal year begins on June 1 and ends on May 31, but for most of us, our personal fiscal year ends on December 31 and coincides with our IRS tax responsibilities. 

While the vast majority of us don’t give to charities in order to get a tax benefit, it is a nice advantage to claim on our income tax returns.  Because of the 2018 change in the U.S. tax law, I urge you to pay close attention this year.  With the loss of the personal exemption but the large increase in the standard deduction, along with new tax brackets, many will want to get advice in filing under the new system. 

The SMU Office of Gift Planning, under the expert leadership of Marianne Piepenburg, will be glad to talk to you about specific year-end gifts you may wish to make to Perkins or to the University.  I also can be a point of contact (  

Without regard to whether the entire gift is deductible or not, gifts of appreciated stock are tax-effective as they avoid the capital gains tax when transferred to charity. For those over 70 ½, IRA Charitable Rollover gifts are a good way to make gifts up to $100,000 to the public charity of your choice, meeting your required minimum distribution without increasing your income tax liability.   

 For information about gift planning, visit for some useful ideas to maximize your legacy of giving.  At that site you can be reminded how to donate stock, find information about charitable gift annuities, see sample language for bequests, and so much more.  You will see helpful steps based on your general gift amount, your age, or the kind of asset that you have in mind.  The website is informative and intuitive.  You will find it very helpful. 

Are you aware that almost 60 percent of adults in the United States do not have a will or any document detailing what happens to their estate after their death?  Perhaps it is time for you to review your documents—or create them if you have not already done so!  A review is especially important if you have moved to a new state because each state has its own laws pertaining to wills and trusts. 

I am grateful for the faithful and generous donors who have allowed Perkins to continue in its ministry of education for more than 100 years.  Many of our sustaining gifts came about because of careful estate planning.  I hope each one of us will take that responsibility on our shoulders so that the charities we care so deeply about will benefit for years to come.  

With a heart of thanks, 

John A. Martin
Director of Development
Perkins School of Theology

December 2018 News Perspective Online

‘Nativity’ Reflects Divergent Scripture Texts, Perspectives

“Nativity,” an 86 x 104-inch oil-on-canvas painting by Luke Allsbrook, is currently on display in the stairwell of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall.  The artwork pictures the birth of Jesus in the midst of a great heavenly battle, with imagery and text from the Nativity story in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Revelation.  

“As a New Testament professor, I am strongly drawn to this painting because it encourages me to consider together very divergent scriptural texts and perspectives,” said Dean Craig Hill. “Needless to say, ‘Nativity’ is inspiring and thought provoking in ways not achieved by the traditional Christmas-card image.” 

Text and images from traditional Christmas carols are also incorporated into the piece, which was previously displayed in 2017 at Duke Divinity School. To read more, visit the artist’s website. 

December 2018 News Perspective Online

2018 Advent Worship: ‘What Child is This?’

As it has every year since 1959, the Perkins community will celebrate Advent by recalling an ancient story: the coming of the Christ Child. This year, however, the annual worship service will include some new twists.

The December 6 Advent worship service will be the first led by Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Perkins’ new Director of the Master of Sacred Music program.

“It’s a fresh take on something we do every year,” said Steuernagel.

The Nativity According to Saint Luke. Plaistow, England: Curwen Press, 1954.
Bridwell Library Special Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

With the theme “What Child is This?” the service will revolve around three Nativity canticles (lyrical passages) found in the gospel of Luke: Mary’s song of praise (the Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55), Zechariah’s song of prophecy (Benedictus, Luke 1:67-79) and Simeon’s song celebrating the child’s arrival (Nunc Dimittis, Luke 2:29-32).

“This is a liturgical triptych,” Steuernagel said, referring to the three-paneled altarpieces of the Renaissance and high Middle Ages. “We are looking at these three scenes that surround arrival of Jesus – two before, the Magnificat and the Benedictus, and one after, the Nunc Dimittis.”

