January 2021 News Perspective Online

Office of Enrollment Management: January Update

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

Dear Friends:

We have made it through quite a journey these past 9 months in recruitment and will continue to shift our recruitment from travel to Zoom meeting opportunities to draw individuals called to ministry. We are counting on you to share this event calendar with those in your churches, community agencies, institutions of higher learning, or wherever God has placed you in your ministry. Thank you for all that you do for Perkins School of Theology.

Happy New Year!

The Rev. Dr. Margot Perez-Greene, Ph.D. Associate Dean of Enrollment Management 214-768-3332
Caleb Palmer Ministry Discernment Associate 214-768-2292
Samantha Stewart Ministry Discernment Associate 214-768-3385










Connect, Discern, Explore 

Virtual Events – Spring 2021 

Connect with SMU|Perkins

Connect events are an opportunity to introduce yourself to the Office of Enrollment Management staff and for them to meet you. At these events, you begin learning about the graduate degree options, financial aid, financial literacy, and various student opportunities. This is your personal introduction to SMU|Perkins, and we are happy to join you as you make important decisions about your theological education. So, come and ask away!

  • January 26, 7 p.m. – Connect with Perkins: Dallas and Houston-Galveston degree programs
  • March 10, 12 p.m. – Connect with Perkins: Houston-Galveston location degree programs
  • April 14, 7 p.m. – Connect with Perkins: Dallas location degree programs
  • May 11, 12 p.m. – Connect with Perkins: Dallas and Houston-Galveston degree programs 

Discern with SMU|Perkins

Are you still discerning your call to ministry?  Join us for one of our Discernment events where we delve into the call to ministry through devotionals, student panels, and vocational discussions.

  • February 25, 12 p.m. – Discern with Faculty member
  • March 31, 12 p.m. – Servant Leadership & Easter related with Dean Hill
  • May 20, 7 p.m. – Discerning the Call to Ministry with Ambassadors for Perkins

Explore SMU|Perkins

Beyond learning about programming and degree information, we want you to Explore the culture and community of SMU Perkins! Join us for student panels, group conversation, alumni discussions to learn more about the incredible community that is Perkins!

  • February 9, 12 p.m. – Explore Perkins with Black Student Association members
  • March 17, 12 p.m. – Explore with a Faculty member
  • April 29, 7 p.m. – Alumni Panel
January 2021 News Perspective Online

Office of Development Update: A New Organ for Perkins Chapel

Gay and William (Bill) Solomon (SMU ’65) have blessed Perkins with a $1 million gift for the Caren and Vin Prothro Organ project.  That gift is a solid foundation that challenges us to raise the remaining $1 million to finish the restoration and installation of the organ.

A January 2018 steam leak caused damage to Perkins Chapel, including the organ.  Through a marvelous bequest from the estate of Dr. Mark Lemmon, the Chapel was restored to its pristine beauty in 2019.  Floors and pews were refinished, the intricate ceiling was repainted and both lighting and sound were updated.  Plans are now underway to replace the organ with a truly classic instrument.

The “organ team” from Perkins School of Theology and Meadows School of the Arts conducted a national search that led to an E. M. Skinner organ in New York City.  SMU purchased a 1927 Skinner organ, Opus 563, from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan. This magnificent instrument is currently being restored by the Ortloff Organ Company, a world-renowned pipe organ building, restoration, and maintenance firm based in Needham, Massachusetts. Clients include churches, theatres, institutions, and individuals.

Stefan Engels, Professor of Organ and Chair of the Organ Department at the Meadows School of the Arts, says the Skinner Organ Company is widely regarded as America’s finest organ builder from 1905 until 1932, when the company merged with the organ department of the Aeolian Company to form Aeolian-Skinner.  “The period of 1924-1932 is further regarded as the zenith of the firm’s work in that period, mechanically and artistically,” Engels said.

The Greek Orthodox congregation in New York acquired the organ in 1953 when it purchased the building from the Fourth Presbyterian congregation.  Because Greek Orthodox worship does not typically include organ music, the organ essentially went into storage. “With almost no use over the past 60 years,” Engels added, “the instrument is a pristine example of a company in its prime – a diamond in the rough.”

