EDS at Union Newsletter | December 2019

EDS at Union Newsletter | December 2019

Categories: EDS at Union, EDS Newsletter

Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope you are enjoying a blessed Advent.

In this season of waiting and expectation, I am more conscious than ever of the way that our broken and tumultuous world is longing for courageous moral leadership. Our program here at EDS at Union is committed to fostering this kind of lay and clergy ministerial leadership so as to bring the church and world a little closer to God’s just future.

As the New Year approaches, I would like to ask you to join me in sharing the exciting news about EDS at Union with others. If you are aware of someone whose Episcopal faith is expressed through a passionate commitment to God’s justice, encourage them be in touch to learn more about the Anglican Studies program at EDS at Union.

Applicants to the EDS at Union Anglican Studies program can begin submitting their materials online beginning January 15. Our deadline for applications is May 1. Merit- and need-based scholarships and grants are available.

As the e-newsletter below shows so clearly, EDS at Union is a place for deep discernment of vocation, academic rigor, and exposure to the diversity of ministerial leadership offerings of New York City and beyond. Through these experiences, I believe transformational ministries for the Church can be formed.

I wish you and your family the very best during this season of Advent.


The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Ph.D.
Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union
Bill and Judith Moyers Chair in Theology


The Spring 2020 community book read is Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a boy’s dangerous odyssey to reunite with his mother. All are invited to join in reading this over winter break and attend an evening with the author, Sonia Nazario, on February 5, 2020, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM in James Chapel at Union Theological Seminary. This harrowing book details the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she leaves her family to find work in the United States. On February 5, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Sonia Nazario will focus on the recent rise in unaccompanied migrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, putting a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States.

On January 10 – 16, 2020, EDS at Union students are making a pilgrimage to El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. There they will participate in the Annunciation House’s “Border Awareness Experience”, an educational program on the harsh realities of the border. BAE facilitates face-to-face encounters and reflection on the immigration crisis. Please consider making a gift to EDS at Union to support programming like this El Paso-Juarez pilgrimage by clicking here.

Dean Douglas Named to Moyers Chair at Union 

Union Seminary President Serene Jones announced the appointment of the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas to the Bill and Judith Moyers Chair in Theology, a position previously held by Rev. Dr. James H. Cone. “As a former student of Dr. Cone, and a renowned Womanist theologian in her own right, Dean Douglas is well poised to fill the Moyers chair. I am elated the Union Board, Dean and Faculty all agreed on this appointment,” said Jones. “Her voice stands tall whether she is preaching from a pulpit or from the pages of her groundbreaking books, and I know she will honor the Moyers legacy of advocacy, integrity and leadership.” This appointment is in addition to her current role as Dean of EDS at Union. Full press release available here.

The Alumni/ae Task Force of EDS at Union gathered in November 2020 for a meeting. Task Force members include The Rt. Rev. John L. Rabb ’76, The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher ’07, The Rev. Cn. Stephanie Spellers ’04, The Rev. Cn. Lydia K. Bucklin ’15, The Rev. Charles A. Wynder Jr. ’12, The Rev. Cn. Jayne J. Oasin ’00, The Rev. Dr. Karen Coleman ’03, The Rev. William Roberts ’79. One member stated, “I am really proud of the work being done and truly believe it stands up to the integrity of the years and years of forming leaders for social justice.”


On November 20 in James Chapel on the campus of Union, EDS at Union hosted a conversation entitled “Standing Up To White Nationalism.” The Rev. Dr. Lisa Thompson moderated the conversation which had three panelists: Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Dr. Malik Walker, and Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas. They explored how white nationalism is on the rise with each panelist offering thoughts on how to preach, teach and proclaim in this dangerous time.

EDS at Union welcomed the Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith as convener of a one-day retreat for EDS at Union students.  Rev. Beckwith is the former Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, NJ and currently serves as Missioner for Spirituality and Leadership in the Episcopal Diocese of Western, MA.  Based on a reading from the Book of Joshua, students considered what it means to “cross the river Jordan” while walking the local neighborhood.


On Dec 11, EDS at Union held a wonderful evening reception and Spanish-language Eucharist in partnership with the Rev. Canon Victor Conrado and the Episcopal Diocese of New York. This was followed by a short panel conversation, held in Spanish, on how this partnership with the Diocese of New York’s Congregational Vitality Office be a source of ongoing theological formation for the Church.


Sidewalk is a film that explores the social world of the people subsisting on the streets of New York City. Sponsored by EDS at Union on November 13, 2019, the event was moderated by the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas. Panelists included: Hakim Hasan, featured in Sidewalk; Dr. Kim Hopper, Professor of Clinical Socio-medical Sciences, Columbia University; Cynthia English, Shelter Specialist, Coalition for the Homeless; and David Giffen, Executive Director, Coalition of the Homeless. They explored how the sidewalk becomes a place for the unfolding lives of people living on the edge of society in order to give us a deeper understanding of survival on the street.