Perkins’ Seminary Singers will be joined by performers from Meadows School of the Arts for this service, which will feature, along with traditional hymns, five new original compositions commissioned especially for the occasion: a Prelude by Anthony Elia, director of the Bridwell Library; the Benedictus, by José Luis Manrique; the Magnificat by Marcell Silva Steuernagel; the Nunc Dimmitis, by Fernando Berwig; and a Postlude by Robert Frank, Associate Professor of Composition at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

The three thematic compositions by Manrique, Steuernagel and Berwig were commissioned by way of a Latin-American collective, called Ars Iubilorum, of which Steuernagel is a founding member. Since 2007, these composers have researched the intersection of Christian liturgical traditions and new music. Ars Iubilorum has collaborated with universities, churches, orchestras, ensembles and performers in South and North America, and in Europe.

The liturgy will be ordered around the three canticles.

“For each, there will be a scripture reading followed by the words of the canticle as framed by these new compositions. The congregation responds to the canticles by singing hymns,” Steuernagel said.

A moment of silence separates the first two canticles from the third, mirroring the contemplation of the baby Jesus by the Wise Men and shepherds. The final canticle, the Nunc Dimittis, recounts Simeon’s joyful response to the presentation of the baby Jesus in the temple.

Steuernagel notes that 2019 will mark the 60th anniversary of the annual Advent worship service at Perkins.

“We’re taking a new approach with a service that’s been observed at Perkins since 1959,” he said, adding with a chuckle: “It might scare a few people away. But I hope it will be a draw for some.”

Plan Your Visit

Perkins’ annual Advent Service takes place Thursday, December 6, at 4 and 8 p.m. in Perkins Chapel, 6001 Bishop Blvd., on the Southern Methodist University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Parking is across the street from Perkins Chapel, inside the Meadows Museum Parking Center; enter the garage on the LEFT side of the entrance gate.


By Mary Jacobs, a Dallas-based freelance writer and former staff writer for The United Methodist Reporter and the Dallas Morning News.

December 2018 News Perspective Online

Student Spotlight: Stephanie Bohan

Many students come to Perkins with the goal of moving into a new job, advancing in a current career, or becoming ordained.  

Stephanie Bohan’s goal, however, is to just keep on doing the job she’s already doing – “until the day I die,” she jokes – but doing it better. 

The Agape Clinic provides medical care to the East Dallas Community. (Courtesy Agape Clinic)

Bohan is Executive Director of The Agape Clinic, a nonprofit medical clinic which serves the community of East Dallas. On top of her job, she is pursuing a Master of Arts in Ministry degree part-time with a concentration in nonprofit leadership, which Perkins offers in partnership with the Cox School of Business.  

Bohan credits serendipity for the choice.  A sermon by her pastor, the Rev. Judith Reedy of Grace United Methodist Church, led her to Perkins’ website. 

“Judith said something about being a servant leader, I don’t remember exactly, except it made me go look at the website,” she said. “When I discovered the M.A.M. program, I felt it had been created specifically for me.” 

She became the first student to declare an intention to earn the degree with the nonprofit leadership focus.   

“I want to be the best leader I can be,” she said. “I was nervous at first; it had been at least 20 or 30 years since I turned in a paper for a grade. But I’ve been ridiculously blessed in this program.” So far, she’s earned straight A’s. 

“Every time I step on the campus, I feel like I’m becoming a better person and learning to become a better servant,” Bohan said.  

The Agape Clinic provides medical care to the East Dallas Community. (Courtesy Agape Clinic)

Founded by Dr. Barbara Baxter, who is also medical director and a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church — which played an instrumental role in the clinic’s creation —The Agape Clinic is the oldest charity medical clinic in Dallas and is independently funded. The clinic provides medical and dental care for anyone and everyone who asks for help. The clinic was located in the basement of Grace UMC for 33 years, until the clinic purchased the building across the street.  

Since Bohan joined in 2010, the Clinic has expanded its reach, from 2,800 patient visits to 18,000 patient visits per year, now delivering some $8 million in care to patients on a $850,000 annual budget, thanks to volunteers, donations and partnerships with educational institutions. Dental services are provided by students at the nearby Texas A&M College of Dentistry.  