Only three Skinner Organs were built for clients in Texas and none remain.  This will be a unique instrument, and the Perkins Chapel venue will be sought after by organ enthusiasts.

“Once the restoration and installation of this instrument in Perkins Chapel is completed, we expect that it will attract international attention, serve many generations of organists in their goal to achieve artistic excellence, and be an inspiration to the daily needs of the SMU community,” said Engels.

This project appealed to Perkins Executive Board member Gay Solomon and her husband, Bill.  They knew that a previous remodeling of Perkins Chapel, in 1999, had been spearheaded and, to a large extent, funded by their dear friends, Caren Prothro and her late husband, C. Vincent Prothro.  They stipulated that the Organ be named for Caren and Vin.

“For the Prothros, Perkins Chapel is a family affair,” said SMU President Gerald Turner. “Vin’s grandparents funded the chapel, and Caren and Vin have been an integral part of the history of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.  I can’t imagine a more fitting way to honor them than with this gift from their close friends, Gay and Bill, whose generous support will transform both worship and music education at SMU for generations to come.”

The Solomons’ gift has set the timeline for bringing the new organ to Perkins Chapel in motion.  An additional $1 million in funding is needed to complete the restoration of the instrument and the installation in Perkins Chapel.

This project is another example of the outstanding support by people like Gay and Bill Solomon who are dedicated to the progress and ministry of Perkins School of Theology, as well as the entirety of Southern Methodist University.  Bill graduated from SMU in 1965 before earning an M.B.A. from Harvard University.  He is retired president and CEO of Austin Industries, Inc. and the current president and CEO of The O’Donnell Foundation. Gay is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, a painter, interior designer and a civic volunteer.

The Prothros have been ardent champions of SMU.  Mrs. Prothro is currently an SMU trustee.

We look forward to the first worship service, concert, organ recital, and many other “firsts” in the future.  We are thankful for Gay and Bill Solomon, for Caren and Vin Prothro, and for all who love this institution.

John Martin
Development Director

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Zooming Out

The pandemic has “grounded” faculty at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Many normally travel regularly for lectures, conferences and other speaking opportunities — most of which were cancelled in 2020. But, if there’s a silver lining, the pandemic sparked a move toward virtual programming, dissolving constraints of geography, eliminating the cost of travel, and sparking innovative projects and collaborations.

In many ways, Perkins faculty members have expanded their reach and connected with new audiences. Since the pandemic closed down travel in March 2020, Perkins faculty have preached, lectured, led webinars and taught virtually overseas and across the U.S. Marcell Silver Steuernagel preached via Zoom to virtual gatherings based in Norway and Brazil. Sze-kar Wan preached via Zoom to the congregation at his previous church, First Baptist of Newton, Mass., from Taiwan, while on sabbatical there.

Faculty also found innovative ways to collaborate. Ruben Habito guided theatergoers through a meditation exercise, virtually, as part of a collaboration of artists at Cara Mia Theater. They also found ways to support pastors and student pastors as they navigated the challenges posed by COVID-19: Steuernagel and Robert Hunt launched a new course on digitally mediated ministry; Alyce McKenzie and O. Wesley Allen created a new video series exploring topics related to preaching and the COVID-19 pandemic, racism and more, offered through the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence

“I’m amazed and gratified by the incredible creativity I’m seeing, the many unexpected opportunities that have arisen, and the inspiring ways that our faculty members have responded despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic,” said Dean Craig Hill.

Here’s a rundown of some of the ways that faculty members ventured, virtually, beyond the campus of Perkins in 2020.  Many of these programs are available online; click the links provided.

Ted A. Campbell
Professor of Church History

Campbell presented a dialogue sermon via Zoom on All Saint’s Sunday (November 1) as part of the AnchorPoint service at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. Watch the service here.

Locally, Campbell has taught the Good News class at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church (LLUMC) in Dallas weekly via Zoom since March.  The Wednesday-evening contemplative Renew service, which he has led for years at LLUMC, continued via a Facebook livestream. He also participated in a PhD oral exam at Garrett Theological Seminary via Zoom.

Campbell’s university and denominational work also continued via Zoom, as he served on search committees for a new chaplain at SMU and for a new General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History of the UMC. Both searches have concluded with invitations to candidates to these positions.

