Inaugural Director of the Theology, Ecology, and Food Program Named
In September 2020, Truett Seminary announced the selection of Jennifer Howell, PhD, as the inaugural director of the Theology, Ecology, and Food Justice Program, a grant-funded initiative by World Hunger Relief Inc. (WHRI) and the Baugh Family Foundation.
The Theology, Ecology, and Food Justice Program will offer a holistic approach to educating students, ministers, and community leaders on the church’s role in matters related to ecology, sustainability and food justice. Program initiatives will include:
- Seminary courses hosted at the WHRI farm exploring theological principles, biblical passages and best practices related to ecology, creation care and food justice in conversation with leading scholars and practitioners
- The opportunity for seminary students to complete their mentorship or field education at the WHRI farm
- Research and advocacy for creation care
- Collaboration with other organizations to address larger systemic issues related to ecology, food justice and faith formation
- Engagement opportunities for pastors and community leaders
Howell holds a BA in English literature from Texas A&M University; a MDiv from Duke Divinity School; and a PhD in theology from Baylor University. Her dissertation focused on German theologian/author Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s understanding of the doctrine of creation. Since 2017, she has taught courses as an adjunct professor in Christian theology at Truett Seminary and the Baylor Honors College.
Wesley House of Studies Established
Following extended conversations with and consultation of seminary faculty, alumni, and friends, Dean Todd D. Still announced the formation of a Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary in June 2020. In conjunction, he announced that Dr. William J. Abraham, a theologian, philosopher, author and minister, will serve as the founding director of this strategic initiative.
In this role, Abraham will ensure that students attending Truett from Wesleyan traditions are nurtured and networked for the ministries into which they are being called. Additionally, Abraham, who will regularly teach courses at Truett pertaining to Wesleyan thought and practice, will collaborate with individuals, congregations, and organizations in the Wesleyan tradition in the recruiting, training, and placing of students and in supporting and educating ministers who are already engaged in gospel service.
A gifted teacher, sought-after lecturer, prolific author, and ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, Abraham holds degrees from The Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland (BA); Asbury Theological Seminary (MDiv); and Oxford University, Regent’s Park College (DPhil), and has taught at Seattle Pacific University, Harvard Divinity School and Southern Methodist University.
San Antonio Extension Plans Announced
In May 2020, Truett Seminary announced plans to launch an extension campus for the San Antonio region in 2021, seeking to reach students who cannot pursue traditional, in-residence theological education. True to Truett’s mission, the extension will exist to equip God-called people for gospel ministry in and alongside the local church.
The proposed extension campus will offer Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) and Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degrees and will be housed at San Antonio’s Trinity Baptist Church. The opening of the San Antonio extension is contingent upon external review and approval from two accrediting agencies: The Association of Theological Schools and The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Coupled with the offering of classical theological education to students, due to the city’s location, heritage, and demographics, Truett’s extension in San Antonio also will be able to offer a rich variety of field education opportunities. In addition to ministry in local churches, opportunities for field placement might also include ministry among the homeless and among refugees seeking asylum status from politically unstable countries. Because San Antonio is home to seven major military installations, another possibility for field education might be military chaplaincy. Mentoring opportunities might also be available for students who are interested in hospital and sports chaplaincy.
Truett Certificate Program Partners with BGAV
Truett Seminary and the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) have entered into a collaborative agreement between Truett’s Online Certificate Program and the BGAV Ministry Equipping Network in order to create several new opportunities for ministers and lay-people to earn an Advanced Certificate of Ministry.
The BGAV Ministry Equipping Network certificate courses include tracks of study focused on Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Family Ministry, and Church Finance. The classes are all offered online, giving students the opportunity to learn from the comfort of their homes while still enjoying live interactions with course instructors and fellow participants.
Students in the program will take multiple classes through Truett examining a variety of subjects, including Scripture, theology, and Church history. The BGAV courses will be topic-specific depending on the student’s chosen track and practice focused.
“The Truett and BGAV certificate programs are stronger together. We get to utilize their strengths in practical ministry training and our strengths in foundational ministry education and combine those resources together to give our students an experience that is tailor fit to them,” said David Tate, Director of the Online Certificate Program.
Designated Seminary Student Housing Now Available
During the fall 2020 semester, for the first time in its history, Truett Seminary began offering seminary student designated housing, creating a uniquely connected community, at The Gables apartments. For this initial leasing period, all available units were claimed, marking a successful launch for this new initiative.
Malcolm Foley Named Director of Black Church Studies Program
In June 2020, Baylor University President Linda Livingstone, PhD announced the appointment of Malcolm Foley as special advisor to the president for equity and campus engagement and director of the Black Church Studies Program at Truett Seminary.
In this joint role, Foley will facilitate engagement and interaction with and among the many diverse members of the Baylor campus community and work collaboratively to develop initiatives designed to foster a welcoming and inclusive campus for all.
Foley previously served as a student regent for Baylor and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religion studying the history of Christianity. His dissertation investigates African American Protestants responding to lynching from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and master’s degree at Yale Divinity School and is the director of discipleship at Mosaic Waco.