A “cradle Catholic” who’s now a United Methodist, Bohan is a graduate of Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where she earned her degree in philosophy. Previously, she held positions in development at a Catholic elementary school and the Dallas Holocaust Museum. 

“I discovered I was naturally good at this,” she said. “I realized that nonprofit management was about doing good work and communicating it effectively. When you do that, you’ll never have to ask anyone for money. People naturally want to give and support you. Just stay focused on doing good work for the right reason.”  

Bohan said she was fearful when she started the job at Agape – fearful there wouldn’t be enough money, fearful they’d have to turn patients away, fearful they couldn’t serve everyone, fearful of failure.  None of those fears materialized. 

“There have been a million miracles that I have been privileged to witness,” she said. “I get to witness people giving of their time, lives saved, families kept whole because they didn’t lose a mom, a dad, or a child because they received good medical care,” Bohan said. “My life has been full of blessings that I could never have imagined because of this work.”  

Through her Perkins education, Bohan said, she’s getting closer to God, and preparing the way for more miracles.  

“If I’m a better servant, there are even more blessings to come,” she said.

December 2018 News Perspective Online

Faculty Profile: Ruben L. F. Habito

Ruben Habito speaks four languages, travels widely and dialogues comfortably with people of many different faiths. But one simple, short Bible passage serves as his “home base.” It’s Mark 1:11, “You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”  

In Mark 1:11, Habito said, he finds a message that runs much deeper than a “warm fuzzy feeling” of being loved. 

“It’s a way to look at the suffering and agony of all the people in the world throughout history and even now, including our own, and to understand, that in the midst of our travails, there is something or Someone that whispers into our ear, in and through all of this, that we are not forsaken, that ‘I AM with you,’ that ‘You are my beloved,’” he said.  

Grounded in that verse, Habito has become a low-key but influential voice on the Perkins campus and beyond, as a faculty member, author, spiritual director and Zen Roshi (teacher).   

At Perkins, Habito heads the spiritual formation program, as well as a certification program for spiritual directors, with the goal of giving students a spiritual grounding for their ministry. He also teaches courses in world religions, with an eye toward “unpacking what we can learn from the world’s religions and enhancing and enriching our ways of doing Christian theology, ministry, and spirituality.” 

Beyond campus, Habito is founding teacher of Maria Kannon Zen Center, housed at White Rock United Methodist Church in east Dallas.  He began Zen practice under Yamada Koun in Kamakura, Japan in 1971 when he was a Jesuit seminarian in Japan.  

 “The Zen Center is a central aspect of my life,” he said. “It is nourishing for me to be able to sit in silence with people from all backgrounds and traditions, or none at all, who are seeking something genuine and authentic in life.”   

Mark 1:11 also informs Habito’s personal practice of daily meditation, which he describes as “basically just sitting in silence, and basking in Love.”   

Habito recently returned from gatherings of the Parliament of World Religions and the American Academy of Religion; he is often called on to speak at international interfaith gatherings and to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue.  He’s also the author of several books – his most recent is Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible – that explore connections between Buddhism and Christian faith. Habito hopes his books and his work help make Zen accessible to people of all faiths as well as those with no religious beliefs.  

“Zen practice leads to an experience of our connectedness with one another,” he said. “That’s an underlying and recurring theme in my own work and in my own life.  Going deep into the core of our being enables us to open our hearts to that transcendent mystery, and at the same time, see our intimate connectedness with all beings, with all the earth.”  

Habito’s current research is aimed at crystalizing an understanding of the Trinity from an experiential perspective.  With the developments in systematic theology over the last few centuries, he said, a disconnect has arisen between spirituality and theology, with spirituality becoming a subdivision of practical matters that does not inform systematic theology, which attempts to explain ultimate reality in the light of Christian faith. Habito believes reconnecting the two areas can be mutually enriching.  

“More and more theologians are seeing that those two areas need to be reunited in order to do theology in a viable way that would address the crucial issues of our contemporary world,” he said.    