On May 4, Campbell conducted a webinar on “A Day in the Life of John Wesley” offered through the Office of External Affairs.

Isabel Docampo
Director, Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions
Co-Director of the Intern Program
Professor of Supervised Ministry

At Grace United Methodist Church in Dallas, Docampo taught Sunday School via Zoom for six weeks this past spring and co-led an Anti-Racism Discussion Group with the Rev. Adam White.

She served on the board of directors planning the 2020 Nevertheless She Preached virtual event, which took place in September. The event featured a Perkins-sponsored Zoom Room led by Jaime Clark-Soles.

Docampo led a small citizens’ group discussion on the Dallas City Budget and offered the group’s proposal, virtually, to city council members in August on behalf of the nonprofit “OurCityOurFuture.” The goal was to offer ideas to the city council about how to bring more resources to distressed areas of the city in light of the racial disparities of north and south Dallas. Docampo was also part of the Poor People’s Campaign of Dallas that planned how to best organize volunteers to help register voters and to take voters to the polls.

Along with Chuck Aaron and Ángel Gallardo, Docampo set up an extra support Zoom event for all of the Intern Program’s Mentor Pastors in July, titled “Mentoring during the Pandemic,” which garnered excellent feedback.

Ruben L. F. Habito
Professor of World Religions and Spirituality
Director of Spiritual Formation

Habito continues to lead twice-weekly meditation sessions via Zoom at the Maria Kannon Zen Center (locally housed at White Rock UMC in East Dallas) along with occasional talks on themes in spiritual practice.  He has also uploaded several short videos on YouTube on themes such as “Spiritual Practice in Time of Contagion” and “Finding Love Everywhere.” Visit Maria Kannon’s YouTube channel at

He also lectured via Zoom to a Comparative Theology class at St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota and led a Zoom session on interfaith engagement for a class in Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Habito offered guidelines for spiritual practice in times of COVID in an interview with the Rev. Blair Thompson-White of Arapaho United Methodist Church in Dallas in late March.  Watch the video here.

In June, Habito presented a Zoom Lecture for Cara Mia Theatre’s series “Becoming a Light onto Yourself and Others.” Habito’s lecture was on “Agape/Karuna: Love and Compassion in Christianity and Buddhism.”

A guided meditation that Habito had recorded earlier for YouTube found a second life as part of a multimedia exhibit called Remember. Breathe. Dream. at Cara Mia Theatre. The exhibit included installations created by Cara Mía’s Playwright in Residence Virginia Grise, Dallas sculptor Andrew Scott in collaboration with Habito, and storyteller and healer Stefanie Tovar. Read more about the exhibit in this Dallas Morning News story.

Robert Hunt
Director of Global Theological Education

Along with Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Hunt launched a course on Emerging Digital Ministries, helping students who are also pastoring congregations as they adapt to the online environment for worship, pastoral care and evangelism. Read about it here.  Hunt also launched the second season of his podcast, Interfaith Encounters, focusing on religious freedom.

Hunt has taught online Sunday School classes virtually for several Dallas area churches: Lake Highlands UMC, Highland Park UMC, Lover’s Lane UMC, and First UMC Richardson. He has also been working with Tennison Memorial UMC in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, to help church leaders improve their online worship.

He has also led and moderated webinars through the Office of External Programs and was a leader in the DFW Alliance for Religious Freedom conference on Oct 28, moderating a panel on religious freedom in higher education that included President Turner.

Alyce M. McKenzie
Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship
Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor
Director, Center for Preaching Excellence

McKenzie preached at the Jarvis Christian College Chapel Service on October 27 and in the Perkins Chapel on November 4, the day after the election.

As part of the BigBang Social Equity Event, held virtually in October, McKenzie conducted an hour-long interview on “Equity in Religion” with Sister Helen Prejean, anti-death penalty advocate and author of Dead Man Walking, The Death of Innocents, and a new memoir entitled River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.

