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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.

News Perspective Online September 2019

A Message from Dean Hill

Read Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill’s sermon, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” preached Aug. 28 at the annual Feast of Beginnings–the first worship service of the 2019-20 academic year, which welcomed new and returning students and recognized new faculty, staff and student leaders.

Read full sermon below or as a PDF here


What’s Love Got to Do with It? 
Feast of Beginnings – August 2019

Texts: Proverbs 27:17; 1 John 4:19-21; Luke 6:27-28, 32-38

The past six months or so have been a tumultuous time, in this country generally and, not least, in the United Methodist Church. They have caused me to reflect a good deal on the character and role of Perkins in such a divisive time. It’s not so much that I have gained new perspective as that I have gained deeper appreciation for and clarity about some things I already believed to be true.

Less than a week after becoming dean in July 2016, five police officers were ambushed and killed, and nine others were injured along with two civilians. It happened right here in Dallas. The first thing I wrote as dean was a brief reflection on that tragic event, starting with one of my favorite quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

I closed the short letter closed in this way:

Hatred and killing, the demeaning and demonizing of others, are not the way of Jesus.  It is our responsibility to advocate and, especially, to model a better way, however costly.  So let us pray as well for ourselves, for the courage to walk faithfully in the footsteps of Christ, the true Prince of Peace.

In the three-plus years since I wrote that, hatred and killing, the demeaning and demonizing of others, have been increasingly normalized, not marginalized. We have seen the ascent of what some have called “the culture of contempt,” in which persons of a differing political or ideological perspective are regarded as enemies, beneath respect, unworthy of engagement, evil and/or stupid.

Like most of you, I have written and said a number of things in response, including in my case a short essay on the subject of grace, from which let me quote just a short section:

Jesus spoke about and, more important, demonstrated the gracious reign of God. And this is something that many religious people found impossible to accept. Why?

For one thing, because grace is unfair. It disrupts our systems of merit and self-constructed identity. It offends our sense of justice – that is, if we regard ourselves as being among the just. To appreciate and to extend grace, you have to know that you are already its beneficiary, that you have been welcomed as you are, not because of your achievements. It meets us, not at the point of our virtue, but at the point of our vulnerability, which threatens our fragile self-assertion.

To receive grace requires a recognition of our own need, our own sinfulness. That is why Jesus could say that “the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little” (Luke 7:47), and why he could tell religious authorities, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes will enter God’s reign ahead of you” (Matt. 31:21)…Religion as a system of exchange does not operate within this economy. In fact, it actively, even violently, opposes it.

I wish I could say categorically that, over the past few years, the church has walked faithfully in the footsteps of Christ, that it has modelled grace. Absolutely, some persons and groups have, but many others have slipped—perhaps unconsciously or unwittingly—into patterns of behavior and discourse that reflect the times, not the Savior. I am not singling out any group, nor am I claiming that I am above reproach. There is more than enough blame to go around. All of us need to stop and reflect on the ways our own conduct defaults to tribalism, defensive­ness, dismissiveness, and self-righteousness.

Perkins as a community must model something better than the wider society if we are to believe, if others are to believe of us, that we have learned anything of Jesus.

Earlier this summer, I came across Arthur C. Brooks’s book Love Your Enemies. I was primed to hear what he had to say. Since I can’t provide footnotes in the middle of a sermon, let me say that there is quite a bit of that book in what follows, as you will discover if you read it. When I offer a direct quotation below, it is from Brooks.

So, I quote: “Americans have been manipulated and bullied into thinking that we have to choose between strong beliefs and close relationships” (11). According to one survey, one in six Americans is no longer talking to a family member or close friend following the November 2016 election.

Media companies have made untold millions of dollars by encouraging Americans to hold each other in contempt. Contempt is different from anger. “…contempt seeks to exile. It attempts to mock, shame, and permanently exclude from relationships by belittling, humiliating, and ignoring.” Despite our addiction to contempt, it is terrible for us. “…contempt makes you unhappy, unhealthy, and unattractive even to those who agree with you. Hating others is associated with depression.” (15)

Obviously, it also promotes violence, aided especially by the dehumanizing of others. The Nazis called Jews “rats,” the Hutus called Tutsis “cockroaches,” and here we are today, hearing about “breeders” who “infest” this country. A border agent recently was prosecuted for attempting to run over a Guatemalan immigrant with his truck. Any surprise that he referred in text messages to such persons as “subhuman” and “savages”? Such is the thinking that sanctioned slavery and the destruction of indigenous populations, among many other great evils. First you take away their humanity, then you can do with them as you please.

If I ask myself what is most distinctive about Jesus’ teaching that is relevant to this situation, I find two related and radically counter-intuitive, counter-cultural answers. The first is his command to serve, for example in Mark 9:

He…said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”


Now, the idea of serving one’s country or, especially, of serving those of higher rank, was well known, the purest expression of that latter being service to God. What was so different about Jesus was his expectation that we would also, even especially, serve those whom the wider culture at least would regard as being beneath us.

Since I have previously said a lot about this subject, I want to direct my attention to the second commandment.

In John 13, Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

That’s the standard. It’s not mere tolerance, which is way too low a bar.

Note that Jesus did not say, “Just as I have tolerated you, you also should tolerate one another.”  Or…

John 13:35: “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you tolerate one another.”

John 3:16 “For God so tolerated the world…”

Doesn’t sound quite right, does it?

