June 2021 News Perspective Online

Alum Profile: Ed Robb

Two things convinced the Rev. Dr. Edmund Robb III (M.T.S., 1976) to come to Perkins for his theological education: a job offer, and a desire for a change of scenery. Robb had decided to pursue full-time seminary studies after taking a few courses as a part-time student at Asbury Theological Seminary.

Robb loved Asbury but was ready for a new challenge. Then he was offered a job as a youth minister at First Methodist Church in Waxahachie.  Perkins School of Theology became his new choice.

“As much as I appreciated Asbury, I wanted a different perspective,” he said. “I grew up in a traditional home. I wanted to be challenged.”

That dual perspective – a faith anchored in traditional orthodoxy, and a willingness to be challenged – foreshadowed what was ahead. Robb enrolled at Perkins, not knowing it would lead to a pivotal moment in United Methodist history.

Robb went on to start The Woodlands United Methodist Church in the suburban Houston area – now one of the largest United Methodist churches in the U.S.  And while he was at Perkins, he helped arrange a meeting that influenced United Methodist scholarship for decades to come – and continues to do so today.

A Meeting of Two Minds

In 1975, Robb’s father, the Rev. Edmund Robb Jr., delivered a fiery speech at a Good News Convocation at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Observing the rapid decline in the denomination’s membership, the elder Robb decried what he saw as a loss of orthodoxy at United Methodist seminaries.

“I know of no UM seminary where the historic Wesleyan Biblical perspective is presented seriously, even as an option,” he said. “Let us serve notice, here and now, that we will no longer turn over our converts to the theological liberals who neither understand or teach the Biblical faith.”

That statement deeply offended Albert C. Outler (1908-1989), a professor at Perkins and the pre-eminent Wesleyan scholar at the time. Outler wrote a scathing rebuttal in a United Methodist newspaper.

As it happened, Ed Robb III was one of Outler’s students.

“That was the first time I remember learning the word ‘diatribe,’” the younger Robb recalled. “I had a relationship outside of class with Dr. Outler. We had developed a good camaraderie.” Robb encouraged his father to call Dr. Outler and propose a meeting. Outler agreed.

“They met at Bridwell Library,” Robb said. “I don’t want to take too much credit, but I did help facilitate that meeting. My father and Dr. Outler realized they shared some concerns, and began to ask, ‘What can we do in a positive way to address this?’”

The conversation led to the founding in 1977 of A Foundation for Theological Education (AFTE), a non-profit that aims to “strengthen the classical Christian witness within the United Methodist Church.” (See sidebar) Ed Robb III continues to serve as Chairman of AFTE today. The program’s centerpiece is the John Wesley Fellowships, supporting gifted scholar-teacher-leaders “who embody this commitment to traditioned innovation and are equipped to provide leadership for the renewal of the Church in their doctoral studies at the finest universities,” according to AFTE’s mission statement. Currently, there are more than 165 Fellows in the fellowship.

Said Robb: “This was a way to give a more traditional Wesleyan orthodoxy a stronger voice within our theological schools. And it was a long-term effort. When AFTE was launched, Dr. Outler said, ‘This is a generational effort; we won’t see any results for 5 or 15 or maybe even 40 years.’”

And what an impact AFTE has had — and continues to have.

Ten Wesley Fellows currently serve as deans in seminaries and colleges, including Perkins’ Dean Craig C. Hill. Fifty-three are professors in theological schools including Perkins, Asbury, Baylor, Candler School of Theology at Emory, Claremont School of Theology, Duke Divinity, Garrett-Evangelical, Luther Seminary, United, and Wesley Theological Seminary.  Another 21 serve in a professorial role in other colleges and universities.

In addition to Dean Hill, three Wesley Fellows serve at Perkins: Ted Campbell, Rebekah Miles and Priscilla Pope-Levison. Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference, a Perkins graduate and former faculty member, is also a Fellow, as is Steve Long, an SMU professor who teaches at Perkins.

The Wesley Fellows share a common heritage that seems to hold even as the denomination has struggled with divisions.