The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU sponsored a Zoom webinar entitled “Preaching in a Pandemic of Racism: Sermons that Offer Both Challenge and Comfort.” Along with Dr. O. Wesley Allen, McKenzie co-led two of these webinars so far, one for the Northwest District of the North Texas Conference on July 23 and one for the North Georgia Conference on October 26. The Center continues reaching out to other Conferences to offer the webinar in their contexts. McKenzie and Allen also began an interview series called “What’s a Preacher to Do? Preaching in a Pandemic of Covid.” The 5-minute interviews feature scholars, preachers and leaders on preaching in these difficult times. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the Center expanded the “What’s a Preacher to Do?” series to include interviews with artists, scholars, church and community leaders on preaching in a pandemic of racism. A third interview series called Must Reads features 10 to 12-minute interviews with authors of homiletical books aimed at bringing a challenging but hopeful word to preachers in today’s turbulent context. New videos will be posted weekly.

Evelyn L. Parker
Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology

Evelyn Parker was part of a conference on Covid-19 with Historical Black Methodist (HBM) pastors entitled “What Should I Say to My Congregation about COVID-19?” Parker planned and designed a conversation among HBM pastors in the Houston area and healthcare professionals in the Houston area after consulting broadly with bishops and pastors in the region, including Bishop Lawrence Reddick, Senior Bishop of the CME Church, and UMC Bishop Scott Jones. The 90-minute conversation, sponsored by Perkins, between HBM pastors and some invited UMC pastors took place on October 31.  Parker started consulting in late May as COVID-19 infections were surging for Texas in the Houston area.

“On the day that I contacted Bishop Reddick he was moments away from driving to Houston to funeralize a CME pastor who had died from the Covid-19 virus,” she said.

Abraham Smith
Professor of New Testament

As a panelist at the #BlackScholarsMatter Webinar Symposium for the Society of Biblical Literature on August 13, Abraham Smith spoke on the topic “Staying Awake: The Next Generation of Black Biblical Scholars, the SBL, and the Central Challenges of Ethical Leadership.” Smith also served as a panelist at the College of the Holy Cross’ November 7 webinar “Divided Worlds?: Contexts of the New Testament Then and Now.”  Smith spoke on the topic “Visualizing Oppression: Slavery and the ‘Arts of Domination.’”

Mark W. Stamm
Professor of Christian Worship

Stamm’s primary liturgical leadership work during the pandemic focused on keeping Perkins’s Community Worship alive and fresh in this context.

“I’m realizing that we can have some guests in that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible under previous circumstances,” he said.

For example, the September 30 Perkins Chapel service was led by Michael Hawn and students in the DPM program. On November 11, Rev. ClayOla Gitane (M.Div. ’08), rector of an Episcopal Church parish in Sequim, Washington, joined the chapel service to share a story in real time; in the same service, the Rev. Dollie Pankey of Birmingham, Ala., joined as song leader.  She is a student in the DPM program.

Stamm preached twice at Pleasant Valley UMC in Sachse, in real time, but for a virtual audience on March 29 and October 25. He also preached for the opening service of the Order of Saint Luke virtual retreat, held on October 12. Participants joined from across the United States, as well as members in the Philippines and southeast Asia, including chapter members in Singapore and even in Vietnam.

Stamm was also involved in conceiving and then co-planning the Order of Saint Luke virtual Easter Vigil, held on April 11.  He’s been involved in the Easter Vigil since 1986, and has never missed a year.  Working with the current Abbot of the Order of Saint Luke, Elizabeth Moore, they informally dubbed the 2020 version, held via Zoom, “The Zigil.” In cooperation with Dr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL, and a religion professor at Regis College near Boston, they developed an online Vigil in less than a month, with adaptations of Reaffirmation of the Baptism Covenant (largely conceived by Daniel Benedict, OSL) and an homage to the Eucharist (not virtual Eucharist!) called “The Lamb’s High Feast” (largely conceived by Dwight Vogel, OSL, and Beth Fender, OSL).  The April 11 program drew participants spanning the four primary time zones of the continental U.S.

Stamm was also involved in an ecumenical consultation that led to the document “Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life in a Pandemic.”

Marcell Silva Steuernagel
Assistant Professor of Church Music
Director of the Sacred Music Program

Steuernagel preached for the Oslo International Church in March and for the Synodal Youth Gathering of the IECLB (Lutheran church in Brazil) in October. He also spoke to the worship ministry at Embassy City, a church in Irving, Texas, in October and continues to remain involved with producing worship content at his own faith community, Life in Deep Ellum.  He spoke several times to a Houston-based group of church musicians called “Friends of Phyllis,” led by Phyllis Harris and Christopher Lo, two well-known church musicians in that area, about online worship and the theological challenges of COVID-related church music issues.

