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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 2021 Top Story

Letter from the Dean: Sermon from the Feast of Beginnings

In his sermon at the Feast of Beginnings, the first worship service of the 2021-2022 school year, on August 25, Dean Craig Hill focused on the polarized atmosphere in the U.S. today. Surveys show that liberals and conservatives are increasingly segregating themselves. The division of opinion and narrowing of discourse fosters the development of extreme ideologies that demonize others and so justify violence, he noted. When our differences are magnified, that creates a climate in which those who see only differences are emboldened. If those who share common ideals, beliefs, and aspirations cannot see what unites us, that gives power to those whose very purpose is disunity and division.

“I know that’s challenging and that we all fall short, but let us realize how much our own defensiveness entraps us; our lack of self-knowledge misleads us; and our self-justifications corrupt us,” he said.

Read the sermon here.

News Perspective Online September 2021

Office of Enrollment Management: September 2021 Update

Times are Changing in the Realm of New Student Recruitment

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

Demanding, testing, taxing, strenuous, exciting, stimulating, inspiring.  All these words describe the unprecedented pandemic recruitment cycle of 2021.

When face-to-face meetings ended abruptly in the spring of 2020, virtual forums became our friend and tutor. We were learning as we went. And our recruitment efforts proved to be strong even in the face of the “Zoom fatigue” that set in.    We were thrilled at the result, despite a decline from the previous fall term.

But the challenges were not over. We began to realize a sharp decline in applications in April 2021. It seemed that our only hope was to expect a surge in the summer months, which is typical for Perkins. That was not the case. The surge did not happen. Applications continued to decline.

We quickly huddled, as good teams do in crisis, and implemented a social media campaign with our marketing department under the direction of Connie Nelson. Anecdotally, the result was a high engagement with prospects and persons known to us. We do not know for certain the conversion from inquiry to enrollment from this strategy; however, we do know that the Perkins brand stood tall and present in vast communities.

We are at the end of the 2021 recruitment cycle and have not yet said goodbye to the pandemic. Obviously, the pandemic, with all its residue (lost employment, relocating, illness, fatigue, uncertainty, new employment, death in some cases), continues to loom in our lives today and maybe even into the future.

Considering the challenges ahead, we are asking for your help. You are in positions of leadership, in relationship with those called to ministry, worshiping alongside those who are considering vocational ministry and making important decisions for future church leadership. The great news is that, as one bishop said in 2018, God is still calling folks to ministry. We are simply asking that you connect us with any individuals who might benefit from a conversation about ministry discernment and theological education at Perkins. You know so well what makes Perkins distinctive: attributes like outstanding programming, vibrant community life, excellent leadership, and a vigorous education.

Dr. Stephen Bagby, Director, Admission Operations, in the Office of Enrollment Management, will be thrilled to engage with prospects that you send our way:, 214.768.2139. His specialty is nurturing applicants through to enrollment.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9b struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9b). Here is the reason.

The incoming class of new Perkins students, Photo taken on the Perkins Chapel steps after worship as part of Orientation on Friday, August 20.


These are our new students at the Dallas campus. Seventeen more new students have been admitted to the Houston-Galveston hybrid program; they attended orientation on Monday, August 30, at St. Paul UMC. Census data figures for new students will be provided in the October issue.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

The Rev. Margot Perez-Greene, Ph.D.


News Perspective Online September 2021

Office of Development Update: September 2021

Students have finally arrived back on campus for the 2021-22 school year.  New students are getting acclimated, returning students are renewing friendships, and all are gearing up for a challenging and enriching semester of learning.

As we encounter a continually changing world, we want to attract and train the “best and the brightest” as leaders, because the Church and the world need those people to be prepared and unleashed into ministry.

Dean Hill has repeatedly stated that Perkins’ biggest need is scholarship money to attract and retain these outstanding students.  Our faculty and staff are first-class, Bridwell Library is extraordinary, and our facilities in Houston and Dallas are beautiful and functional.  We want to make all of those things available and affordable for students.