Teaching Specialties

The world’s religions, East Asian Buddhism, theology of religions and comparative theology, interreligious perspectives in spirituality and mysticism, prayer and spirituality, spirituality and Christian ministry. 

Research Interests

Japanese medieval Buddhism, themes in comparative theology, spirituality and socio-ecological engagement, Trinity and the world’s religions. 

What book is on your nightstand now?

“It’s a whole pile,” he said. “I’ll give you two: Entertaining Triune Mystery by Jeffrey Pugh and Savouring the Zen Oxherding Pictures by Patrick Gallagher.” 


Habito’s wife, Maria, is also a Zen teacher and serves as international program director for the Museum of World Religions in Taiwan. The couple has two grown sons, Benjamin and Florian.  

Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party, and what would you talk about?  

“First, let me give you the menu.  I would cook grilled salmon, using my favorite Cajun seasoning, called ‘Slap Ya Mama,’ and ratatouille. I would invite the following guests:  Augustine’s mother Monica and her famous son (I will tell him how his Confessions continue to move me deeply, but will suggest to him to keep his mother in mind when he writes about women); Nicholas of Cusa (will ask him about the spiritual experience that led him to the insight of ‘coincidence of opposites’ that characterize genuine religious phenomena); Julian of Norwich (will ask her about the struggles she had until she came to the realization that ‘All shall be well, all manner of thing shall be well’); Louis and Zelle Martin, the parents of Therèse of Lisieux (I would listen to their stories of raising their nine children and ask especially about the youngest, Therèse, and her antics as a little girl); and Simone Weil, whose book, Attente de Dieu (‘Attentive to God’ has been a major inspiration in my life, especially her solidarity with the suffering of the earth. I would tell her to eat more of the salmon and ratatouille, and not starve herself to death. Then we will have dessert, a nutcake baked by Maria along with purple yam ice cream from the Asian grocery in Richardson.”  

You get to ask one question at the Pearly Gates. What do you ask?   

“I’d just have a request: Can everyone else come in, too?” 


Habito Labyrinth at Perkins School of Theology 

In honor of Habito’s contributions to Perkins, Dodee Frost Crockett and William B. Crockett, Jr., donated a labyrinth to the Perkins campus, which was dedicated in 2009.  The Habito Labyrinth—a seven-circuit design, based on the eleven-circuit medieval labyrinth in France’s Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres—is located in the Frost Marcus Labyrinth Courtyard Gardens, in the open and accessible space between Prothro and Selecman Halls at Perkins School of Theology.  The path of the labyrinth is about one-third of a mile long and takes about 20 minutes to walk at a moderate pace. The labyrinth is open to anyone who seeks to walk the path toward peace.


December 2018 News Perspective Online

H-G Hybrid Format Provides Good Fit for Inaugural Class

As senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Gladewater, Texas, David Lee doesn’t have a schedule that allows him to attend seminary full-time on campus. He tried an online program at a respected theology school, but it didn’t quite click. Then he discovered Perkins’ Houston-Galveston Extension Program. It proved a good fit.   

“I need the convenience of an online program, but I didn’t enjoy engaging online with people I’d never met,” he said. “With the hybrid approach, you really do get to know people in the program.” 

Lee, 31, enrolled this fall, taking advantage of the newly-launched hybrid format of Perkins School of Theology’s Houston-Galveston Extension Program. The program allows students to earn the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in three years, or Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) degree in two years, completely on-site in Houston through a groundbreaking distance-education approach.   

Like Lee, many other students found the new model appealing. Forty students enrolled in Houston in the Fall of 2018 – four in the Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) program and 36 in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program, representing about half of the incoming class of M.Div. students overall at Perkins’ combined campuses.  

Five students in the Houston-Galveston Extension program shared an AirBnB rental during the residential portion of the program in November. Left to right: Kaylee Vida, Megan Twyman, David Lee, Carlene Barbeau, Daniel Curry.

