Changes at the top

Jeffrey W. Carter

■ The board of trustees of Bethany Theological Seminary has named the Rev. Jeffrey W. Carter as president. He succeeds Dr. Ruthann Knechel Johansen, who retired earlier this year after serving as president of the school since 2007.

Carter comes to his new role with 20 years of pastoral experience. Since 1995, he has been a member of the pastoral staff of Manassas Church of the Brethren in Manassas, Virginia — first as associate pastor and, for the past 10 years, as pastor and head of staff. 

Carter is a graduate of Bridgewater College, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Kim, have three daughters. 

Bethany, a seminary of the Church of the Brethren, is located in Richmond, Indiana.

 Michael B. Pawelke

■ The Rev. Michael B. Pawelke has been named sixth president of Briercrest College and Seminary in Caronport, Saskatchewan. He succeeds Dr. Dwayne Uglem, president from 2004 until earlier this year, who has returned to the faculty as professor of leadership and management.

At the time of his appointment, Pawelke was senior pastor of Compass Point Bible Church, a two-site congregation with campuses in Burlington and Hamilton, Ontario. A minister of the Associated Gospel Churches, he had been a church planter in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before becoming senior pastor of Brant Bible Church in Burlington, Ontario, in 1994. (Compass Point Church is the product of a merger between the Brant church and another congregation.)

Pawelke is a graduate of Briercrest, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  He and his wife, Linda, have two grown children.

Colin Godwin

■ The Rev. Colin Godwin has been named president of Carey Theological College in Vancouver, British Columbia, succeeding the Rev. Brian Stelck, who retired in June after 19 years as president.

From 1996 until earlier this year, Godwin and his wife, Karen, were missionaries with Canadian Baptist Ministries — first in Belgium, then in Rwanda, and finally, from 2010, in Kenya, where he was Africa Team Leader for the mission agency. While in Rwanda, he was professor and vice rector of the Rwanda Institute of Evangelical Theology.

Born in Belgium to a South African mother and a British Zimbabwean father, Godwin’s family migrated to Canada when he was five years old. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph, the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, McMaster University, and the University of Wales.  

Carey Theological College, a ministry of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, is affiliated with the University of British Columbia and shares a joint library collection, the John Richard Allison Library, with nearby Regent College. 

Mark R. Francis

■ The board of trustees of the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) has named Father Mark R. Francis as president. A member of the Clerics of St. Viator, or Viatorians, he served in Rome as that religious congregation’s superior general from 2000 to 2012.

Father Francis succeeds Father Donald Senior, who retired this year after 23 years as president of CTU, and who will return as professor of New Testament studies.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1982, Father Francis is a graduate of CTU and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo in Rome. He taught liturgy at CTU for 12 years and has been a visiting scholar at Santa Clara University in California.

Catholic Theological Union is a graduate school of theology and ministry in Chicago. It is jointly sponsored by 24 Catholic religious communities such as the Franciscans, Augustinians, and Norbertines.

 N. Bradley Christie

■ The board of trustees of Erskine College and Theological Seminary has named Dr. N. Bradley Christie as acting president. He succeeds Dr. David A. Norman, president since 2010, who resigned earlier this year, citing exhaustion. 

Erskine’s bylaws state that when a president departs, the senior administrator becomes acting president unless the board has named an interim or permanent chief executive. Christie, senior vice president for academic affairs, became acting president effective July 1. An interim presidential search committee was formed, but its members recommended that Christie remain acting president until a permanent president is found. The board affirmed this recommendation at its August meeting.   

The Erskine board also reaffirmed the college and seminary’s connection to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. In recent years, the relationship between the church and the school has been strained over whether the church, which appoints the school’s trustees, may also remove them. 

Christie is a graduate of Davidson College, the University of Virginia, Duke University, and Erskine Seminary. He joined the Erskine faculty in 1991 as assistant professor of English and became full professor in 1998. 

Erskine College and Theological Seminary, founded in 1839, is located in Due West, South Carolina.

Terry L. Brensinger

■ The Rev. Terry L. ­Brensinger has been appointed dean of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California. The seminary is a graduate division of Fresno Pacific University, and, as seminary dean, Brensinger serves on the university’s cabinet as a vice president. 

Brensinger succeeds Dr. Lynn Jost, who came to the seminary in 2006 when it was the California campus of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, a school which had two locations — California and British Columbia. As president, Jost oversaw the merger of the seminary’s California operations with Fresno Pacific University in 2010, which resulted in a name change to Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. (In Canada, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary remains as a constituent member of the Associated Canadian Theological Schools, or ACTS Seminaries, in Langley, British Columbia.) After a term as interim pastor in Kansas, Jost will rejoin the seminary faculty in Old Testament and preaching in 2014.

Brensinger, the new dean, is an ordained minister in the Brethren in Christ Church and has been professor of pastoral ministry at the seminary since 2011. Before that, he was a pastor and teacher for the International Brethren in Christ Association, where he trained other pastors around the world. For 16 years he was also a member of the faculty at Messiah College, where he chaired the biblical and religious studies department.

Brensinger is a graduate of Messiah College, Asbury Theological Seminary, and Drew University. He and his wife, Debra, have three adult children.

