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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.

February 2020 News Perspective Online

A Message from Dean Hill: Money and Meaning

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.”

Luke 16:14-15

Why does money always seem to get such bad press in the New Testament? That doesn’t entirely correspond to our experience, does it?

Many years ago, I was a doctoral student living in a tiny apartment, a flat, in England. One day I received an unexpected phone call from the United States informing me that I would be receiving a substantial fellowship from the United Methodist Church that would help to pay for my studies. Here is what I did not say when I heard the news: “Yes, yes. I understand. No, that’s all right. These things happen. I’ll just do my best to accept it. Life goes on. I guess we all have to face up to money sometime.”  That is exactly not how I reacted.

In and of itself, money has no meaning. Nevertheless, money does have a fascinating and complex relationship to meaning, which is no small matter given the fact that we humans are to the core meaning-seeking creatures. For some, including those censured in the Gospels, money and the things it buys convey status, position, and importance. And this is just where so much of the problem lies. Money becomes a real evil in our lives the moment it takes over functions that are rightly God’s, when it becomes our primary security, and even more insidious, when it starts to dictate what we think of ourselves. At that point, we have become its servants.

It is striking that those who ridiculed Jesus in v. 14 are called not just “lovers of money,” but also “those who justify yourselves in the sight of others.”  You might say that our god is that which defines us, that which we look to to give our lives meaning, that which “justifies us,” to use biblical language. It’s also interesting that Jesus says his opponents were looking to money as a way of justifying themselves “in the sight of others.” According to Romans 8:33, however, it is God, and God alone, who can justify, not others.

There is another and opposite way that money and meaning are related. Money can make meaningful action possible, even if the action is done in secret. Of course, it is by no means necessary to have money to perform meaningful service. It is simply one resource among many that one may employ in God’s service. It is a tool, in other words, suitable to some tasks but not to others. Money is no substitute for human presence and caring, but it can under some circumstances make that human presence and caring possible.

My parents had an extraordinarily meaningful retirement. The reason is that they invested so much of it, including both their time and money, in a range of mission projects, such as building schools, hospitals, and churches in Haiti and Russia. Among other things, they invited a young Haitian woman to live with them in Illinois and paid for her to attend nursing school. By middle-class American standards, my parents were comfortable but not wealthy, but they did an extraordinary job of marshalling the resources they had to benefit others. This was done without a lot of fanfare, but it filled their retirement years with meaning. I had never seen them so happy and so fulfilled.

I started by mentioning a fellowship I received as a doctoral student. Let me turn back time seven or eight more years. I was contemplating attending seminary, but I wasn’t sure about my course. Unexpectedly, I was offered a full-tuition scholarship to attend Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. So it was, just a few days later, that I was in class and thus my life unfolded. I do not know who gave Garrett the money that endowed the scholarship that encouraged me to attend. Neither are those donors likely ever to know what happened because of their generosity, which also includes the dozen or so others who have received that same scholarship since I graduated. Nevertheless, they enriched and changed my life, creating meaning for me and, I hope, for others. I would not have had the same life without them.

This online issue of Perspective is focused on the great good done through our giving to student financial aid. I hope you will see this as a way of employing your own financial resources in an enduringly meaningful way. You might never know the particulars, but there are wonderful church leaders whose path into ministry will be made possible by your generosity.

Thank you sincerely.


February 2020 News Perspective Online

Office of Enrollment Management: We’re Counting Our Blessings

The Rev. Dr. Margot Perez-Greene, Ph.D. 
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management

We’re counting our blessings as we consider the meaningful work we do in the Office of Enrollment Management, which involves recruitment, admission, financial aid and financial literacy. Every recruitment season, which is 12 months of the year, we encounter stories of call, transformation, dedication and sacrifice. Even in these turbulent times that bring uncertainty, individuals called to ministry surface, and we have the pleasure of continuing the dialogue with them of discernment and leadership preparation for the church and beyond.

Our goal for new students for the academic year 2019-20 was 120. We welcomed 104 new students in the fall (including 14 doctoral students) and 26 in the spring (all master’s students), bringing us to the grand total of 130. We made it! All in all, we know that the fall of 2020 looms large, as does the General Conference; however, we keep on fighting the good fight because God is still calling folks to ministry.