The problem with the command to love is its familiarity. Think for a moment about the extraordinary quality and character of Jesus’ love, and consider how radical a standard that is, for you personally and for us all together at Perkins. Little wonder we so seldom talk about it.

This expectation appears in perhaps its most challenging form in Luke 6:27 and parallels:

“But I say to you, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

People in the time of Jesus were perfectly capable of love. Love of one’s spouse, one’s parents, one’s children would have been commonplace. Aristotle and other philosophers could speak of deep friendships held together not simply by mutual interest but by mutual love. Not always easy, but by no means impossible.

But who believed that one should love one’s enemies? How could that be the standard? How is that even possible?

Let’s start by considering we mean by “love.” We most often think of love as an emotion and, in one sense, it is. We talk about falling in love and feeling love—and I’m all for it. Unfortunately, however, feelings come and feelings go—and, in the case of positive feelings, we hope come again. Feelings are inconstant, unreliable companions.

This was captured memorably in George Bernard Shaw’s account of weddings:


When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.


In fact, Mr. Shaw, there is little or nothing in most wedding liturgies about feelings. Doubtless, every couple will fall short of the utopian ideal of marriage.  One spouse will act selfishly; the other will be unkind. Feelings will vacillate, but it will not be a fall from grace.  It will be only a reminder that fullness of love is not a state that lies behind but a goal that lies ever ahead.  A wedding is not the realization of marriage; it is the beginning of marriage.

Besides, how can we possibly be commanded to feel something?

Thankfully, we’re not. Particularly helpful here is the definition offered by St. Thomas Aquinas:  “To love is to will the good of the other as other.” (13)

To will is to make a choice, to act deliberately, however one happens to feel. So, to love is to act for the benefit of the other–as other. That is, it is not based on our expectation that the other person will change, will conform to our wishes, will please us—will, in other words, cease being “other.” To act with the requirement of change is manipulation. It is transactional. We are doing something for them so that they will do something for us. This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Jesus in Luke 6:

32If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.

How on Earth do you do that?

Let me suggest a practical and then a more basic, perhaps more spiritual answer.

The practical answer:  fake it till you make it.

That sounds flippant, so perhaps I should elaborate. Actually, this reminds me of an early journal entry by John Wesley. He met Peter Bohler at Oxford, whose preaching filled Wesley with self-doubt. Wesley wrote,

Immediately it struck into my mind, “Leave off preaching. How can you preach to others, who have not faith yourself?” I asked Bohler whether he thought I should leave it off or not. He answered, “By no means.” I asked, “But what can I preach?” He said, “Preach faith till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.”

We could just as easily say, “Act in love until you feel love, and then, because you feel love, you will want to act on it.” 

Indeed, recent research has conclusively demonstrated that it is far more often the case that feelings follow actions, not the reverse. For example, psychologist James Laird discovered that asking people to smile, whether they wanted to or not, activated the parts of the brain that stimulate positive emotions. (55)

This is the underlying basis for cognitive behavioral therapy, which has demonstrated, among other things, that if you start behaving like someone who is down, you’re going to start feeling down. (56)  Similarly, contemporary studies of happiness have shown the profound effect a deliberate practice of gratitude has on us. Subjects who were required to keep a daily journal of things for which they were grateful were, over time, significantly more satisfied with their lives, and even got more and better sleep.[i]

All of which reminds me of a story I heard many years ago. A woman once sought counsel from Dr. George W. Crane, the psychologist, confiding that she hated her husband and intended to divorce him. “I want to hurt him all I can,” she declared firmly.


“Well, in that case,” said Dr. Crane, “I advise you to start showering him with compliments. (In this and other ways, treat him as though you love him.)  When you have become indispensable to him, when he thinks you love him devotedly, then start the divorce action. That is the way to hurt him.”

Some months later the woman returned to report that all was going well. She had followed the suggested course. “Good,” said Dr. Crane. “Now’s the time to file for divorce.” “Divorce!” the woman said indignantly. “Never. I love my husband!”[ii]

Of course, this particular story has a happy ending, which is by no means guaranteed. Finally, the only one we can control is ourselves.  Still, such self-giving love can be enormously attractive. And no wonder:  is not judgmental but forgiving; it builds bridges, sees the best in others, is not manipulative and is not domineering. What’s not to like?

To be Christlike is to choose to behave in just such a way. It requires practicing this behavior until it becomes second nature, until, as Paul put it in Philippians 2, “we have the mind of Christ.”

So, that’s one answer to the How? question. You put the horse, your actions, in front of the cart, your feelings. You choose to will the good of the other as other. You act in love.

But there is a more basic answer. How do we get the strength even to make that choice?

The key is in 1 John 4:19, “We love because God first loved us.” 

I refer often to the foot-washing story in John 13. The disciples were in a position of profound weakness. Who they were was based on who others, primarily their competitor disciples, thought them to be. Jesus was the only one in the room who already had a strong identity not grounded in human opinion. So he could serve, he could love, without loss of self. He could pour himself out, because he was already full.

A lifetime of ministry cannot be built on the shaky foundation of human approval. We should love, not because it makes others like us, but because we ourselves already experience the enduring love of God in Christ. As the hymn says, “All other ground is sinking sand.” 

That includes academic achievement, by the way. Universities can be wonderful places, but they also can be hotbeds of defensiveness and mean-spiritedness. If my identity is formed around my being the smartest kid in class, what happens when someone smarter shows up? What happens when my ideas are questioned? In such a system, to be right is to be righteous, and to be questioned is to be threatened. At least, that’s how it can be, not how it has to be.

