Religion census offers county-level detail on church groups

The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies has released its 2010 U.S. Religion Census, a 726-page volume with color maps, contact information for religious groups, and detailed county- and state-level information about religious affiliation. Leaders in theological education will likely find it a rich resource for strategic planning.

The book includes data from 236 different religious bodies— Christian, Jewish, and more. The editors have taken special care to include nondenominational Christian groups, and the result is a marked difference from religion surveys issued in past years. Nondenominational Christian churches are now among the five largest groups in most counties, which significantly undermines notions like Baptist uniformity in the South or Catholic dominance in parts of the West.

Pages 9 through 644 of the Census list every county in the United States, with membership and attendance information on every religious body within each county. At the back, additional tables and appendices explain how the researchers approached hard-to-count groups like Amish, Muslims, and Buddhists. Finally, the book includes 32 fullcolor, county-level maps that show membership for many denominational families across the United States.

The U.S. Religion Census is available from the Nazarene Publishing House at County, state, and national reports based on the research, including the census dataset, are available at, and group maps and other resources are online at

St. Vladimir’s Seminary plans Arvo Pärt Project

Composer Arvo Pärt (seated) with Nicholas Reeves, assistant professor of liturgical music at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary

The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary a $40,000 grant to plan a collaborative project with Arvo Pärt, an Estonian whose minimalist compositions, influenced by Gregorian chant, have endeared him to classical music lovers. Pärt and his wife Nora joined the Orthodox church in 1972 and escaped to the West in 1980, where he continued setting scriptural and liturgical texts to music.

The new planning grant will enable the seminary to develop the Arvo Pärt Project as a series of publications along with concerts and lectures. The project’s directors, professors Peter C. Bouteneff and Nicholas Reeves, plan to explore the connections between the conductor’s unusual musical method and Orthodox spirituality.

Hebrew College will keep its building

Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann, president of Hebrew College, has announced that the school is shelving its plan to sell its building in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. Eighteen months ago, the college announced that to pay off more than $32 million in mortgage debt, it would have find a buyer for its modern facility designed by celebrated Israeli architect Moshe Safdie. The school had planned to rent space from nearby Andover Newton Theological School.

 Daniel L. Lehmann

But last year, when the building went on the market, interest was tepid. Because real estate prices were low, college leaders and the bond insurer decided that refinancing the building and restructuring debt was a better option. In addition, board members and supporters donated $3 million and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the guarantor of its original mortgage, agreed to pay $5.2 million of the college’s debt.

With Hebrew College staying in its own building, it will continue to work with Andover Newton on joint programs.

Changes at the top

 Norman Threinen

■ The Rev. Norman Threinen, a retired professor at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta, has been named interim president of the seminary following the brief interim leadership of the Rev. Edwin Lehman, retired president of the Lutheran Church–Canada, who served from October to December 2011. Concordia is one of two seminaries affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Canada, a body formed in 1988 by Missouri Synod Lutheran congregations in Canada.

Lehman had been appointed to fill the vacancy left by the October 2011 departure of the Rev. Manfred Zeuch, president since 2007. Zeuch subsequently assumed a two-year pro tem position as vice president international of Concordia University College of Alberta, where he is spearheading partnerships with schools in Latin America and elsewhere and is helping recruit international students. He has also been named chair of Concordia University College’s master’s program in biblical and Christian studies.

 A graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, Threinen joined the Edmonton seminary’s faculty in 1984, teaching historical theology, and retired in 2002. He was dean of student life for nine years and served as acting president during the 2003–04 academic year. After retirement from teaching, he was director of the seminary’s Missionary Study Centre from 2002 until 2007.

David N. Hempton

■ Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust has announced that David N. Hempton, professor of evangelical theological studies at Harvard Divinity School, will become the divinity school’s next dean. He will assume his new duties in July 2012, succeeding William A. Graham, dean since 2002, who will return to the faculty as professor of Middle Eastern studies.

Hempton joined the Harvard Divinity faculty in 2007 after having previously been professor of the history of Christianity at Boston University for nine years. A native of Northern Ireland, he was director of the School of History at Queen’s University in Belfast before moving to Massachusetts.

A graduate of Queens University in Belfast and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Hempton is married to Louanne Hempton, and they have two grown children.

Clayton J. Schmit

■ The Rev. Clayton J. Schmit has been named provost of the School of Theology of Lenoir-Rhyne University, a new division of the university that includes Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Schmit will be the chief administrative officer for the seminary — its 18th leader, but the first under the new configuration. He succeeds the Rev. Marcus J. Miller, who is retiring this summer after serving as president of the seminary since 2006. Lenoir-Rhyne is affiliated with the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and the newly configured school of theology will remain one of eight ELCA seminaries.

