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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.

October 2018 Perspective Online

Ministry Dallas: Connects Perkins Students, Staff With Needs of Broader Community

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By Mary Jacobs

Theological education usually means listening and learning in a classroom or studying in a library. But sometimes it might mean getting your hands dirty: milking goats, shoveling dirt, worshipping in a drum circle, or cleaning out a supply closet.

That was how 11 members of the Perkins community – seven students and four staff — began the Fall 2018 semester, with Ministry Dallas, a program that took participants to three different outreach ministries for three days in August just before classes commenced.

At each location — White Rock United Methodist Church, Bonton Farms, and Dallas Bethlehem Center – they worshipped, did service projects, met staff members, and got an inside glimpse of an innovative ministry.

“The goal was to expose students not only to the needs of the people of Dallas but also some churches and organizations that are filling the gaps and reaching out in traditional, but creative, ways,” said Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Community Engagement at Perkins.

That’s important as students prepare to enter ministry and leadership roles, according to the Rev. Katherine Glaze Lyle, who serves on Perkins School of Theology’s Executive Board. “Dallas is a huge field for ministry,” she said. “But it’s not going to be enough in the future to just do ministry the way we used to do it. It’s got to be ministry in new ways.”

Day 1: White Rock UMC

When Mitchell Boone arrived at White Rock United Methodist Church in Dallas’s funky Little Forest Hills neighborhood in 2012, the church was dying and barely able to even cover its utility bills. Membership had dwindled steadily since 1974. The church’s building was mostly a liability, deserted except on Sunday mornings, when about 120 members drove in from the suburbs. At the recommendation of a consulting firm hired by the congregation, the church added a contemporary worship band on Sunday mornings, to no avail.

Today, however, WRUMC is bustling seven days a week. On weekday mornings, preschoolers fill the Sunday School classrooms. The fellowship hall – before, used only a few times a year – is now home to The Mix Coworking & Creative Space, where small business owners, freelancers, caterers, artists and others work. (The Mix is managed by a partner, the Missional Wisdom Foundation.) Outside is a community garden, host to yoga classes, a composting station, and an herb garden open to anyone who’d like to snip a few sprigs for tonight’s dinner. Most of the garden’s plots are tended by neighbors who are not members of the church. Another unused room now serves as the meditation room for Maria Kannon Zen Center. A gymnasium, dormant for years, is now alive with Peruvian dance classes and pick-up basketball games.

Boone, who is WRUMC’s pastor, shared the secret of the church’s rebirth: meeting with people in the neighborhood, learning about their needs, forming innovative partnerships – plus a dose of humility.

“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “Instead of seeing our mostly empty building as a liability, we asked, ‘How would the neighborhood use this space?’ We realized we do not have a monopoly on the ways in which God is working.”

Ministry Dallas participants worked in the garden, toured the building, met with staff members and artists at The Mix, and enjoyed lunch prepared by Rhonda Sweet, a caterer who manages The Mix’s new commercial kitchen. The group also gathered in a drum circle for worship led by Rebecca Garrett Pace, the church’s Director of Worship.

“The visit gave me a different vision for what a church can be and how it can be plugged into the community,” said Zack Hughes, a second-year M.Div. student. “They are sharing resources and talents; there’s much to be learned from the model that WRUMC is setting.”

Day 2: Bonton Farms

There’s a saying posted on a wall at Bonton Farms: “We don’t grow vegetables. We grow people.”

The urban farm has goats, chickens, turkeys, fresh vegetables, and a mission to serve hurting people in the neighborhood. About three-quarters of the men living in the Bonton area have served jail time by age 25. More than 60 percent of residents have no driver’s license, no car and little access to transportation.

Surrounded by three highways, train tracks and a river, the area is isolated from the rest of Dallas. It’s also a food desert – neighborhood convenience stores are stocked with junk food and booze but few healthy options. A resident can spend hours on public transportation just to get to and from a grocery store. Not surprisingly, Bonton residents have astronomical rates of diabetes, obesity, cancer and other health issues. In hopes of reversing that trend, the farm offers healthy, fresh alternatives.

During their visit, Ministry Dallas participants milked goats and shoveled dirt, and heard the stories of farm employees like Jovan Anderson, who found work, purpose and support at Bonton Farms.

“Before I came here, I’d never been on a farm,” he said. “I just fell in love. Everything I do here, I learn from it.” Another employee shared how he’d recently earned his driver’s license for the first time. Now he’s the driver who shuttles people and supplies for the farm; he’s hoping to eventually earn his commercial license.