Along with Robert Hunt, Steuernagel co-published an op-ed, Pandemic Prompts Class on Digitally Mediated Ministry in Inside Sources.

Steuernagel guest lectured at FATEV (Evangelical Theological College in Curitiba, PR, Brazil) in November and for Calvin Seminary’s online course “Learning from Worshiping Communities Worldwide.” He contributed towards various Hymn Society activities, including an MSM participation in the THS Election Day concert stream VOTE: Then Sing.

In July, he spoke to the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ACLM) on church music in the global south and performed live for the Lutheran fundraising campaign in Brazil in July.

Sze-kar Wan
Professor of New Testament

While on sabbatical in Taiwan, Wan preached via Zoom at First Baptist Church of Newton, Massachusetts on May 17. After returning to the U.S., he preached virtually at the same church on November 1.

In Taiwan, he led seminars on: “Paul’s Political Theology: A New Reading of Mark 12 & Romans 13,” at China Evangelical Seminary, Taoyuan, Taiwan on March 9; “God or Caesar? Christian Participation in Social and Political Change,” at Christian Chung Yuan Univ, Taoyuan, Taiwan on April 21; “God and Empire According to Jesus,” Taiwan Theological Salon in Tainan, Taiwan on June 13.

He also virtually led a two-part seminar, “Experience as an Asian American Teacher and Clergy,” as part of the Sacred Ground Curriculum, Episcopal Church USA (via Zoom.)

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Inspiring Faith

SMU has received a grant of nearly $1 million from the Lilly Endowment’s nationwide Thriving Congregations Initiative to support Perkins’ Testimony as Community Engagement program

The program will work to increase the practice of testimony as community engagement both inside and outside the church. The Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison and Bart Patton of Perkins will serve as co-principal investigators on the project.

Read more here:

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Perkins Summit for Faith & Learning

Registration opens mid-January for the Perkins Summit for Faith & Learning — formerly the Perkins Theological School for the Laity – which takes place March 19-20, 2021. With the theme “Looking Forward, Learning Together,” the program offers courses taught by five members of the Perkins faculty and an alumnus. The Summit is open to everyone, laypeople as well as clergy, and will be held virtually this year.

“This annual event, which has run for several decades, allows people to experience a ‘day at seminary;’ it offers deep learning on theological, biblical and thematic topics taught by Perkins faculty, staff, and alums,” explains Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean for External Programs.

“Most of the courses being offered were previously scheduled for the March 2020, Perkins Summit, which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.”

Friday afternoon courses will include: “How to Read the Bible According to the Early Church Fathers” by James Kang Hoon Lee, Associate Professor of the History of Early Christianity and Director, Doctor of Ministry Program at Perkins; and “An Unconventional God: The Holy Spirit According to Jesus,” taught by Jack Levison, W.J.A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew at Perkins.

On Saturday, participants may choose from two day-long courses, or sign up for one or two half-day courses:

Day-long courses

  • Stephen Long, Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics, Perkins School of Theology, will teach a two-part class (morning and afternoon) on “Truth Telling in a Post-Truth World.”


  • Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Professor of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology at Perkins, will also teach a two-part class (morning and afternoon) on “How Do We Solve A Problem Like…Mary?”


Half-day courses

  • Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean for External Affairs and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Perkins, will teach “Models of Evangelism” in the morning session.
  • Ray Jordan, a Perkins alum and Adjunct Professor at SMU’s Simmons School of Education, will teach “An Introduction to Black Liberation Theology” in the afternoon.

The event will include worship on Friday afternoon, where the 2020 and 2021 recipients of the Seals Laity Award will be honored, and will close on Saturday afternoon with Lectio Divina led by Ruben Habito, Professor of World Religions and Spirituality and Director of Spiritual Formation at Perkins.

The full schedule for the two-day event is available here.

The registration fee is $25 per half-day course, or $50 for a full-day course.