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.

As the public phase of the Capital Campaign begins this fall, you will hear again and again that our top priority is student aid.

The Dean will soon be sending a letter asking all alumni/ae and friends of Perkins to join in the effort to raise the level of student aid.  We have had some encouraging gifts over the last several years.  Student aid endowments and annual commitments have been growing.  But, as our pool of funds has grown, so has the need.  The pandemic in particular has hindered many students’ earning ability.

You don’t have to wait for that appeal to hit your mailbox.  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 help to send them out to minister in our broken world equipped with a deep theological education from Perkins.

With thanks in advance,

John A Martin
Director of Development

News Perspective Online September 2021

Back in Class

Students return to in-person classes in Dallas; H-G students return to hybrid format.

As they have every fall for more than 100 years – except in 2020 – students are returning to campus for classes at Perkins School of Theology.

In Dallas, orientation for new students took place on August 20, and classes began meeting in person on August 23.

Face-to-face classes for the Houston-Galveston (H-G) program are meeting this week, beginning August 30, for the first in-person portion of the hybrid program. Bishop Scott Jones preached at the opening chapel service.

“We’re genuinely excited to see our students in person again, for the first time since January of 2020,” said Dr. Dallas Gingles, Site Director of the Houston-Galveston Extension Program.

While the schedule and class formats are largely back to normal, some changes and accommodations for the COVID-19 pandemic will continue, in light of the surge of cases in Dallas and Harris Counties. Students, faculty members and staff will wear masks, per a temporary mask mandate, and practice social distancing where possible.

“Last year, we leaned toward online teaching; now, we’re leaning in-person,” said Andy Keck, who is Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives. “Both are complex. We’re ready to adjust, if need be, as we continue to navigate in this complex, in-between world.”

Chapel services have resumed, too. For the first time since March 12, 2020, Dallas students gathered in person on Wednesday, August 25, for weekly worship. Current plans are to continue the weekly services in person, but a few services may be offered via Zoom, live-streamed or pre-recorded, according to Dr. Mark W. Stamm, Professor of Christian Worship.

“It feels a little strange being back in the room,” said Stamm. “Am I absolutely confident that we’re 100% safe? I’d say we’re doing the best we can, and we’re willing to adjust as we move along.”

 Midday meals in the refectory are back at the Dallas campus this fall, although with some modifications. Box lunches will replace the cafeteria-style service, allowing students the option to carry their meals to other locations for social distancing. Students will need to reserve meals in advance.

Keck noted that the SMU health clinic is prepared to offer vaccinations, including boosters, and COVID testing, if needed, this fall.

COVID protocols for Perkins students in Dallas have necessarily factored in university-wide policies and Dallas County mandates, as well as the needs and policies of partner institutions such as churches.

“Many are working in their church contexts, interacting with people who may be immune compromised or vulnerable to the virus,” he said. “Keeping our students safe is very important to us.”

Out of the Hospital 

Normally, most H-G classes meet at Houston Methodist Hospital, but this fall they’re meeting at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston.

“We made the decision to relocate due to the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, to avoid potentially exposing students and overburdening the hospital,” said Gingles.

Following the H-G program’s usual (pre-pandemic) hybrid model, students will continue their studies online after this week, then return for another week of face-to-face classes November 8-13. The program had been online only from March 2020 through Summer 2021, due to the pandemic.

Meeting at St. Paul’s is nothing new; the church has always hosted at least one class each semester. Most H-G classes took place there until 2018, when St. Paul’s underwent renovations and Houston Methodist welcomed the students.

Gingles praised the generosity and support of St. Paul’s senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeff McDonald, a Perkins grad (M. Div., 2004) and church staff member Marisa Cisneros, who assisted with the logistics of arranging for the H-G program to meet at the church this fall. Perkins staff member Melissa Gooch also pitched in to arrange meals.