Cash donations and produce sales at the Dallas Farmer’s Market and to restaurants (Café Momentum is a big customer) support the farm financially. Plans are underway to add a grocery store and eatery.

Bonton was started by Daron Babcock, who quit his job and sold his home in Frisco in 2011 to move into an abandoned Habitat for Humanity house in the neighborhood. He had no plan other than to serve. Conversations on the porch with neighbors expanded into a Bible study, which in turn morphed into an effort to help residents find jobs, which eventually led to the creation of the farm. For Ministry Dallas participants, Bonton’s story reinforced lessons from the previous day at White Rock United Methodist.

“At both, the focus was turned outward to the community and the main job became listening and walking hand in hand with others,” said Emily Clark, a first-year M. Div. student. “It was such a beautiful reminder of what ministry is all about.”

Day 3: Dallas Bethlehem Center

Situated in one of city’s most economically challenged neighborhoods, Dallas Bethlehem Center is a community center with a preschool, a food distribution program and a dream to do much more. Founded by the United Methodist Women, the Center closed its doors for financial reasons in 2011, reopened in 2013 and is today in rebuilding mode under a new director, Chelsea White.

That resilience in the face of challenges offered valuable lessons for Ministry Dallas participants, according to Lyle, who serves as chair of Dallas Bethlehem Center’s board. The community center is situated in the middle of a food desert. About 80 homes in the neighborhood – including one across the street – are known crack houses. Gun shots ring out day and night. Few residents have access to a car and unemployment is high.

“Yet, the level of resilience and personal resources is also huge,” Lyle said. “The people there have a lot to offer, and it’s important for church leaders to get in touch with that resilience.”

Ministry Dallas participants toured the facility and organized a supply closet used to stock backpacks distributed to kids in the neighborhood. Many were impressed by White’s innovative ideas on fundraising and community involvement.

“Chelsea encouraged us to not view fundraising as ‘Please, fund our cause,’” said Joyce Vanderlip, a second year M.Div. student. “Giving makes people feel good. Done right, fundraising is matching an opportunity to a person with that desire to give.”


Now that the academic year is underway, participants say the Ministry Dallas experience will stay with them as they discern where they might best serve the community. Zack Hughes, who is “on the fence” as to the direction for his Perkins internship and ultimately his post-graduation career, says “Ministry Dallas gave me a lot of food for thought.”

Others said they left the experience with ideas for more effective ways to be in ministry – as well as a sense of hope.

The experience taught participant Richard Anastasi, a second year M. Div. student, to “first, listen to the community, learn what they want and need, love them, and then begin to serve.

“I left each ministry each day inspired and hopeful of what is possible in apparently impossible situations.”


Mary Jacobs, former staff writer for The United Methodist Reporter and the Dallas Morning News, is a freelance writer in Dallas.


News October 2018 Perspective Online

A Message from Dean Craig C. Hill

The fall semester is underway, autumn is upon us and it’s an exciting time to be at Perkins! Our enrollment has increased for the second year in a row—up 14.1% from 2017—the campus is abuzz with energetic students, faculty and staff and our programs are impacting Christian leaders around the world. Indeed, Perkins is living out the vision of being “an academy for the whole church in the whole world.”

Join me for a comprehensive Perkins update via the video below. And as always, thank you for your support of Perkins School of Theology!

Craig C. Hill
Dean, Perkins School of Theology

News October 2018 Perspective Online

Introducing the Perkins Development Office

When you think of the Development Office, you probably think “fundraising,” which is certainly a big part of what we do. Our role is to raise endowment, capital, and annual gifts for the benefit of Perkins School of Theology. We are pleased to have a wonderful group of regular donors and invite all to join in this important effort.

But it’s not just about money. We also believe that Perkins will have its biggest impact when we help to clearly communicate the school’s purpose and actively involve our constituents in achieving those goals. We continually seek meaningful ways for alumni and friends to help Perkins fulfill its mission.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the people in the Development Office who serve the entire Perkins community, working closely with Dean Hill, Business Manager Mark Greim, and the other Senior Administrators at Perkins.

John Martin
John Martin

I am in my fifth year as Director of Development for Perkins School of Theology. I have had a career in higher education on both the College and Seminary levels. Having served on the Board of Directors and Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological Schools, I am acutely aware of the stresses faced by schools of theology. Since I began my career in higher education as a professor, I can identify with the desires of faculty members to have necessary resources.

