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Alumni/ae News and Notes

View the first edition of Connections: Alumni/ae News from Hartford Seminary here: Alumni Mag_Final

Special Announcement: The Rev. Dr. Mark S. Caruana, D.Min. ’03, to receive National Clergy Renewal Program grant

Alumni/ae News & Notes

Akash alum jpeg photoOn Dec. 21, 2013, Ashaki Taha-Cisse, MA Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations ’13, delivered a lecture entitled, “Overcoming Grief and Sorrow Through Remembrance of God (Dhikrullah)” at the Sultan Mosque Auditorium (which is the national mosque) in Singapore during the Souti Lillahi’s annual Sacred Path of Love Retreat. On Dec. 22, 2013, she held a workshop entitled, “21st Century Challenges to Maintaining the Ties of Kinship” at the Madrasah Aljunied.  In addition to participating in the Sacred Path of Love Retreat as a speaker and workshop leader, she was hosted as a spiritual teacher in the Tariqa Tijanyya Sufi order by the growing community of Tijanis in Singapore, where the presence of the Tariqa Tijaniyya in Asia is an historic first. She reports:  “During my stay in Singapore I had the pleasure of meeting with the Assistant Mufti of Singapore (the invitation was issued by the Mufti, but he had to travel) at  the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura) who expressed interest in sending students to the Hartford Seminary. He was quite familiar with Hartsem and enthusiastic about Singaporean Muslims studying there.”

Francis Acquah, Ph.D., ’12 is living in Ghana where he is a full-time lecturer in Comparative Religion and Ethics at the Methodist University College, Ghana, with particular interest in interfaith engagements in communities.  He is also a part-time minister at Trinity Methodist Church, Martey-Tsuru, Accra.

Gideon Adjei, M.A. ’05 is the Program Director at the Pentecostalism and Sufi Study Center in Ghana.

Peter Allen, D.Min. ’10 was called to be the Senior Minister of the Hingham Congregational Church (UCC) in Hingham, Massachusetts in January of 2013.

Alfred Benney, Ph.D. ’75 has retired from Fairfield University after 46 years as Professor of Religious Studies.  Dr. Benney conceived, created and produced the American Scholars of Religion Project, which can be viewed at www.youtube.com/user/AmScholarsReligion/about

Donald Chorley, B.D. ’63 survived 2 sieges of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1994 and 2002 and completed both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail in 1999 and 2004!  He has also completed 100 regular and ultra marathons, climbed Denali in Alaska, and other mountains in the Sierras and the Cascades.

George Conklin, M.Div. ’56 received the Religion Communicators Council Award for this  photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at the San Francisco Cow Palace on June 30, 1964.George Conklin MLK photo

Gail Cromack, M.A. ’68 is currently the pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in San Bruno, California.  “Since graduation I have gotten a Ph.D. and two more Master’s degrees, taught college for 25 years, and went to Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, graduating in 1995 and ordained in 1997.

Kazue Grace Furuya, M.A. ’53, was recently in touch with the Alumni Office and provided an update on her activities since graduation: “Further studied at Union Seminary and Colombia University Teachers College in New York for one year; returned to Japan and worked for the International Christian University in Tokyo as General Secretary of ICU Religious Center and ICU Church for 5 years; after divorce, immigrated to Canada in 1969 and worked as Federal Government translator (Japanese/English, vice versa), retiring in 1988; organized the Ottawa Bible Study Group for mainly Christian immigrants from Japan in 1978 with a monthly meeting since no Japanese speaking church exists in Ottawa. Some members were Catholic seminary students with Japanese and European backgrounds studying at Dominican Seminary in Ottawa. A dozen of the present members including three non-Christians are to celebrate the 35th anniversary this year, 2013; set up Mini Bible Study Group within the O.B.S.G in 2008, meeting twice a month for those members not so familiar with the Bible; loved to travel Biblical places and museums in Europe, Turkey, Israel and Egypt; Current hobbies include painting, calligraphy, handcrafts and Haiku.  Since l970, I have been a member of the Japanese Toronto United Church, Toronto, Ontario.”