Houston-Galveston Extension program students take nine (9) credit hours, or three courses, each semester and attend three semesters (rather than two) per year —which was the way the program was originally designed. Students are required to be physically present for 20 hours of face-to-face instruction—10 hours at the beginning and end of each semester—per class.  In addition to these three hybrid courses, other courses will be offered in one-week intensives, typically in the January Term or Summer. Students who successfully complete each of these courses in the regular sequence will earn the M.Div. degree in three years and the M.A.M. degree in two years. 

The Extension program has been in place since 1995, but in February 2018, the Association of Theological Schools approved the new model, which waives the Dallas campus residency requirement. Before, Houston-Galveston Extension students were required to complete at least eight courses—the equivalent of one year of the M.Div. and one-third of the M.A.M. — on the Perkins-SMU campus. 

“The new format is a big draw for many students,” said Hugo Magallanes, director of the Houston-Galveston Extension program and associate professor of Christianity and Cultures. “Students who are employed full- or part-time can attend seminary. It’s helping reduce the strain on students’ time and money while providing quality instruction from Perkins’ full-time faculty.” 

That was the appeal for Megan Twyman, 21, who works as a teacher and tutor in Shreveport, La. Having recently married, she did not think seminary was an option. 

“I had to keep my job to pay the bills,” she said. “I knew I felt the call to ministry, but I thought it would have to wait until we were more stable. God had other things in mind, though.” 

The launch of the Houston-Galveston program full-time hybrid program changed her mind. She enrolled this fall as an M.Div. student with hopes of becoming an ordained elder in the Louisiana conference.  The format proved a good fit for Twyman’s learning style.  

“As an introvert, I like being able to soak in a lecture before responding to my classmates,” she said. “Introverts often do not get to become engaged in discussion in the classroom setting like they do in the hybrid program.” 

Magallanes notes that, while convenient, the online portion of the program is demanding.  

“It’s not easier than face-to-face classroom work,” he said. “Typically, students have constant interaction with each other and the professor by way of forum conversations. In an in-person classroom, a few students might earn a good grade without participating in class.  You cannot get away with that in an online classroom.” 

However, Twyman said, she doesn’t feel isolated. 

 “I have a group of five people that I talk to almost every day, through group message about assignments,” she said. “We lift each other up, and I love to see them in person during face-to-face sessions.” 

Top Profs

Over the past few years, David Kim, 30, has listened as his wife, Danielle, talked about classes at the Houston-Galveston campus with well-known Perkins professors such as Ted Campbell and Billy Abraham.  Danielle will graduate in May; now David is taking classes from those professors, too. He’s studying through the hybrid program while working part-time as director of communications and community ministries development at Aldersgate UMC at College Station.  

 “Those professors are there in Houston teaching,” he said. “Just being able to talk to Ted Campbell, hear his jokes, observe his thought processes – it’s amazing. That’s one of the things I find really important in this program.” 

While some hybrid programs lean heavily on adjunct faculty, Houston-Galveston students regularly receive instruction from Perkins professors, who also teach full-time students who attend on campus in Dallas.  Many of the faculty members have completed a course in online teaching through SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence. Teaching the three M. Div. courses this fall are Campbell, Leslie Fuller, and Dallas Gingles, who is campus manager for Houston-Galveston.  Students also do coursework in Spiritual Formation (taught by Ruben L. F. Habito, Perkins’ Director of Spiritual Formation and Professor of World Religions and Spirituality, and the Rev. Mary Tumulty, Faculty Facilitator) and participate in internships, coordinated by Isabel Docampo, Co-Director of the Intern Program, Professor of Supervised Ministry, and Director, Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions.

The launch of the new hybrid format this fall coincided with a move of the Houston-Galveston administrative offices to Houston Methodist Hospital, making it the only U.S. seminary located in a medical center.  Students have access to books and materials, now housed in the hospital’s library, and through the partnership, the Houston-Galveston campus will offer a one-week intensive in bioethics in January.   

The new location also capitalizes on a number of Methodist connections.  Perkins alumnus and Executive Board member Charles Millikan (M.Th. ’71), who was involved in founding of the Houston-Galveston campus in 1994, is Vice President for Spiritual Care and Values Integration at Houston Methodist and also holds the Dr. Ronny W. and Ruth Barner Centennial Chair in Spiritual Care.  Millikan notes that the hospital’s senior chaplain, BJ Hightower, was among the first students to enroll in the Houston-Galveston campus program, earning her M.Div.