“The gift of AFTE is in bringing people together who differ on some social issues and on the future of the UMC but are alike in their love for Christ and their commitment to the church,” said Rebekah Miles, Professor of Ethics and Practical Theology. “Ed and his father have been models of a generous, open-hearted evangelicalism that always seeks to reach across to and include people of different backgrounds and points of view.”

Ted Campbell, Professor of Church History, recalls that when he became a John Wesley Fellow, Robb made it clear that “we were at liberty to develop our own opinions on church matters. That set the tone for relationships in the long run.”

As a group, the Wesley Fellows are diverse; a few Fellows converted to Roman Catholicism after completing their education; one became Greek Orthodox. That’s understandable, Robb said.

“You can’t keep them from changing or growing or evolving,” he said. “Not everybody comes out with identical views, but they do share the heart and commitment toward Wesleyan Christianity. Some Fellows may have different positions on human sexuality, but that doesn’t mean they’re not Wesleyan.”

Most importantly, Robb believes that AFTE has had the influence that Outler and his father envisioned: “A student is more likely to have a solid engagement with classical Christianity in a Methodist seminary than they would have had 40 years ago,” he said. “Any seminary is going to be a cacophony of voices. But AFTE has given classical Christianity a stronger voice in that mix.”

Megachurch Pastor

Ted Campbell remembers vividly the first time he met Robb, in the summer of 1978.

“Edmund was beaming with excitement about the new congregation he was starting,” Campbell recalled. “His great plan was to build the congregation from the ground up on the basis of small groups, like the early Wesleyan societies.”

Robb had been assigned by the Houston area Bishop to plant a new church in a rural, but growing, area near Houston called The Woodlands. Initially, he’d been reluctant. He told the bishop: “I don’t think I had that class in seminary. I don’t know about starting a church.” The bishop’s reply: “You’ll learn.”

He did learn, but it wasn’t easy.

“I got out and knocked on doors, literally,” said Robb. “I worked long, hard hours, inviting people to come. We started meeting in a rented space.” For the first four years, he had no staff members other than himself.

Today that congregation, The Woodlands United Methodist Church, has more than 14,000 members and is one of the denomination’s largest churches. Robb has served as senior pastor since 1978.  He’ll retire on June 30.

“He has built one of the great congregations of the United Methodist Church on that consistent basis, and it shows in the strong connections and bonds between members,” said Campbell.

The friendship between Robb and Campbell continues. Campbell has taught, lectured and preached at The Woodlands more than any other guest speaker. Even though the two men may disagree on some issues, they share much common ground.

“We agree on most of the central teachings of the United Methodist Church, including the doctrines enshrined in the Articles of Religion, the Confession of Faith and the General Rules,” Campbell said. “That gives us a strong basis on which we have faithful and frank conversations.”

Dean Hill noted that Robb remains quietly supportive of his alma mater. The church has donated to Perkins annually in recent years and named a large atrium on the church campus after Albert Outler.

“Ed Robb is a leading evangelical with a moderating influence,” Hill said. “He’s someone who intuitively recognizes commonalities, not just differences.  You can disagree as well as agree and walk away as friends, knowing that you’ve been respected and understood.”

Robb’s ability to lower the temperature in the midst of divisions has also been evident in his political career. On top of his church duties, he’s been active in The Woodlands government. Beginning in the late 1990s, he served as a representative of local business owners on the former Town Center Improvement District taxing entity.  He was elected to The Woodlands Township Board of Directors, in 2010, and later was elected chair.

“As debates at Township board meetings have grown more contentious, Robb has developed a reputation as the peacekeeper, often speaking up when voices and tempers begin to rise and trying to keep discourse civil,” according to a 2015 article in the Houston Chronicle. Fellow board members called him a “consensus builder” and someone with “a track record of pulling people together.”

Lessons Learned

Robb will retire from his position as senior pastor of The Woodlands UMC on June 30, having served as the church’s pastor since 1978.

As his career in ministry comes to a close, he looks back fondly on his days at Perkins. Outler, Richey Hogg, Schubert Ogden, John Deschner and Marvin Judy were among the professors who influenced him most strongly.

“Not that I agreed with all their viewpoints, but they were good at helping students develop critical thinking,” he said.

Robb’s advice to current Perkins students? Seek opportunities for continuing education.