Online registration closes March 15.  Call (214) 768-3664 to place your registration by phone with a credit or debit card. Questions about the event may be directed via email to

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Diversity Officer

Herbert Coleman has been named the Diversity Officer for Perkins School of Theology, as part of the inaugural class of 15 Diversity Officers for SMU.

Maria Dixon Hall, SMU’s Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Advisor to the President for Cultural Intelligence, recently announced the names of the officers. Together, they will form the University Diversity Council that will work to ensure that the university’s efforts are coordinated across campus.

“Each officer will serve as counsel to the deans and administrators leading their respective areas and will serve as a resource during the search and hiring process of new staff and faculty,” said Hall. “Additionally, each officer will serve as the lead trainer for the CIQ@SMU curriculum for their appointed school and unit.” (CIQ@SMU is the university’s campus cultural intelligence initiative.)

Coleman joined Perkins in 2007 as Director of Recruitment and Admissions, transitioning in May 2018 to his current position as Director of Retention and Student Success. He arrived with several years of experience in student recruiting, as well as service as a Methodist pastor in Philadelphia and a community organizer in Washington, D.C. while pursuing his Master of Divinity degree. Coleman’s undergraduate degree was in statistics and he spent ten years working for the Treasury Department at the U.S. Mint.

“Mr. Coleman’s role is very important to Perkins and to the University,” said Dean Craig Hill. “Perkins has had a history of cultivating a diverse community, and this new appointment will help ensure that tradition is maintained and furthered.”

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Do No Harm

Soul Rep Theatre Company, in partnership with SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, will present the world premiere of DO NO HARM, a play by Soul Rep’s co-founder Anyika McMillan-Herod and commissioned by Perkins’s Evelyn L. Parker and the Association of Practical Theology (APT). The play runs January 11 – 31 via video on demand.

The play was to be performed in April 2020 at the APT’s international conference in Houston but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

DO NO HARM, co-directed by Vickie Washington and McMillan-Herod, was filmed in November in a slave cabin at Dallas Heritage Village. The play explores the story of three enslaved women – Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy – who were experimented on without anesthesia by Dr. J. Marion Sims, credited as “The Father of Modern Gynecology.”

“The story of Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy is one that needs to be told,” said Parker, who is Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology at Perkins. “Their story is an example of the suffering and struggle that enslaved persons in America endured and somehow survived.”

DO NO HARM has also inspired an entire lecture series on “ethics in medicine” for SMU and a special liturgical service to take place next spring.

“It has been a privilege to bring their story to light and life through this project,” said McMillan-Herod.

The powerful piece stars four local actors in the title roles – Brittney Bluitt as Anarcha, Whitney Coulter as Lucy, Jaquai Wade Pearson as Betsey and Brandy McClendon Kae as Tabitha. Soul Rep co-founder Tonya Holloway, and local producer Sonny Jefferson served as cinematographers. DO NO HARM is Soul Rep’s first venture into film.

“The pandemic has allowed our company to stretch and explore other areas of the craft and genres that we have been talking about for years,” says Holloway. “DO NO HARM is a game changer for us.”

The production is sponsored in part by the generous support of Common Ground Economic Development Corporation, Moody Fund for the Arts, SMU, and TACA. Additional support was provided by The Claudia and Taylor Robinson Lectureship Fund, devoted to surveying the arts as interpreters of religious beliefs and practices. Tickets to watch the filmed play are $14.00 and can be purchased at

Soul Rep is the longest running Black theater company in Dallas’ history.

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Student Spotlight: Amy Cannon

Amy Cannon isn’t sure what’s next after she graduates from Perkins in May.

“I’ll do whatever the Lord leads me to do,” she said. “I have learned not to try and plan, because my plans tend to derail. I’ll do whatever He assigns me to do.”

Her plate looks pretty full already. Professionally, she works full-time as the Senior Director of Well-Being and Health Services for Uplift Education, a public charter school network, and oversees 32 health clinics serving 22,000 students in partnership with Children’s Health. The demands created by COVID-19 have made that job “insanely busy” in the last nine months, but she has continued to attend Perkins full-time, pursuing an M.T.S. with a concentration in Biblical studies.

