EDS at Union Newsletter | December 2022

EDS at Union Newsletter | December 2022

Categories: EDS at Union, EDS Newsletter

Where Faith and Scholarship Meet to Reimagine the Work of Justice

Dear friends,

A blessed Christmas season to all of you!

As December draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to share a few moments from this year. 2022 was a year of ongoing transition back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, as these highlights show, we have stayed focused on growing our program and making an impact on both the Episcopal Church and wider world.

Several moments from 2022 will remain with me:

  • Graduations and New Students: First, we graduated four MDiv and STM students in May and welcomed eight MDiv and STM students in September. Our new students joined a total cohort of 21 students as well as a larger community of 69 continuing education learners in our Anglican Studies Social Justice Pilot Program.
  • Two pilgrimages: EDS students made two pilgrimages in 2022, the first to the Diocese of Long Island’s Centro Franciscano, an outpost of Episcopal Migrant Ministries. We also joined the Church of the Heavenly Rest in their annual summer pilgrimage to the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL.
  • Welcomed Matthew Desmond and Katherine Stewart onto campus: Each semester, EDS at Union identifies a “common read” for Anglican Studies students. In Spring, we welcomed Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, onto campus and in the Fall we learned from Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. Both provided timely context for what the Church must be engaged in today.
  • The Henry Luce Foundation: EDS at Union was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for Religion and Racial Justice: Expanding the Moral Imaginary Through Film. Through this grant we are bringing together a cohort of scholars, faith leaders, activists, and artists of color to explore religion and racial justice through the lens of film.
  • General Convention: While many of our plans for General Convention 2022 had to be curtailed as a result of safety measures to reduce community spread of COVID-19, we were able to carry forward using podcast interviews to make connections between General Convention and activists and thought leaders in the City of Baltimore.

This is in addition to the ongoing series of Just Conversations, the second year of the Anglicanism and Social Justice Pilot, as well as the day-to-day of running a robust Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology program. It has been a full and impactful year.

As this season of Advent draws to a close and we approach Christmas and the New Year, I give thanks for the EDS at Union community and especially to our partners and supporters who make this work possible.


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

Please consider making a gift to EDS at Union today! Your gift will directly impact seminarians by offering much-needed financial aid and cutting-edge programming both in the classroom and out in the world, and propel them forward as future leaders in the Episcopal Church.

Thank you for all you do to help EDS at Union carry forward a legacy of social justice rooted firmly in the Anglican tradition.

SAVE THE DATE for Reunion 2023. Join us on Friday, April 28, 2023 for connection, celebration, and worship. Reunion will feature a screening of the film “Prophets Among Us”, and the return of The Kellogg Lectures, delivered this year by The Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward based on her new book The Seven Deadly Sins of White Christian Nationalism: A Call to Action. More information to come.

EDS at Union is thrilled to announce that Dean Kelly Brown Douglas has been named the 2023 winner of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion for her book Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter. This award is a testament to Dean Douglas’ outstanding contributions to the fields of theology and social justice, and we are incredibly proud of her for this well-deserved recognition. We congratulate her on this incredible achievement. Read the full announcement on our website.

In December, the Vice-chair of the EDS at Union Board of Trustees, The Rev. Matthew Heyd, was elected Bishop of the Diocese of New York. Since he joined our board in 2020, he has been a visionary partner helping us to understand what transformational ministry looks like for our students.

In mid-November, EDS at Union welcomed Dr. Luisa Bonillas on campus for a presentation and discussion on the work of the Episcopal Evangelism Society (EES 1862) and the ways that students can apply for grants to fund projects of innovative evangelism.

On Thursday, November 10 at 1:15 pm ET, Dean Douglas spoke with comic writer and author Gabby Rivera. They discussed Rivera’s commitment to prioritizing joy in QTPOC communities, her forthcoming novel on navigating a Pentecostal faith tradition, and the significance of Marvel films such as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

In advance of the November Election Day, Dean Douglas spoke with Rev. Dr. William Barber about the key racial and economic issues uniting poor and impacted communities across the country. Listen on Apple Podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

In late October, Dean Douglas spoke with Amey Victoria Adkins-Jones, Assistant Professor of Theology and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College. They discussed Dr. Adkins-Jones’ monograph project, Immaculate Misconceptions: Black Mariology, Freedom, Fugitivity, a theological account of the rise of the global sex trade.

On December 10, Dean Douglas was at the University of Cambridge to deliver a lecture on James Cone and Karl Barth. She joined Professor David Clough of Aberdeen University in placing James Cone and Karl Barth’s respective theologies into context.

On December 11, Dean Douglas preached at The American Cathedral in Paris and held a forum on her book Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter. Her sermon focused on Mary and Joseph as a story of refugees seeking shelter.