“Theological education gives you the foundation for the larger theological world and a knowledge of church history,” he said. “It’s the underpinning, the background for a career in ministry. But your education needs to continue as you learn the nuts and bolts of ministry.”

For example, seminary students typically don’t learn how to conduct effective stewardship campaigns. Like it or not, Robb said, it’s part of the job.

“I find most new pastors have very little idea, and a lot of fear, about talking about money,” he said. “We tend to use euphemisms. Don’t be afraid to talk about money.”

Over the years, The Woodlands has built five new buildings, relocated and added large parcels of land.

“That’s a lot of capital campaigns!” Robb said. “That’s not why I went into ministry. It’s not pure ministry. But if it’s not done, we don’t have the platform to continue on. There’s a lot we do in ministry that’s not learned in seminary. That’s true anywhere.”

Robb encourages young pastors to seek out seminars and other ways to learn some of the practical aspects of ministry.

Other advice for growing a church: Make sure that visitors connect with small groups – such as a Sunday school or a Bible study – and have a good experience. Be sure they are warmly greeted and are offered good childcare.

Focus on missions, local as well as international.

“Without missions, a church becomes a religious country club,” he said.

And finally, hire good people.

“Don’t be afraid to bring someone on to the church staff who is more talented than you. You don’t need people who think exactly like you do. But you do need people who share your same heart.”

In evolving from the pastor of a newly planted church to the senior pastor of a large congregation, Robb says his job changed from “shepherd” to “rancher,” a term popularized by Lyle Schaller while Robb was in seminary.

“In our inner hearts, we as most seminary graduates are inclined to that shepherd role,” he said. “But if we hang on too tightly, the church won’t reach its full maturity.”



About Ed Robb

Family: Robb and his wife, Bev, have three grown children and eight grandchildren

Hometown: Abilene, Texas

Other degrees: In addition to his Perkins’ degree, Robb earned an undergraduate degree from Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky., and received an honorary doctorate from Asbury University.

Favorite Bible Verse: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (KJV)

Historic Figures He Most Admires: Moses, Socrates, Thomas Becket, Alexander Hamilton, William Wilberforce, Susan B. Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sidebar: AFTE

AFTE is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1977 by the late Dr. Albert C. Outler and the late Dr. Edmund W. Robb, Jr., to strengthen the classical Christian witness within the United Methodist Church. The founders’ goal was to help revitalize theological education. Both believed that a greater emphasis on the evangelical Wesleyan tradition in United Methodist seminaries would bring greater spiritual vitality to the entire denomination.

The centerpiece of AFTE has always been the John Wesley Fellowship program, which supports gifted scholar-teacher-leaders who embody this commitment to traditioned innovation and are equipped to provide leadership for the renewal of the Church in their doctoral studies at the finest universities. Candidates are selected for their commitment to Christ and the Church as well as for their academic scholarship, educational excellence as teachers, and promise for intellectual leadership in renewing the Church. Fellowships are usually given for up to four years. Approximately 12-16 Fellows are in the program at any one time; AFTE typically spends more than $180,000 per year on direct grants to cover tuition and other educational expenses.

In partnership with The Foundation for Evangelism, AFTE also offers one fellowship for scholars in the Wesleyan tradition who are pursuing doctoral studies in evangelism and related disciplines. The Harry Denman Fellowship Program aims to equip individuals who might one day teach evangelism in Wesleyan-tradition colleges and seminaries, and who are committed to the classical Christian faith and spiritual renewal of the Church.

Each year, present and former John Wesley Fellows gather for personal and professional exchange at the Christmas Conference, named in honor of the founding annual conference of American Methodism. The undertaking of a doctoral program can be a lonely and grueling experience; the gathering helps developing scholars get to know and share ideas with other Fellows.

AFTE also sponsors Catalyst, a scholarly newsletter sent to more than 5,000 United Methodist seminary students four times a year and focusing on stimulating serious consideration of classical Christianity.

Source: A Foundation for Theological Education (AFTE) website,


June 2021 News Perspective Online

Faculty Updates: June 2021

Learning From COVID-19

Three Perkins faculty were featured in an article in Baptist News on how seminaries have adapted to train ministers how to lead in new ways, both online and in-person. The article highlighted the course on “Digitally Mediated Ministry” taught by Robert Hunt and Marcell Silva Steuernagel, and how the pandemic has informed the teaching of Alyce McKenzie. Read the article here.