“St. Paul’s and I are grateful for this opportunity to work together with Perkins,” said McDonald. “I began my seminary career in what we used to call the Perkins South program and that foundation helped me in so many ways. I am glad to see the program growing and flourishing as a way to meet the needs of Houston area students and well as those who travel in and are a part of the hybrid program. New ways and thinking and doing our distinctive Wesleyan theological training will help our churches to thrive in the future.”

One new addition to the H-G program this fall: a class in Hebrew, taught by Dr. Jack Levison at the request of H-G students. Upwards of 20 students have signed up.

“Roy Heller and I have both taught in the H-G program and we both refer frequently to the Hebrew, and I think that has piqued the curiosity and stoked the hunger of students,” said Levison, who is W. J. A. Power Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew. “Roy is a brilliant teacher, so it doesn’t surprise me that many students who took his class want to take Hebrew. Both of us have really tried to inspire in students a deep love of the Hebrew language.”

Levison added that he’s thankful that the hybrid course will include an in-person component this fall – two daylong classes, one taught in September and another in November, in addition to synchronous online classes that will meet every Monday evening.

“Having at least some of the course in person makes teaching much easier,” he said.  “Learning Hebrew is super hard. I have students sing songs and play games. It allows us to play our way into the language. And that will set the tone for the learning for the entire semester.”

News Perspective Online September 2021

Ministry Dallas

They talked about race and racial injustice. They helped pull weeds. And they pitched in at a vaccination drive to ensure that residents in a low-income area of Dallas received the COVID-19 vaccine.

That’s how the Fall 2021 semester began for 19 members of the Perkins community –  11 students and 8 faculty and staff — who participated in Ministry Dallas, a program that gives participants a hands-on experience with local ministries. This year’s program visited five different outreach ministries over five days in August, just before classes commenced.

At each location — Project Unity, For Oak Cliff, St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, Owenwood Farm and Neighbor Space, and Bonton Farms — participants worshipped, tackled service projects, met staff members (including several who are alumnae/I or current students) and got an inside glimpse of innovative ministry.

“This was an opportunity for students to meet people who are doing entrepreneurial, creative new ways of ministry,” said Tracy Anne Allred, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Community Engagement at Perkins. “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.”

This year’s group included students from Ghana, Tanzania, and Kenya, as well as the U.S. This is the third year for Ministry Dallas; the program launched in 2018 but was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic. Many of the activities were outdoors; where indoors, students wore masks and practiced social distancing.

Day 1
Project Unity

The day’s program began with a teambuilding exercise. Participants copied small pictures, each part of a larger image, on pieces of paper. Then the group put the pieces together and discussed the experience.

Over lunch, students heard from the Rev. Richie Butler, founder and CEO of Project Unity and a member of Perkins’s Executive Board. (He’s also a 1993 graduate of SMU, where he earned his undergraduate degree.)

After founding a nondenominational church, Union Cathedral in Dallas in 2002, Butler met Bishop Mike McKee. Together they made plans to merge Unity with St. Paul United Methodist Church, a historically Black congregation in downtown Dallas. Now, he’s pastor of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church, a large, predominantly Black congregation, formerly led by the Rev. Zan Holmes, a Perkins grad.

After witnessing the anger and distrust evident at a community-wide conversation following the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., Butler felt a calling to build bridges. Project Unity was born. It’s based on one key idea, Butler says: “What unites us is greater than what divides us.”

“If we don’t deal with race, it will deal with us,” Butler said.

Project Unity works to create conversations and to connect people from diverse groups, with a long list of activities like Together We Ball, which hosts a basketball game with pastors, police officers and community leaders. When the pandemic hit, the group scrambled to create “Together We Test,” making COVID-19 testing more accessible in southern Dallas.

Butler has also gotten involved in real estate projects aimed at providing affordable housing in typically underinvested areas of Dallas, to help address issues created by systemic racism.

