Tennessee schools join forces

Emmanuel Christian Seminary has completed a merger with Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee. Near neighbors for the past half-century, the two schools are affiliated with the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, as well as with other churches that emerged from the “Restorationist” movement of the 19th century.

On July 1, 2015, Milligan College President Bill Greer announced the merger of Milligan and Emmanuel Christian Seminary.


Dr. Bill Greer, president of Milligan, told the Elizabethton Star newspaper that the merger’s goal is financial stability for Emmanuel Christian Seminary. The seminary’s trustees had determined that operating as an independent institution was “no longer economically feasible,” he said. For the last three years, college and seminary officials have been working together to address the seminary’s financial challenges.

The seminary is now part of Milligan College’s School of Bible and Ministry, one of five schools that comprise a new academic structure. The others are the schools of science and allied health, arts and humanities, and social science and education, as well as the William B. Greene Jr. School of Business and Technology. The college has immediate plans to build new engineering laboratories in some of the underutilized seminary facilities.

Dr. Rollin Ramsaran, academic dean and professor of New Testament, will continue as dean of the now-embedded seminary. Former seminary president Dr. Michael L. Sweeney remains on the faculty as associate professor of world mission and New Testament.

Changes at the top

 Guy Saffold

■ Dr. Guy Saffold has been named principal of the Associated Canadian Theological Schools, or ACTS Seminaries. Dr. Ken Radant, who has served concurrently as principal and academic dean since 2010, will continue as academic dean. ACTS Seminaries is a consortium of five member institutions — Canadian Baptist Seminary, Canadian Pentecostal Seminary, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Northwest Baptist Seminary, and Trinity Western Seminary — and is located on the campus of Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.

Saffold spent 27 years at Trinity Western in a variety of roles, including director of admissions, vice president for advancement, executive vice president, and chief executive of ACTS Seminaries. He later served for eight years on the staff of Power to Change, the Canadian branch of Campus Crusade for Christ, before returning to Trinity Western as special assistant to the president and university spokesman.

Ordained in the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, Saffold is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Seattle University.

 Neale Bennet

■ The Rev. Neale S. Bennet has been named president of the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He succeeds Dr. Daniel W. O’Brien, who served one year as interim leader following the departure of two-term president Canon Eric Beresford in 2014.

At the time of his appointment, Bennet was director of organizational learning at Nova Scotia Community College. He was previously director of organizational development and transformation at Capital Health in Halifax.

Bennet was ordained as an Anglican priest in 2004 after a career in marketing and communication. In the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, he co-leads the Vision, Strategy and Support Team on Building Healthy Leadership. He is an honorary assistant at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Halifax.

Bennet and his wife, Sharon Bennet, have two adult children. The Atlantic School of Theological was founded in 1971 by the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, and the Catholic Diocese of Halifax.

 Robert Duke

■ Dr. Robert R. Duke has been named interim dean of the Azusa Pacific University School of Theology and Azusa Pacific Seminary in Azusa, California. He succeeds the Rev. T. Scott Daniels, dean since 2010, who departed this summer to become pastor of Nampa College Church in Nampa, Idaho.

Duke is an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism. A graduate of Multnomah Bible College, Jerusalem University College, and UCLA, he joined the faculty of Azusa Pacific in 2006 and was named professor in 2007. He is also western regional director for the Green Scholars Initiative, the academic arm of the forthcoming Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

Duke has become a spokesman for the promotion of foster parenting. He and his wife, Jenny Duke, are the parents of two biological children, one adopted child, and one foster child.

 Donald Boisvert

■ The Rev. Donald Boisvert, an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Montreal, has been appointed principal of Montreal Diocesan Theological College, one of the constituent members of the Montreal School of Theology. He succeeds the Rev. Canon John Simons, who retired this year after 24 years as principal.

At the time of his appointment, Boisvert was chair of the department of religion at Concordia University in Montreal. He is also an assistant priest at Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal, which shared responsibility for French-language ministry at the cathedral. 

A graduate of Montreal Diocesan Theological College and the University of Ottawa, Boisvert is married to Gaston Lamontagne, his partner of 39 years.