We are counting our blessings because we have students who, in the midst of uncertainty, follow their calls and seek training and education from Perkins. It is one thing for our faculty and staff to promote Perkins, and quite another when we hear from students who are experiencing the value they encounter at Perkins. For the purpose of this publication, we invited four of them to share the reasons they chose Perkins. Feel free to forward this good news to prospective students. Or, we are happy to follow up with any prospective student you bring to our attention or send our way. You can call me (214-768-3332) or email me ( I hope to hear from you soon!


The Rev. Margot Perez-Greene, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management


“I chose Perkins for about three reasons. I wanted to have a well-balanced education that would allow me to engage many different theological perspectives as I continue to curate my own. I also wanted to have a local community. Though I value online education, I wanted to have direct access to faculty and staff. Building those kinds of relationships is important to me, and I find that I tend to study better in tangible community. Last, I had a great experience with the faculty before I chose to enroll … staff were so welcoming and helped me to find the resources I needed to attend an institution such as Perkins. They also worked with me and my local annual conference to find the financial resources, and I have not looked back since. I’m proud to attend this seminary, and I am overjoyed to help build and serve this community of thinkers and servant leaders.”

– Julian Hobdy, First Year, Master of Divinity


“I have especially enjoyed my time as a first-year student at Perkins because the faculty and staff are so involved in the overall success of every student. I feel that in each of my classes the professors want to do everything possible to help me and my fellow students succeed. I also think that the staff are always available to assist with questions or when I just need to talk. The community atmosphere is not just a slogan here; it is a way of life, and that is what I think sets Perkins apart from other schools. Thanks again, to all, for your help with my journey to Perkins and for being so accessible!”

– Jerrod Bacchus, First Year, Master of Divinity



“I knew that Perkins School of Theology is growing a diverse community, so I wanted to start my journey in this diverse community. One of my classmates asked me how I feel about going from being part of a majority in Korea to a minority in the United States. I answered that I was so glad because I got out of a homogenous community and I feel the dynamism of this diverse community at Perkins. As a member of the global village, I am learning how to communicate with, understand and love others who are different from me at Perkins!”

– Jae Jun “Daniel” Cho, First Year, Master of Divinity



“The warm welcome and hospitality of all the students, staff and faculty I met while visiting Perkins made me feel right at home and part of the Perkins family in ways I had not experienced at any other theology school I visited.”

– Melissa Nelms, First Year, Master of Divinity


February 2020 News Perspective Online

Office of Development: The Perkins Executive Board and Its Impact

Perkins is fortunate to have an outstanding Executive Board, a group of dedicated supporters who serve as an advisory group to Dean Craig Hill. Chaired by Bishop Mike McKee of the North Texas Conference, the Board is made up of 43 members, including six SMU Trustees, three of whom are bishops of The United Methodist Church.

Several years ago, this important group took on the task of personally raising funds to start a new scholarship program called Perkins Scholars. Those funds increase the scholarships provided to 10 select Master of Divinity students in each year’s entering class who show great promise for leadership as well as outstanding academic accomplishments. Since the beginning of the program, $650,000 has been committed by this dedicated group of Executive Board members.

Financial aid is vital for theological graduate students. Perkins must continue to increase the level of scholarship aid if we are to attract students who will be the leaders of the church of tomorrow.

Please join this group of dedicated volunteers in making theological education affordable for the current generation of students. Every gift is important.

Visit our website to make a gift. Why not select to give a recurring gift either monthly or quarterly?

The next generation of church leaders is preparing to be salt and light in the world. Thank you for joining the cause.

With a thankful heart,

John A. Martin
Director of Development

February 2020 News Perspective Online

Perkins: An Affordable Choice

Ever since he was a boy, Jae Jun “Daniel” Cho dreamed of attending Perkins School of Theology.

His parents are both pastors in the Korean Methodist Church; his father wanted to study at Perkins but went elsewhere because Perkins was not freely open to international students at that time.

Perkins was Cho’s first choice when he began looking into a seminary education, and Perkins was the first to respond to his application with an acceptance. That was soon followed by a financial aid offer that covered 100 percent of his tuition.

“Without the financial aid offer, studying at Perkins would have remained only as a dream,” he said. “The financial aid offer was not only a deciding factor, but also a factor making my dream come true!”

Cho’s story is not an isolated or unusual one. Perkins has a dedicated team of people, armed with an arsenal of tools and resources, to put seminary within reach financially for every qualified student who wishes to attend.

“Our generous donors make Perkins affordable,” said Margot Perez-Greene, Associate Dean of Enrollment Management. “We work very closely with each student, so that they can graduate with little or no debt.”