Faculty Awards

The Annual Report to the Committee on Faculty Supplemental Account of Honors and Awards reported the following awards received by Perkins faculty staff in the 2020-2021 academic year.

  • The 2021 Sam Taylor Fellowship award recipients are Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Professor of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology, and Jack Levison, W. J. A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew.
  • Ted Campbell was the invited guest speaker at an event on “The Intersectionality of Science and Religion: A Comparative Discourse between a Scientist and Theologian” sponsored by the International Center of Faith, Science and History at Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, N.C., on October 17, 2020. The fellow speaker was former North Carolina Governor James G. Martin.
  • Susanne Scholz, Professor of Old Testament, served as the regional Society of Biblical Literature President of the Southwest region from March 2020 to March 2021. She was awarded the SMU Center for Teaching Excellence “Pedagogical Partner Up Grant;” she worked with four other SMU colleagues as a “pod” on a project, “Active Learning and Student Engagement Strategies,” focused on methods of improving student engagement in the classroom, in both virtual and in-person modalities.

Mark Stamm in Podcast

Mark W. Stamm, Professor of Christian Worship, appeared in Episode 17 of “Methodantics,” a video podcast produced by Sid Davis, Director of Music and Fine Arts, and Justin Bair, Associate Director of Worship and Music, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston.  The series looks at “Why we do what we do in traditional worship in the United Methodist Church?” The episode featuring Stamm covered the liturgical year and how it came about. Watch the podcast here. Stamm also wrote the first two blog posts, on youth worship leadership, for the Reboot Youth Ministry Project. “Believe it or not, once upon a time, I used to work with youth groups,” he said. Stamm has written four additional blog posts that will appear throughout the rest of the summer.  In addition, in February, Stamm taught an online, 4-week adult education series at First United Methodist Church in Richardson, titled “The Shape & Place of Worship:  Historical, Theological and Pastoral Considerations.” Later in the spring, he taught an online adult formation series at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas, titled “The Great Fifty Days, Eastertide Celebration.”  That program was hosted by Transfiguration’s Rector, the Rev. Dr. Casey Shobe, and Associate Rector, the Rev. Rebecca Tankersley (M.Div. 2015.)  Check out the series here. He also preached and taught (online) at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Plano, Texas, where the Rev. Leslie Stewart (M. Div. 2014) is the Vicar.  The sermon, “The Whole City Gathered About the Door,” focused on Mark 1:29-39; the class following was “Called to Prayer:  Exploring Our Vocation.”

June 2021 News Perspective Online

Staff News: June 2021

Staff Awards

The Annual Report to the Committee on Faculty Supplemental Account of Honors and Awards reported the following awards received by Perkins staff in the 2020-2021 academic year:  Jane Elder, Reference Librarian at Bridwell Library, was awarded an Access 2021 Scholarship to attend a class (virtually) this summer in the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Dallas Gingles, Associate Director of the Houston-Galveston Extension Program, was elected to the Board of Trustees of Sewanee (The University of the South), appointed to the Board of Directors of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, invited as Research Fellow at Auburn Seminary, appointed to the Faith Advisory Council of the Dallas Morning News, and awarded a “Remote Teaching Support Grant” from the Center for Teaching Excellence at Southern Methodist University.

June 2021 News Perspective Online

Student Spotlight: Rhonda Chambers

Recalling the moment seven years ago when she first felt the call to ministry and began the journey that eventually brought her to Perkins, Rhonda Chambers can only conclude one thing.

“I tell everyone that God has a twisted sense of humor!” she says with a smile.

Chambers, 56, grew up in the church, but never met a female pastor until after she was married and raising two children.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for over 25 years,” she said. “I made a career out of volunteering at our home church, in the local schools, and at the hospital’s pediatric physical therapy department.”

One day, while walking her church’s prayer labyrinth, she says, God called her to work in the church.

