The future of libraries in theological education

In June, key administrators from 12 seminaries and divinity schools gathered to reflect on the future of libraries in theological education. Held in Pittsburgh, the event was jointly sponsored by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS). 

Each participating institution brought a team to the meeting, including the library director, chief academic officer, and chief technology officer. The group identified six areas of concern that theological libraries face:

  • Support for online and distance education.

  • Information literacy.

  • The need for collaboration among schools.

  • Scholarly communications, including open access.

  • Financial concerns.

  • The digital divide among both students and faculty. 

Based on the findings of this and future sessions, ATLA will release a white paper on theological librarianship.

The American Theological Library Association is a membership organization with 800 individual, institutional, and affiliate members. It produces ATLAS (ATLA Serials), an online database that includes the full text of 260 major religion and theology journals.

Brenda K. Bailey-Hainer
Executive Director
American Theological Library Association


Daniel Lockwood

Daniel Lookwood, 65, Multnomah president

The longtime head of Multnomah University died from cancer on July 9. Daniel Lockwood had retired in November 2013 after 34 years at Multnomah. He was first diagnosed with cancer in 2004.

Lockwood taught theology for 11 years and then served seven years as dean of the seminary. In 1997 he was named Multnomah’s fourth president, and he led the college and seminary to university status in 2008.

Lockwood is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jani, and their daughter, Elise. 

New leader for Christian college group

Shirley V. Hoogstra

Shirley V. Hoogstra, vice president for student life at Calvin College, has been named president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), an association with 120 institutions in the United States and 56 affiliate members in 19 countries. 

She succeeds Edward O. Blews Jr., who was dismissed by the CCCU board in October 2013 after 10 months in office. In February 2014, Blews sued the council for breach of contract.

William P. Robinson, chair of the board of Princeton Theological Seminary, has been serving as interim president. 

Hoogstra was a partner in a Connecticut law firm, and was a member of Calvin’s board of trustees, when she joined the college’s administration in 1999. A graduate of Calvin College and the University of Connecticut School of Law, Hoogstra has been an active participant in, and planner for, CCCU leadership programs over the past 14 years.

Changes at the top

Kenneth L. Cukrowski

■  Kenneth L. Cukrowski, associate professor of New Testament at Abilene Christian University, has been named dean of the university’s College of Biblical Studies. He first began serving in the position in an interim capacity in 2012, succeeding Jack Reese, who was dean for three terms before stepping down that year.

At the time of his appointment, Cukrowski was vice provost at the university. He had previously been associate dean for academics for 11 years. Cuckrowski is a graduate of Abilene Christian University and Yale Divinity School. He taught at Bangor Theological Seminary and Lubbock Christian University before joining the faculty at Abilene. He and his wife, Karen Cukrowski, have two college-age daughters.

Abilene Christian University is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, and Cukrowski and his family are members of Minter Lane Church of Christ in Abilene.

Daniel W. O'Brien

■  The board of governors of Atlantic School of Theology has appointed Daniel W. O’Brien to a one-year term as president. He succeeds Canon Eric Beresford, who has stepped down after two terms at the helm. O’Brien is president emeritus of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he retired in 2006 after 16 years as the university’s head. For the past two years, he has been president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (also called NSCAD University). Prior to that temporary appointment, he served a one-year term as acting president of Atlantic School of Theology while Beresford was on sabbatical leave. O’Brien is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Dalhousie University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Atlantic School of Theology was founded in 1971 by Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and members of the United Church of Canada.

Robert M. Pipta

■ The Very Rev. Robert M. Pipta has been appointed rector of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh. He succeeds the Rev. George D. Gallaro, professor of canon law and ecumenical theology, who has been leading the seminary on an interim basis since last year, when the previous rector, the Rev. Kurt Burnette, was appointed by Pope Francis to a leadership position in the Byzantine hierarchy. Burnette was enthroned as eparch (or bishop) of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic on December 4, 2013. The Eparchy of Passaic, based in New Jersey, includes Catholics of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite who live in 16 East Coast states and the District of Columbia.

Born in Anaheim, California, Pipta is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, and the Byzantine Catholic Seminary. He was ordained in the Byzantine Eparchy of Phoenix (formerly called the Eparchy of Van Nuys) in 1994 and was named parochial vicar of St. Stephen Pro-Cathedral in Phoenix, where he served until 1997. He was then named administrator of St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in Las Vegas, and for the last 10 years he had been pastor of Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church in San Diego.

The Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius was established in 1950. It is governed by a board of directors under the leadership of the Metropolitan of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh — the archbishop over all Byzantine Rite Catholics in the U.S.

Paul Kooistra

■ The board of trustees of Erskine College and Theological Seminary have named the Rev. Paul Kooistra as president of the institution. He succeeds N. Bradley Christie, the school’s senior vice president for academic affairs, who became acting president last year after the departure of former president David Norman.

Kooistra was president of Covenant Theological Seminary from 1984 to 1994, when he was tapped to head Mission to the World, the international mission agency of the Presbyterian Church in America. Under his 20-year leadership, the agency increased its annual budget to $50 million and expanded its reach to 80 nations.

Before moving to Covenant Seminary, Kooistra taught at Belhaven College and Reformed Theological Seminary. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America, he is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Columbia Theological Seminary, and the University of Alabama.

Christopher H. Wisdom

Also at Erskine, the Rev. Christopher H. Wisdom has been appointed to the chief leadership position at Erskine Seminary, with the title of vice president and professor of practical theology. Ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Wisdom was a chaplain in the U.S. Army for 28 years before retiring this year as a colonel. He is a graduate of Nyack College, Westminster Theological Seminary, Syracuse University, Erskine Theological Seminary, and the Army War College.

