Mother, Preacher, Dreamer, Soldier

The Rev. Mary Miriti (M. Div. ‘11) was recently featured in a column in the Dallas Morning News, entitled “Mother, preacher, dreamer and soldier: As her African church turns 6, Dallas chaplain heads to Iraq.” Miriti arrived in Dallas from Nairobi, Kenya, in 2003, attended Perkins, and has served as senior pastor of Oasis Global United Methodist Church in East Dallas. A chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves, Miriti will be deployed to Iraq in September. Miriti was inspired to enlist as a chaplain in part due to her research into longtime Lovers Lane pastor Tom Shipp (M.Th. ’44), who counseled World War II veterans dealing with alcohol and related issues. “He embraced those military people … at a time most churches did not,” Miriti told the Dallas Morning News. “He took care of the soldiers, and I thought, ‘Hmm, I can do the same.’”


Book of None

Rachel Roberts (M.T.S. ’15) has published a new book, Confessions of an American None: A Credo of Sorts, available on Amazon via Kindle.  Described as “part memoir, part credo, and part romp in pop culture, spotlighting the largest, fastest-growing spiritual demographic in our country– the religiously unaffiliated, aka Nones,” the book shares personal tales of growing up in a cult, battling “an adult relationship with Christianity, and finding relief in becoming a None.”  Roberts founded the organization American None,™ the first organization of its kind to serve the fastest-growing (non)religious demographic in our country.


Sally Dobbie, left, and Chris Dowdy, vice president of academic affairs at Paul Quinn College, outside the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History and Culture in downtown Dallas. Photo by Dallas Morning News.

Graduate Program in Religious Studies (GPRS) Alum Works for Lynching Memorial

GPRS alum Christopher J. Dowdy (Ph.D. ’13) is part of an effort to memorialize Allen Brooks, the last known lynching victim in Dallas. Dowdy, vice president of academic affairs at Paul Quinn College, is asking the state to place a historical marker to remember Brooks, who died in 1910.  Along with Sally Dobbie, a lifelong Dallas-area resident, he petitioned the Texas Historical Commission this month to place a historical marker at the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture, noting Brooks’ life and the atrocity surrounding his death. Read the story here.


New Appointment

Andrew Nelson (M.Div. ’20) is moving back to Kansas City to serve as Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Blue Springs. His fiancé, Tara, will join him there after their wedding in September. “I know that I would not be prepared to take this next step without all the lessons I learned at The Grove and Perkins,” he said. “It also wouldn’t be possible without all the great mentors who have pushed me to strive for excellence both here in Dallas and in Kansas City!”


Still the Same

Rev. Dr. Shazetta Thompson-Hill (D. Min. ’19) recently published a photo book, Still the Same. The book features images from her archives of photos from protests in Ferguson, Missouri; Waller County, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland and more. “It has been particularly challenging for me to make the choice not to be present in the protest spaces this go round,” she said. “With the reality of COVID-19, my husband and I decided to watch and support from a distance, rather than taking to the streets. As my own way of contributing to the movement, I went back into my photo archives to curate a collection of photographs from 2014-2017.  I was stunned by just how much the photos resemble those from the present day… or from the 1960’s for that matter.” The book is self-published as a 12” x12” steel-bound photo book and is available for purchase at


Phil Hodson for Kansas

The Rev. Phil Hodson (M. Div. ‘14) is running for a seat representing District 99 in the Kansas House of Representatives. He is the pastor of Wichita United Church of Christ, husband, father of 3, and serves on the site council at Robert Martin Elementary in Andover. Hodson was unopposed in the August 6 Democratic primary; the election takes place November 3, 2020.


Anthony Everett on Panel

Perkins alum Anthony Everett (also a former Executive Board member) served as a panelist for a national online event on June 30 for the new documentary “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote.” The discussion included reflections from the film director Robert Greenwald, faith leaders from Ohio and Florida, and a call to action.


Donte Ford Named Wheaton Program Director

Donté Ford (M.S.M. ’16, M.Div. ’18) will direct Wheaton College’s new Certificate in Worship Arts, a program designed to equip students for worship ministry roles at churches. Ford joins the Wheaton faculty as an Assistant Professor of Music and the first-ever Associate Chaplain of Worship Arts. The new Certificate in Worship Arts program launches in the 2020-2021 academic year. Read the news release here.


Anna Bundy at FUMC Dallas

Anna Bundy (M. Div. ’20) started July 1 as Director of Connecting Ministries at First United Methodist of Dallas.  In addition to maintaining the church’s standards of hospitality and welcoming newcomers, Connecting Ministries includes helping newcomers and current members build community and connections. Anna is a native of North Carolina and a candidate for ordination as an elder.


Allen Ordained June 11

Lainie Allen (M.Div. ’15) was one of four women ordained to the Episcopal priesthood by Bishop Scott Mayer on Thursday, June 11, at St. Luke’s in the Meadow in Fort Worth. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the services were live streamed only. Allen earned a BA in both psychology and sociology, with a minor in music from Lee University (Cleveland, TN); and MA in Education from Point Loma University (San Diego) and an M.Div from Perkins School of Theology at SMU (Dallas).  She will be serving at St. Elisabeth/Christ the King.


Houston Virtual Choir

Coronavirus can’t stop choirs. When the pandemic required social distancing in March, it seemed choir rehearsal would become impossible, especially when the recommended gathering size dropped below 10 and then shelter-in-place became the standard. However, Rev. Suzi Byrd (M.T.S. ’11), Pastor of Music and Worship at St. Stephen’s UMC in Houston, was determined to keep the music going. She collaborated with colleagues to form the Houston Virtual Choir, connecting various congregations and individuals through song. Read the story on the Texas Annual Conference website here.


ATLA Access for Alumni

Bridwell provides all Perkins and GPRS alums with free access to ATLA for Alumni, an online collection of more than 100 major religion and theology journals. Fill out this form to receive the password. Those who are local can also obtain an Alumni borrower card to check out print materials.