Christina Rhodes
Christina Rhodes

Working with me, as Advancement Associate, is Mrs. Christina Rhodes. Christina joined the team a year ago and brings outstanding writing, editing, and organizational skills and abilities to the tasks of the office. Christina is a graduate of Texas Tech University and has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Christina and I are here to serve the Perkins community. The Perkins development mission statement is:

To maximize charitable giving to Perkins School of Theology through:
Personal visits to represent the vision of the School;
Electronic and telephone contacts;
Endowment reporting;
Thanking present and past donors;
Partnering with administration, faculty members, the Perkins Executive Board, and other SMU development officers on plans and funding needs;
Careful recording of contacts and gifts;
Keeping information in the strictest confidence.

This will be done in an open and transparent way with each donor’s benefit as the foundation of what we do. We will treat each donor with care and respect, regardless of the size or scope of the gift.

We look forward to interacting with many as we continue to serve as the conduit supplying Perkins with resources to accomplish our important educational task.

With a thankful heart,

John A. Martin
Director of Development

News October 2018 Perspective Online

Office of Enrollment Management Update

We are excited to announce that for the second year in a row, enrollment at Perkins has increased significantly!  In fall 2018, Perkins experienced a 14.1% increase over the previous year—building on 2017 totals, when the increase was more than 40% over 2016.  This is an exciting time to be at Perkins!

Who are we?  Perkins School of Theology is a vibrant, welcoming community of students, faculty and staff who are called to Christian service. We are diverse, we are international, we are committed to empowering servant leaders as they prepare for traditional, non-traditional and entrepreneurial ministries.  The mission of the Office of Enrollment Management team is to engage and recruit prospective students, shepherding them each step through enrollment, whether on our Dallas campus or as part of our new hybrid Houston-Galveston Extension Program.

Do you know a prospective student who is considering graduate theological education?  Refer someone here or alert them to on-site information events this fall through Inside Perkins.

Explore the infographic snapshot below and learn more about who we are in fall 2018!

Margot Perez-Greene
Associate Dean for Enrollment Management
Perkins School of Theology – SMU


Click to enlarge

News October 2018 Perspective Online

Students Confront Complex Realities at the U.S.-Mexico Border

By Mary Jacobs

At the border, you’ll find stories of heartbreak, horror, and occasionally, hope. You’ll meet real heroes, and a few villains, but mostly people who are caught between bigger forces and just trying to survive.

What you won’t find are simple solutions.

“The complexities of border life are real, often gut-wrenching, and will not easily be solved,” said Becky David Hensley, a Perkins alum.

That’s Hensley’s takeaway from an immersion trip to McAllen, Texas as part of Perkins’ McAllen and the Borderlands: Understanding the Church’s Mission, Ministry, and Social Responsibility. She was one of 10 participants — five students, three alumni and two faculty — who made the 7-day trip in July.

“It was designed to expose our students and others to the realities of the border,” said program leader Hugo Magallanes, who is Associate Professor of Christianity and Cultures at Perkins. “We wanted them to hear all sides of the story and to capture firsthand the stories of persons impacted by immigration laws and rules.”

The trip was sponsored by Perkins’ Global Theological Education and the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions. Participants toured and served at Catholic and Methodist missions like Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center; Proyecto Azteca, a housing initiative; and La Posada Providencia, a residential refugee center. The itinerary also included worship at local churches and opportunities to talk with U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff, and experts in human trafficking and immigration. Participants also had the chance to talk one-on-one with those awaiting processing to enter the U.S.

“Their stories were very different from what you hear in the media,” said Isabel Docampo, Director, Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions. “We heard these detailed, particular stories of desperation from people who did not desire to leave but felt they had no option.”

She met women running away from violent domestic partners; mothers with children they feared might be raped or conscripted by gangs; and a young woman from Honduras who’d been separated from her 5-year-old son for five months by U.S. immigration.

“As a mother, the thought that I wouldn’t know where my child was for months, it’s just the most inhumane thing,” Docampo said.

Kurt Maerschel, a third year M.Div. student and a participant on the trip, is an immigrant himself from Germany. His transition came with challenges, but those paled in comparison to what he saw at the U.S.-Mexico border: people who were tired, confused, exhausted, frightened, and utterly dependent on ministries like Catholic Charities for help.

“I met a lot of people at the border who are welcoming the stranger,” he said. “It opened my eyes to look for the ‘strangers’ in my own community. It will stay with me for a long time.”

The group also had a chance to cross into Mexico with Guillermo “Willie” Berman Ramirez, a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) of the United Methodist Church, to visit an orphanage in Nuevo Progresso and a clinic in Rio Bravo.