“We love because God first loved us.” 

We come to know the love of God through prayer, contemplation, worship, and study. Indeed, it’s hard to love someone with whom you never spend time. Such prayer was Jesus’ habit, the “solid rock” beneath his own ministry.

We also experience God’s love through others. This is not the same as receiving approval. On the contrary, it happens most plainly when we are loved unconditionally, when we are forgiven, when we are offered and have the good sense to receive grace. For many, the love of God can be believed only when it is first manifested by others. We all have the enormous gift, opportunity, and responsibility of being conduits of God’s love in this world, even or especially toward those who do not seem to deserve it, toward those who oppose us, who test us, who exasperate or even threaten us.

How might this love be manifested at Perkins? Let me count the ways. Well, no, there isn’t time, but I will say just a little to get us started.

First, get to know people who are different from you. Make it your priority to understand them, not to change them. If you do that, you will be enriched, and your own thinking will be sharpened, as “iron sharpens iron.” I am by no means advocating a retreat from one’s commitment to truth or to justice. It is my experience instead that both truth and justice are most fully met when approached with love. Love allows us to hear new truths and to speak truth in a way that can be heard. Love keeps justice from degenerating into vengeance.

Holding ourselves in ideological silos encourages weak thinking, which you see a lot of in America today. If you spend all of your time around only people with whom you already agree, you will not be challenged to think deeply. Moreover, if you put someone in a threat state, their prefrontal cortex largely shuts down, and they become nearly incapable of learning. Instead, they will more than likely be reinforced in their disagreement. Not many people come to insight via insult. Open hearts create open minds. Show someone that you respect them, that you care for them as a person and not as a trophy to be won, and you will have a whole different kind of conversation and relationship.

This goes for all of us. It should affect how faculty treat students, but also how students treat faculty and fellow students, and how all of us treat staff. It has to do with what we say to others about each other, and what we post online. It does not mean that we are all going to agree. We are human; that’s just not going to happen. But it does mean that deep disagreement and deep fellowship can and should coexist. It means that we learn to define ourselves more by what we have in common than by our differences.

I have worked with a very wide range of people on multiple faculties, and there was not one from whom I could not learn something important. I want to challenge our new students in particular to approach each other with this expectation. It’s easy to see the ink blot on the page, the obvious point of difference, but what are we missing when we focus only on that? There is more to each of us than our most questionable opinions.

In sum: if we choose to act this way, we’re going to learn more, teach more, grow to be more like Christ, and, incidentally, feel better.

I promise you, it’s going to be good.   Amen.


[i] See for example the recent work of Shawn Achor.

[ii] I recently found this repeated at

September 2019

Office of Enrollment Management: Perkins Orientation Reflections

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

And Now You Can Breathe…

These were opening words to welcome our incoming students during both the Houston-Galveston and Dallas campus orientations in August.

Thirty-two new students in Houston-Galveston Hybrid Extension Program, and 62 at the Dallas location (not including the 14 new students in the Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Pastoral Music programs) all took pleasure in fellowship, worship, meals and mingling with current students, staff and faculty.

By all indications, we are on a third-year run of increased enrollment and will release the final enrollment number on September 12. We are pleased to announce an increase of international students, as well. They are coming from South Korea, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.

Allow me to share a few new student remarks during Orientation:

“I can’t believe I’m actually here!”
“You are the best seminary among all and great hospitality.”
“I’ve been praying about this moment for months, and I’m finally starting seminary!”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“I think I’m gonna cry.”
“In all of my higher education, I’ve never felt so welcomed!”
“I chose Perkins because, in all of my interactions, I have felt a sense of community. Nothing has changed.”

Amid the euphoria, there was also a bit of anxiety. As one student commented: “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.” We have been in communication with this student since her arrival. Her comment was made after worship at which time we worked through a few things and encouraged her. We called her on Saturday, and she agreed to meet on Monday. Her prayer on Saturday was to hear from God. On Sunday, she heard from her mentor, who happens to be a Perkins alum. Her mentor said that she’d be in Dallas in two weeks for a visit. Answered prayer…a call from her mentor. We thank you, alums, for your mentoring, for your support, for your letters of recommendation and your encouragement of our students, even after they arrive. We are grateful. We appreciate you more than words can convey. (I’d love to send you a gift for a referral. Email me:

And now we can all breathe. It’s been an outstanding start to the 2019-2020 school year, and the rich work of our hands, as staff members in the Office of Enrollment Management, begins anew. We worked hard to remain positive in the face of the decision at General Conference. It proved to us that keeping our eye on what is important results in a peace no matter the result. I am forever grateful to my extraordinary team: Stephen Bagby, John Lowery, Jean Nixon, Sandy Oswalt, Caleb Palmer and Yazmin Strauss.

Now on to the 2020 academic year!


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

September 2019

Office of Development: The Impact of Scholarships

An incoming student recently wrote:

Visiting Perkins was a confirmation of my next step in my calling journey. I met current students who are living their commitment to their call to ministry as servant leaders in their communities of worship…I am excited to join this community as I figure out what it means for me to answer the call to ministry as a Latina professional…I can’t wait to start this journey–even if that means lots of reading, less sleep and more work!

This student, along with others, would not be able to study at Perkins without a significant amount of financial aid.  Many students have considerable debt from their college years.  One of our incoming students recently said:

I am headed to Perkins in the fall. My decision to come was to a large part based on the financial support that I will receive. I wanted to make sure that I could manage my debt.

