New program reaches out to young adults 

Lilly Endowment Inc. has launched the Young Adult Initiative, a $19.4 million endeavor to work with congregations to develop ministries that better reach and support young adults.

The initiative will help develop “innovation hubs” at 12 seminaries, colleges, and universities, which will then work with congregations to design new ministries. The Indianapolis Center for Congregations will convene meetings of the innovation hubs to assist them in their work supporting congregations. 


“Religious leaders are searching for new ways to engage young adults and enrich the spiritual lives of this emerging generation,” says Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment. “The Young Adult Initiative is designed to help them meet the challenge.”


The institutions receiving the initiative grants:

  • Augsburg College 

  • Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 

  • Denver Seminary 

  • Fuller Theological Seminary 

  • Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

  • Hellenic College / Holy Cross Orthodox School of Theology

  • Indianapolis Center for Congregations 

  • Interdenominational Theological Center 

  • Princeton Theological Seminary 

  • Saint Meinrad Archabbey / Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology 

  • Seattle Pacific University 

  • Trinity International University / Trinity Evangelical Divinity School 

  • Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, D.C.)


Ohio seminary and university plan reunification

The boards of Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital University, neighboring institutions in Columbus, Ohio, have approved separate resolutions expressing a commitment to pursue reunion. 

Founded in 1830 as the German Theological Seminary, the seminary trustees had organized a full-fledged university in 1850, with separate undergraduate and seminary faculties and a new name: Capital University. The faculties separated into two institutions in 1959 at the direction of the American Lutheran Church, the sponsoring denomination, with the seminary renamed Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary.


In 1978, Hamma School of Theology, which had been a graduate program of Wittenberg College, was merged into the seminary, and the combined institution was renamed Trinity Lutheran Seminary.


In announcing their plan to consolidate, the two institutions noted four strategies for sustainability: 

  • New gift and grant opportunities.

  • New enrollment streams through new academic programs and interdisciplinary learning.

  • “Optimizing” the use of property—the two institutions are adjacent.

  • Integrating operations.

Leaders at Capital and Trinity hope to have an agreement in place by mid-summer and to begin a two-year process of implementation beginning this fall.


New name for George Fox

George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon, has announced a name change to Portland Seminary effective January 9, 2017. 

The seminary, which is associated with George Fox University, has undergone a name change “in an effort to strengthen its regional presence and better expand its national outreach,” according to the seminary. The seminary is also implementing changes to the curriculum, with new specializations and requirements in some of its master’s programs that will roll out this fall. 


More info:  


Final Henry Luce III Fellows named

The Henry Luce Foundation and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) have named the 2017–18 Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology — the final class of the program, which began in 1993. Fellows, who are full-time faculty members of ATS schools, receive up to $75,000 in salary replacement to pursue projects that are significant to theological studies. 


More info:


Changes at the top


 Nick Carter

■ American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, California, has named the Rev. Nick Carter as interim president. He succeeds the Rev. Paul M. Martin, president since 2009, who died in March 23, 2016. (For more information, see

Carter retired in 2014 after serving as president of Andover Newton Theological School for 10 years. Previously he founded the Wayfinders Consulting Group and co-founded what is now the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning and Leadership at Hebrew College. In Trust published a profile of him (online at upon his retirement from Andover Newton.


An ordained American Baptist minister, Carter is a graduate of Colgate University and Colgate Rochester Divinity School. He and his wife, the Rev. Deborah Carter, have one grown son. 

 MaryAnn Hawkins


■ John S. Pistole, president of Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, has named Dr. MaryAnn Hawkins as dean of the university’s School of Theology and Christian Ministry. Hawkins, the school’s first female dean, succeeds Dr. James Lewis, who retired in 2016 after two years at the helm. 


Hawkins has been on the faculty of the School of Theology since 2006, most recently as associate dean and as director of the doctor of ministry program. She previously served as academic dean of Kima International School of Theology in Kenya.


Hawkins is an ordained minister in the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) and has served in ministry for 30 years. She is a graduate of Bartlesville Wesleyan College, Azusa Pacific University, and Fuller Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Jim, have two grown children. 


 Andrea Luxton

■ The board of trustees of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, has named Dr. Andrea Luxton as president of the university. Luxton, whose term began July 1, succeeds Dr. Niels-Erik Andreasen, who retired in spring 2016 after more than 20 years as president. 

Luxton has served on the faculty of Andrews University since 2010 and was provost at the time of her appointment as president. She previously served as both vice president for academic administration and also president at Burman University (formerly Canadian University College) in Lacombe, Alberta. She has also served as president of Newbold College in England.


Luxton is a graduate of Newbold College, Andrews University, the Catholic University of America, and the University of Twente in the Netherlands. 

 Lee D. Kliewer


 Dr. Lee D. Kliewer has been named dean of Baptist Bible Seminary of Clarks Summit University in South Abington Township, Pennsylvania. He succeeds Dr. Michael Stallard, who led the seminary from 2008 until last year, when he was named director of international ministries for The Friends of Israel, a missionary organization based in Bellmawr, New Jersey. 