“There are big, expensive homes in Rio Bravo which are mostly empty now because the gang violence is so bad,” said Jane Elder, a Perkins student and reference librarian at Bridwell.

“You realize that people are doing exactly what you and I would do, which is fleeing to a safer situation.”

One human trafficking expert told the group that trafficking in human organs is eclipsing human trafficking near the border. Medical personnel are advised not to wear scrubs in public areas, for fear they may be kidnapped and forced to harvest organs.

“The reality is so much worse than anything you read,” Elder said.

There were also moments of human connection. Hensley recalled a visit to the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center, where she had the chance to read to a group of children, ages five to 11.

“For several hours we laughed and fumbled our way through children’s stories and coloring books,” she said. “It was easy for a moment to forget what awful circumstances must have led them here – what horrors they must’ve endured on the journey. For a moment, they were just kids.”

Moments like that are important in understanding the border as well as in preparing for ministry anywhere, said Susan Hellums, Border Area Mission Coordinator for the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, who helped shepherd the group.

“Trust and relationships are important in any ministry and in our Christian walk,” she said. “The only way to develop those relationships is to spend time with each other, listening and talking and sharing.”

The group also had the chance to dialogue with Border Patrol agents, including one who attends a United Methodist church. Agents double as law enforcement as well as emergency medical technicians. In many cases, the people they pick up at the border go straight to the emergency room; some are dead or dying. Even those in enforcement are caught up in forces out of their control, according to Docampo.

“The Border Patrol is the biggest employer in the area,” she said. “They’re just trying to do their jobs, with laws that are changing constantly. There are so many institutional and structural systems that have to change.”

“You have all these people in the grip of these gigantic forces: cartels, gangs, violence, exploitation, drugs, trafficking, government policies and local, state and federal law enforcement,” Elder said. “Often they have to trade one untenable situation for another. It’s a real mess that will break anyone’s heart.”

Docampo added that another goal of the program is to help participants, as future church leaders, to search for the best Christian witness as the U.S. struggles to find a workable immigration policy.

“Christian leaders are in the public square and can add a voice to the public conversation,” she said. “It is a responsibility that we can’t walk away from.”


Mary Jacobs, former staff writer for The United Methodist Reporter and the Dallas Morning News, is a freelance writer in Dallas.

News October 2018 Perspective Online

COSS Classroom/Online Hybrid Offers Flexibility to Local Pastors

By Sam Hodges

The Rev. Judy Swarts has done youth and children’s ministry in United Methodist churches for years, but this summer marked her first appointment to lead a church as pastor.

She was OK with being away from First United Methodist in Menard, in west Texas, for a week to take Course of Study classes at Perkins.

But if it had been two weeks ….

“There would have been a disconnect with the congregation,” she said.

Thanks to a new hybrid approach, combining in-class and online instruction, Perkins is offering licensed local pastors a more flexible, affordable approach to completing the Course of Study required by the United Methodist Church.

A summer ago, Swarts would have had to spend two weeks per session on campus. This time, she and other students spent a week in class followed by two weeks of online instruction. Those who did both sessions repeated the schedule.

Swarts was able to return more quickly to Menard, where she dug into her new job while also studying at home online.

“Especially being in a new congregation, I liked being able to come back,” she said.

Course of Study is the first Perkins program to go hybrid – the Houston/Galveston extension program has begun this term – and a large enrollment jump accompanied the change.

Last year, there were 83 students for both the English and Spanish language sections. This summer enrollment was 103.

“Even more significantly, our enrollment in Spanish was just 14 last year, and this year it was 24. So the percentage of increase was even greater among Spanish-speaking students,” said the Rev. Dr. Paul Barton, who directs the program.

Before, students spent 20 hours in class for each course. Now it’s 10 hours in class and 10 hours online, with most of the online time allowing for flexible scheduling for students. (If they need to listen to a lecture, for example, it will be taped and they choose when to view it.)

The cost advantage comes primarily for students who travel to study at Perkins and must pay for room and board either on or off campus.

“We were missing students because they couldn’t afford it,” Barton said.

Even for local students, the hybrid approach proved appealing in its flexibility.

“I had never done online courses before and I was excited to know that I could be a mom, be a pastor and still get an affordable education from Perkins,” said the Rev. Jamie Nelson, pastor at Agape Memorial United Methodist Church in Dallas.

The transition to hybrid was not without its challenges and tradeoffs.