“Shock and trepidation can’t fully describe what I felt,” she said. “Since I didn’t have a college education, I knew it would be a tremendous undertaking.”  But within a few weeks, she started classes as a freshman at Tarrant Community College, and later earned her undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University. Perkins was the next step, and in May, Chambers completed her second year of studies toward an M.Div. She is pursuing ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church, and will serve at First United Methodist Church of Dallas for her internship next year.

“As I’ve gone through the process, I’ve realized that God was setting me up for ‘just such a time as this’ all along,” she said. “Over the decades, I’d worn many hats in our church.  I volunteered constantly and served in many capacities – president of the UMW, leading women’s Bible studies, teaching Sunday School, Pastor/Parish Relations committees, building campaigns, preschool teacher, and more.  None of those experiences were wasted.”

A favorite Bible verse guided her since she started her education as a 50-year-old college freshman: “When you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2b)

“At first, I did not consider it the most comforting verse,” she said. “I mean, who wants to walk through fire?  But fire can do lots of good things too.”  In talking it over with her father, he shared how he would collect old tire weights and heat them in an old cook pot over a flame.  Once the metal melted, he would skim off the impurities that floated to the surface.

As the verse foreshadowed, her years preparing for ministry have been difficult as well as productive and refining — but never too overwhelming.

“There were many times when I cried and threatened to quit, especially around finals,” she said. “But Daddy was right, the flames got hot, but not too hot and God paid close attention – always sending me affirmations and comforts in the form of phone calls, notes, or sweet encouragements from dear friends.  Throughout the last seven years of college, this verse has proven true.”

Perkins has also proven to be a good place for her. Chambers is a Perkins Scholar and a member of the M.A.S.T. (Minister, Author, Scholar, Teacher) program. One day, she hopes to write devotional materials that might help bridge the gap between seminary and the pews.

“There is such a huge gap between the way we study the Bible in church and the academic study of the Bible,” she said. She hopes to help laypeople better understand that the Bible is “the Word of God, but not necessarily the words of God.”

She was also elected to a position for the 2020-2021 school year that might have seemed impossible or even irrelevant: serving as the Social Life Chair at Perkins in the middle of a pandemic. While in-person gatherings weren’t possible, Chambers was undeterred.

She became a regular attendee of the Thursday Study Hall sessions, held via Zoom and organized by the Office of Student Life and Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life. The study halls provided a safe “place” for students to socialize and connect. That led to unexpected blessings.

“Previously, students from the Dallas and the Houston/Galveston programs rarely had opportunities to interact,” Chambers said. “The study hall provided a place where students could chat, laugh, vent, develop relationships, and nurture one another.  The only rule was absolutely no studying!”

The event was so popular that plans are underway to continue the Zoom study halls next year, even after students return to campus for in-person study.

Because there was no way to offer in-person social activities, Chambers used the Social Life budget to create gift bags, each stuffed with Perkins branded giveaways — a mug, coaster and mousepad – which she is distributing to every student enrolled for the spring 2021 semester.

Despite the challenges of the past two years, Chambers says, Perkins has been a good fit.

“Perkins came highly recommended for its dedication to quality education and its reputation for academic rigor,” she said. “I am thrilled with Perkins’ commitment to excellence as well as their outstanding professors.  It also allowed me to meet some absolutely amazing new people.”

Chambers balances her studies with a busy family and church life. She’s a longtime member of White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake – she’s been attending since the days when it was a small rural church. (Today, White’s Chapel has more than 16,000 members.) Chambers and her husband will celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary on June 9. They have two grown children, three grandchildren and a fourth on the way. With all this going on, Chambers stays grounded by spending time outdoors.

“I hear God best when I’m outside in nature’s cathedral,” she said. “I like to wander the trails in the woods by the lake or walk through our church’s prayer labyrinth.”  When time permits, she loves heading out to the small ranch her family owns in East Texas.

“I’ll go hop on our big blue tractor and spend several hours cutting the front pasture,” she said. “If I really need to bend God’s ear, I’ll cut the back pasture too.”