He describes the situation this way:

Scholarships make it easier and are a huge factor for me about where you go to school and my decision about seminary.

Perkins students are fortunate because faithful friends have endowed a number of funds for student scholarships.  However, those endowed funds are being stretched to the limit.  So, in addition we must raise funds each year for scholarship help.

One member of our admissions team noted:

Financial assistance is the largest deciding factor for a prospective student. I would further emphasize that it is our top tier recruits who appear the most concerned about financial aid.  Our strongest prospects are looking at offers from many schools and are primarily focused on ensuring that their education will be funded.

We want the “best and the brightest” because the Church and the world need those people to be trained and then unleashed into ministry.

Dean Hill has repeatedly stated that Perkins’ biggest need is scholarship money.  Our facilities are superb, our faculty and staff are outstanding, and Bridwell Library is impressive. We want to make all of those available and affordable for students.

The Dean will be sending an appeal letter early in the fall, asking all alumni/ae and friends of Perkins to join in the effort to raise the level of student aid.

You don’t have to wait for that appeal to hit your inbox.  You can go online right now to join in the effort by adding your gift to this endeavor.

Or, if you would like to talk about what part you can play, email me ( and I will be glad to visit by phone or in person.

Gifted students need your support.  Please join in helping to send them out to minister in our broken world after receiving deep theological education at Perkins.


John A. Martin
Director of Development

September 2019

Ministry Dallas: Perkins Students, Staff Explore Innovative Local Ministries

They helped clients “shop” for groceries at a food pantry. They imagined new ways to do ministry in a coffee shop. And they listened as undocumented women shared how they had fled their homes in Mexico to escape threats of gang violence.

That’s how the Fall 2019 semester began for 17 members of the Perkins community – six staff, eight students and three faculty — in Ministry Dallas, a program that gave participants a hands-on experience with three different outreach ministries for three days in August, just before classes commenced.

At each location — Crossroads Community Services, Union Coffee, and Christ’s Foundry – participants worshipped, tackled service projects, met staff members, and got an inside glimpse of innovative ministry.

“This was an opportunity for students to explore and hear from people who are on the front lines of doing ministry,” said Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Community Engagement at Perkins. “Students got exposure to different, entrepreneurial models, beyond the traditional types of ministry.”

This year’s group included students from Ghana, Liberia, Korea, Puerto Rico as well as the continental U.S. This is the second year for Ministry Dallas; last year the group visited Dallas Bethlehem Center, Bonton Farms and White Rock United Methodist. One of the 2018 participants, Zack Hughes, will intern at Bethlehem Center, in part because of that experience.


Day 1: Crossroads Community Services  

Participants experienced the extremes of hot and cold at Crossroads Community Services. Their first task was to work in the refrigerated section of the warehouse, repackaging ground beef into boxes for distribution. (Coats and gloves were provided by the ministry.)  Then they stepped outdoors – into 100+ degree heat — to deposit cardboard boxes into the recycling machine.

During the lunch break, the group heard from the Rev. Jay Cole, Crossroads’ Executive Director and a Perkins alum (M.Div., 2002). Since 2001, Crossroads has distributed food to more than 60 Community Distribution Partners throughout Dallas County. In early 2019, Crossroads began operating the North Texas Food Bank’s Pollock Campus on Cockrell Hill Road, adding 45,000 sq. ft. to its operations. (The Food Bank moved its volunteer and distribution operations to the new Perot Family Campus in Plano.) While the Food Bank had used the location solely as a warehouse, Crossroads now also serves individual walk-in clients who need food.

After lunch, participants helped a few clients “shop” for groceries. The ministry has set up an area with aisles much like a grocery store, with shelves of fresh and frozen meat and produce as well as canned and packaged foods. After completing the intake process, volunteers accompany clients and, working from a list, select and load needed items into grocery carts for them. Clients can then choose a few additional, miscellaneous items as well as pet food, if needed.

“Jay explained that some clients don’t have the privilege of going to a grocery store and choosing items off the shelves, so they’ve tried to make the experience feel more like a grocery store,” Tracy Anne said. “For the students, it was a chance to have conversations and work one-on-one with people who were just trying to feed their families.”


Day 2: Union Coffee

The Rev. Mike Baughman, Community Curator and founding pastor for Union Coffee, opened the day’s program with words from John Wesley: “What should we make of this awful consideration that God is present in all things?”

Then he asked the question: “If we truly believe God is present in all things, then God is already working in the place we want to serve. How might that affect the way we do ministry?” That sparked a lively discussion, and participants quickly got a feel for how things work at Union Coffee: open ended, conversation-oriented and a little bit messy.

With a mission of “cultivating the divine spark in our neighbors for the good of the city and the world it inspires,” Union hosts worship services as well as storytelling nights (on a space called “The Naked Stage.”) The space serves as a kind of skunkworks for a range of ideas for building up the community.  Active leaders include Christians, seekers and committed atheists. All are welcome, and anyone can contribute.

As an example, Mike shared the story of Cody, a nursing student who had no interest in faith or spirituality. Cody told him, “I left the church with a middle finger behind me.”  But Cody had an idea: he wanted to make capes for the sick kids he sees as part of his job, because to him, they’re already superheroes.

Mike helped him get the project rolling, with Union’s help. Funding was found and people with sewing skills were enlisted to help. Cape 4 Kids DFW was born; to date the ministry has delivered more than 5,000 capes to kids in hospitals.