 Andrew Baker

■ Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chancellor of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, has announced that Msgr. Andrew Baker will be the seminary’s next rector. He succeeds Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, rector from 2005 until 2015, who has returned to his home diocese of Peoria. Msgr. Rohlfs will be in residence and have pastoral duties at St. Joseph Parish in Pekin, Illinois.

Msgr. Baker, a priest of the Diocese of Allentown, was ordained in 1991. He has been pastor of the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena in Allentown, Pennsylvania, since 2009.

A graduate of the former Brisson Seminary in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Msgr. Baker did additional graduate study at Navarre University in Spain and at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He taught at the high school level and was a campus minister at Lehigh University before he joined the faculty at St. Charles Borromeo.

In 2001, he moved to the Vatican to join the staff of the Congregation for Bishops. Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, founded in 1808, is a graduate division of Mount St. Mary’s University, a 2,000-student school located on 1,400 acres in the rural Catoctin Mountains of Maryland.

 Joel K. Pearsall

■  Joel K. Pearsall has been named interim president of Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, succeeding Dr. David Alexander. Alexander resigned earlier this year after it came to light that he had an inappropriate relationship with a female student 25 years ago, when he was a faculty member. Randy Craker, chair of the university board of trustees, announced the reason on July 11, two months after the president’s resignation.

Pearsall has been asked to serve as president for up to two years. A member of the state bars of Idaho and Oregon, Pearsall practiced law for 16 years and was a member of the university board of regents before he joined the university administration in 1999. After serving as vice president for financial affairs and general council, Pearsall was named vice president for university advancement in 2008.

A lifelong member of the Church of the Nazarene, Pearsall is a graduate of Northwest Nazarene and Willamette University College of Law. He and his wife, Nikki Moritz Pearsall, are the parents of three adult children. His father, Kenneth Pearsall, was president of the university from 1973 to 1983.

 Joseph Umidi

■ Dr. Joseph Umidi has been named interim dean of the School of Divinity at Regent University. Umidi has been a faculty member at Regent University since 1985, teaching courses on leadership, church planting, and Christian education. Most recently he has served as director of field education and vice president for student life.

Lamerson is a graduate of Bob Jones University. He and his wife, Cynthia Lamerson, are the parents of two adult children.

 Robert Paul

■ The Rev. Robert Paul has been named dean of St. Andrew’s Hall, a Presbyterian theological college in Vancouver, British Columbia. He succeeds the Rev. Stephen Farris, who led St. Andrew’s Hall for 10 years while also teaching homiletics in the Vancouver School of Theology. Farris stepped down earlier this year.

At the time of his appointment, Paul was pastor of discipleship at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. He previously served Presbyterian churches in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Paul will teach courses in missions at the Vancouver School of Theology. He has served as president of Alongside Ministries International and Medical Ambassadors International, two international mission support organizations.

Paul is a graduate of the University of Washington, Fuller Theological Seminary, and the University of Wales through the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. He and his wife, Suzi Paul, have three adult sons.

 John Francis Kartje

■  Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago has named Father John Francis Kartje as rector/president of University of St. Mary of the Lake/ Mundelein Seminary, the seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Father Kartje succeeds Father Robert E. Barron, who in July was appointed as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Father Kartje has been a faculty member at Mundelein since 2009, serving as acting president of the faculty of theology, assistant professor of biblical studies, and a member of the formation faculty. He earned both an undergraduate degree and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago.

Discerning a call to ministry, Father Kartje earned a divinity degree from Mundelein and was ordained in the Chicago Archdiocese in 2002. From 2004 to 2009, while pursuing further graduate studies in Bible at the Catholic University of America, he was an assistant at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Washington, D.C.

 Brent C. Sleasman

■ The board of trustees of Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, Ohio, has named the Rev. Brent C. Sleasman as president. In December, he will succeed the Rev. David Draper, who is retiring after leading the seminary since 1988. At the time of his appointment, Bennet was director of organizational learning at Nova Scotia Community College. He was previously director of organizational development and transformation at Capital Health in Halifax.

Since 2008, Sleasman has taught in the School of Communication and the Arts at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. Previously he was a member of the faculty at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of Findlay, Winebrenner Theological Seminary, and Duquesne University, he is an ordained minister of the Churches of God, General Conference — the church body with which Winebrenner is affiliated.

Sleasman and his wife, Julie Sleasman, have three children.

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