High Cost

According to a 2019 report from the Association of Theological Schools, students spend a median amount of more than $53,000 for a seminary education. Nearly half borrow money to cover tuition, with total debt averaging around $35,000. Given that salaries for ministers with master’s degrees start around $47,000, debt can create an unsustainable burden and a less-than-ideal way to begin a ministry career. (Tuition at Perkins’ Dallas campus runs about $733 per credit hour, with most students taking 9-12 hours each semester.)

Financial aid is each student’s responsibility, but Perkins’ Office of Enrollment Management (OEM) works closely with incoming students as well as current students.

“We have a great track record of helping students find financial aid that makes Perkins affordable,” said Perez-Greene. “Currently, 100 percent of our master’s degree students with demonstrated need are receiving financial aid of some kind.”

The OEM takes a holistic approach, weighing each student’s application, essay, recommendations, transcript and grades, special interests and student characteristics, and connections to the United Methodist Church or other denominations. The office then guides each student in putting together a package that includes scholarships, grants and other financial aid.

“We have endowments designated specifically for people in the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church,” Perez-Greene said. Students who live or plan to apply for ordination in the South Central Jurisdiction can usually find some scholarship opportunity. (The South Central Jurisdiction encompasses 12 Annual Conference in eight states – Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.) For example, Pastor Sal Perales, an M.Div. student, hails from New Mexico, so he qualified for financial aid from an endowment based in the New Mexico Annual Conference.

In addition, students may qualify for financial aid designated for those focusing in specific areas, such as preaching, evangelism or social justice. The OEM also works closely with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF).

“We advise our students that affording seminary includes partners,” said Perez-Greene. “We encourage students to talk to local churches, campus ministries and other groups that have scholarship dollars for which they may be eligible. Current students have reported that often they have been the recipient of a scholarship because no one else applied. A clergy couple who graduated from Perkins recently shared that many hours were spent applying for outside scholarships, and they both graduated without debt. So there is money out there to lessen debt. We have a complete listing of these scholarships posted on the Affording Seminary web page.”

‘Like Coming Home’

Perkins’ many connections with the United Methodist Church help draw many students, including Brayden Bishop. He grew up hearing about Perkins at his church, Custer Road United Methodist, in Plano. When it was time to apply for graduate school, Perkins was the only choice in his mind.

“I had always heard about Perkins,” he said. “Many of my pastors earned their M.Div. degrees at Perkins. I knew it was a great place where people got to really explore their ministry.”

However, Bishop was prepared to wait a few years before beginning his studies, in order to save up money before attending seminary.

“I didn’t hesitate to apply, but I did hesitate about coming right away,” he said. “I didn’t want to go into debt. If I had to wait a couple of years, it wouldn’t be the worst thing.”

Working closely with Perez-Greene as well as Stephen Bagby in the OEM, Bishop was able to secure a financial aid package that covers 90 percent of his tuition. He started at Perkins last fall and hopes to graduate with his M.Div. in 2022.

“If not for Margot and Stephen, I would not be at Perkins now,” he said. “The work they put in – that’s why I’m here today. It felt like coming home. I always felt as if Perkins was this place that was calling me.”

Like Bishop, many students choose Perkins in part based on its location. Perkins’ Dallas location gives students access to many vibrant congregations as well as a wide range of nonprofit agencies and ministries.

The financial aid process doesn’t end with matriculation. Once at Perkins, students receive ongoing support. A Financial Literacy program helps students to become financially savvy, with tips on budgeting and money management. The program is funded through a $250,000 grant as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. Perkins was one of 67 theological schools across the U.S. and Canada to receive grant funding.

Another source of financial support: Students in the M.Div. and M.A.M. degree programs work in paid nine-month internships.

“It’s amazing how much money is out there to assist students,” said Perez-Greene. “It takes time to research them and apply. But I’ve seen students do it. And we’re here to help them every step of the way.”

February 2020 News Perspective Online

Immersion Trips

Dozens of Perkins students started the semester with fresh perspectives and memories, following their travels in the 2020 January term Global Theological Education Immersion Trips to Waco, Texas, and Israel/Palestine.

A group of 10 students journeyed to the Middle East for the Israel-Palestine trip, led by faculty members Robert Hunt and Tamara Lewis, from January 2-14. Another group of 22 students, led by Hugo Magallanes, traveled to Waco, Texas, from January 7-13, to witness the work of Mission Waco, a ministry serving those in need.