The merger between Lenoir-Rhyne and Lutheran Southern is effective July 1, 2012. Advanced degree programs will remain at the seminary campus in Columbia, South Carolina, while undergraduate programs in religion and theology, which will also come under the school of theology’s umbrella, will be taught at the university’s main campus in Hickory, North Carolina. In the future, seminary courses may also be offered at the university’s new Center for Graduate Studies, which opens this fall in Asheville, North Carolina.

An ordained Lutheran minister, Schmit comes to Lenoir-Rhyne from Fuller Theological Seminary, where he has taught preaching since 2000. Since 2001 he has been academic director of Fuller’s Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, and the Graduate Theological Union, he is married to Carol Vallely, and they have two children.

Robin D. Hadaway

■ The Rev. Robin D. Hadaway, associate professor of missions at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was appointed acting president of the seminary at a special meeting of the board of trustees on February 10, 2012, and was subsequently elected interim president by the trustees on April 16, 2012. Hadaway succeeds the Rev. R. Philip Roberts, who departed under pressure by trustee leaders. The Associated Baptist Press reported that trustees questioned the accuracy of Roberts’s financial reports and accused him of verbal abuse of staff. Eleven chief financial officers served during his 11-year tenure as president.

Hadaway has taught missions at Midwestern since 2003. Previously he and his wife, Kathy, served 18 years as missionaries with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. As regional leader for the agency’s work in eastern South America, he supervised more than 300 missionaries in Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

Hadaway is a graduate of Memphis State University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and the University of South Africa. He and his wife have three grown children.

Stephen Hero Paul Terrio

■  Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Alberta, has simultaneously appointed two Quebec natives to head the archdiocese’s two institutions of theological education. Father Stephen Hero was named rector of St. Joseph Seminary, which provides human, spiritual, and pastoral formation for future priests in western Canada. Father Paul Terrio was named president of Newman Theological College, a related institution that provides academic formation for the seminary’s priesthood candidates and theological education for members of religious orders and lay men and women. The two replace Father Shayne Craig, who has been seminary rector for 10 years and college president for two years. After a sabbatical, Father Craig will return to the seminary as part of the overall formation team.

Father Hero was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Edmonton in 2000. A former vocation director for the archdiocese, since 2005 he has served on the seminary’s formation team and has taught spiritual and liturgical theology at the college. He was named vice rector of St. Joseph Seminary in 2010. He is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (known as the “Angelicum”) and the University of Sant’Anselmo, pontifical institutions in Rome.

Father Terrio was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Montreal in 1970 and became a priest of the Archdiocese of Edmonton in 2001. He has been serving as pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Spruce Grove, Alberta, for the last 10 years. A former missionary priest in Brazil, he is a graduate of the University of Montreal and the Gregorian University in Rome. In addition to his new role as head of Newman Theological College, he will remain as director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Edmonton.

Robert L. Barron 

■ Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, has named Father Robert L. Barron as the new rectorpresident of the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. He succeeds Msgr. Dennis J. Lyle, rector-president for the past six years, who will be appointed to a new position within the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Father Barron, a priest of the Chicago archdiocese, is professor of faith and culture at the seminary. He is also director of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, a media group he founded to promote evangelization. The group has produced a 10-part award-winning documentary series, “Catholicism,” which Father Barron created, wrote, and hosted. He will remain head of Word on Fire Ministries in addition to his new leadership role at Mundelein.

A native of Chicago, Father Barron is a graduate of the Catholic University of America, Mundelein Seminary, and the Institut Catholique de Paris. He was ordained a priest in 1986 and was appointed to the theological faculty of Mundelein Seminary in 1992.

 Barbara A. Holmes

■ The Rev. Barbara A. Holmes has been named eighth president of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She succeeds the Rev. Mary E. McNamara, president since 2009, who stepped down earlier this year after a recurrence of cancer.

Holmes will assume her new duties in July 2012. She is currently professor of ethics and African American religious studies at Memphis Theological Seminary, where she was also vice president of academic affairs and dean from 2005 to 2010. Early in her career, Holmes was a kindergarten teacher, after which she entered law school and became a litigator and corporate attorney. After 10 years in law practice, she entered Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta to prepare for ministry and finally earned a doctorate in religion at Vanderbilt University. She is an ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ and a member of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. She has two adult sons.

United Theological Seminary, in New Brighton, Minnesota, was created in the early 1960s out of the merger of two earlier institutions founded by German immigrants — Mission House and Yankton School of Theology. Today the seminary is an ecumenical institution affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

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