Candler Event Honors Former Associate Dean Richey

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To honor the retirement of Russell Richey, former Duke Divinity School faculty member and associate dean for academic formation, leaders of the church and academy, family, friends, and colleagues— including Duke Divinity School faculty members—gathered for an event March 28-29 at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, where Richey also served as dean.Jim Waits, former Candler dean; Richey; and Hays

The event, “The Methodist Experience in America,” featured a retirement dinner and an academic conference that provided an opportunity for scholars to reflect on the major themes and issues that have been the focus of Richey’s long and distinguished career.

Richard P. Heitzenrater, William Kellon Quick Professor of Church History and Wesley Studies, presented during a session on mission and ministry, highlighting contributions that Richey made within the interpretive schemes of itinerancy, connectionalism, and leadership.

Said Heitzenrater, “What makes his thinking so original and important is that he has the uncanny knack of asking questions that have evaded most previous historical enquirers, thus making his timely answers very perceptive as well as appropriate and creative.”

Randy Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Theology and Methodist Studies, and W. Stephen Gunter, associate dean for Methodist Studies and E. Stanley Jones Research Professor of Evangelism and Wesleyan Studies, also presented papers at the conference.

Maddox’s presentation focused on ways that Conference and “holy conferencing” have been instrumental in moving Methodist theology forward, and Gunter’s essay discussed how early Methodism was comprehensively missional in its character, intent on “spreading scriptural holiness and transforming the nation.”

Dr. Robert J. Williams, Dr. Tom Frank, Heitzenrater, and RicheyRichey’s contributions to Duke Divinity School were highlighted by the featured speaker, Bishop Will Willimon, former professor of Christian ministry at Duke, who will return to the Duke faculty after he retires from the episcopacy in 2012.

Richard Hays, Duke Divinity School dean and George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, also attended. “Russell was a valued colleague and friend to many of us.  And so I wanted to participate in the event held to honor him and celebrate his career,” he said.

Richey will return to Duke Divinity School in the spring of 2012 to teach a course of the history of Methodism.

All photos courtesy of Jane Richey Photography.