The trips gave students the chance to meet local leaders and to gain a better understanding of problems in each place visited. Many students came home with a renewed determination to serve.


Mission Waco

For David Kemp, an M.Div. student on the Waco trip, the most impactful moment was an eye-opening conversation with a 10-year-old boy named Roderick who lives in the projects. Roderick knowledgeably discussed news of the 2020 presidential race and the impeachment of President Donald Trump. He told Kemp that he hopes to become an astrophysicist.

Group shot in Waco in front of the silos.

“I didn’t go in expecting a kid in the projects to be that smart,” he said. “I was biased, even though I did not consciously realize it.”

That personal connection made a deep impression, as did Mission Waco’s approach to community development.

“Just giving people stuff doesn’t get people out of poverty,” Kemp said. “Instead, for example, you can buy up apartments and make them affordable. You can get private money involved, and you can do it in a way that is beneficial to the community.”

Mission Waco provides “Christian-based, holistic, relationship-based programs that empower the poor and marginalized,” according to its mission statement. The ministry also seeks to mobilize middle-class Christians to become more compassionately connected to the poor and to address systemic issues that contribute to poverty.

Twenty-one students participated in the Waco trip, including six M.Div. students, one M.A.M. student and 14 D.Min. students, for whom the trip was a required part of their curriculum.  Students stayed in a training center owned by Mission Waco and had a chance to hear from Mission Waco founder Jimmy Dorrell and observe him and the ministry in action. The ministry’s efforts include a grocery store, a theater, a restaurant, buildings for the youth and children, a drug rehab clinic and a homeless shelter – all under the Mission Waco umbrella.

“My goal was for the students to learn how to manage a nonprofit and to have a hands-on experience with Jimmy Dorrell,” said Hugo Magallanes, who is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Houston-Galveston Extension Program. “This is a person who has acquired a lot of wisdom and expertise. The students go to see the successes of the ministry but also to learn the nuts and bolts of how it’s organized and how it runs.” Dorrell presented several lectures and led activities with the group.

Todd Salzwedel (M.Div. ’05) is a D.Min. student and senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Odessa, Texas. He says he’s often preached on engaging the poor, and seen the many ways that churches try to help, with clothes closets, food pantries, life skill classes and prison ministries.

“Sometimes you wonder if you’re not helping to contribute to the issues that are perpetuating the way that people stay caught up in this cycle of poverty,” he said. “What was fascinating was that Mission Waco was not focused on ways to get clothes, food or shelter to people in need. Instead, you empower that community through economic development and education to have a role in how that community develops. It’s about empowering the people we’re seeking to serve with, not serve to.”

Salzwedel noted that the roots of Mission Waco were planted when Jimmy Dorrell and his wife purchased a home in a blighted area of North Waco in 1978, in an intentional effort to engage with the poor. The Dorrells began building relationships, hosting Bible studies and prayer groups in the neighborhood and later starting a worship service for the homeless called the Church Under the Bridge.

“It’s one thing to learn theory, but to put it into practice is a completely different matter,” said Salzwedel. “Watching how that plays out on the ground was revelatory and eye-opening.”



Thea Curry-Fuson, an M.Div. student, couldn’t pass up the chance to see the Holy Land along with a theology professor, and to receive course credit. She was one of the students who participated in the 13-day Israel-Palestine trip.

Participants in the Israel-Palestine trip on the Sea of Galilee. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Roseborough.

“We can read the Bible, study the Bible, talk about the Bible, but actually being there and experiencing the locations, then the stories really come to life,” she said. “I have a deeper understanding because I was actually there.”

Curry-Fuson will never forget an outing on a boat in the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a storm, and watching the storm calm as the group worshipped; or experiencing the serenity of the place where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount; or singing songs in Hebrew, by candlelight, in the home of a Jewish Israeli with a view overlooking the city of Jerusalem.

“Just being in those places, the Scripture passages made more sense to me, and clicked in a different way,” she said.

The group also visited Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, Nablus, Taybeh and Mount Carmel in Nazareth, as well as sites that figured prominently in the life of Jesus: the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of the Nativity, the Sea of Galilee and the Via Dolorosa.

Participants heard from local guides who each shared their perspectives on the conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinians in the region.

While she appreciated the beauty and culture of the Holy Land, Cheryl Roseborough, an M.A.M. student, found it challenging to see a wall that separates the Palestinians from the Israeli citizens.