Kliewer joined the administrative staff of Clarks Summit University in 1998 and served variously as assistant dean, registrar, and director of the doctor of ministry program. In 2014 and 2015, he was executive director in the university president’s office. Kliewer, a Baptist minister, is a graduate of Clarks Summit University and Nova Southeastern University. He and his wife, Colleen, have three adult children. 


Clarks Summit University is an independent Baptist institution located eight miles north of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1932 as Baptist Bible Seminary in Johnson City, New York, the school moved to Pennsylvania in 1968 and changed its name to Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania. A final name change to Clarks Summit University was completed in 2016. 


 Thomas D. Stegman

■  Jesuit Father Thomas D. Stegman has been named dean of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He succeeds Father Mark Massa, dean since 2010, who has been named the next director of Boston College’s Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life.

Father Stegman has served on the faculty of the School of Theology and Ministry since 2008, serving most recently as associate professor of New Testament and chair of the Ecclesiastical Faculty. Previously he was a member of the faculty of Weston Jesuit School of Theology, which merged into Boston College that year (see Father Stegman has also held visiting chair positions at Creighton University and Marquette University. 


A member of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), Father Stegman is a graduate of Marquette University, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Emory University, and Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. 

 Iain Luke


 The Rev. Dr. Iain Luke has been named principal of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Dr. Luke is the college’s first principal since 2013, when it almost closed because of financial constraints. Luke is currently the college’s only full-time faculty member.


Luke most recently served as rector of St. James’ Cathedral in Peace River, Alberta. Prior to this, he was director of the Institute for Anglican Ministry and assistant professor of theology at St. John’s College in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 


He is a graduate of the University of King’s College, Queen’s University, the University of Oxford, and the University of Cambridge. Luke and his wife, the Rev. Victoria Luke, have two daughters. 


The College of Emmanuel and St. Chad is the official theological college for the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land, a group of Anglican dioceses in the Prairie Provinces and in the Arctic. Affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan, to which it sold its buildings in 2006, the college offers degrees in collaboration with the Saskatoon Theological Union, a consortium that includes Lutheran and United Church of Canada institutions.


 Donald Sweeting

■ The board of trustees of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado, has named Dr. Donald Sweeting as president. He succeeds William L. Armstrong, a former U.S. Representative and Senator who led the university from 2006 to 2016, when he died from cancer. 

At the time of his appointment, Sweeting had served as president of Reformed Theological Seminary’s Orlando campus since 2010. Previously he was senior pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Denver and founding pastor of Chain of Lakes Community Bible Church in Illinois. 


An ordained minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Sweeting is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Lawrence University, Oxford University, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his wife, Christina, have four children. 

Susan Schultz Huxman


 The board of trustees of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and the board of the Mennonite Education Agency have named Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman as president of the university. Huxman succeeds Dr. Loren E. Swartzendruber, who retired in June 2016 after 13 years as head of the university. Dr. Lee Snyder, academic dean, served as interim president for six months until Huxman’s term began January 1, 2017. 


At the time of her appointment, Huxman had been president of Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario, since 2011. Previously she was director of Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication. 


A graduate of Bethel College in Kansas and the University of Kansas, Huxman and her husband, Jesse, have three grown children. She is the first woman to be appointed as permanent president of Eastern Mennonite University.


Michael Joseph Higgins

■ The board of trustees of the Franciscan School of Theology in Oceanside, California, has appointed Father Michael Joseph Higgins as president. He succeeds Franciscan Father Joseph Chinnici, who served as president for five years before returning to the faculty as president emeritus and professor of history. Father Chinnici oversaw the school’s move in 2013 from Berkeley, California, where it had been part of the Graduate Theological Union, to Old Mission San Luis Rey near San Diego. (For more information on the school’s new partnership with the University of San Diego, see

Father Higgins was most recently vice president for academic affairs at the Franciscan School of Theology and previously served as special assistant to the president and dean. From 2001 to 2007, he was vicar general of the Franciscan Third Order Regular Friars in Rome and from 2007 to 2013 he was minister general for the order. 


Father Higgins entered the Third Order Regular Franciscans in 1978 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1985. He is a graduate of St. Michael’s College and Regis College in Toronto, Duquesne University, the Antonianum in Rome, and Capella University. 

 Barry Craig


 Dr. Barry L. Craig has been named 17th principal of Huron University College in London, Ontario. He succeeds Dr. Stephen McClatchie, principal since 2011, who elected not to seek a second term as principal when his term ended in 2016. After a year’s sabbatical, McClatchie will return to the classroom. 


Craig most recently served as vice president for academics and research at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He previously served as dean of faculty and associate professor of philosophy at St. Thomas. 


