June 2020 News

Faculty Update

Ruben Habito in D Magazine

Ruben Habito, Professor of World Religions and Spirituality, was featured in a story in D Magazine, “What Faith Looks Like Now: A Conversation About Meditation with SMU’s Ruben Habito.” Read the story and see Habito’s video meditation here.

Pope-Levison Prayer

Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean for External Programs and Professor of Ministerial Studies, wrote a brief meditation for the National Council of Churches daily prayer website on May 20. Titled Deep, Deep Disorientation, the meditation focused on Psalms 69:1-2. “Our world is currently in deep, deep disorientation with COVID-19 as we face debt, abuse, unemployment, slander, harassment, violence, even death,” she wrote. “No one is alone in this regard. We’re all crying out to God for help and deliverance, for salvation and rescue, for steadfast love and mercy.”


Cliff Festival at Home

Perkins faculty members Billy Abraham and Evelyn Parker were featured speakers for the Cliff Festival at Home event, which took place at the end of May, hosted by Cliff College in the U.K.

Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, was part of three online panel discussions now available on YouTube:

Wesley’s theology as a treasure for intellectual confidence; the Gospel and the treasure of the Kingdom; and Wesley’s sermons as a treasure for spiritual direction. Parker, Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology, delivered a message for the Sunday Celebration about pushing church members beyond their comfort zones, also viewable on YouTube.

She also taught three seminars: #MeToo Tweets the Pastor: Preventing and Intervening in Teen Dating Violence; #MeToo Tweets the Friends of Billie Eilish; #MeToo Tweets Her Parents: Preventing and Intervening in Teen Dating Violence; all are available for viewing here.


U.K. Library Joins UM History Class

Ted Campbell’s United Methodist History course this summer will incorporate a special webinar for its June 2 class meeting, held online via Zoom. Titled “Through a glass darkly: A digital exploration of an 18th-century revival network,” the webinar is sponsored by the John Rylands Library in Manchester, U.K. The webinar will feature a presentation by Dr. Gareth Lloyd of the John Rylands Library on how digitized primary sources can be used to investigate a grassroots revival network and provide new insights into early Methodist history.

The webinar will begin an hour into Campbell’s class session, with the international scholars joining the Zoom session at 5:30 p.m. U.S. Central Time, 11:30 p.m. British Time.

“They’ll be trying to stay awake,” Campbell said. “I’ve told my students that they better have some really interesting questions.”

The John Rylands Library is one of the premier research libraries and archival collections in the world. It includes the archives of the British Methodist Church, including more than 600 manuscript letters of John Wesley, far more than any other collection. The presentation will give students insights into mining digitized primary historical resources for short research papers for the course.

See this link on the website of the John Rylands Library:


June 2020 News

Staff News

Retirees We’ll Miss

Sally Hoover retired as Interlibrary Loan and Reserves Assistant effective June 1 after 22 years of service in Perkins’ Bridwell Library. She managed the organization of Course Reserve materials and was responsible for lending and borrowing books and articles through interlibrary loan. Hoover was recognized at the May 14 online End of Year Gathering, where Anthony Elia, Director of Bridwell Library, offered words of praise.   

Born and raised in Kansas, Hoover came to Perkins at the suggestion of Dr. Ken Hart, then the M.S.M. director at Perkins, having studied organ with him in Kansas. While a student studying for her M.S.M. degree, she began working at Bridwell in the circulation department. She finished the degree in 2000 and continued to work for Bridwell.  Later, she completed an M.T.S. in 2001. Hoover looks forward to continuing her work with Straydog, a no-kill rescue and shelter for lost dogs, in retirement.  

“Sally has been an integral part of this community and shared her talents and knowhow as a musician, staff member, and person committed to the welfare of animals,” said Anthony Elia, Director of the Bridwell Library.  We wish her all the best in her retirement.”