“As an African-American woman, I know what it’s like to be marginalized,” she said. “I really struggled with that.” Going through checkpoints made her more appreciative of the freedom Americans enjoy.

Roseborough was also moved by worship on the Sea of Galilee as well as a trip to the site where Jesus is believed to have multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the 5,000. She remembered a cousin who had recently passed away in October who, as a child, talked about the “fish and biscuits” that Jesus fed to the multitudes.

“I’d been feeling sad about the fact that I missed his funeral,” she said. “I felt like God gave me the opportunity to celebrate his life at that very location. Hearing the words ‘fish and biscuits’ in my head gave me an opportunity to remember and honor him in the sacred place.”


Upcoming Trips

Registration is now open for three upcoming Immersion Trips: during Spring Break 2020, a trip to Rome and the Vatican, March 12 to 22, 2020, led by James Lee and Bruce Marshall; a trip to General Conference, May 5 to 15, 2020, led by Bishop Max Whitfield; and “Memory, Religion and Politics in Israel/Palestine,” led by Susanne Scholz, May 17 to 28, 2020. To register in advance, please contact the GTE office at

February 2020 News Perspective Online

Perkins School of Youth Ministry

If you think technology is changing quickly, consider youth ministry.

Youth leaders say that the “old ways” of ministering to young people – from just five to 10 years ago – no longer work. Social media has exploded; smartphones are ubiquitous. Today’s youth see the world much differently than their counterparts of just a decade ago.

To help youth leaders navigate this fast-changing world, the annual Perkins School of Youth Ministry offers an array of innovative workshops and labs as well as practical instruction on the basics. This year’s event took place January 6–9 at Highland Park United Methodist Church’s Tolleson Family Center. Almost 200 youth ministers and workers from 11 states and 15 annual conferences traveled to Dallas for the annual event.

“We had a lot of new faces as well as lots of folks who’ve been with us a long time,” said Bart Patton, Perkins’ Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Education and conference coordinator. “The conference has evolved into a community of learning. If you’re really passionate about youth ministry, that might seem weird to the rest of the world. But here you’ll meet people who ‘get’ you and what you’re passionate about.”

Keynote speaker Reesheda Graham Washington, an author and entrepreneur, reflected on the conference theme of “Wayfinding.”

“Wayfinding lets us off the hook in really liberative ways,” she said. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ The way is already there. We can shift from the drudgery of ‘making a way’ to a discovery process where we get to find Jesus over and over again. It’s easier to find a way than it is to make one.”

In addition to the keynote and worship sessions, participants chose from one of four tracks: the Foundations Track training covering ministry basics like curriculum, budgeting, organization, programming and safety; the Workshops Track covering selected topics related to practice of youth ministry, theology of youth ministry, care in youth ministry and congregational youth ministry; the Intensives Track for using design thinking in youth ministry contexts; or Youth Ministry Certification courses for those pursuing Certification in Youth Ministry through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the UMC.

Help for a ‘Newbie’

This was the first time for Caitlin Snoddy, assistant youth director at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, Texas, to attend PSYM.

“It was a really enriching, affirming experience,” she said. “I left knowing that I’m not alone. There are people with wisdom and knowledge who are ready to help a newbie like me. There’s always more to learn, and there are people out there to support you.”

Based on what she learned, Snoddy planned to immediately rework her church’s youth ministry’s Facebook and other social media, expanding them from platforms for simple announcements to spaces to create daily touch points with youth. She plans to post a Scripture, a short devotional or a few words of comfort and inspiration each day.

“I want to turn our social media into something that is going to feed our youth spiritually, even when they’re not here at the church,” she said.

Belinda “Be” Guinn, youth director at Jacksonville FUMC in Jacksonville, Ark., has been attending PSYM almost every year since 2005, missing only two years due to family events or other conflicts.

“As a youth minister, this conference fills my cup,” she said. “It refreshes me. And it’s a good reminder of the things that we might otherwise forget about. Not all of the youth I work with were raised in the church. We can’t assume they know about baptism or communion or who the Holy Spirit is.”

This year, she was especially intrigued by a lab led by Jeremy Steele, “How to Develop a Culture of Questions in Your Ministry.”

“It was a reminder that, even if we know the answers, we shouldn’t always supply the answers when youth have questions,” she said. “If they’re challenged to get out and research and look for their own answers, they’re more grounded. They have a better foundation.”