A third of the faculty didn’t return, some of that owing to instructors who didn’t want to teach online. For those who did, and for newcomers, Barton required taking a course in online teaching offered by SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

There also was special instruction in Canvas, the online learning management system used by the program. And a $17,000 grant from the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (for which Perkins runs the Course of Study program) allowed six faculty members and one Perkins student to serve as consultants for COSS faculty.

Students got training and ongoing technical support, too.

“I was afraid that the transition and technology would be particularly difficult for our older students,” said Dr. Lindsey Trozzo of Princeton Theological Seminary, who taught Bible II and Bible III in Course of Study at Perkins this summer. “That was the case, but there were many resources for training. Those who sought them out found it to be much more intuitive than they at first thought.”

Barton credits James Pan, academic technology services director for Perkins and SMU’s Dedman School of Law, with easing the transition for faculty and students.

“He’s provided wonderful expertise and support,” Barton said.

Trozzo is experienced in online instruction, but she acknowledged missing having more time in person with students. Her conversational approach to teaching lends itself to the classroom.

As for students, she said online education requires them to exert self-discipline to get to the computer and complete assignments – a challenge for those living busy work and family lives.

But Trozzo also saw the advantages of hybrid for those serving a church.

“Even during the one week of in-person classes, I had two students who had to miss a day to go back and do a funeral,” Trozzo said. “When we are working with pastors who are the single staff member at a church – sometimes multiple churches – it’s really tough for them to be gone two to four weeks at a time.”

The Rev. David Danilo Diaz Rivas returned from his country of Colombia to continue taking Course of Study classes at Perkins this summer.

He, like Trozzo, had experience with online education – and he’s aware of the pros and cons. But Rivas, a pastor with the Colombian Methodist Church, also sees the potential.

“Perkins …. is on the path to offering quality education and easy access, transcending barriers and bringing knowledge to many pastors in different countries,” Rivas said.


Sam Hodges is a Dallas-based reporter for United Methodist News Service and a freelance writer.

News October 2018 Perspective Online

Under Construction

Getting around on campus is a little more challenging these days as construction continues on the Perkins campus and nearby buildings. If you’re planning a visit to Perkins this fall, allow a little extra time to park. Look for detailed parking instructions in the invitation for any major scheduled events.

Here’s an update on what’s going on:

The Hillcrest Parking Center construction project, which encompasses the area along Hillcrest Road between Moore Hall and Martin Hall, is underway and scheduled for completion in December 15, 2019. The demolition of Hawk Hall began September 24. The construction zone is surrounded by a fence but there is a pathway for access to Moore Hall and Martin Hall.

The Perkins Chapel refurbishment began in early September and will continue through the end of November. This first phase will repair damage to the ceiling and walls (caused by a steam leak in January) and include new pew cushions and kneelers. The second phase of the plan, to begin in late summer 2019, will refinish the floors of the nave, chancel, gallery, and stairs, and refurbish the pews. A new sound system will also be installed. Phase two is to be completed in the fall of 2019.

News October 2018 Perspective Online

Student Spotlight: Christian S. Watkins – Seeking Justice for All

When he was 15, Christian S. Watkins’ family transferred from another congregation to St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church in Dallas, then under the pastorage of the Rev. Dr. Zan W. Holmes, Jr. It was a transformative moment in his life.

“My family just needed a place to grow and St. Luke was that place,” Watkins said. “Zan’s love for the people and for the word were inspiring.”

It just seemed natural, when it came time for graduate school, to follow in Holmes’ footsteps and chose Perkins School of Theology. Watkins, 35, is now in his fourth and final year in the Master of Divinity program, with a concentration in urban ministry, and pursuing a Deacon’s order in the North Texas Conference.

“Zan Holmes had the theological acumen and the growth that happens here, and I wanted it to be a part of me, too,” he said. “It’s been refreshing to see the diversity and the richness of voices here at Perkins, not just for my theological development but also from a social standpoint. It’s good to have voices that are not like mine.”

On top of his studies, Watkins works for justice through a number of projects on campus and beyond. He’s been leading efforts to pursue the initiation of a Citizen Police Review Board in the city of Dallas, served on the Justice in Action Committee of the Perkins Student Association, and with Faith in Texas, a multi-racial, interfaith movement for economic and racial justice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Currently, he’s interning with the Zip Code Connection, a North Texas Conference initiative that seeks to bring economic opportunity and community wholeness to 75215, the zip code located in the South Dallas and Fair Park neighborhoods.

