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2011 Annual Gathering Report from Pacific School of Religion


      Pacific School of Religion is facing the challenges of theological education in the 21st century with renewed energy and focused resources.

      After 14 years of distinguished service, Bill McKinney retired as president of PSR at the end of June, 2010. In July, Pacific School of Religion’s board of trustees announced the creation of the William McKinney Endowment for Innovation and Leadership to honor his devotion to and accomplishments for the school. The long-term goal of the McKinney Endowment is a faculty chair in innovation and leadership.

      The installation of Riess Potterveld as the 11th president of Pacific School of Religion took place on January 25, 2011 in an evensong service. Potterveld returns to PSR after serving as president of Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania for eight years. He served at PSR from 1993 to 2002 as vice president for institutional advancement and acting dean. In addition to being a popular member of the PSR community and a respected scholar, his efforts as vice president resulted in the launch of a successful capital campaign and a significant increase in donors. He also spearheaded the creation of a new endowment for field education stipends and a new program in congregational leadership.

      Another veteran of PSR administration returning to serve the school is Kathi McShane, who has been appointed vice president of institutional advancement, a position she held at PSR from 1998-2002.

     PSR’s professor of New Testament, Tat-siong Benny Liew, has been named as vice president of academic affairs and academic dean of Pacific School of Religion beginning July 1, 2011, for a three-year term.

      Faculty changes included Jeffrey Kuan’s resignation after nearly 20 years of service teaching Old Testament in order to become dean of the theological school at Drew University in Madison, NJ. Randall Miller was appointed as assistant professor of Christian ethics and social thought. Devin Zuber was appointed assistant professor of American studies, literature, and Swedenborgian studies.

      Pacific School of Religion will restructure its community education initiatives into the new Theological Education for Leadership (TEL) program, which will begin in September 2011. This program will provide progressive, accessible Christian theological education year-round for clergy, laity, and spiritual seekers. TEL is multicultural in its design and focus, and may be engaged for personal spiritual formation, lay leadership training, professional growth, or continuing education. A flexible learning approach fosters a strong and supportive community environment while enabling participation locally or at a distance through online learning.

      PSR hosted several events during the past year that provided important continuing education opportunities for clergy and lay leaders. The 2011 Earl Lectures at Pacific School of Religion, which took place Jan. 25-27, entitled, “Our Daily Bread: Faith, Work, and the Economy,” featured Robert Reich, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley; Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), a non-profit organization based in Chicago; Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder and senior pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in San Francisco; and Islamic scholar Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley.

      This year the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry celebrated its 10th anniversary with the inaugural Georgia Harkness Lecture given by Rebecca Ann Parker, president of Starr King School for Ministry, and the fourth annual Boswell Lecture, given by Patrick Cheng, assistant professor of historical and systematic theology at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.

      PSR plans to consolidate institutional advancement offices with three other institutions: Graduate Theological Union (GTU), Church Divinity School of the Pacific, (CDSP), and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS). PSR will continue to look to its partners within the GTU for more shared services. PSR began consolidating services with the GTU and neighboring CDSP two years ago, and now the three institutions share such services as human resources and business and finance.

      More than 2,000 PSR alumni/ae play leadership roles in the United States and around the world in churches, denominations, universities, and other institutions that work for compassion, justice and truth.  Alumni/ae include parish ministers as well as bishops, conference ministers, missionaries, campus ministers, professors of religion, and denominational executives. PSR has launched an exciting new online directory that will help you find old friends and stay connected with the alumni/ae events, read class notes, share photos, and much more, all in a secure, password-protected environment. To participate, please send your current email address to alumoffice@psr.edu. To access the directory, just go to the alum page at www.psr.edu. (Please note that we will not post any information in the directory without your permission.)

      Fifty-five United Church of Christ students are currently enrolled at PSR, their studies enriched by one of the most diverse and talented theological faculties in the country. PSR’s curriculum includes courses on UCC history, polity, and doctrine that are designed to help students prepare for ordination.  Ongoing UCC faculty members include PSR president Riess Potterveld, Randi Walker, professor of church history. PSR’s UCC staff members include Nicole Naffaa, director of recruitment and admissions; and Ann Jefferson, director of worship and program coordinator, community and continuing education. Many UCC churches serve as field education sites for PSR students, for which PSR is most grateful.






Other Reports:

Report of the Conference Minister

Report of the Board Chair

Repoort of the Associate Conference Minister for Border & Latino Ministries

Report of the Director of Finance, Administration & Communication

Report of the Associate for Church Development & Renewal

Report of the Youth & Young Adults Ministries Coordinator

Report of the Financial Development Team

Report of the Pilgrim Pines Camp Executive Director

Report of the President of the Pacific School of Religion

Report of the Coordinator of Parish Ministries

Report of Peppermint Ridge

Report of Retirement Housing Foundation

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