“Real estate is a ministry to me,” he said. “Abraham was the first real estate developer.”

Project Unity also launched Together We Dine, which brings together people who might not otherwise meet for honest conversations about race. Anne Edwards, a member of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church and a volunteer who leads conversations for Together We Dine, shared how the program has impacted her.

“It was such a blessing as we got to know each other,” she said. “Coming together and seeing other people’s perspectives has opened up a whole new world for me. Sometimes I’m a little nervous. But it’s important to have the dialogue we don’t want to have.”

Participants had a chance to experience a taste of what the “Together We Dine” dialogues are like, by gathering in small groups and reflecting on questions about their perceptions of race and racial injustice. Perkins student Uwezo Mwanjala shared his unique perspective on racial relations in the U.S. A Perkins student from Tanzania, Mwanjala arrived in 2018, around the time of the killing of Botham Jean, a Black resident in Dallas, by police officer Amber Guyer.

“I never experienced racism in Tanzania, because everybody is Black and very welcoming,” he said. “Everything was surprising to me. Racism is a generational inheritance, I think.”

Day 2
Back to School Vaccine Event with For Oak Cliff

For Oak Cliff offered free first doses of Covid-19 vaccines to all ages 12 and up at the For Oak Cliff Community Campus, in partnership with Project Unity and Catalyst Health Network. Perkins participants assisted during the drive by helping sign in visitors and directing traffic.

For Oak Cliff is a nonprofit that “provides culturally responsive initiatives in South Oak Cliff to liberate the community from systemic oppression, create a culture of education, and increase social mobility and social capital,” according to the organization’s website. For Oak Cliff’s work focuses on four pillars: education, advocacy, community building and arts.

Day 3
Worship with St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church

Due to renovations, St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church is currently worshipping at the Tolleson Family Activity Center on the campus of Highland Park United Methodist Church.  Perkins students and faculty, including Dean Craig Hill, were warmly welcomed by the pastor and congregation.


Day 4
Owenwood Farm and Neighbor Space

In 2017, Owenwood United Methodist Church in far east Dallas was no longer viable as a congregation.  The neighborhood had changed, and attendance had dwindled to about a dozen members.

The North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church gifted the property to nearby White Rock United Methodist Church (WRUMC), which brought the spirit of creatively responding to the needs of the neighborhood that has helped keep WRUMC alive.  Today, the property has been repurposed as Owenwood Farm and Neighbor Space, a hub for social services that support the neighborhood.

“We’ve been experimenting and learning how to become intentional about listening to our neighbors and what they need,” said the Rev. Josh Esparza, a Perkins grad (M. Div. ’19) and Owenwood’s campus pastor. “We’re trying to discern, ‘Where are the gaps, and what are the gifts present in the community?”

Four acres of unused land behind the church are now an urban farm in progress, worked by GROW North Texas staff along with a group of volunteers. Many people from the neighborhood pitch in; many came to see their neighbors, safely, during the pandemic. As the temperatures neared 90 degrees, Perkins participants pitched in to pull weeds and prepare the soil to plant asparagus.

“Once the food is harvested, it’s sold through subsidized markets, like the WIC market,” said Susie Marshall (M.T.S. ’09), executive director of GROW North Texas. “Families who rely on WIC receive a small allowance — $30 per person per year – for locally-grown produce,” making healthy food available in what is otherwise a food desert.

GROW North Texas is one of several partners that work with Owenwood.“We rely heavily on partnerships,” said Katie Pryor, Director of Neighborhood Outreach, also a Perkins grad (M.Div. ’19).

The sanctuary is now home to Diapers, Etc., a ministry that provides diapers and other hygiene items to about 150 families in the area on the last Saturday of each month. Justin Barringer (Ph.D. ’21, GPRS), Owenwood’s Director of Social Outreach, leads the program.  (Read more about Barringer and Diapers, Etc., here.)

