August 23, 2013
Greetings to you all at Wesley Theological Seminary!
I am pleased and honored to serve Wesley’s vibrant learning community as its Dean. It is a great privilege to join this excellent faculty, staff, and administration, for the purpose of equipping spiritual leaders, advancing scholarship, and prophetically engaging the public square.
Given the tremendous changes and challenges in church and society, Wesley’s bold and faithful approach to theological education is needed more now than ever. Our world desperately needs persons who can think theologically as they envision a ‘new creation’. Our churches clamor for spiritually gifted and capable leaders with whom they can better discern and work toward their higher calling. The ‘least’ and lost and marginalized yearn for those who will join them in solidarity, will proclaim justice to the powerful, and will welcome them into Christian communion. As our social fabric is torn asunder by vitriolic discourse and militant intolerance, we need leaders who can cross barriers of division and convene radically different peoples into redemptive, life-giving communities.
The challenges for church, society, and the world are immense and the stakes are higher than ever. What better time could there be for Christian leadership and its preparation?! To pursue your call to leadership more fully, I encourage you to plunge right in to Wesley’s community of faithful learning, follow the Spirit’s leading into self-transcendence, and let yourself be immersed baptismally in the transforming whirlwind of theological education.
From one newbie to all others, let me welcome our new students. Wesley Seminary is blessed beyond measure to have a terrific entering cohort. They are an accomplished, diverse, and eager bunch, and I anticipate a great year ahead. You are embarking on a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don’t be timid; don’t hold back. Dive in! Join the choirs, engage the arts, explore the ideas, worship exuberantly, protest passionately, and pray earnestly in small covenant groups. God is not finished with you yet, so allow the Spirit to work in and through your vigorous engagement.
Our returning students will find lots of changes in the seminary community. A new dorm has been completed, and for that we are immensely grateful. We are also pleased to welcome onto our campus quite a few American University students who will be staying in our older dorms. We will want to extend to them – and to our new students – every courtesy of Christian hospitality. Let us help each other find our way to higher ground.
Returning students will also notice new faces in our staff and faculty, and I want to draw your attention especially at this point to our two full-time professors who are joining the Wesley faculty: Paul Cho and F. Douglas Powe.
Paul Kang-Kul Cho will serve as Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible. He comes with a B.A. from Yale University, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and a freshly minted Ph.D. from Harvard University. His dissertation is entitled, “The Sea in the Hebrew Bible: Myth, Metaphor, and Muthos.” Dr. Cho is ordained in the United Presbyterian Church and has served as guest preacher at the Formosan Grace Christian Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and as children’s ministry pastor at the New Haven Korean Church in New Haven, Connecticut.
F. Douglas Powe will serve as the James C. Logan Professor of Evangelism and Urban Ministry. He received a B.A. in Economic Management from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Emory University. Dr. Powe served as the E. Stanley Jones Associate Professor of Evangelism and Associate Professor of Black Church Studies at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, MO beginning in 2004. He is ordained in the United Methodist Church and has authored many books and articles.
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