Day 3: Christ’s Foundry UM Mission

At one time, Christ Foundry’s northwest Dallas neighborhood was home to pilots and flight attendants who worked out of nearby Love Field airport. When that population moved on to other neighborhoods, the area began to change. Today it’s one of the most densely populated areas of Dallas, and it’s mostly Hispanic, including many people who are undocumented.

“By the time that Hispanic residents began arriving, this neighborhood was almost abandoned,” said the Rev. Amy Spaur, pastor of Christ’s Foundry. “Immigrants brought new life to this area.”

She added that the neighborhood is “very low income, but not low resource. The people here are some of the hardest working I’ve ever known. They arrive here one day, and the next day, they go to work. If they have to, they’ll go to the gas station at the corner to find day labor.”  Most members can’t give much, if any, money to the mission, but they find other ways to contribute: cooking meals for church gatherings, making tamales to raise money at Christmas, or maintaining the church’s landscaping.

The church started in the living room of the Rev. Owen Ross, founding pastor. While nurturing relationships with residents, he developed covenant relationships with other Dallas area churches, which provided financial support.  After one couple at Lovers Lane United Methodist donated $500,000 — and 1,000 additional donors chipped in $500 apiece to match the grant – the church’s building, with its distinctive bell tower, opened in 2012.  An anonymous donor paid off the church’s loan that same year.

Today, Christ’s Foundry remains a mission, but it’s the largest Spanish speaking UM congregation west of the Mississippi.  As children grew up in the church – with English as their first language – the church added a bilingual worship service in 2013.

Participants listened intently as three church members tearfully shared their stories. Two of the women told how gang members in their hometowns in Mexico had demanded protection money, threatened family members and forced them to abandon thriving businesses. One woman’s son was kidnapped by a gang near the border, which demanded money, leaving the family with nothing.

All three said that Christ’s Foundry had provided a vital place of refuge, community and faith, and there were also joys to share. One young woman grew up attending Christ’s Foundry, and told how, thanks to DACA, she was able to earn her college degree. She is now employed at a non-profit that helps children. But she worries that, if her parents are deported, she’ll be the only one who can care for her younger siblings. Another had been diagnosed with a life-threatening liver disorder and was told she’d need a transplant – but as an undocumented person, she couldn’t qualify for a transplant.   Later, the liver condition resolved itself – a healing that, she believes, was the result of answered prayer.

“Listening to the stories of our sisters, I think God is right here,” said student participant Frederick Mensah. “Every community should be doing some of this kind of work. Go where the immigrants are, where the poor people are. Through this work, people can have hope.” Frederick, who is from Ghana, added that he hopes to develop a theology of immigration as part of his thesis work.

Another student participant, Rosedanny Ortiz, noted that the model that Christ’s Foundry follows – relying on support from covenant churches – is key. “We need resources to build Hispanic communities,” she said. “Their priority is not to give the tithe, because they are sending all their money back home to their families.”



At the end of the program, participants gathered for a worship service in the sanctuary at Christ’s Foundry and shared how the program had affected them.

What most touched Julius Collins, a student from Liberia, was the story of the woman whose liver disease was healed.

“As Christians, we are supposed to encourage each other and pray and believe that God still creates miracles,” he said.

Richard Anastasi, who also participated last year, said the three-day experience inspired and energized him.

“We are so into ‘what is’ and giving that so much power, and not open to ‘what can be,’” he said. “My takeaway was this: step into what is possible.”

Melissa Nelms said she will always remember Mike Baughman’s words from Union Coffee: Wherever you go to serve, God is already working.

“It’s beautiful to see this happen,” she said. “I am encouraged, inspired and affirmed.”

September 2019

Global eLearning Project Launches

The book of Acts calls on believers to witness “to the ends of the earth.”  With a new digital platform, Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU) aims to go even further: bringing that witness to and from the ends of the earth.

The Global Theological Education Virtual Visiting Professor project is helping to create a fully accessible and continually growing library of short classes coming from scholars world-wide and available around the globe.

“It’s creating resources from the entire world, to be available to the entire world for theological education, not only in seminaries but also in Sunday school classes and other groups,” said Robert Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education (GTE) at Perkins.

To launch the first phase of the project, Hunt traveled in June to the campus of Wesleyan College of Manila in the Philippines, where he collaborated with Filipino scholars to record the first batch of classes for online sharing. Among the institutions represented were Bishop Han Theological Seminary; Union Theological Seminary in Cavite, Philippines; Wesleyan College of Manila; Wesleyan University-Philippines and its theology school, Wesley Divinity School; and Harris Memorial College, a deaconess institute in Taytay outside of Manila.

Before the recording sessions, SMU’s Jennifer Culver led a seminar on online learning, which received an enthusiastic reception from the 60 faculty and staff from educational institutions in the Philippines.

“You call it hybrid education, here we call it blended learning,” said Dr. Florita V. Miranda, president of Wesleyan College of Manila. “We have a Google classroom and we had a great need for our faculty to be skilled along these lines. We have more than 300 students in our graduate program benefitting from blended learning.”

Next, Hunt and SMU Journalism School videographer Robert Emery recorded about 10 hours of presentations with seven Filipino resource scholars, who covered a range of topics, including culture, social justice, theology and the environment and critical thinking in ministry.

“Some of these scholars are working in rural areas with the rural poor in cultural contexts quite different from those in the U.S.,” Hunt said. “Their presentations give us perspectives we just don’t get here.”