Craig is a graduate of the University of King’s College, Dalhousie University, and the University of Wales. Huron University College, with a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and a Faculty of Theology, is an independent institution affiliated with Western University (also called the University of Western Ontario) in London, Ontario. Students in its undergraduate and graduate theology programs receive their degrees from Western. 


 David Ratke

■ Rev. Dr. David Ratke has been appointed as the first dean of the newly-formed College of Theology at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina. The new college replaces Lenoir-Rhyne’s School of Theology and includes the graduate courses at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, which is embedded in the university. Seminary provost Dr. Clayton J. Schmit stepped down in 2016 after four years at the helm; Schmit is now pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Ratke has served at Lenoir-Rhyne University in various leadership positions, most recently serving as chair of the faculty. Prior to his appointment as chair of the faculty, he served as chair of the school of humanities and social sciences. An ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Ratke serves as a supply preacher in the North Carolina synod and has previously served parishes in North Dakota, Germany, and Alaska. 


Ratke and his wife, Noelle Rasmussen, are the parents of two children. He is a graduate of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and the University of Regensburg in Germany. 


Also: Dr. Frederick Whitt has been named president of Lenoir-Rhyne University. He succeeds Dr. Wayne B. Powell, who retired effective January 2017. Dr. Whitt’s leadership began on February 1, 2017.

 Mark Wessner


 The board of directors of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Langley, British Columbia, has named Dr. Mark Wessner as president. He succeeds Dr. Bruce L. Guenther, the first president of the seminary after its separation from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in California. Guenther led the school for five years and is now associate dean and professor of church history and Mennonite studies. 


Before his appointment, Wessner served as a pastor of Westwood Mennonite Brethren Church in Prince George, British Columbia, for 10 years, including the last six years as lead pastor. He has also previously taught at Mennonite Brethren Seminary as well as at Briercrest College and Seminary and at American Public University. For 12 years he was a project manager in land development for the Government of British Columbia. 


Wessner is a graduate of Regent College and the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters. 


 Michael L. Baker

■ The board of trustees of Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, has appointed Dr. Michael L. Baker as president of the seminary. He succeeds Dr. R. Lamar Vest, a former two-time general overseer of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), who led the seminary for two years before stepping down in 2016. Shortly before being appointed to lead the seminary, Baker was also named chancellor of the Church of God’s Division of Education, which oversees the denomination’s colleges, seminaries, and schools worldwide. 

Prior to his dual appointment, Baker served the Church of God in a number of roles, including director of communications at the church’s international headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee, and director of the Church of God International General Assembly. In his new positions, Baker will implement new denominational directives to assimilate the work of the seminary and the denomination’s other educational institutions.


Baker is a graduate of Lee College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife, Sharon, have one adult daughter. 

 Neil Blair


 The board of trustees of Saint Paul School of Theology in Leawood, Kansas, has named the Rev. Neil Blair as president, effective July 2016. He succeeds the Rev. H. Sharon Howell, who stepped down in March 2016, citing medical concerns and the advice of her physician. Howell had led the school since 2014. In a three-month interim period, the school was led by executive vice president Dr. Nancy R. Howell.


Blair was most recently executive director for institutional advancement for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Prior to that, he served as president of the Foundation for Evangelism of the United Methodist Church. He also previously served Saint Paul School of Theology for 19 years as vice president for development. 


Saint Paul School of Theology is one of 13 theological schools of the United Methodist Church. Blair, a Saint Paul graduate, is an ordained United Methodist minister and has two adult sons. 


Henry "Laurie" Thompson III

 The board of trustees of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, has appointed the Rev. Henry “Laurie” Thompson III as dean and president. He succeeds the Rev. Justyn Terry, who served as dean and president from 2008 until June 2016, when he stepped down to return to ministry in his native England. Thompson was originally appointed on an interim basis in May 2016, and in December of the same year, the board of trustees named him as the school’s permanent leader. 

Thompson has served Trinity since 1997 in a number of roles, including dean of administration and dean of advancement. He has also led the school’s doctor of ministry program since 2001. He is a graduate of Denison University, Trinity Seminary (Bristol, United Kingdom), General Theological Seminary, and Trinity School for Ministry. Thompson was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1980. Prior to his tenure at Trinity, he served in parish ministry for 19 years. He and his wife, Mary, have three grown children.

 Lewis P. Zeidner


  Dr. Lewis P. Zeidner has been named president of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota, for a one-year term. He succeeds Dr. Barbara A. Holmes, president from 2012 to 2016, who retired for reasons of health. 


At the time of his appointment, Zeidner had served four years on the executive committee of the seminary’s board of trustees, including two years as chair. A business consultant who has launched and run several successful business ventures, Zeidner began his career in family psychology and served as a hospital administrator for 15 years.


Zeidner is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and the University of Connecticut.


 Also: In Trust’s New Year 2016 issue reported that Michael Joseph Brown had been named interim president of Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio. In December 2016, the seminary announced that Brown had been named the permanent president. More information at


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