Design Thinking for Youth Ministry

A new workshop offered this year was the Youth Ministry Resource Design Lab, led by Sam Halverson and Nikki Donahoo. The program encouraged participants to tackle problems in youth ministry with design thinking, instead of relying on “how we’ve always done things.”

“We’ve seen that human-centered design thinking can be a real aid in ministry,” said Patton. “It’s an interdisciplinary approach focused on the user, which intersects technical feasibility and market feasibility with human desirability. We need to innovate new forms of youth ministry that aren’t merely programmatic or attractional. In the past, youth ministry was built on those two things. They don’t work anymore in producing mature, long-term disciples of Jesus.”

Patton added that design thinking is part of Perkins’ work with the Reboot Youth Ministry Initiative, which helped inform the curriculum at this year’s PSYM and vice versa. (Funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., Reboot is working with a starter cohort of 18 congregations to help foster and develop innovative ways to minister to youth.)

The workshop taught students how to bring ideas into action and to design plans for their youth ministry through collaboration, prototyping and innovation. Working in groups, participants learned tools like mind-mapping, feedback grid and empathy mapping. Each participant developed a product prototype that addresses a common youth ministry problem.

As a creativity exercise, participants experimented with markers, crayons, clay and other materials to create an object representing their idea for innovation.

Adrienne Harrell, Director of Student Ministries at Friendswood UMC in Friendswood, Texas, crafted a sphere filled with beads; using her phone’s flashlight, she made it appear to glow from within. The beads visualize the crowded, busy lives of today’s high school students.

“Our kids are so overscheduled with sports and activities,” she said. “Youth group becomes just another activity that’s last on the list. But with all that stuff going on, youth may still be lonely. Youth group should take them out of the middle of everything so that we can see each as a person.”

February 2020 News Perspective Online

Faculty Profile: Natalia Marandiuc

One moment, Natalia Marandiuc might be grappling with a nuanced new idea relating to feminist soteriology. The next, she might be trying to explain to her toddler Anna why she can’t celebrate her second birthday, despite her strong insistence. (Anna is three.)

That’s Marandiuc’s life in a nutshell.

“I live a life of scholarly work, and parenting, and trying to integrate the two the best I can,” she said.

Marandiuc’s passion is the life of the mind. Born in Romania, her parents were intellectuals – her father is a historian and writer, her mother worked in epidemiology – and the family home had a large library of world classics.

“While we were very poor materially, we had a rich intellectual life,” Marandiuc said.

After Natalia Marandiuc and her husband, Joseph, were married in Romania, they traveled to Rome for their honeymoon and received a nuptial blessing from Pope Francis. “It took many months of effort and a lot of networking to get this to happen,” she said. “But it was an extraordinary experience.”

The research scholar is currently writing her second monograph, provisionally titled Love and Human Thriving: A Feminist Soteriology. “The book argues that human thriving inheres in experiences of human love that both mediate divine love and participate in God’s salvific work, and includes both a personal dimension and a communal facet, thus bringing together subjective fulfillment and transformative social justice,” Marandiuc said. She draws on feminist and womanist scholarship, gender theory and existentialist theology, as well as research in neuroscience. Among others, she engages the writings of Keller, Tanner, Butler, Williams, Aquinas, Rahner, and Kierkegaard.

“I am proposing that Spirit-infused love lies at the heart of soteriology and empowers resistance to the malaise that menaces human wellbeing and cultivates structures of injustice where women are core intersectional sites of such harm,” she said. She hopes to finish the book in the next two years and is in conversation with a religion editor, who expressed interest in publishing the work.

That will follow her first book, The Goodness of Home: Human and Divine Love and the Making of the Self (Oxford University Press, 2018), a constructive feminist argument for the becoming of human subjectivity through the confluence of human and divine love, which constitutes the self and enables its freedom. That monograph received the 2018 Aldersgate Prize.

Marandiuc with her daughters, Anna, 3, and Julia, 2.

When she is not engaged in her research, Marandiuc’s time is largely occupied by her two daughters. “The girls are a delight,” she said. “They are lovely in every way and are becoming exceptionally verbal. Both have very strong wills, full personalities, and expressive emotions.” It is a balancing act, but one that Marandiuc enjoys. “I have had good mentors who have integrated their family lives with academic careers very well,” she said.