Outside of class, she helps lead the Black Seminarians Association as co-vice president. She serves on the board of Directors for the Chocolate Mint Foundation, a DeSoto-based nonprofit, and is the Assistant Treasurer for a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) women’s group. In May, she launched an organization called Ambulation.  The 501 (c) 3 nonprofit provides biblical resources to families across the nation.

“Ambulate means to walk or move,” she said. “Ambulation publishes a monthly biblical study magazine designed to help individuals ambulate freely in Christ by releasing the baggage and stressors of life.”

Cannon loves to write and to journal, and says she felt led to share her writings more broadly.

“The Lord laid it on my heart to put my writings out there, to share during this COVID season, because so many are dealing with loss and are struggling,” she said.

Cannon loves giving back to the community. She serves on the board of directors for the Chocolate Mint Foundation, a non-profit addressing food insecurities and providing mentoring for youth in the community.

She also serves as the Assistant Treasurer for Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF), Dallas SW TX EW location at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Church.

A Dark Season

Cannon says her call to ministry arose out of a dark season in her life that began in July 2007. She struggled through personal issues, endured a divorce and then entered into another relationship that turned abusive.

“For ten years, I had been struggling,” she said. “I had been a public Christian but a private puppet of the enemy.”

She remembers a turning point three years ago, December 2017. Standing in her kitchen at home, she heard clear words of direction: “Time’s up. You’ve been in ten years of darkness.”

God, she felt, was telling her that her time of testing was over, and it was time to get to work.

Immediately, she began making changes. She began getting up each morning at 4 a.m. to spend time reading the Bible.

“I started understanding what it meant to pursue the heart of God,” she said. “I started journaling. I fell in love with reading scriptures. “

That led to the decision to attend seminary; she began by enrolling in Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).  She’s a member of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church, and her pastor, Dr. Tony Evans is a graduate of DTS. But DTS didn’t feel like home. Then Cheryl Roseborough (M.A.M. ’20) asked her: “Hey, have you ever considered Perkins?” Cannon visited Perkins and met Margot Perez-Greene, Perkins Associate Dean of Enrollment Management.

“I fell in love with the staff and the environment that they have created here,” she said. “Perkins felt like home.”

Guided by the Word

The Bible is a constant guiding presence and a deep love for Cannon. In 2016, she started a Bible study for homeless women, which met under a bridge in Dallas every Tuesday morning for praise, worship, fellowship, and to study the Word.

When asked to name her favorite Bible verses, Cannon said that Proverbs 21:2 gives her hope for the future: “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

“I’m always careful about the rationale behind why I’m doing something,” she said. “When I do charity work with the wrong motives, I don’t believe the Lord accepts it. I’m always reminding myself: check your motives.”

When she’s not occupied with school or work, Cannon finds time for gardening.

 I love spending time getting into the dirt and digging by hand,” she said. “I’ve learned that when plants have dead leaves, their growth is hindered.  Those things that are attached are dead. When they’re pruned, when they’re cut off, that energy is redirected to grow new things.

“The Lord teaches me a lot while I’m out gardening.”

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Faculty Profile: Ángel Gallardo

Ángel J. Gallardo’s role keeps him connected to the broader world, but he’s keeping one foot firmly planted in academia at the same time.

As Associate Director of Perkins’s Intern Program, Gallardo draws on his knowledge of Christian theology and critical theory to help students integrate their studies and experience with the demands of faithful leadership in a congregation or agency. Widely recognized as an exemplary program in preparing persons for effective Christian ministry, the Perkins’s Internship is required as part of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) degree programs.

“I hope my students learn to analyze their congregations or agencies, relationships and social spaces, as theological texts,” he said. “Ultimately, I want students to live into their vocation by employing the breadth of resources afforded by Christian tradition to reflect on and carry out their ministry.”

This semester, Gallardo is also teaching Christian Heritage I to a class of 35 students in the Houston-Galveston program, filling in for Ted Campbell who is on research leave.

“That’s kept me quite busy,” he said. “Adjusting to all the teaching and admin responsibilities under a pandemic has been exciting and challenging.”

Gallardo, who graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy from SMU’s Graduate Program in Religious Studies in 2018, is interested in the intersections of race, religion and colonialism in the early modern world. In December, he presented on the Post-2020 Election roundtable at the American Academy of Religion – Society of Biblical Literature (AAR-SBL) Annual Meeting, held virtually. He is Co-Chair of AAR-SBL’s Latino/a Religion, Culture, and Society program unit.