The videotaping session was scheduled in tandem with a conference at the university on the 4th Industrial Revolution, in which Hunt presented a lecture on the need for collaboration and resource sharing among educational institutions.  In addition, the team recorded interviews with Dr. Miranda and with retired Bishop Emerito Nacpil.

‘Magic’ Device

To make these resources available worldwide, including remote areas, the GTE program will disseminate the material via the internet and custom-built intra-net devices that require no internet access. Participants in the Philippines were particularly impressed with the potential of the intra-net devices for inexpensively reaching people in areas where Internet access is limited.

“We thought it would be very expensive to do this, but Robert and his team showed us how we can do this effectively and efficiently through this ‘magic’ device,” Dr. Miranda said. “We hope we can use this in far flung area in the Philippines in the future.”

The project began with a conversation between Perkins and leaders of the Theological Education Endowment Fund for the Central Conferences of the United Methodist Church, which includes Africa, the Philippines and Europe, as well as representatives of the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). That led to a commitment by Perkins to help develop resources to benefit theological schools in the Central Conferences.

“We wanted to develop resources that come from outside the U.S., from scholars in Africa, the Philippines and Latin America, and make them available on a platform that will be available to everyone, and we have moved quickly in that direction,” Hunt said.

The project launched a pilot website last fall, and seminary leaders in Africa, the Philippines and Latin America reviewed the pilot website and provided feedback on the approach. In addition to the event in the Philippines, similar resource creation seminars will be also held in Africa and Latin America later in the year.

The program is also partnering with the American Society of Missiology and the International Association of Mission Studies to produce short “master classes” with important missiological thinkers from around the globe. And it hopes to take advantage of upcoming meetings of women in theological leadership to integrate their perspectives into the available resources.

“Immediately the plan is to have 15 to 25 short courses on the website and the intra-net devices by the end of 2019,” Hunt said. “As we move forward, we will work with local institutions to develop appropriate methods of resource creation. Our seminars will train leaders in online pedagogical methods so that they can adapt available technology to continue to produce new courses from scholars in those countries.” The program will also partner with the Hunt Institute of Engineering and the Humanities at SMU to develop courses for pastors related to leadership in community development. (The Hunt Institute was founded by Hunter and Stephanie, no relation to Robert Hunt.)

In developing the online platform, Hunt drew on expertise in online teaching from SMU’s Annette Simmons School of Education & Human Development. A typical course will feature multiple modules, each with a video lecture of 8-12 minutes in length, as well as assigned readings and accompanying materials (such as illustrations, charts and data), discussion questions and an online discussion forum.

“Typical online courses based on hour long video lectures are neither pedagogically effective nor technologically advisable. The lectures take too long to download and can rarely keep a student’s interest.” Hunt said.

The project aims to meet a need for theological education outside the U.S., particularly in areas where church membership is growing rapidly and the pipeline for educating pastors can’t keep pace, said Andrew Harper, head of Global Partnerships at Cliff College.

“In Africa, education is very expensive, there’s a shortage of funding and a lack of expertise in particular areas, such as pastoral care and counseling,” he said. “The church in Africa is seeing a great need to equip pastors and theology students, but the expertise has been largely centralized in the global north. We have an immense opportunity to provide a platform to share that knowledge.”

Ultimately, each Central Conference theological school will determine how the online resources are used – whether for distance learning, as part of a hybrid curriculum, or as material for classroom teaching or as homework assignments.  Because the courses are presented in short segments, the material will also be ideal for Sunday School classes and other informal learning settings.

Initial funding for these efforts comes from the Perkins School of Theology Global Theological Education Fund, a grant from the Association of Boards in Theological Education’s In-Trust Center for Theological Schools, and the Woodworth Estate in Oklahoma.

Dr. Miranda noted that Wesleyan has already benefited from participating in the June recording session. Wesleyan was recently licensed and accredited by the Philippine Regulation Commission to conduct training, workshops and research programs for professional development and upgrading. She believes that Wesleyan’s participation in the Global eLearning effort helped obtain the licensing.

“The experience made educators, students and entrepreneurs in Manila realize how Methodist education truly makes a difference in the lives of people for the transformation of the world,” she said.

Ultimately, the Virtual Visiting Professor project will give western theology students and scholars access to the perspectives of scholars in developing nations.

“By gathering resources from around the globe for use around the globe we hope to create a truly global theological education for students around the world.” said Hunt. “An education for students anywhere, accessible both in the classroom and beyond.”

Both previously created short courses and those recently created in the Philippines and from the ASM will be available on the Virtual Visiting Professor website, which is currently under construction; visit

Read more about the Perkins-SMU’s partnership in this initiative:  SMU Instructional Technology Spreads Digital Tools in Asia

September 2019

Jonathan for Boston

Jonathan L. Allen (M.T.S. ’16) has moved quickly from one challenge to the next. After graduating from Perkins in 2016, he went to law school at Boston University, and graduated in May.  Allen was selected out of nearly 8,000 graduates from Boston University to share his faith perspective through a “This I Believe” address given at Marsh Chapel during the Interdenominational Commencement Service on May 12. Watch the address here.

Photo courtesy of J. Allen.

Allen is not ready to rest on his laurels — just before graduation, he informally announced his candidacy for District 9 for Boston City Council, which covers the Brighton and Allston communities.

