The weather outside was frightful, but indoors the spirit was warm and festive at Perkins’ annual Advent Worship, held December 6 at Perkins Chapel. More than 150 people ventured out in the cold and rain to attend the two services at 4 and 8 p.m.
This was the first Advent service led by Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Perkins’ new Director of the Master of Sacred Music program. Centered on three Nativity canticles (lyrical passages) found in the gospel of Luke, the liturgy alternated between scriptural readings, traditional congregational hymns, and five new compositions commissioned especially for the occasion.
“I got feedback from quite a number of people who really enjoyed the worship,” said Steuernagel. “They felt the new music shed fresh light on these nativity canticles. And people participated quite vigorously in song!”
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño (Masters of Theology, 1979) recently led a group of more than 300 faith leaders in a march at Border Field State Park in San Diego on International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, in a “moral call for migrant justice.” Dozens of protesters, including two United Methodist pastors, were arrested and charged with civil disobedience when they stepped across the barrier set up by the U.S. Border Patrol. Bishop Carcaño is episcopal leader of the California-Nevada Conference and leader of the United Methodist Task Force on Immigration. Read the UMNS story here.
At the immigrant detention center in Tornillo, Texas, 400 teen-agers are getting the opportunity to join in interfaith worship thanks to the efforts of North Texas United Methodists, led by Perkins alums the Rev. Owen Ross (M. Div. ’02) and the Rev. Elizabeth Moseley (M.T.S. ’07). Read the UM Insight story here.
Melville Family Foundation
Randolph (Randy) and Lael Melville (M. Div. ’16) recently established the Melville Family Foundation, with the mission of closing “the education gap for black and brown children in Southern Dallas.” The Melvilles both hold BA degrees from Princeton University, where they met during college and developed their shared passion for education.
D Magazine recently highlighted the pastoral work of a Perkins graduate in an article entitled “The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters Is Here to Heal the City’s Soul.” Waters (D. Min. ’12, M. Div. ’06) is senior pastor at Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in South Dallas. He spoke eloquently following the death of Botham Jean, an African-American man who was shot by a Dallas police officer. “When he approached the podium that day at City Hall, it was a moment he spent his life preparing for,” the story said. Read the story here.
The Rev. Heather Gates (M.T.S. ’13) has been named Lead Chaplain for the Galveston Police Department in Galveston, Texas. In this extension ministry, she serves as a full-time employee of the City of Galveston as well as a pastor on the staff of Moody Methodist Church. Gates provides “a ministry of presence and a listening ear” to officers who have experienced trauma on the job as well as those who may be facing personal or family challenges. “One of the officers talked me into doing a ride-along in early 2016 and my involvement in the department slowly increased from there,” she said. “Now, I spend a lot of my time out riding in the cars with the officers and networking with the community.” Gates says she loves the work because “it takes the church to places it might not always be.” Read more about her ministry on her blog.
Bishop Benjamin Chamness
Bishop Benjamin Chamness (M.Th. ’65) died December 22 in Huntsville, Texas, with his family by his side. Bishop Chamness, 78, was elected to the episcopacy by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in 2000 and assigned to the Fort Worth Area. He served as the resident Bishop of the Central Texas Conference and the Fort Worth Area. He retired from the episcopacy in 2008. Bishop Chamness was buried at the cemetery at Rehobeth UMC in Carthage, Texas, on December 29, and a memorial service was held at First UMC of Huntsville on January 4. Read the UMNS obituary for Bishop Chamness.
Rev. Dr. David Thomas Howeth
The Rev. Dr. David Thomas Howeth (M.Div., ‘90) died in his home in Wylie, Texas, on December 24. Howeth, 68, was ordained by the United Methodist Church as a Deacon in 1989 and as an Elder in 1992. He served several churches in the North Texas Conference before retiring in 2015, including Spring Valley United Methodist Church in Dallas; First UMC in Sachse; First UMC in The Colony; First UMC in Nocona; Greenland Hills UMC in Dallas; Buckingham UMC United in Garland; Schreiber Memorial UMC in Dallas; and First UMC in Howe. He also loved working with the North Texas Conference’s youth camps at Bridgeport, Texas, and served as a leader for numerous Walks to Emmaus and Chrysalis Flights. A memorial service was held at First United Methodist Church of Gainesville on January 3.
Rev. James “Jim” Marvin Meadors, Jr.
The Rev. James “Jim” Marvin Meadors, Jr. (Master of Theology – 1956), retired Elder and former District Superintendent in the Arkansas Conference, passed away on Dec. 9 at the age of 89. Jim was the pastor of many different churches in the Arkansas Annual Conference and served as conference secretary for many years. He was also director of the council office for what was then the North Arkansas Conference and a delegate to the United Methodist General Conference. Rev. Meadors was the father of Rev. Stephen Meadors. A memorial service was held at Goddard UMC on December 15. Condolences may be sent to the family at the following address: Ms. Ella Mae Meadors, 123 N 53rd St, Fort Smith, AR 72903. Read his obituary at the Arkansas Conference website here.
Bishop William B. Oden
Former Council of Bishops President William B. Oden passed away on December 22 in Highlands Ranch, Colo., with his family surrounding him. Bishop Oden was elected to the episcopacy by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in 1988; he served the Louisiana Conference from 1988 -1996 and the North Texas Conference from 1996 until his retirement in 2004. Bishop Oden was president of the Council of Bishops from 2000-2001 and served as the Council’s Ecumenical Officer from 2004-2008. Bishop Oden was well-known to the Perkins and SMU community, having served on the SMU Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2004, as Perkins’ Bishop in Residence from 2004 to 2008, and as a member of the executive board for SMU in Taos. Bishop Oden’s memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on March 9 at Christ Church UMC in Plano. Bishop Oden’s family asks that, in lieu of flowers, gifts may made to the William B. Oden Scholarship at Perkins. Read the UMNS obituary for Bishop Oden.
Rev. Richard L. Wright
The Rev. Richard L. Wright (M.T. S. ’88), a retired minister from the West Virginia Conference, died on December 4, 2018, at the age of 88. A devoted father, grandfather and husband, Wright served congregations in West Virginia at Clifton Methodist Church, Mason Methodist Church, Rainelle Methodist Church, and The Church of the Good Shepherd in Grafton, Bridgeport United Methodist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church in Morgantown. He was the Council on Ministries Director in Charleston for five years, District Superintendent of the Buckhannon District for six years, and the Dean of the Bishop’s Cabinet. He served eight years on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and was elected five times as a delegate, and once as reserve, to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. Wright retired in 1997 after 45 years of active ministry. Read his complete obituary here.