 Shareda Hosein, M.A. ’07 is currently a community chaplain in the Boston area, supporting the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center under the leadership of Imam Suhaib Webb.  She is working with Muslim and non-Muslim medical professsionals to build cultural compentency training about Islam and Muslims in the medical community, as well as to educate local imams about the procedures of medical institutions.  Shareda is also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command.

 Molly Field James, Ph.D., ’11 had her dissertation published by Wipf and Stock in Feburary 2013.  Entitled “With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe: Developing a Contemporary Theology of Suffering in Conversation with Five Christian Thinkers: Gregory the Great, Julian of Norwich, Jeremy Taylor, C.S. Lewis, and Ivone Gebara,” the book is in the Seminary Library’s collections, as well as for purchase at Amazon.

 Colleen Keyes, M.A. ’04 was appointed Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California.

Shakeel Khan, GCIC, ’11 is living in Armonk, New York volunteering as a Muslim chaplain, after completing a unit of CPE at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York.

Gail Kinney, M.A. ’11 was called in July 2011 to serve as Pastor at the South Danbury United Church of Christ in New Hampshire.

Betty Rainey, ’99 (BMP) co-founded Travelers Evangelistic Outreach Ministry, an outreach that travels to different areas to help establish churches.  To date, the Ministry has helped establish three churches in the United States and one in Ghana, West Africa.

Jennifer Sanborn, M.A. ’12 is the Interim Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at Mount Holyoke College, as well as part-time pastor of Enfield American Baptist Church in Enfield, Connecticut.

Sami Shamma, M.A. ’13 is serving as Chaplain at the Connecticut Correctional Institution in Cheshire.

Jo Anne Taylor, M.A. ’90, writes, “I continue as spiritual guide and finally finished my memoir this year. Knit Together: An Orphan’s Spiritual Journey” tells about the discovery of my older sister after 49 years (think Jubilee) when we were adopted into different homes from an orphanage. It is a really Good News story of hope experienced against all odds. My husband Ken and I live at Seabury retirement Home and cherish our 5 children and 11 grandchildren.”

Joseph Tobin, M.A. ’12 was ordained to Christian ministry on October 20, 2013 at the First Church of Christ, Congregational in West Hartford, and is currently serving as Interim Minister at the Hampton Congregational Church (UCC) in Hampton, Connecticut.

In Portland, Oregon, Sherry Ra’ufa Tuell, M.A. ’10 serves as a hospice and palliative care chaplain for Providence Health and Services.  She received ecclesiastical endorsement from the Islamic Society of North America, the first female Muslim to attain this distinction, and in July 2013 was deemed a board certified chaplain by the National Association of Veterans Affairs Chaplains, again the first female Muslim so credentialed.

Davida Foy Crabtree, D.Min. ’89, was called in October to serve as the Interim Conference Minister of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, after holding a similar position in the Missouri Midsouth Conference of the United Church of Christ.

This fall, Christine L. Nelson, D.Min. ’98, was named Director of Seminary Advancement at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, PA, having previously served as Executive Director of the Lehigh County Conference of Churches, where she led 140 churches and faith-based organizations.

Henry J. Young, Ph.D. ’74 was the speaker at Hood Theological Seminary’s opening convocation on September 13.  Dr. Young is Visiting Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Salisbury, NC school.  Also at Hood, Dr. Herman E. Thomas, Ph.D. ’78, is Director of Supervised Ministry and Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Theology.

Jon David Miller, M.A.’72, M.Div. ’73 is a regular contributor to the online Activist Post (www.activistpost.com)

Tom Verde, M.A. ’09 recently presented “The Children of Abraham: A History of the Conflict in the Middle East” to the Peace and Justice Group of Christ Church in Westerly, RI.  Tom is currently the Director of Adult Christian Education at Calvary Church in Stonington, CT, and has produced and contributed to a variety of TV and public radio programs including NPR’s “Faith Matters,” the documentary show “Horizons,” and the environmental program “Living on Earth.”

Class notes below are organized by class prior to 1970 and by degree program in subsequent years. All alumni/ae are invited to submit notes directly to Hartford Seminary’s Alumni/ae Office or to Class Agents. We welcome the opportunity to showcase what alumni have achieved in their respective fields and what new perspectives they have gained.