To keep herself grounded, Marandiuc spends some of her time in contemplation. She looks back over her life and her wide-ranging immigrant journey – starting as an undergraduate at the University of Bucharest, then transferring to a school in the U.S., eventually earning her Ph.D. at Yale University, and now teaching and working at Perkins. “I like to take time to think and let myself feel whatever emotions come as I process life events,” she said. “Having had my life unfolding on two continents for a long time and coming from a rather atypical family of origin, I have had a very full life for many years now. I like to try to have a sense of the whole of it because there have been many different layers and pieces.”

Research Interests

Feminist constructive and systematic theology. Drawing on interdisciplinary sources in theology, religion, humanities, social sciences and neuroscience, Marandiuc’s research engages in a feminist register questions related to gendered subjectivity, theological anthropology, soteriology, Christology, and migration. The topic of love, both the love of God and love as a human experience, is a central thread in her research.

Books on Her Nightstand

There is a big pile, ranging from a couple of critical interpretations of Kierkegaard, to a book on how to speak to preschoolers about faith and sex, to some poetry books in Romanian. “I read very broadly,” she says.

Fantasy Dinner Party

Marandiuc would host a large party with a good number of other living theologians and scholars of religion from around the world. “I would love to have them all together in one room for a wonderful dinner along with their kids and their partners,” she said. “It would enrich our intellectual bonds with laughter, breaking bread, sharing a meal. I love to be in the kind of intellectual communities that expand so as to become networks of life.”


Husband Joseph and two lively daughters: Anna, 3, and Julia, 2.


Marandiuc loves dramatic theatre. “I once scheduled a stopover in London just to see a particular rendition of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch,” she said.

Favorite Travel Destination

Paris and London. “London is my second home,” she said. “I lived there for half a year, and I stop in London often when I travel to Romania.”

Something About Her Most People Don’t Know

Marandiuc has a degree in economics and worked for a year as an economist, as the junior member of the executive team of a global financial holding company. “That was an extraordinary experience that gave me the tools to critique market-driven capitalism as a theologian,” she said.

Question She’d Ask at the Pearly Gates

“The Pearly Gates are a metaphor that stands for what the Catholic tradition would call entering the communion of saints,” she said. “I think I would have a prayer more than a question. It would be an intercessory prayer of sorts, pleading with God to bring more justice in the world.”

February 2020 News Perspective Online

Student Spotlight: Carrie Teller

Sometimes, life’s most difficult detours can lead the way to new adventures. A traumatic accident helped lead Carrie Teller to Perkins; a life-threatening diagnosis taught her to lean into her faith. Both will undoubtedly inform her ministry going forward. Teller, an M.Div. student, expects to graduate in May 2021 and is considering ordination in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Going Deeper

Teller’s story begins in December 2016, when her teenaged son sustained life-threatening injuries in a car accident. Teller had been an active member of Highland Park United Methodist Church for years, but the accident triggered a desire to go deeper into her faith. As her son recovered, her interest in Perkins grew.

“I realized I didn’t want to compartmentalize my faith anymore,” she said. “It was an existential moment. I realized my only way forward was going to be walking with God 24/7. I was going to be led by my faith, because that was the only way I could live.”

With encouragement from her friend and pastor, the Rev. Linda Roby (M.Div. ’00), Teller applied to Perkins and started in the fall of 2017. Soon she was back in school at the same campus as her son and daughter, now 20 and 22, and both undergraduate students at SMU.

“That first year was tough,” she said. “At one point I remember telling someone, ‘I think there’s been a mistake. I have no idea what I’m doing here. Everyone knows more than me.’” But she stuck with it, made it through the first year and did well. Things began to fall into place. She fell in love with the early church while taking Prof. James Lee’s course in Christian Heritage.

“I am fascinated by the tremendous faith of the early church, especially since there was no Bible and very little literacy during this time,” she said. “Yet people were moved by the Holy Spirit and through stories that were shared orally. They had to trust what others were saying to them. That message was powerful enough for the early church leaders to confront the powerful and to face persecution and to accomplish extraordinary things.”

Another Detour

In September 2018, life handed Teller another detour. After a routine mammogram, doctors called her back for a second look. An ultrasound proved inconclusive, and she was advised to come back in six months for another look. But that didn’t seem right to Teller. She kept questioning and pressing for answers. Finally, one doctor relented and ordered a biopsy, which turned up a malignancy. Her ultimate diagnosis was triple negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive and often deadly type.

“The diagnosis scared me to death,” she said. “Having come off the trauma with my son, it was not the worst day of my life, but I was in shock. For about four or five days, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t talk.”