“I was preparing for final exams and collecting signatures to get on the ballot at the same time,” Jonathan said. “Now we are canvassing, knocking on doors and getting out in the streets and using creative marketing to reach people.”

One example of creative marketing: distributing community cards with information on how City Council functions, where to vote and available resources.

“It’s a way to begin to address ‘information injustice’ – the fact that some people don’t have access to resources and opportunities because they lack information,” he said.  Running for public office, he adds, feels a lot of like ministry. Allston-Brighton is home to many students, with over 60 percent of the population between the ages of 18-34.

“This district has never had a person of color represent it,” he said. “For many people there’s the hope for change for more equitable representation.”

While at Perkins, Jonathan was selected to spend his last semester in D.C. as part of the National Capital Semester for Seminarians, an immersion in politics, government and faith offered at Wesley Theological Seminary. He served as a legislative aide to Rep. Bobby Rush. The program is co-directed by Mike McCurry, former White House Press Secretary under Bill Clinton.

“I saw how the institution of the church impacted policymaking as well as how the personal spiritualities of legislators played a role,” he said. “Our laws very much influenced by faith; we are ‘One Nation Under God;” our money is inscribed with ‘In God We Trust.’ Our morals and tenets are connected and rooted in faith and religion.”

Jonathan is running in a field of several candidates. The preliminary election is September 24; the top two candidates will advance to the November 5 general election.  For updates, visit his campaign website at

September 2019

Remembering Schubert Ogden

The Perkins community mourned the loss this summer of Schubert Ogden, who died June 6 at age 91 in Louisville, Colo. A celebration of his life was held on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the home Schubert and his wife, Joyce, built together in Rollinsville, Colo. The informal service included a scattering of the ashes. In a message to friends at Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Schubert’s son, Andy Ogden, wrote:  “We give thanks that his last days and hours, like his end, were peaceful and that he is free from pain and suffering. May he rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him.”

Read Schubert’s United Methodist News obituary here.

September 2019

Faculty Profile: Susanne Scholz

As a Professor of Old Testament, Susanne Scholz has devoted her professional life to the study of texts that are ancient — but far from irrelevant. Many Christians look to them for insights on contemporary issues like abortion and the Israel/Palestine conflict – and often, without a deep understanding of history, politics and social location, all profoundly shaping the interpretation of the Bible.

That’s the uphill battle that Scholz has accepted as her professional challenge, and she’s very passionate about it.

“I have an acronym for the way many Christians read the Bible today: PPS — privatized, personalized and sentimentalized,” she said. “It drives me nuts. It’s dangerous.  People get killed –intellectually and spiritually and politically killed. I feel driven to make a dent in all the ignorance.”

Susanne, center, in July with the other Coolidge fellows in New York.

On that academic quest, Scholz traveled to New York and to Israel/Palestine this summer, in both cases on a search for the truth of Old Testament texts that might help shed clearer light on today’s debates.

Scholz spent July in New York, on a deep dive into Numbers 5:11-31, as part of the CrossCurrents Summer Research Colloquium. The fellowship gathered scholars working on projects related to reproductive justice, giving them access to libraries and research facilities at Columbia University, Union, Auburn, and Jewish Theological Seminaries. Fellows do independent research and then gather for discussion and meals each night. (Reproductive justice is another key focus for Scholz; last spring, she spearheaded an interdisciplinary symposium at SMU on reproductive justice, a conceptual framework based on three broad principles that 12 African American women activists developed in the 1990s: the right not to have a child, the right to have a child, and the right to raise children in safe and healthy communities.)

She chose to study Numbers 5:11-31 because some believe the text depicts an abortion; it’s cited in both pro-life and pro-choice arguments. The passage describes an “ordeal by bitter water,” a test designed by a priest to determine whether a woman suspected of adultery was guilty or innocent.

The question that gripped Scholz: Was the woman in the story an adulteress or was she not rather “seduced” and thus possibly a rape victim survivor? To find an answer, she tracked down the definition of a single word, found only in an 1865 Ethiopic Latin dictionary that she unearthed in Columbia University’s library. Her conclusion: the translation possibilities are ambiguous, as is typical of sacred texts like the Bible. It’s possible that “seduced” was used as a euphemistic expression for rape, which opens up a very different view about the woman and her entire ordeal depicted in Numbers 5, also called “The Sotah” in the Jewish tradition where this passage is famous.

Susanne Scholz and Hijazi Eid, her Palestinian tour guide, on the West Bank, had a chance encounter with this lively group of Palestinian school girls at an archaeological site near a Palestinian village on the West Bank. Says Susanne: “It was a meeting I will never forget. The conditions on the West Bank are really not happy making but they were happy and delighted to be alive and run around at that archaeological site! What a joy.”

Scholz also traveled to Israel/Palestine this summer and visited, among many other places, Tel Shiloh, an archaeological site identified as the location of the ancient city of Shiloh in Samaria.  (Shiloh is mentioned in many places in the Bible, including in the story of Hannah and the Ark in 1 Samuel.)

Plans are to turn Tel Shiloh into a major tourist attraction site on the West Bank. Leaders of the Christian Right, including former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, visited Shiloh, and U.S. donors sympathetic to West Bank settlers support the development.

“Because the site is located on the land of the Palestinian village Qaryut, the project has broad political implications,” she said. “The Christian Right and Israeli settlers are saying that Shiloh was the first capital of Israel, which is a total invention, and they are in the process of making the site into an attraction like Disney World. I find that deeply upsetting.”