All classes prior to 1970 (by year)

After serving as Archivist at the Franklin College Library, where she supervised the history collections, both of the college and the American Baptist Churches in Indiana, Mary Alice (Wagner) Medlicott, M.A. ’48, was awarded an honorary LL.D. by the college. She continues to reside in Franklin, IN, and has two daughters and four grandsons.

Joy Allan, M.A. ’51, sends greetings from Fife in Scotland, and writes, “I am very fortunate to be still very active in my church and community, and enjoy travelling with friends. Hartford was very different in my day, but it was the most exciting and life enhancing period of my life. I travelled the length and breadth of your country, and have returned many times since. The new technology allows us to communicate with ease, and if anyone from the dim distant past still vaguely remembers me, do get in touch. With my good wishes and prayers for Hartford’s continuing good work.” Joy’s email address is jallan905@talktalk.net.

The Rev. Frank Brooks, M.Div., ’53, visited campus with his son this past June while back east for his 65th Deerfield Academy reunion. Retired from full time parish ministry for 18 years, Frank presently volunteers as Parish Associate at the Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX.

Rev. Chuck West, B.D. ’53, recently communicated news of the death of his wife, Mary Ellen, in August of 2011, and shared “best wishes for everyone at Hartford.”

The Rev. Paul ‘54 and Joanne ’54 Varga are enjoying retirement in Maine, returning to the town of Falmouth and the church there where they were married. In the years between, the Vargas served churches in Walpole, MA, and Portsmouth, VA, near where Paul grew up. In 1991, Paul retired, and he and Joanne became resident members of the Community of Jesus, an ecumenical Christian monastery in Orleans on Cape Cod.

Rev. Robert H. Calvert, B.D. ’55, sent along information on a book authored in 2008 by classmate Dr. Robert L. Polk, B.D. ’55, entitled, “Tight Little Island: Chicago’s West Woodlawn Neighborhood, 1900-1950 in the Words of Its Inhabitants.” Dr. Polk was born and raised in the West Woodlawn section of Chicago, and went on to serve in a variety of ministerial positions, including 14 years at the Riverside Church in New York City, and as dean of the chapel at Dillard University in New Orleans. Just before his retirement, Dr. Polk was Executive Director of the New York City Council of Churches. Now living in the Philadelphia area, he is able to connect with the Rev. Calvert and his wife Anne, and more Class of 1955 friends, the Rev. Charles Baboian and his wife Sandra.

Akiko Arai, wife of the Rev. Toshitsugu Arai, S.T.M. ’60, writes from Kawasaki, Japan that though he has been recently hospitalized, they both pray “for Hartford Seminary and its mission, not only in its own community, but globally as well.” Toshitsugu was most recently the Ecumenical Coordinator of the Nippon Christian Academy in Tokyo.

Upon learning of the death of the Rev. Bill Inderstrodt, B.D. ’52, the Rev. Dr. Jay Ebersole, B.D. ’63, wrote to the Alumni Office, reflecting on the lasting relationships he, Bill and others shared, “60 years of our incredible friendships as young seminarians, as married couples, as pastors, loyal alumni, and with such precious memories.” Like the Inderstrodts, Jay met his late wife, Eleanor, while students at the Seminary.

Black Ministry Program

No alumni/ae notes at this time; we welcome contributions from our amazing alumni/ae.

Cooperative Master of Divinity

After studying at Hartford Seminary in the Cooperative Master of Divinity program, the Rev. Charles G. Taylor completed his program at Andover Newtown, and became the minister of the United Church of Ware (UCC) in Massachusetts in April of 2011.

Doctor of Ministry

The Rev. Dr. Ned Edwards, D.Min. ’04, is the Chaplain at Chatham Hall, an Episcopal boarding school in Chatham, VA. In addition to pastoral responsibilities, Ned also teaches religion, this past semester offering courses on the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, and world religions. He’s especially fond of leading Beatles Worship in Chapel, and reports“ life is good!”

In addition to his work as a consultant in the healthcare field, improving revenue cycle systems in hospitals and medical practices, the Rev. Dr. Mark Heilshorn, D.Min. ’08, continues to do ministry in the area of men’s spirituality, writing and leading both workshops and retreats on the subject. Mark will be teaching a men’s spirituality course through the Spiritual Life Center in West Hartford called “On the Edge of Fire

Programa Ministerios Hispanos

No alumni/ae notes at this time; we welcome contributions from our amazing alumni/ae.