The space that once hosted Sunday School classes now offers English as a Second Language (ESL), job training and GED classes provided by the nonprofit Aspire.

Outside on the porch is The People’s Fridge, where neighbors can donate food and take what they need. Alerts of newly arrived inventory, sent via social media, quickly draw neighbors to the parking lot to pick up food.

Laundry facilities have been added, and two restrooms were expanded with showers, allowing two interns to live in the church during the past summer while they served the ministry.

“We are creating places of belonging and connection for people here,” said Esparza.  “That can happen at a church, but it doesn’t have to be a church.”

Day 5
Bonton Farms

Bonton Farms is an urban farm with goats, chickens, turkeys, fresh vegetables, and a mission to serve hurting people in the neighborhood. It’s located in the Bonton neighborhood, an isolated area that is surrounded by three highways, train tracks and a river.

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.

The Bonton area is also a food desert. Neighborhood convenience stores are stocked with junk food and booze but few healthy options. Not surprisingly, Bonton residents experience diabetes, obesity, cancer and other health issues at significantly higher rates than the rest of Dallas. With the hope of reversing that trend, the farm offers healthy, fresh alternatives.

During their visit, Ministry Dallas participants pulled weeds, excavated some raised beds and enjoyed a meal in Bonton Café, which serves food prepared with locally grown, organic produce.  The group also heard from Stephanie Bohan, an M.A.M. student at Perkins and Director of Health and Wellness Services at Bonton Farms, and Perkins student Barbara Taylor, who is interning at Bonton Farms this year.

Not surprisingly, the cardiovascular disease rate in the Bonton area is 54% higher than the rest of Dallas. Incidences of diabetes are 45% higher; cancer is 58% higher. Bonton is now building a 10,000 square foot clinic, which will offer primary medical care provided by Parkland Hospital, as well as some specialty medical care.

Bohan joined Bonton Farms recently, after 10 years serving as executive director of the Agape Clinic, a free medical clinic in East Dallas.

“We hope Bonton will become a medical access point as well as a place where residents come for exercise, nutrition, cooking classes and other educational programming,” she said. “We want to empower people to get healthy, so that we can break the cycle that has kept south Dallas sick for so long.”


News Perspective Online September 2021

Bridwell Reopens

Library now open after closing for two years for renovations. 

The Bridwell Library is open again!  The library reopened in August after it was closed for two years for renovations.

Among the new features:

A new entry desk welcomes students and visitors.

New collaborative workspaces as well as nooks and crannies for individual study.

The Blue Room, with Wesleyan and Methodist reference materials.


Having spent many hours in the Bridwell Library – and expecting to spend many more – Ted Campbell was excited about news of the reopening.

“Bridwell is an enormously significant theological library and also serves as the rare books repository at SMU,” said Campbell, who is Albert C. Outler Professor of Wesley Studies. “It’s one of Dallas’s hidden treasures.”

More details on the renovation will follow in the October 1 issue of Perspective.


Photos Courtesy of Ted Campbell 

News Perspective Online September 2021

New Titles and Responsibilities

Fifteen Perkins faculty and staff have new or expanded roles and titles.

Over the summer months, 15 Perkins staff and faculty members were assigned new titles with expanded or additional responsibilities. Please note these and welcome individuals into their new or expanded roles. 

Dr. Chuck Aaron – Director of the Intern Program

After serving as co-director with Isabel Docampo, Aaron now assumes full directorship of the Perkins Intern Program.

Dr. Stephen Bagby – Director, Admission Operations 

Bagby has taken charge of all aspects of admission operations, including nurture of applicants and full follow-through toward enrollment. He will continue to travel to recruiting events and to assist with Inside Perkins and activities related to individual visits.

Jeanette Cordova – Administrative Assistant for the Testimony HQ Grant

New to Perkins, Cordova will be assisting Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison and Bart Patton with their Lilly-funded grant related to congregational testimony.