This month, he turns to examine the doctrine of atonement in the thought of Ignacio Ellacuría, a Spanish-born priest, liberation theologian and human-rights activist based in El Salvador. That research will lead to a chapter he will contribute to a volume edited by the Alliance of Baptists.

Gallardo has also written a sermon titled “Embodying Wisdom Under Imperial Duress” that will be published as part of a festschrift for Alyce McKenzie, which his Intern Program colleague Chuck Aaron is editing for publication in the summer of 2021.

“In this sermon, I considered the ways in which a teen-aged Jesus ‘grew in wisdom and stature’ by engaging with the Pharisees and experts in the law,” he said (Luke 2.52).

Gallardo holds leadership positions in various professional and Latino/a organizations committed to theological education. In addition, he has worked with faith-leaders, activists, and scholars both locally and internationally, including during an internship in Brazil.

Locally, Gallardo stays rooted in the church as a member of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, a predominantly African American congregation in Dallas’s Fair Park area.  He and his wife are both active in the congregation, helping with educational programming, stewardship, and leading Discipleship classes.

“I also hope to illuminate some of the issues that arise from the church’s engagement with the surrounding community, which is increasingly Latino and Spanish-speaking,” he said. “As one of just a few Latinos in the congregation, that’s something I can contribute.”

Research Interests

Race and religion, liberation theologies, postcolonial/decolonial theory, borderlands and immigration, Bartolomé de Las Casas, history of colonial Latin America, early modern maps

Favorite Bible Verse

Luke 4:18, the “Jesus manifesto”: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me

 to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.

“That passage has always helped define my Christian identity as well as my vocation as a theological educator,” Gallardo says.

Books on His Nightstand

Barack Obama’s autobiography, A Promised Land (Crown, 2020) and Reading with the Grain of Scripture (Eerdmans, 2020) by Richard B. Hays, a New Testament scholar and former dean of Duke Divinity School.

Fantasy Dinner Party

Gallardo would invite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero and Gandhi, all three advocates of nonviolence who died violently. He’d open the conversation with a question: “What does nonviolent resistance in the pursuit of justice look like in the 21st century?”


Gallardo’s wife, Kendrea Tannis, is an attorney currently working as a federal prosecutor for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Fort Worth. The couple has a little girl, Karoline, who turned 2 in October. Gallardo and Tannis met in a First Corinthians class at Duke Divinity School. Gallardo was a Divinity student at the time; Tannis took the course as an elective while in law school. “She wanted to learn more about the bible and to get away from all the Type A law school students, only to find herself in a class with Type A seminarians,” he said. “Scripture brought us together.” They celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last year.


Playing and watching both soccer and tennis. Painting, mainly oil on canvas. Gallardo also enjoys making craft cocktails. He makes his own syrups and infused spirits.

Favorite travel destination:


Something about him most people don’t know:

Gallardo lived in three different intentional Christian communities that were part of the early New Monasticism movement, two in Philadelphia and one in Durham, N.C.

Signature dish:

Mole, a traditional chocolate-based sauce unique to Mexican cuisine. “I improvise on my mother’s recipe,” he said.

Regular spiritual practices:

Taking an early morning walk with his wife or enjoying a glass of bourbon or mezcal in the evening.

 Question he’d ask at the Pearly Gates:

“Hey Peter, where’s the VIP section? Not that I would get into it. I’d just like to know where it is.”

January 2021 News Perspective Online

Advent Worship

If you missed the annual Perkins Advent Service, it’s available to view online in time for Epiphany. Livestreamed online on December 3, the service gathered virtually more than 125 people from the U.S., Brazil, Canada and Austria. The program – titled “For the Time Being…” – was led by students and faculty in the Master of Sacred Music (MSM) program, with video contributions from MSM alumni as well. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music, delivered the homily; Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program, composed a set of variations on the Advent tune VENI EMMANUEL for organ for the occasion, performed by Christopher Anderson, Associate Professor of Sacred Music. View the program on YouTube here. View and download the service bulletin here.