On October 2, 2019, EDS at Union screened the documentary Brother Outsider:  The Life of Bayard Rustin. The event featured a conversation moderated by The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas and included Dr. Sarah Azaransky, Assistant Professor of Social Ethics at Union, and Walter Naegle, the surviving partner of the late American Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin. The documentary gave students insights into how Bayard Rustin was a tireless crusader for justice, a disciple of Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and the architect of the legendary 1963 March on Washington.


 New Episodes of EDS at Union Now

  • A Conversation with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: Dean Douglas interviewed Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in an honest and open conversation between old friends. They talk race in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Curry reflects on his legacy as the first African American to serve as Presiding Bishop, and they respond to the Episcopal Church’s decision to exclude same-sex spouses from attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference. Listen here.
  • Reflecting on the Flint Water Crisis: Dean Douglas visited Flint, Michigan in October to continue EDS at Union’s focus on environmental justice issues. There she accompanied the Rev. Dan Scheid and heard from water warriors, clergy, journalists, and documentarians who are seeking justice for the Flint water crisis. In this interview, Dean Douglas shares what she learned from her time in Flint. Listen here.
  • Margins Speak with Vinod J. Wesley: This episode is a continuation of the “Margins Speak” series, in which the Rev. Dr. Joshua Samuel speaks with theologian/activists from the Global South about how they responding to climate change. In this conversation, Rev. Samuel Speaks with Vinod J Wesley who is working on a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Chicago. Listen here.
  • No Ashes in the Fire with Darnell Moore: In early September, EDS at Union hosted Darnell Moore for a public lecture and conversation. This is audio of the conversation with Darnell Moore who is an award-winning writer, a leading Black Lives Matter activist, and an advocate for justice and liberation. His recently released spiritual memoir, No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. Listen here.

Click here to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Upcoming Events

Email edsinfo@uts.columbia.edu for more information on these events.

Thank You for Your Support of EDS at Union

Every student – whether enrolled or graduated – has benefited from the tradition of philanthropic giving to Episcopal Divinity School. Thanks to this generosity, EDS at Union will continue to build on its legacy of transformative theological education, academic excellence, and prophetic thinking. Click here to make your donation or call Miguel Escobar at (212) 280-1569. Checks can be mailed to Episcopal Divinity School at Union, 3041 Broadway at Reinhold Niebuhr Place, New York, NY 10027.

Alumni/ae News Updates

Following 29 years as the Episcopal Chaplain to Brown University, the Rev. Dr. David A. Ames, ETS ’66 and EDS ’84, spent 15 more years doing interim ministry in four different churches both in the Diocese of Massachusetts and the Diocese of Rhode Island. Now, having finally retired, he is working with the Center for Reconciliation in Rhode Island. They are using the history of the slave trade to focus on education and engagement in the work of racial reconciliation in Rhode Island and New England. He has also resumed, after a 60-year hiatus, studying oboe at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School. It is a challenge but music as a universal language is a significant part of life.

The Rev. Theresa M. Brion ’09 was a contributing author to the recently published book, Dementia-Friendly Worship: A Multifaith Handbook for Chaplains, Clergy and Faith Communities. Theresa’s chapter is entitled, “Be Open. Be Humble. Be Adaptable. And Definitely Laugh!”

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas ’88 spent nine days traveling up the California coast, preaching and speaking in multiple cities about the climate crisis. She preached and was chaplain for the annual convention of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, whose overall theme was “Holy Earth, Holy People: Restoring God’s Creation.” She led a conference in Florida for Companions of the Holy Cross, “Caring for Creation: A Call to Action,” and spoke at an ecological justice retreat at BU School of Theology. Her new anthology, Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, is Amazon’s #1 Hot New Release in Christian Ecumenism.

The Rev. Dr. J. Paul Carling ’02 begins his sixth year as Chaplain at the Episcopal Church at Yale (ECY), and is preparing to celebrate the ministry’s 150th anniversary on March 27-29, 2020. During his tenure, ECY has grown from fewer than 10 students to about 100, and expanded from a singular mission of supporting undergraduates to a focus on the full range of service to young adults: (1) helping to form undergrad, grad and professional students; (2) training future priests for ministry with young adults; and (3) developing a network in the New Haven area for Young Adult Episcopalians (YAE) between ages 21 – 35. This year, at Diocesan Convention, ECY and YAE succeeded in passing a resolution prioritizing college students and young adults for diocesan funding, evangelism and participation in decision making. If you wish to know more about, or to support, this innovative ministry, contact paul.carling@yale.edu, or visit http://episcopalyale.org.

Ms. Eden Grace ’01 delivered the prestigious “Swarthmore Lecture” at Friends House in London in May of 2019. Her topic was the theological, biblical and spiritual foundations of the work to address climate change. A book-length treatment of the topic was published by Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in October 2019, available here. Eden continues to serve as the Director of Global Ministries for Friends United Meeting, a world-wide Quaker denomination with headquarters in Indiana, USA and Kisumu, Kenya.

The Rev. Chisato Kitagawa ’64 and his spouse of 58 yrs, Mary, are enjoying their retirement in Amherst, MA, where he was a curate at Grace Episcopal Church from 1964-67. They now attend the fairly small but vibrant All Saints’ Church in South Hadley, where he occasionally helps out in services and where Mary sings in the choir. This church is special in three ways: the way liturgy is held; the Rector’s sermons; and the spectacular music. As a daily routine, he is still engaged in theoretical linguistic research, occasionally getting his papers published in linguistic journals.