 Riess Potterveld

■ The board of trustees of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, has named the Rev. Riess Potterveld to a two-year term as acting president. He succeeds Dr. James A. Donahue, who was president of the union for 13 years before being appointed as the first lay president of Saint Mary’s College of California, a Catholic college run by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Dohahue took on his new role on July 1 this year.

For the past three years, Potterveld has been president of the Pacific School of Religion (PSR), an interdenominational seminary in Berkeley that is one of the nine member schools of the Graduate Theological Union. He had previously served as vice president for institutional advancement of PSR from 1993 until 2002. That year, he was named president of Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, serving until 2010. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, Potterveld is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Claremont Graduate School. He and his wife, Tara, have four adult children. The board of trustees of the Graduate Theological Union is developing plans for a permanent successor to Pottervelt.

 Stephen L. Sterner

Meanwhile, the board of trustees of Pacific School of Religion appointed the Rev. Stephen L. Sterner as acting president, succeeding Potterveld. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ for 43 years, Sterner has been executive minister for local church ministries for the UCC denomination and has served on the board of trustees of PSR. 

Sterner is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Judy, have two adult children.

Bryon L. Grigsby 

■ The joint board of trustees of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary has named Dr. Bryon L. Grigsby as the college and seminary’s 16th president. He succeeds the Rev. Christopher M. Thomforde, who retired in July after seven years at the helm.

From 2008 until this year, Grigsby was senior vice president and vice president for academic affairs at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. Earlier, from 2000 to 2008, he served in several academic and administrative roles at Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

A scholar of medieval and early modern literature, Grigsby is a graduate of Moravian College, Wake Forest University, and Loyola University of Chicago. 

Moravian College and Seminary was established by the Moravian Church in 1807 as an extension of an earlier boys’ academy that had been founded in 1742. It is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

 J. Ligon Duncan

■ The board of trustees of Reformed Theological Seminary has named the Rev. J. Ligon Duncan as the seminary’s chancellor and chief executive officer. Duncan has taught at the seminary for 23 years, most recently as professor of systematic and historical theology, and he is also senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

Duncan succeeds the Rev. Michael Milton, who retired in May on the advice of physicians. Duncan is a graduate of Furman University, Covenant Theological Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh. He is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in America and he and his wife, Anne, have two teenage children.

In addition to its original campus in Jackson, Mississippi, Reformed Theological Seminary has campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Houston, Texas; Marietta, Georgia; McLean, Virginia; and Oviedo, Florida; as well as a comprehensive distance education program, each headed by a president. The chancellor and CEO, based in Jackson, oversees all the campuses. 

Mark A. Latcovich

■ Bishop Richard G. Lennon of Cleveland has appointed Father Mark A. Latcovich as president-rector of Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Wickliffe, Ohio, the graduate-level seminary of the Diocese of Cleveland. He has also been appointed president-rector of Borromeo Seminary, the undergraduate seminary that shares a campus with Saint Mary Seminary.

Latcovich succeeds Father Thomas W. Tifft, who died on July 9, 2012, after a stroke. Father Tifft, age 69, had led the seminary since 2001. Father Latcovich was previously vice rector and academic dean at the seminary. A graduate of Borromeo College, St. Mary Seminary, and Case Western Reserve University, he was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Cleveland in 1981.

Neil Nyberg

■ The board of regents of Trinity International University has appointed Neil Nyberg as interim president of the university, effective July 1, 2013. He succeeds Dr. Craig Williford, president since 2009, who announced in February that he would not renew his contract with the university when it expires on June 30, 2014, and that he would take a terminal sabbatical for the 2013–14 academic year. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, an accredited theological school, is a graduate division of Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.

A member of the executive committee of the university’s board of regents, Nyberg became interim president on July 1. He retired from the Kellogg Company in 2010 as vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer, a position he had held since 2002. He joined Kellogg in 1979 as a staff attorney and was later named corporate counsel and director of corporate communications.

Nyberg is a graduate of Trinity and Southern Illinois University School of Law. He has served on the Trinity board for 15 years and chaired the board’s latest strategic planning effort. 

The board has formed a presidential search committee composed of faculty, board members, and leaders from the Evangelical Free Church, with which the university is affiliated.

 Rick Barger

■ The board of directors of Trinity Lutheran Seminary has named the Rev. Rick Barger as president, succeeding the Rev. Mark R. Ramseth, who retired earlier this year after 12 years at the helm of the seminary.

Since 2008, Barger has been lead pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Suwanee, Georgia, and previously he was for 15 years the pastor of Abiding Hope Lutheran Church in Littleton, Colorado. Before discerning a call to ministry, Barger earned degrees in civil engineering and construction management and managed international construction projects for 12 years. Later, he earned graduate degrees from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Dr. Thomas E. Ludwig, a former Trinity board member and professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich., has been serving as interim president since February 1. Barger and his wife, Harriet Hart Barger, have two adult children. One of eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Trinity is located in Columbus, Ohio.

 David H. Johnson


The board of governors of Providence University College and Theological Seminary in Otterburne, Manitoba, have named Dr. David H. Johnson as the school’s 14th president, making permanent an interim appointment announced last year. 

News summaries by Matt Forster and Jay Blossom.



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