Residential classes, spiritual formation and community engagement also take place in the program’s three partner sites: St. Paul’s UMC and St. John’s UMC in Houston, and Moody Methodist Church in Galveston. 

This year’s incoming class comes from the Houston area as well as Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Florida and other parts of Texas. The average age of students in the program is 40. 

“Generally speaking, the program tended to attract older students, but now because of the online portion, the program is attracting more younger students as well,” Magallanes said.  

Full-time Students

Another advantage of the hybrid format: students can now choose to attend full-time at Houston-Galveston, which was not an option until now, and those in degree programs are eligible for scholarships. 

 Dallas Gingles, who is a Ph.D. graduate of Southern Methodist University, adds that the hybrid launch coincides with another milestone for Houston-Galveston – the selection of Cynthia Fierro Harvey as the 2018 recipient of the Perkins School of Theology’s Distinguished Alumnus/a Award. Harvey, now bishop of the Louisiana Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church, was one of the first graduates from the Houston-Galveston program, earning an M.Div. in 1999. She is the first graduate from the campus to receive the recognition. He expects similar great things from the incoming class of students.  

 “I’m incredibly impressed with this class; they’re all hard workers,” he added. “The hybrid launch effectively changes the program to a full extension campus, where you can get everything you need for a degree here, without having to go elsewhere.  

To Learn More

Prospective students interested in learning more about the Houston-Galveston Extension Program are invited to this information session: 

Houston-Galveston Information Session
Tuesday, December 4
7 – 8:30 p.m.
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
5501 S Main Street
Houston, TX 77004

Please register at 

Individual visits to both locations may also be arranged. 

For additional information or questions, contact Stephen Bagby, Director of Recruitment and Admissions, at or 214-768-2139. 


By Mary Jacobs, a Dallas-based freelance writer and former staff writer for The United Methodist Reporter and the Dallas Morning News.

December 2018 News Perspective Online

Faculty Update

AAR-SBL presentations in Denver

Perkins and SMU were well-represented when the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature took place Nov. 17-20 in Denver. Many Perkins School of Theology and SMU professors—as well as SMU Ph.D. students— presented research and participated on panels and in committees. A complete list of Perkins- and SMU-affiliated speakers, including their presentation topics, is available here. In addition, Perkins friends and alumni/ae at the meeting, as well as those in the greater Denver area, gathered November 18 for the annual Perkins-SMU reception at the Sheraton Denver Downtown.

Perkins Faculty Receive Sam Taylor Fellowships

Five Perkins faculty members have been named recipients of Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. They are: Jaime Clark-Soles, Natalia Marandiuc, Hal Recinos, Marcell Steuernagel and Ted Campbell. The Fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas and support research, “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.” Campbell, for example, will use the funds to help with a proposal for a second edition of his video “Five Waves Over Dallas” on waves of migration into Dallas.


Marandiuc Book Wins Prize

Natalia Marandiuc

Indiana Wesleyan University’s John Wesley Honors College announced that Natalia Marandiuc’s The Goodness of Home: Human and Divine Love and the Making of the Self (Oxford University Press, 2018) is the winner of the 2018 Aldersgate Prize. The selection committee unanimously chose “The Goodness of Home” among 70 nominations.  For more information, read here. Marandiuc, assistant professor of Christian theology at Perkins, will accept the prize at IWU in April. Read more here.





McKenzie To Be Recognized at Preachapalooza

Alyce McKenzie

The board of directors of Academy of Preachers, Inc., has nominated Alyce McKenzie, LeVan Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins, to be honored with its 2019 Preachapalooza Honors in recognition of her “exemplary contributions to Christian ministry in the area of Homiletical Writing.”  The honor will be awarded at a Gala in Atlanta on January 4, 2019.  The Academy of Preachers is a national ecumenical initiative dedicated to supporting and inspiring young people in their call to gospel preaching.