Dr. Dallas Gingles – Site Director of the Houston-Galveston Extension Program

Reporting to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Gingles now has a greater leadership role in managing the Houston-Galveston program and its resources. The changes free Hugo Magallanes to take on other responsibilities (see below).

Pam Goolsby – Associate Director for Events and Facilities

In addition to her leadership in event planning, Goolsby has added responsibilities for facility management (as liaison to university units and vendors) as well building access and allocations.

Dr. Robert Hunt – Director of Global Theological Education

In addition to his leadership in global initiatives and immersion courses, Hunt has added responsibilities for connecting Perkins to the technology resources available through the University.

Andy Keck – Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Special Assistant to the Dean

In addition to his work in the Dean’s Office, Keck has added responsibilities for accreditation, assessment, and technology purchasing.

Dr. Jack Levison – Faculty-in-Residence, Boaz Commons

In addition to his responsibilities at Perkins, Jack Levison (along with his wife, Priscilla Pope-Levison) has moved into nearby Boaz Commons as faculty member in residence.

Dr. Tamara Lewis – Professor of the Practice of Historical Theology and Director of the Black/Africana Church Studies Program

In addition to continuing her teaching responsibilities, Lewis provides leadership to a new initiative supporting Black/Africana Church Studies.

Dr. Hugo Magallanes – Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

With the able support of Melissa Hernandez Probus, Magallanes has added responsibilities for directing the Hispanic-Latin@ Ministries Program and the United Methodist Regional Course of Study School for Local Pastors.

Heather Gottas Moore – Assistant Director of Lifelong Learning

With the transition of Priscilla Pope-Levison and Bart Patton (noted below), Moore becomes the primary contact for all non-credit, lifelong learning programs, including the Perkins Certificate in Practical Ministry.

Caleb Palmer–Associate Director, Ministry Discernment & Communications

In addition to travel for recruitment, Palmer is now facilitating all communications via SLATE from inquiry to enrollment and manages the Office of Enrollment Management database of church leaders, campus ministers, and conference and college and university fair organizers. 

Bart Patton – Director of the Office of External Programs

With the transition of Priscilla Pope-Levison (noted below), Patton assumes leadership of this office on September 1st.  

Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison – Research Professor of Practical Theology

With the support of a $1M grant from the Lilly Endowment for “Testimony as Community Engagement,” Pope-Levison has decided to focus her time on this project. As a fully grant-supported position, Dean Hill was able to work with Provost Loboa to appoint her as a Research Professor beginning September 1, 2021. Pope-Levison is also a full partner with husband Jack Levison in their new role working with undergraduate SMU students in Boaz Commons.

Mary Roberts – Assistant Director of Communications and Event Management for the Office of External Programs

With the transition of Pope-Levison and Patton (noted above), Roberts now markets and coordinates all in-person, virtual and hybrid events sponsored by the Office of the External Programs.

News Perspective Online September 2021

Expanded Outreach: Perkins School of Youth Ministry

Virtual options allow Perkins School of Youth Ministry to serve a broader audience

Most of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been negative. But for the Perkins School of Youth Ministry (PSYM), a few silver linings have emerged.

Thanks to the growing acceptance and availability of virtual options, the program’s Foundations training is reaching more youth leaders in a wider geographic area.  In May, the California-Pacific (Cal-Pac) Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church contracted Perkins to provide virtual Foundations training for its intern program; other virtual trainings are underway at other annual conferences.

“The past 18 months has really opened the door for opportunities,” said Bart Patton, Director of the Office of External Programs. (Until Sept. 1, Patton served as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Education.)

Foundations is the program’s “basic training” for new or early career youth workers and volunteers, offering an extensive course on primary material for ministry including: professionalism, management, volunteers, safety, relationships, programming, trips and events, leadership, adolescent development, budgeting, teaching, communication, self-care, resources, and more. Students receive a Certificate of Completion for Foundations in Youth Ministry Training.