One of the Christian Right groups that currently supports the fourth archaeological season scheduled for the summer of 2020 at Tel Shiloh is the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR), which describes itself as a “Christian apologetics ministry dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological and Biblical research.” Scholz says project leaders lack solid academic credentials and they conflate biblical history with the origins of modern Israel.

“It is a misleading but popular hermeneutical strategy among many Christians and Jews,” she said.

She fears the project will skew American tourists’ view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and unfairly buttress Israeli settlers’ claims to the West Bank. During her visit, a Palestinian guide showed her the area and described the difficult living conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Scholz will present her research in September, in a talk titled “The Disney-fication of Shiloh,” at the European Society of Women in Theological Research (SWTR) International Meeting in Leuven, Belgium.

Teaching Specialties

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament; gender in biblical literature; Hebrew Bible in film; historiography; narrative literature; social location and biblical hermeneutics

Research Interests

Feminist hermeneutics; epistemologies and sociologies of interpretation; cultural and literary studies; violence against women in sacred texts

Favorite Bible Verses

Genesis 1:1-2, which she recites in Hebrew at the beginning of each class. The first verse begins with the consonant bet in the word bereshit; this consonant is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is assigned the number 2. Jewish sages pondered: if the Torah is perfect, why does the Bible not begin with aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, standing for 1 and unity and God? “It’s because the moment we are created, we are in duality,” Scholz explains. “The moment we read the Bible, we are in duality, in the world. We are not in God’s oneness anymore.”

Books on Her Nightstand

Scholz loves reading non-fiction; she discovers many of the books on her reading list through C-SPAN’s Book TV series. Two current books:  The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff, and The New Authoritarians: Convergence on the Right by David Renton.

Fantasy Dinner Party

Not surprisingly, Scholz would invite five prominent figures of the Bible: Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Moses, Hagar and Miriam.  Questions she’d ask: “Did you really exist?” and “You gave us so much and yet we are so much in a fog. Tell us what you really think and what you really did.”

To relax, Susanne Scholz enjoys Iyengar yoga. Here she’s doing a headstand (sirsasana pose) in the center of the labyrinth at Perkins. Photo by Sze-kar Wan.


Wisky-Carlos, a 19-lb., well-traveled Himalayan cat born in Texas ten years ago.

Signature Dish

While on a study retreat in a cottage in Newfoundland this summer, she developed her own recipe; it’s a barbecued cod, baked in foil with onions, mustard seed, a little red pepper, and butter.

Something Most People Don’t Know About Her

“I can stand on my head for 10 minutes,” she said. “It’s a pose called sirsasana in yoga, which is my way of relaxing.  However, I can’t do padmasana, the pretzel pose. Only God and my knees know why.”

September 2019

Student Profile: Rosedanny Ortiz

While researching a paper on United Methodist history, Rosedanny Ortiz discovered that the denomination’s first church building in her home country of Puerto Rico is in Guayama City. That’s the church where her parents and grandparents were married, where she was married, and most meaningfully to her, the place where she first felt the call to ministry.

“I was about 5 and attending Vacation Bible School there,” she said.  “I saw the pastor in the pulpit and thought, ‘I want to do that to, to talk to people about God.’”

It was just another confirmation for Ortiz that she’s on the right path: pursuing ordination in the United Methodist church as a student at Perkins School of Theology.

Rosedanny is an M.Div. student who expects to graduate in 2021. She says her story fits well with her favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 16:9 – “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” (NRSV)

“Even though we plan things, God is the one that establishes what we do,” she said. “I try to let God guide me. I came to understand that it was time to begin the process to be an elder at the North Texas Conference in the United Methodist Church.”

Rosedanny moved to Dallas in 2016 after marrying Luis Malavé, and the couple joined Casa Linda United Methodist Church. Having graduated from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez in 2015 with a B.S. in computer engineering, she initially considered SMU for graduate school in engineering.

But at the encouragement of her pastor, Rev. David Rangel, she attended an Inside Perkins event and immediately felt at home. Now, she hopes her path will ultimately lead to an opportunity to serve the Latino community.

“For every class project, for every paper I write, I try to focus on the lens of Hispanic community and ministries,” she said.

Rosedanny had some tense moments in September 2017 when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, causing catastrophic damage and triggering a major humanitarian crisis.  Thankfully, her family back home was safe, but there have been struggles.

“When the hurricane passed, they were OK, but my mother was traumatized,” she said. “The pressure on the house was so great she felt house would fly away. My godparents had to wait 18 months until their electricity was restored.” There are still some areas that don’t have reliable electricity or water.

On campus, Rosedanny has served in the past two years as president of L@s Seminaristas, an organization that encourages student leadership in Latin ministry including Christian worship, preaching, outreach, evangelism, and mission. The group leads CHAP programs on topics like immigration and Hispanic ministry, and hosts meals and parties. She’s juggling all that on top of her role as mom to 8-month-old Sofía Isabel.

Tying all these areas together – school, extracurricular, church and family — Rosedanny writes about her faith journey on her Facebook blog, More Faith.

“This blog is a way to share with others many things that I have learned,” she said. “I hope this blog would help us grow in our faith in God together.”

In August, she began her internship at Casa Linda UMC, where she’s interning as Embrace Pastor, assisting with preaching, pastoral counseling, and leading a small group. On the second Sunday in August, she preached at three worships services at the church.

“It was an extraordinary experience to be there, knowing that this is just the beginning of God’s work in my life,” she said.