Wisdom was beginning Ph.D. studies at the University of Chester and Wales Evangelical School of Theology, both in the United Kingdom, at the time of his appointment. 

Don Green

■  The board of trustees of Lincoln Christian University has named Don Green as transitional president, succeeding Keith H. Ray, who retired in May after 16 years at the helm. Ray is now senior vice president of Christian Homes Inc., a group of retirement communities based in St. Louis. Green has been affiliated with Lincoln Christian University for 47 years, serving as a trustee, administrative assistant to the president, director of development, executive vice president, and vice president of church development. He is currently professor of leadership and director of two academic programs, the online master’s degree in organizational leadership and the seminary’s leadership specialization for D.Min, M.A., and M.Div. students. Green is a graduate of Lincoln Christian and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his wife, Margaret Green, have one adult daughter.

Lincoln Christian University, known until 2009 as Lincoln Christian College and Seminary, is based in Lincoln, Illinois. It is affiliated with the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.

Per Nilsen

■ The board of directors of The Master’s Institute has named the Rev. Per Nilsen as president, succeeding the Rev. Michael Bradley, who headed the institute from 2003 to 2013. Bradley remains director of the Alliance of Renewal Churches, a network of congregations with a shared heritage in Lutheran renewal movements. Nilsen helped to found Community of Hope Church in Rosemount, Minnesota, and has served as its lead pastor for 12 years. Until earlier this year, he was also senior pastor of North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills and Roseville, Minnesota. Nilsen is a graduate of the University of Minnesota at Morris and Luther Seminary. He and his wife, Mary, have two children.

The Master’s Institute, founded in 2001 and located in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, collaborates with Bethel Seminary and Regent University School of Divinity to offer accredited degree programs. Its graduates serve congregations affiliated with the Alliance of Renewal Churches, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, Harvest Network International, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 

Craig Williford

■ The board of trustees of Multnomah University has named Craig Williford as the university’s new president. He succeeds Wayne Strickland, provost of the university, who served as acting president after President Daniel Lockwood stepped down in late 2013 for health reasons. 

Williford was president of Trinity International University from 2009 to 2013. He was previously president of Denver Seminary for eight years and led churches in Colorado, Ohio, and Illinois.

Williford is a graduate of Cedarville College, Denver Seminary, and Trinity International University. He and his wife, Carolyn Williford, an author, have one adult son. (A second son died in 2010.)

R. Lamar Vest

■  The board of trustees of Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, has named R. Lamar Vest as the 10th president of the seminary. He succeeds Steve Land, president for the last 12 years, who stepped down to pursue other avenues of ministry. Land served the seminary for 37 years as a faculty member and administrator. 

Vest was president of Lee University, also in Cleveland, Tennessee, from 1984 to 1986 before being elected to the Church of God executive committee, a five-person team that exercises churchwide leadership for the Pentecostal denomination based in that city. He held the denomination’s top leadership post, general overseer, from 1990 to 1994 and again from 2000 to 2004. In 2006, he joined the American Bible Society as executive vice president for Global Scripture Ministries and was president of the society from 2009 to 2013. 

A graduate of Lee University and Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Vest has been on the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in New York City since his departure from the American Bible Society.

Alex Faseruk

■  The Corporation of Queen’s College has appointed the Rev. Alex Faseruk as interim administrator. He succeeds the Right Rev. Geoffrey Peddle, who was named provost and vice chancellor in 2013, but who, later that same year, was elected bishop of the Anglican diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Ordained in the Anglican Church in Canada, Faseruk is a professor of finance in the Faculty of Business Administration at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is a graduate of Queen’s University in Ontario, Dalhousie University, the University of Kentucky, and Queen’s College in Newfoundland.

Queen’s College is the Anglican faculty of theology at the Memorial University of Newfoundland; it is located in St. John’s, the capital and largest city of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Corporation of Queen’s College is its governing board.

Marc Trudeau

■  Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles has named Msgr. Marc Trudeau as the new rector of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California. He succeeds Msgr. Craig Cox, the seminary’s rector since 2007, who has been appointed pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in nearby Santa Clarita, California.

Ordained in 1991, Trudeau is a graduate of the University of Southern California and of St. John’s Seminary. He was previously pastor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Catholic Church, a 4,000-family parish in Lomita, California. Last year he returned to the seminary to serve as vice rector and director of internship programs.

Established in 1939, St. John’s is the Catholic seminary for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 

H. Sharon Howell

■  The Rev. H. Sharon Howell has been named interim president of the Saint Paul School of Theology while the seminary continues its search for a new president. She succeeds R. Kevin LaGree, the retired president of Simpson College in Iowa, who had been filling the position since November 2013. Saint Paul’s former head, the Rev. Myron F. McCoy, announced his intention to resign last year and was given a terminal sabbatical. He has since been appointed pastor of the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, the oldest church in Chicago.

Howell is pastor emerita of First United Methodist Church in Lawrence, Kansas. From 2005 until 2012, she was president of the Scarritt-Bennett Center, a United Methodist retreat center in Nashville.

A graduate of Austin College and Saint Paul School of Theology, Howell is a former district superintendent in the United Methodist Church. Between 1980 and 1985, she was director of recruitment and then vice president of student recruitment and alumni/ae development at Saint Paul School of Theology.

Saint Paul School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary established in 1958, has locations in the Kansas City and Oklahoma City metropolitan areas.

News summaries by Matt Forster and Jay Blossom.

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