“Foundations offers a little of everything to get new youth leaders started,” said Patton.

For the past 35 years, the annual Perkins School of Youth Ministry has taken place in-person in Dallas, with the exception of 2021, which was held virtually.  That weeklong program offers the Foundations training as well as more advanced workshops. (Foundations is a preset track of workshops, separate from the “Workshops” track, which provides advanced and specialized training for more experienced youth leaders.)

Four years ago, the PSYM team added an “on-the-go” option for its Foundations program, where Patton and other program leaders traveled to other locations in the U.S. to provide training at local annual conferences, typically in retreat settings.

“Through that on-the-go program, we’ve been able to forge a lot of partnerships, as close as Houston, with the Texas Annual Conference, and as far away as Western Pennsylvania, where we’ve done trainings in Erie, Pa., and Susquehanna, Pa.,” said Patton.

Going Virtual

When COVID hit, the January program in Dallas went virtual in 2021, as did the on-the-go Foundations training. Now team leaders plan to continue offering Foundations virtually, even after the pandemic, to make it more accessible and affordable to a broader pool of youth leaders.

Cal-Pac adopted the virtual option as the basic training for its intern program, which prepares and mentors young adults and then assigns them to ministry positions in churches, camping and retreat ministries.

“Many of our annual conferences find themselves with churches spread out so far geographically that, even if we were to send a team to the conference, it would be difficult to find a central, easily accessible location to hold the training,” said Patton. “Adding a virtual option makes our program accessible to youth leaders that might not otherwise be able to attend.”

Patton added that many youth leaders in small or rural churches juggle their ministry part-time, in addition to full-time jobs, and for them, traveling to Dallas for a week is often not feasible.

Currently, team leaders plan is to offer the January PSYM in person in Dallas. The team also plans to continue to offer the virtual Foundations training at the request of annual conferences, even after the pandemic subsides, as well as the in-person on-the-go option. Churches and annual conferences may still choose to send youth leaders to the in-person event in Dallas, but the virtual training is considerably less expensive and eliminates the cost of travel and accommodations.

Registration for the next PSYM in Dallas, January 10-13, 2022, opens September 22. The theme for this 35th annual gathering is “Finding Forward.” For more information, visit





News Perspective Online September 2021

Perkins Invites Nominations for 2021 Distinguished Alumnus/a Award

Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University is accepting nominations for its 2021 Distinguished Alumnus/a Award. The deadline to submit is Thursday, Sept. 30.

The award, presented annually, recognizes Perkins graduates who have demonstrated effectiveness and integrity in service to the church, continuing support for the goals of Perkins and SMU, distinguished service to the community, and exemplary character. The 2021 recipient will be honored at an awards banquet during the 2021 Fall Convocation at Perkins.

To nominate a Perkins graduate for the award, please submit:

  • A letter describing the nominee’s career highlights and other accomplishments.
  • Letters or statements from at least two additional people who also support the nomination.

The person submitting the nomination should compile all materials and mail them together to:

Office of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations
Perkins School of Theology
PO Box 750133
Dallas TX 75275-0133

Alternatively, nominations may be submitted via email. Attach the nominating letter and all supporting materials in a single email to:

The Rev. Connie L. Nelson
Executive Director of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations

The 2020 recipients will also be honored during the 2021 award banquet.  They include Sidney G. Hall, III, (M.Th. ’84, D.Min. ’88), Pastor Emeritus of Trinity Church of Austin, Texas, a United Methodist congregation co-affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Rev. Hall served as Trinity’s lead minister for 33 years, from 1988-2021.  Also, Donald W. Underwood, M.Th. ’73, who served as lead pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas, from 1983 until his retirement in May 2020. Follow the link for a list of all Perkins School of Theology Distinguished Alumnus/a Award Recipients.

Visit this link for more Information about Distinguished Alumnus/a Award Criteria (PDF)