Greetings to you all on the start of another Fall semester here at Wesley Theological Seminary!
I am thrilled to welcome our new students as well as the many returning students. Greet one another and lift each other up as together we form of vibrant community of holy learning.
As we make our way into classes this term, we should also remember to look toward each other for inspiration and fullness. For we have a common Ground, Source, and Destiny. It is right and appropriate that the opening worship service is indeed called Con-Vocation, as only together are we able to fulfill our existential calling to love and serve. So, look keenly and expectantly for those opportunities of greater communion, where two or three or more come together such that the divine life is truly and robustly manifest. Enter our communal spaces – the chapel, the refectory, the library, our classrooms and dorms – with hope and charity. For you will undoubtedly form relationships that will strengthen and challenge you. You will engage a cloud of witnesses – in the books, teachers, and peer learners – that will not only illumine the past but point toward a bright and compelling future of ecclesial life and ministry. Anticipate these holy encounters. Give yourself to them. Jump in with abandon.
Building formative communities is a primary focus for Rev. Asa Lee, who as of July 1 has become the Associate Dean for Community Life. Rev. Lee is a 2007 Wesley graduate and has been a part of our community in several roles since graduation, most recently as Assistant Program Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. His presence among the staff, faculty, and student body has already been felt as he has helped to bring focus and attention to the many ways in which we can work toward fully living into our vocations individually and communally.
Additionally, we have new tidings among our faculty to celebrate, as we welcome Rev. Dr. Shively Smith as Assistant Professor of New Testament as well as Dr. Rick Elgendy as Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Theology.
Rev. Smith is scheduled to complete her PhD at Emory University in early September. Her dissertation interpreted 1 Peter in conversation with other literary constructions of diaspora. She earned her Master of Theology from Columbia Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity from Candle School of Theology at Emory University. Her forthcoming publications include: “Jesus and Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:42-52)” and “Jesus Enters Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-10),” which will appear in the Feasting on the Gospels series. She is organized in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and has served as director of Christian Education at Greater Smith Chapel AME in Atlanta, Georgia. We welcome her to our community knowing she will enrich all of our lives intellectually and spiritually.
Dr. Elgendy comes to Wesley as a very recent graduate of The University of Chicago Divinity School. He will be teaching and working with us for two years through a postdoctoral fellowship with the Louisville Institute. His dissertation is provocatively entitled, “Power, Complicity, and Resistance: Rereading ‘The Powers’ with Karl Barth and Michel Foucault.” We anticipate that he will be a wonderful contributor to the National Capital Semester for Seminarians as well as to Wesley’s Public Theology emphasis.
May grace and peace abound for us all as we offer ourselves to God as living, energetic, and inspired sacrifices, which is, as Romans chapter 12 reminds us, our only true worship.
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