The decision to enter ministry followed ten years of what Watkins calls “flailing” in the corporate world. Now, his path feels certain.

“I want to work for the elevation of minorities in the light of God,” he said. “The prophet Micah (6:8) reminds us of our duty to God and community — making justice happen, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God. That’s what I aspire to do every day.”

News October 2018 Perspective Online

Faculty Profile: Ted A. Campbell

Ted Campbell claims the first words of 1 Corinthians 15:3 as his personal mantra: “For what I received I passed on to you.” That’s describes his work as a church historian; Campbell not only studies and teaches history, he passes it on.

Widely regarded as the go-to scholar on John Wesley’s letters, Campbell’s academic focus is Christian history, especially Wesleyan and Methodist history. Over the past three years, he’s brought some of that history to bear in critical moment for the United Methodist Church.

As the denomination prepares for a special General Conference in February aimed at resolving divisions over homosexuality, Campbell has offered at least 50,000 words — a book’s worth — of carefully-written articles and blog posts giving historical context to the debate.

“I’m trying to bring the perspective of a historian and an ecumenist,” he said. “There’s this terrible Protestant tendency to fission. We need to think through better ways to disagree and yet remain connected.”

Campbell also shares his interest in local and regional history by way of videos he has written and produced for his YouTube channel, ranging from “Five Waves Over Dallas,” a look at immigration in the city’s history, to a music video about the Red River – words and music written and performed by Campbell and accompanied by his photos.

The song, by the way, is in French. And no, he doesn’t speak the language.

“I could not make this song work in English,” he said. With help from a French-speaking colleague, Laura Figura, who also provided vocals, La Riviere Rouge was born.

Campbell also passes on history to neighbors in Forest Meadow, the northeast Dallas neighborhood where he lives. Campbell spent a day researching historical markers in Forest Meadow and nearby areas and assembled a chronology. It’s his way of giving residents a connection to their history.

Campbell recalled his time at Oxford University, when he noticed the ubiquitous reminders of history. “Everywhere you walk there are not only historical markers, but they preserve things,” he said. “There’s a great sense of continuity.”

Current research: Having edited three volumes of John Wesley’s letters, Campbell is now working on the next, covering letters written from 1766 – 1775. He’s also working on the third volume of a trilogy on Methodist history, tentatively titled Wesleyan Practices, examining Methodist worship, small groups, evangelism, love feasts, and preaching, from the time of Wesley to the present time. He’s also working on the Columbia Guide to American Methodism (Columbia University Press) with co-author Russ Richey.

Church Connection: An ordained elder in the Texas conference of the United Methodist Church, Campbell grew up in a Methodist family in Beaumont, Texas, and attended Lon Morris College, a two-year United Methodist school in East Texas which closed in 2012. After studying at the University of North Texas, Oxford University, and Southern Methodist University, he pastored small churches early in his career. Now he’s active at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas, where he leads a meditative service on Wednesday evenings and teaches the Good News adult Sunday School class.

Book(s) on the nightstand: Re-reading Tom Sawyer; also enjoys science fiction and fantasy — The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and classics by Isaac Asimov are a few favorites. “I can’t stand historical fiction. It’s too much like work.”

Fantasy dinner party: “I wouldn’t invite John Wesley or John Calvin. They’re not very fun. I’d invite George W. Bush – he’s a fun guy. Also, Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, Mae West and of course my wife, Dale Campbell. We’d talk about food, music, history.”

Pets: Two cats, Bella and Apollo, of mysterious origin, adopted on St. Francis’ Day from the principal at the school where Dale teaches. “The principal had been feeding a feral tom cat, and in the middle of a rain storm he brought these two kittens and deposited them on her porch.”

Hobbies: An amateur photographer, videographer and dabbler in drone photography, he also enjoys playing the guitar, hiking, and traveling, especially the British Isles – England, Scotland.

Do you follow a spiritual practice? Campbell follows the Daily Office for morning and evening prayer. “I have a Daily Office app on my phone and I usually just read them silently.”

Something most people don’t know about you? “I’ve lived a lot of my life between denominations. I’ve been a Methodist all my life, but I attended Episcopalian Eucharist while in high school and Anglican mass while at Oxford. My parents were Pentecostal, so I can walk into that environment any time. I’ve also received communion in the Assyrian Church of the East.”

You get to ask one question at the Pearly Gates. What do you ask? “I’d ask about the Greek bishop that interacted with John Wesley. He’s kind of a historical mystery. For that matter, I’d like to sit down with John Wesley for six or seven years and clarify some things.”