Dr. Charles Patterson ’63 has been living in NYC for many years now, has been a Tutor at General Theological Seminary, an adult ed teacher at the New School, and an editor and therapist. He was also the first chaplain of St. Stephen’s (Episcopal) School in Rome. His most recent (in)famous books are: Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust (now in 17 languages) and In Dante’s Footsteps: My Journey to Hell which is being made into a movie! Dr. Patterson’s Ph.D. is in Religion from Columbia.

The Rev. Ralph W. Pitman ’72 retired from Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry where he was Associate Director for youth service. He and his wife Jane Buch Pitman are enjoying retirement, lots of time with their 5 grandchildren. Ralph is compiling a poetry chapbook, and singing regularly in shelters, retirement and nursing homes.

The Rev. Susan de Puy Kershaw ’02 on December 1 as Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Walpole, NH. Susan served as Rector of St John’s for 15 years.

The Rev. W. George Scarlett ’71 recently launched a new web magazine called “Tomorrow’s Earth Stewards”, devoted entirely to supporting those who are nourishing children’s and youth’s development as earth stewards.

The Rev. Dr. David A. Williams ’72 served churches in Washington, DC from 1972 to 2004. While there he studied and then joined the faculty of Washington School of Psychiatry. In 2004 he was called to become Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC where he served for 12 years before going into retirement in 2015. He currently substitutes at churches in the greater Charleston area. He also serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Charleston Area Senior Centers and volunteers at Fisher House which serves veterans in treatment at local VA hospitals. In addition, he is currently the National Director of Ceremonies for the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem. Finally, he recently wrote an article entitled “The Spirituality of the Gun” as he is an avid pistol shooter and found that there is, in fact, a way to use target shooting as a way to meditate that relaxes not only the mind and “spirit” but also the body. He is also looking forward to celebrating 50 years of marriage with his, Linda, next year.

The Rev. Marta Valentin ’03 is now working as Professional Development Director at the UUA in the Ministry and Faith Development Staff Group.

Dr. Gale A. Yee gave her Presidential Address to the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego, CA on November 23, 2019. The address was titled: “Thinking Intersectionally: Gender, Race, Class and the etceteras of Our Discipline”

In Memoriam

The Rev. Dr. Andrea Baldyga ’98, MD, died on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Rev. Baldyga graduated from the Episcopal Divinity School in 1998. She served in several churches, including the Episcopal West Side Shared Ministry in Cleveland, Ohio; St. Thomas Church in Pittstown, New Jersey; St. Luke’s Church in Phillipsburg, New Jersey; and Trinity in Easton, Pennsylvania. In 2008, Rev. Baldyga became Priest-in-Charge of the Church of the Redeemer in Sayre, Pennsylvania, until 2012, when she retired and moved to Massachusetts. Before attending EDS at Union, she was a graduate of the medical school at Boston University, where she also received a degree in music. She completed her surgical residencies at the Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and UNC, Chapel Hill. She became only the 44th woman to become board certified in Cardiothoracic Surgery in the United States. Her obituary can be found here.

Dr. Louie Crew ’99, founder of Integrity USA and champion of LGBTQ inclusion in The Episcopal Church died on November 27, 2019. Among the many awards and accolades he received for his tireless work on behalf of the marginalized, he was a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Episcopal Divinity School in 1999. The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton ’86 shared this reflection on Louie Crew’s passing and his significance to the life of this Church. His obituary can be found here

The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Estill ’52 died on October 9, 2019. He studied at the University of Kentucky and the Episcopal Divinity School after serving in the Navy during World War II. He served at multiple churches in Kentucky and was then as the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Louisville. He later served at the Kentucky Human Rights Commission and was then elected to the Kentucky Human Rights Hall of Fame. He then served at St. Alban’s in Washington D.C and on the faculty at Virginia Theological Seminary. He was eventually elected as the 9th Bishop of North Carolina. He served there from 1979 until his retirement in 1994. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren. His obituary can be found here.

The Rt. Reverend Joachim Carl Fricker ’84 died October 28, 2018. He was married to Shirley Joan Fricker (nee Gill) for 65 years. He served many churches in Ontario, Canada. He served as Rector and Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Niagara until 1985 when he was elected Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Ontario. He retired in 1993. All throughout his career, he was involved in the Anglican Church in Canada and especially with the creation of the Book of Alternative Services (BAS). His obituary can be found here

The Right Reverent Alfred Charles Reid ’67 passed away on December 2, 2019, at the age of 82. He received an honorary doctorate from EDS in 2005. He was Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands from 2001 until his retirement in 2011. He also served as the Suffragan Bishop of Montego Bay before becoming the Diocesan Bishop in Jamaica. Bishop Reid is best known for updating and publishing the Book of Common Prayer for the Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) in 2007 and publishing the CPWI Hymnal, featuring Caribbean tunes and hymns, in 2010. He was also instrumental in creating the Reggae Mass in the 1970s. His obituary can be found here