Finally, she said, she was able to pray: “God, I have no idea what you’re trying to show me, but I know you’re there. I’m going to use this opportunity to bring praise to your name and to show my children how Mom acted when faced with adversity.”

Teller took a sabbatical from Perkins for the 2018-19 school year to undergo treatment, including several rounds of chemo. During that time, she re-read the many papers she had written about the early church and systematic theology during her first year of seminary. Reading and reflecting on what she had written gave her a lot of comfort.

While in treatment, she took up running for the first time. Even though she has always been active – she was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader before marrying and starting a family – running was new. It became a daily discipline that brought comfort and hope. She developed a ritual: while running, she would stop by Highland Park UMC, and place her hands on the side of the church building and pray.

“It brought me great peace,” she said. “I knew that whatever was going to happen, I would be okay.” Then she added, “I hope there are no security cameras at the church!”

Back to School

Teller completed treatment in early 2019 and returned to school this past fall. Because the cancer was detected early, doctors are optimistic about her prognosis. Her oncologist called her “one of the lucky few” who responded extremely well to the treatment for this type of cancer.

“Your best chance with triple negative breast cancer is to get it really early,” Teller said. “I never felt a lump; this turned up on a routine mammogram.”

Looking back, Teller says the ordeal strengthened her faith. Two Bible verses kept her hopeful while in treatment: Romans 8:28 (“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”) and Jeremiah 1:5 (“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”). She also found inspiration in Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning.

“Viktor Frankl taught me that suffering does not define you,” she said. “No one can take away how I choose to respond to adversity. Our power is finding a way that we matter. Even when all is taken away from us, we can find a way to have purpose. The diagnosis may be out of my control, but I can still choose how to respond. This is how you walk when you’re scared to death.”

February 2020 News Perspective Online

Faculty Update

Wes Allen to preach on “Day 1” Radio Program

The Rev. Dr. O. Wesley Allen Jr., Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins, will be the featured preacher February 16 on “Day 1” with host Peter Wallace, the nationally broadcast ecumenical radio program also accessible online at and by podcast.

Allen’s sermon for February 16 is “Hey! Who’s on Trial Here?” based on Micah 6:1-8.

“I’m a nice, decent person,” Allen said. “But this text from Micah says that God requires more than decency, indeed that God requires more of us than just being concerned about justice.”

The program will also include an interview with Allen conducted by Wallace, who is also executive producer.

“Day 1” has been broadcast every week for 75 years, formerly as “The Protestant Hour.” Featuring outstanding preachers from the mainline denominations, “Day 1” is currently distributed to more than 200 radio stations across America and overseas. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media, based in Atlanta. For more information, visit the program’s website,

Allen will also lead the 2020 Schooler Institute on Preaching at Methodist Theological School of Ohio on March 3-4, 2020. He will deliver lectures and lead workshops on the theme “Preaching Mark as Parable.” The first day of the Schooler Institute will focus on this reading and techniques for preaching individual Markan passages in light of the parabolic nature of the whole document. On the second day, Allen will present strategies for preaching through Mark cumulatively, especially for (but not limited to) those following the Revised Common Lectionary.


Jack Levison at Brite Divinity

Jack Levison, W.J.A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew at Perkins, recently led a daylong seminar titled “The Holy Spirit We Never Knew” at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth. The February 1 program, which focused on the Old and New Testaments, gave participants the opportunity to “search out how the Spirit hovers, fills, rushes, clothes, rests and is poured out upon the people.” The 13th Jean and Patrick Henry Seminar was presented by Brite’s Stalcup School of Theology for the Laity.


Craig Hill at Martin Methodist College

Perkins Dean Craig Hill recently spoke at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn. The January 23 event, “An Evening with Craig Hill,” was presented at the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College. The evening program included a dinner with faculty, students and other guests, followed by a lecture, conversation and Q&A. For the lecture, Dean Hill presented research and insights from his book Servant of All: Status, Ambition and the Way of Jesus; the subsequent conversation explored practical implications of the book for pastors and those who serve in the church.


Clark-Soles at Interfaith Panel

Photo courtesy of Patrick Burrell Photography.

The Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, Professor of New Testament, recently served as moderator of an interfaith panel featuring Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El Dallas, Imam Omar Suleiman of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and Rev. Chris Girata, senior priest of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Dallas. The event was hosted by YPO Gold Maverick, a business leaders’ group. “The conversation was robust, informative and one that honored God as we truly treated one another as children of said God,” said Clark-Soles. “An evening well-spent!”