News October 2020 Perspective Online

Faculty Update

UMC’s “Mr. Music”

One theologian calls the Rev. Carlton R. “Sam” Young “Mr. Music of United Methodism.” Young,  who was Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program at Perkins and associate professor of church music from 1964-1975, has been a big name for more than half a century as a composer, arranger, scholar and editor. He edited The Methodist Hymnal (1966) and The United Methodist Hymnal (1989). He directed the music for nine General Conferences, including the 1968 Uniting Conference that created The United Methodist Church. And now, at age 94 and despite having multiple myeloma, Young is out with a new collection of sheet music. Read the UMNS profile by Sam Hodges.

Affirming Peaceful Protest

In a recent op-ed in the Austin-American Statesman, Jack Levison reflected on Nazis resisters Hans and Sophie Scholl, and the legacy and importance of peaceful protest.  “Peaceful protesters around our country and around the globe are routinely attacked, teargassed and sometimes apprehended by unidentifiable agents,” he writes. “In this charged and polarized modern atmosphere, civility has surrendered, too often allowing violent responses to nonviolent resistance.” The column also appeared in The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and Baptist News Global.   Levison is W. J. A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew at Perkins.

19th Amendment Exhibit

Recently, DeGolyer Library opened “Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes: An Exhibition Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment.” The exhibit features more than 100 objects from the collections of Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Professor of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology, and Helen LaKelly Hunt, and the DeGolyer Library. The exhibit documents the history of the women’s rights movement, from the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) through the 19th century and early 20th century, with emphasis on the roles women played first in the abolitionist movement and then in the suffrage movement. The online exhibit also includes a blog on “Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes” that features videos from Stevenson-Moessner and Susanne Scholz, Professor of Old Testament.

New Book by Charles Aaron

Chuck Aaron, Co-Director of the Intern Program at Perkins, is co-editor of a new book, Preaching in/and the Borderlands (Wipf & Stock, September 2020) along with J. Dwayne Howell.  The book, a series of essays, addresses issues for churches to consider as they seek to better understand how to respond to immigration and examines biblical, ethical, theological, and homiletical areas of the topic. Contributions come from experienced pastors, theologians, legal experts, and activists, including Perkins grads Rebecca Hensley (M.T.S., ’03, Th. M. ’17), the Rev. Dr. Michael Waters (D. Min. ’12, M. Div. ’06), and the Rev. Owen Ross (M.Div., ’02).  “The essays presented in this book provide solid biblical and theological grounds to understand borderland dynamics—particularly the plight of those who struggle and suffer in these lands,” writes Hugo Magallanes, Associate Professor of Christianity and Cultures in a book review. “May God helps us, as we read this book, to embrace our moral responsibility to welcome the stranger in our midst.”

Dallas Gingles Column

In an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, Dallas Gingles, Associate Director, Houston-Galveston Extension Program, reflected on teaching theology at Houston Methodist Hospital, before the hospital was locked down in the fight for the pandemic. When teaching in the hospital, he reminds students that “in rooms just above ours people are dying and being born.” He recalled stories of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who was so engrossed in a lecture that he failed to notice the sound of Luftwaffe planes flying overhead, and Karl Barth, who delivered a series of famous lectures in burned out buildings in Bonn, Germany, to a group of young German men who were “learning to smile again” after returning from war. Gingles expressed appreciation for the hospital’s commitment to hospitality and for caring for all people. “In a society like ours that is fragmented, fragile, territorial, and terrified, we can learn from Houston Methodist how to love the world that God so loved, and in so doing, how to smile again,” he wrote. Read the entire column in the Dallas Morning News (subscription only) here.

Can Ethics Be Taught?

“Can we, should we, teach ethics in the modern university?” That was the question tackled in a September 25 Facebook Live event hosted by SMU Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. The program featured D. Stephen Long, Maguire Chair in Ethics, and Rita Kirk, William F. May Endowed Director of SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Long is also the author of “Can Ethics Be Taught? Connecting the Classroom to Everyday Life,” a chapter in the newly released book Ethics at the Heart of Higher Education. “On the one hand, we assume students already have some sense of ethics before they arrive, which is why we hold them accountable for their behavior from their first day on campus,” he writes. “On the other hand, we also assume that students should reflect on ethics across the curriculum, and that assumes that ethics needs to and can be taught. How do we make sense of both these assumptions?” This talk was part of the Maguire Ethics Center series entitled Sound Ethics.

News October 2020 Perspective Online

Alumni/ae Update

Breaking Barriers

South Korea native Sun-Ah Kang (MTS, ’13) vividly remembers the moment God called her to champion women in ministry. “When I was in high school, I went to this retreat and the guest speaker was a male, very old, retired pastor,” Kang recounted. “He talked about how sin came to the world through women. He said that all women have to apologize for their sins… So, that’s how I got really interested in learning the Bible… I thought ‘How in the world can we have such an extremely, violent oppressing teaching?’” Now, as part of the Angella P. Current-Felder Woman of Color Scholars program, Kang is breaking down gendered barriers in theology as a doctoral candidate at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Read her story featured on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) website’s Women of Color Scholars’ series here.


“Pastor to the Police”

When police officers say, “I’ve got your six,” it means they are watching out for each other. The Rev. Heather Gates (MTS, ’13), chaplain for the Galveston Police Department, wants to go a step further. She looks out for the officers’ hearts and minds. “That’s what I’m here for,” she said. Read the story in the Texas Annual Conference website here.


Questioning the Cross and Flame

Is it time to retire the United Methodist insignia? The Rev. Edlen Cowley (M. Div. ’99) called to replace the Cross and Flame of The United Methodist Church, a proposal now backed by the North Texas Conference. Rev. Cowley wrote a column this summer urging a move away from the Cross and Flame, saying the emblem conjures for him and other African Americans the terror of Ku Klux Klan cross burnings. At its annual meeting on Sept. 19, the North Texas Conference voted 558-176 to submit to the 2021 General Conference legislation drafted by Cowley that would begin the process of changing the insignia. Cowley is pastor of Fellowship United Methodist Church in the Dallas suburb of Trophy Club, and an alternate North Texas Conference delegate to the 2021 Jurisdictional Conference. Read the UM News story here.

Ubuntu Music Project

As founder of the Ubuntu Music Project, Nicole Melki (M.A.M. ‘17) works to give Hispanic immigrant children daily music lessons and academic tutoring. An urban ministry based in East Dallas, Ubuntu serves Hispanic immigrant children living below the poverty line and at-risk of dropping out of school or being pulled into the school-to-prison-pipeline. The Ubuntu Music Project partners with Grace United Methodist Church. Each day after school, more than 45 Ubuntu elementary school children receive violin instruction that empowers them to play at an exceptional level, as well as homework and reading support. Every Ubuntu program graduate has been accepted into competitive Magnet Arts middle schools and Talented and Gifted Academies, rerouting their trajectories to high-quality high schools like Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts and the path to higher education. Read the story on the North Texas Conference website here.


Rev. George Holcombe

The Rev. George Holcombe (M.Th. ’59) passed away July 30, 2020, at the age of 87, after a three-year struggle with pancreatic cancer. Rev. Holcombe served churches in the Central Texas, Southwest Texas, Louisiana, and North Texas Conferences. He finished his active ministry as a Missionary to the Philippines for the General Board of Global Ministries. Memorial services are pending. Cards and notes may be sent to his wife, Wanda Holcombe, at 201 E. 17th Street, Georgetown, TX  78626.