February 2019 News Perspective Online

Faculty Updates

New Appointment: Hugo Magallanes

Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has announced the appointment of Hugo Magallanes as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, effective June 2019.

Currently, Magallanes serves as director of Perkins’ Houston-Galveston Extension Program and is Associate Professor of Christianity and Cultures. In his new role, he will manage the curriculum of academic programs, support faculty development and provide for academic advising to students.

In the first years of his term, this work will also likely include helping to prepare for accreditation visits and supporting an expansion of the Perkins student population with the Houston-Galveston program, as well as a new Baptist House of Studies and Perkins’ unique Spanish-language Th.M. program.

“Hugo brings extensive administrative experience to the position of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs,” said Perkins Dean Craig Hill. “He will continue oversight of our growing Houston-Galveston program, working closely with Associate Director Dallas Gingles, and help us further integrate our curriculum between locations and modalities.”

Associate Dean Evelyn Parker added, “His deep familiarity and network among United Methodist and Latinx communities will help us to accelerate the growth and effectiveness of our academic programs during this time of rapid change in theological education.”

Magallanes, who joined the Perkins faculty 11-1/2 years ago, says he is gratified by the progress he has witnessed over the years, as Perkins continued to attract high-quality students, inspired excellent research and offered theological education that is relevant to more students.

“In this new role, it is my hope and prayer to serve the Perkins community with God’s grace and guidance,” Magallanes said. “I am looking forward to continuing the remarkable work established by Associate Dean Parker and supporting Dean Hill’s vision for Perkins.”

Parker, who is current Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will continue as the Susanna Wesley Centennial Chair in Practical Theology and is preparing for a well-deserved research leave in the next academic year.

“Perkins School of Theology owes a significant debt of appreciation to Evelyn Parker,” Dean Hill said. “When appointed as dean, I asked her to extend her term by one additional year so that I could fully benefit from her wisdom and expertise. Indeed, Evelyn Parker has shaped me as a dean and been an absolute joy to work with as part of a close-knit leadership team.”


January in Moscow: Ted Campbell

Ted Campbell celebrated Christmas twice this year: first on December 25 with his family, and then in Moscow on January 7, when Russian Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas Day. 

But Campbell was among United Methodists, teaching a one-week intensive to students at the Moscow Theological Seminary of the United Methodist Church.   

His visit is part of an ongoing connection that brings U.S.-based theology professors to the campus for the January term. Opened in 1995, the seminary trains pastors for the 115 United Methodist churches in Russia.   

Campbell was there at the invitation of the school’s president, the Rev. Sergei Nikolaev, a PhD graduate of the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU.  

“Because Protestant Christian churches were outlawed for much of Russia’s history, there is a dearth of seminary-trained Methodist professors there,” said Campbell. “Sergei has developed courses in January and at other times of the year so they can be staffed by United Methodist faculty from the U.S.”   

For the one-week intensive, Campbell taught a class on “John Wesley: A Single Life in Community,” to a group of about 30 Russian, Ukrainian and Kyrgyzstani students. Each day’s schedule included four hour-and-a-half sessions as well as meals.   

Teaching with the help of a translator, Campbell detailed how Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, was an extraordinary leader but a bit of a failure as a husband. After he married, he spent most of his time apart from his wife.  By all accounts the marriage was an unhappy one.  

“Wesley lived most of his life in communities that he’d helped set up, and he lived a very regimented, disciplined life,” Campbell said. “Many of the Moscow students found this idea challenging, because it sounded like monasticism, which they associate with the Orthodox church.”   

Campbell says the intensive program is important because, due to the patchwork history of Methodism in Russia, many students are still learning what it means to be United Methodist. Most grew up with parents who were atheists and grandparents who were Orthodox, if only nominally. 

Some United Methodist churches in Russia were originally founded by non-denominational evangelists who came to Russia in the 1990s. In later years, the government has required Protestant Christian churches to affiliate with a denomination; some non-denominational churches chose to connect with the United Methodist Church, without much understanding of Methodist ethos or theology. 

“As first-generation Christians, most United Methodists in Russia and Eurasia did not learn what it means to be United Methodist from parents and grandparents,” he said.  “Teaching in the Moscow Theological Seminary is one of the ways in which Perkins faculty extend the work of the School of Theology and also bring insights back to our students in Dallas and Houston.” 

February 2019 News Perspective Online

Alumni/ae Update

Poling Publishes New Study Guide

Rev. Carolyn Poling (M.Div. ’06) recently published Who Do You Say That I Am? Meeting Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark, a study guide for youth that helps readers “define who Jesus is to them, who he says he is in Scripture and how this impacts how we live our lives.” Poling is a deacon in the North Georgia Conference currently teaching in the Morgan County School System.





Alum Recognized as Trailblazer

Rev. Yvette R. Blair-Lavallais (M.T.S. ‘13)

Rev. Yvette R. Blair-Lavallais (M.T.S. ‘13) was recently featured in Voyage Dallas’ Trailblazer Series. Read the article here. “It is certainly a blessing for me to be able to share about my life’s work, and how God’s hand has been holding me through every phase of it,” said Blair-Lavallais, who is a Certified Spiritual Life Coach, writer, editor and public speaker living in the Dallas area.



Elizabeth Payne Honored

From left, Kim Gregory, Beta Beta president, Dr. Elizabeth Payne, Reba Greer, Beta Beta member and past Alpha Delta president. Photo provided.

The Beta Beta Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International recently honored Elizabeth Payne (M.T.S. ’67) with the Red Rose Award, given to an outstanding woman who has had a great impact on education and in her community. A recently retired faculty member at the University of Mississippi, Payne has in her varied career had stints as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., a teacher, a research assistant and a visiting assistant professor at several colleges. She is also a well-known author with numerous published articles and books. Read the story here.