Friends We’ll Miss  

Linda Hervey, who retired as Perkins’ Financial Officer in 2016, died on Monday, May 18, in Dallas, following a long illness. Hervey transitioned from the corporate world and served for 23 years under three deans: Jim Kirby, Robin Lovin and Bill Lawrence. She is credited with steering Perkins through the challenges following the 2008 stock market crash and recession. “Linda’s steady financial hand enabled the school to maintain its faculty and staff, and to continue virtually uninterrupted,” according to Dean Craig Hill. “Her contributions to Perkins as Financial Officer cannot be measured and will never be paralleled.” Hervey’s daughters, Kian and Kiara, were toddlers when she joined Perkins; both young women graduated from SMU and were at her side at her death. Read her obituary here.

June 2020 News

Alumni/ae Update

Pastoring a Vulnerable Population

The Rev. Bryant Phelps (M.Div. ’17) was featured in a column in The Dallas Morning News recently about his ministry as a 29-year-old millennial shepherding a senior-citizen congregation in one of the Dallas County ZIP codes hit hardest by the novel coronavirus. “This pandemic has underscored, in a great way, the intersections of class, race, health disparities, power imbalance, ethics that – in addition to a respiratory virus – are asphyxiating entire subgroups of people,” he said. Phelps is pastor of Church of the Disciple in DeSoto, Texas, south of Dallas. Read the column here. Phelps was also featured in Morehouse College’s online Meditation Moment on May 6.


Todd von Helms Profiled

Alum Todd von Helms (D.Min. ’15) was recently featured in an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette looking at how Christian teenagers with a shallow knowledge of the Scriptures often have their faith challenged once they head to university. He is the author of Before You Leave: For College, Career, and Eternity. Read the article here.


Alum Leads GLS Mini-Lecture

Perkins alum Regina Franklin-Basye (M.Div. ’15) was the first lecturer featured in the SMU Graduate Liberal Studies’ virtual mini-lecture chats program. In each segment, participants heard a mini-lecture from a faculty member and then had the opportunity to pose questions in a virtual Q&A discussion. Franklin-Basye previewed her GLS class, which begins June 1, on “Responding and Coping with Public Tragedy in the Face of COVID-19.”

Upper Room Devotional

Perkins D. Min. student Chad Mogus (M.Div. ’19) wrote a devotional featured on June 1 in the Upper Room. “It may seem easier to simply throw in the towel during these turbulent times and leave ministry for when things are back to ‘normal,’” he wrote. “But when have things ever truly been normal?” Read the devotional here.


Friends We Will Miss

The Rev. Norman Moyer

The Rev. Norman Moyer (M.Th. ’81), retired elder in the Arkansas Conference, died at age 66 on May 11 after many weeks in the ICU with COVID-19. His wife, the Rev. Bonda Moyer (M.Th. ’80), also a retired UM elder from the Arkansas Conference, contracted the virus but recovered after a brief hospitalization. During his ministry, Moyer served churches in Boone County, Marianna/Bear Creek Camp, Holly Grove, Russellville, Forrest City, Clinton, Leslie/Marshall and Leola/Moore’s Chapel. Condolences can be mailed to the Rev. Bonda Moyer, 1630 Doe Trail, Conway, AR 72034.

See a news report here and read an obit here.

The Rev. James Scott Moore

The Rev. James Scott Moore (M.Div. ’10), a deacon who retired from the Arkansas Conference in 2019, passed away on May 11, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Debbie, and family. During his ministry, Rev. Moore served at Baptist Health, Methodist Family Health and Saint Paul UMC – Little Rock. Condolences can be mailed to 12 Meadowbrook Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205.

The Rev. John Ed Francis

The Rev. John Ed Francis (M.Th. ’59) passed away on May 11, 2020. He retired from the Central Texas Conference in 1999. He is survived by his two children, their two spouses, four grandchildren and three spouses.

The Rev. Ralph Smith

The Rev. Ralph L. Smith (M.Th. ’61), retired elder in the North Texas Conference, passed away on May 22, 2020, at the age of 91 in Irving, Texas. His obituary is below. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private family service and burial were held. Cards and notes may be sent to Rev. Smith’s wife, Alice Smith, at 1295 Kinwest Parkway, #408, Irving, TX 75063. Read his obituary here.