International Peacemaking Program

Jacky Manuputty, M.A. ’11, and a graduate of the Seminary’s International Peacemaking Program, reports from Indonesia that since September of this year, sporadic fighting “has erupted between Muslims and Christians in Ambon, my lovely hometown. In such condition, we’re hardly able to encourage interfaith groups to promote peace in the public space.” To brothers and sisters in the wider Seminary community, Jacky asks “please pray for us to continuously work for upholding peace in our hometown.”

Islamic Chaplaincy

No alumni/ae notes at this time; we welcome contributions from our amazing alumni/ae.

Master of Arts

After seeing his name on the “lost alumni/ae” list, Dr. Franklin D. Graham, M.A. ’63, reports that he his living in Daytona Beach, Florida, serving as President of Heritage Academy there.

Stephen J. Nelson, M.A.R.S. ’72, has published “Decades of Chaos and Revolution: Showdowns for College Presidents,” the story and comparison of two eras in higher education history. The first era covers the period of the 1960s through the mid-1970s, and the second is the first decade of the 21st century. Both decades were marked by events that shook the foundations of colleges, universities, and society as a whole. Steve tells the story through the eyes of the presidents of the institutions involved in the chaos of those eras. Steve is associate professor of educational leadership at Bridgewater State University and senior scholar in the Leadership Alliance at Brown University. He has written three previous books about the college presidency: “Leaders in the Crossroads: Success and Failure in the College Presidency,” “Leaders in the Labyrinth: College Presidents and the Battleground of Creeds and Convictions,” and “Leaders in the Crucible: The Moral Voice of College Presidents.” For information on his latest book, go to: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442210820

Craig Phillips, M.A. ’12 and his wife, Mahdiye, have relocated to Falls Church, Virginia, and Craig now works in Washington, DC, at the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) in the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Among the office’s functions are to serve as an agency liaison to the faith community, most often with faith-based organizations doing development work around the world.

Christopher A. Wright, M.A. ’73, reports that “after 30 years as a photographer involved in black and white large format and historic photography, I published, under the name of my company, “Visions in Silver Photography,” in December 2011, my first book of personal images, along with essays explaining the spiritual background of my personal/artistic aesthetics,” entitled, Still Life—Still Living. In December 2011, Chris participated in a symposium sponsored by the Religion Department of the University of Florida, Gainesville, called “Multidisciplinary Approaches to Plants and Religion,” which included presentations by a variety of experts in ethnobiology, botany, entheogenics and ritual behavior related to use of sacred plants. More information on Chris’ work and inspiration, as well as on his available and upcoming books, is available at www.visioninsilver.com.

Cooperative Master of Divinity

Along with his contribution to the 2012 Annual Fund, the Rev. Howard L. Harris, M.Div. ’47, included a note which read, “the 77 Sherman St. address has many good memories. It was our address from 1944 to 1947. As Quakers we especially remember Alexander Purdy and Moses Bailey. It was a great growing time in my life and my late wife Rosemary. I am professor emeritus, anthropology, Western Washington University, and 94 years old. I still teach a couple of correspondence courses.”

International Ph.D. Program

No alumni/ae notes at this time; we welcome contributions from our amazing alumni/ae.

Woman’s Leadership Institute

No alumni/ae notes at this time; we welcome contributions from our amazing alumni/ae.

Alumni/ae Survey Responses:

To read alumni/ae responses to a recent survey on what Hartford Seminary has meant to them as they entered their careers, Click Here

Library Research Opportunity:

When the Hartford Seminary Library, with the help of the American Theological Library Association, began offering free online access to the extensive ATLA database to Seminary alumni/ae, many were in touch to say hello and express appreciation, including the Rev. Skip Ferry, M.Div. ’71, Lady Mandalika, G.C. ’10, the Rev. Francis Acquah, G.C. ’06, Marisa Brown Ludwig, WLI ’05, the Rev. Richard Rinker, M.Div. ’55, Brian Alston, M.A. ’01, and the Rev. Dr. Karen Bailey-Francois, D.Min. ’05. For information on accessing the ATLA database, please email jlee@hartsem.edu.

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