June 2021 News Perspective Online

Alumni/ae Updates: June 2021

George Floyd Vigil

Perkins alumnae/i and staff were present for a vigil May 25 to mark the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd, held at Hamilton Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. The event was co-presented by Lake Highlands Area Moms Against Racism, a Facebook group which created a “Say Their Names” display honoring those who died due to racial or gender related violence. Participating were the Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson (M.T.S. 1983, M.Div. 1989, D.Min. 1996), pastor of Hamilton Park UMC; the Rev. Cathy Liles Sweeney (M.T.S. 2015), pastor of Arapaho UMC in Dallas, Rabbi Nancy Kasten of Faith Forward Dallas, Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life at Perkins and Megan Elizabeth Lilburn Turner of Northway Christian Church. Candles were extinguished as the last seven words of George Floyd were read at the vigil marking the one-year anniversary of his death.

Chism Interviewed on BNC

Perkins Alum Dr. Jonathan Chism (M.Div. 2008) was interviewed May 26 on the news program “Prime with Charles Blow” on the Black News Channel (BNC) about efforts to ban critical race theory in Texas schools.  View the video here.


The Caring Congregation

The Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford (M.T.S. 2013) is co-author of two books recently published by Abingdon Press, The Caring Congregation Ministry Implementation Guide and Care Ministers Manual with Karen Lampe. Gepford is the Intergenerational Discipleship Coordinator of the Great Plains Conference, in which she helps congregations establish healthy discipleship systems. In praising the books, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, in Leawood, Kansas, said: “It’s impossible to overstate the importance of providing excellent care in a local church. The Caring Congregation Ministry offers the very best program for training laity in congregational care. This book provides a step-by-step guide for implementing the program in any size congregation.”  Read more here.

Heal Our Divides

The Rev. Justin Hancock (Master of Church Ministries, 2008) is a contributor in a new book, How to Heal Our Divides: A Practical Guide, compiled and edited by Brian Allain and Adam Thomas. Other contributors include Brian McLaren, Parker Palmer and Shane Claiborne. The book highlights organizations that are taking real action to address issues of inequity and systems of oppression and to heal deep divisions in our society in effective and practical ways.  Check out the book here. Hancock is also author of The Julian Way: A Theology of Fullness for All of God’s People (Cascade Books, 2018.)

Oviedo Publishes in Theology Journal

Pablo Oviedo, a 2019 graduate of Perkins’ Th.M. in Spanish program, has published an article in the journal “Teología y Cultura,” a Spanish-language magazine published by Instituto Wesley, de la Universidad del Centro Educativo Latinoamericano. His article, “Contributions to a Latin American Wesleyan Theology: New Creation in Liberating Grace,” is a continuation of an article he wrote for a previous issue of the magazine. Oviedo reinterpreted the classic theological theme of “grace” through the lens of Wesleyan Latin American theology. Oviedo proposes two “hermeneutical keys”: to think theologically from “the struggle for equality in all its forms (especially that of gender embodied by feminist theology)” and to think theologically from “the cultural contributions of indigenous peoples.”

Obituary: The Rev. L. George Buck

The Rev. L. George Buck (M.T.S. 1960), former director of Pastoral Care and Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), died May 12. After graduating from Perkins, he became certified as a Chaplain Supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Training in a program founded by the progenitor of the clinical pastoral training movement, Anton Boisen. He spent 25 years as Director of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Training at the Austin State Hospital in Austin, Texas.  In 1994, he accepted the position of Director of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education at UAMS and served there for the remainder of his career, retiring in 2016. Buck is survived by his wife of 27 years, Virginia Sue, and two sons, Corey of Victoria, Texas, and Palmer (RuthAnne) of Austin, Texas. Plans for a celebration of his life will be announced at a later date.  Read his obit here.

Obit: The Rev. Richard Fleming

The Rev. Richard Fleming (M.S.M. 1970, D.Min. 1980) passed away peacefully at his home in Richardson, Texas, on May 1 at the age 87. An ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, he served pastorates in Illinois. After earning an MSM degree from SMU, he served as Minister of Music at Grace UMC in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1968 to 1972 and at First UMC, Richardson until his retirement in 1999. He was an accomplished choral conductor and organist and a member of the Choristers Guild and American Guild of Organists. His adult choirs performed many master works and toured Europe three times. He also directed the Chapel Singers Youth Choir and inspired countless youth to pursue careers in music and ministry. He also served as director of the Turtle Creek Chorale from 1982 –1984. Richard is survived by Kay his wife of 63 years. Read his obit here.