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School is seeking a Head Chaplain. Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School (HIES) develops in students a love of learning, respect for self and others, faith in God, and a sense of service to the world community. Learn more about this opportunity here.

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas ’88 published an article, “Spiritual Practice and Sacred Activism in a Climate Emergency” in vol. 44 (2022) issue of Buddhist-Christian Studies. With Christian leaders assembled by Bread for the World from USA, Europe, and Africa, she helped draft a statement, “A Faithful Voice on Hunger and Climate Justice,” released in Nairobi two weeks before COP27.  With Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith leaders she organized multifaith prayer vigils in front of two branch offices of Bank of America, urging the bank to stop funding fossil fuel projects (blog post: “How to close a bank”).

The Very Rev. J. Harrison L. Heidel, ’03 will retire in April of 2023 after 20 years of parish ministry and reaching age 72. He served parishes in Newfoundland/Labrador Canada, Vermont, Colorado and Virginia.  Along with his parish ministries, Harrison served in many diocesan roles: Executive Boards, Standing Committees, Regional Missioner, Dean of Convocation, Delegate to General Convention and others. Harrison and his spouse Marcie own a sheep farm in Highland County, Virginia, where he plans to retire.

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton ’86 walked the Coastal Camino Portuguese from October 3-13, a pilgrimage of 144 miles from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostella, Spain. The “Walk in Beauty” pilgrimage is a program of Parker Palmer’s Center for Courage and Renewal, led by Valerie Brown, a Quaker who was ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003. Elizabeth had previously walked Camino El Norte, from San Sebastian to Santiago, Spain in 2018. She was also part of the 4-part Advent Series “Creation in Crisis: Meditations on Earth, Water, Air and Fire” at The Washington National Cathedral. She spoke on the element of fire. A hospice chaplain, Elizabeth worships at St. Peter’s, Lewes, DE.

The Rev. Elizabeth Orens ’78 is now serving as an assistant Episcopal priest (retired) at St. Paul’s K Street in Washington, DC. For the last ten years, she’s led a local Sacred Arts Group that has connected with St. Mary’s Court—a residence for older adults on low income in Foggy Bottom. She enjoys contributing articles about faith, healing, and the arts to Living Church magazine. Last year, she finished a D.Min degree at Virginia Theological Seminary. She continues to miss her ever-so-talented friends from the golden years of the late 60’s.

The Rev. Dr. Joan Saniuk ’08 (D.Min.) marked the 25th anniversary of her ordination in Metropolitan Community Churches this fall. She completed her pastorate at MCC Sacred Journey in Hendersonville, NC by successfully closing the church. Joan is now retired from active MCC ministry and plans to stay in the Western North Carolina mountains.

Mr. Michel-Jean Szczepaniak ’96 has relocated to Southern Arizona and continues his rewarding work as a nanny. Michel-Jean can be reached at 1685 W Avenida de Amelia, Sahuarita, AZ 85629-9114 or at mjsktr@netzero.net.

The Rev. Canon Meg Wagner ’15 began serving as the Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Iowa on October 1, 2022.

With a team of colleagues, Emilee Walker-Cornetta ’21 (STM) published an article titled “Improving Professional Spiritual Care to Persons With Limited English Proficiency: The Cross-Language Chaplaincy Introduction Guidebook” in The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling. The Guidebook was created to address the inequitable provision of spiritual care in healthcare settings and provides culturally customized introductions to chaplaincy in 20 different languages.

The Rev. Benjamin Inbaraj Williams ’06 organized and presented at the CSI-SEVA (Social Empowerment – Vision in Action) Platinum Jubilee Celebrations for the Church of South India Synod. He edited and released the statement “Committed to Accompany: Theological and Biblical Essays on Disability”. In October, he convened a Theological Consultation for Child-Friendly Churches and presented at the Church of South India’s Diaconal Mission during the Asian Regional Consultation on “Ecumenical Diakonia, A Spiritual Struggle to Attain Sustainable Development Goals”, jointly organized by the CCA and the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Thailand. In November, Benjamin gave a talk titled “Plight of Girl Children in India” at the Kirk in Actie (Netherlands) partners meeting at Bangalore. The CSI-SEVA is planning to organize an Ordained Women’s Colloquium for all the ordained women clergy of the Church of South India early in 2023.

 It is with great sadness that we share the passing of The Rev. Andrew G. Kunz, Jr. ’61. After graduating from EDS, Andy served in St. Louis, Mo. for 18 years, then as the Vicar of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia for 17 years. After his retirement, he was priest-in-residence at his home church, Holy Comforter (Richmond). Andy is survived by his wife, Claire Kunz. His full obituary is here.