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Sharing the Sorrow

Duke Divinity School students, faculty and staff joined others from throughout the university for a 2 p.m. interfaith vigil April 17 in response to the Virginia Tech shootings the day before. Craig Kocher D’04, assistant dean of the Chapel and director of religious life, planned the service to coincide with Virginia Tech’s Convocation as a show of solidarity.

Photo by Duke Photography

Sam Wells, dean of the chapel and research professor of Christian ethics, led the service, which included reading and singing from sacred Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish texts, as well as prayer. After a moment of silence, J. Samuel Hammond T’68, D’96, tolled the bell once for each casualty.

Alan Combs, a third-year divinity student from Virginia, said his brother-in-law, a freshman at Virginia Tech, was not injured but lost at least one friend.

“[The massacre] reminds everyone of the contingency of our lives,” Combs told Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle. “I tried to avoid watching the television because instead of acknowledging the tragedy, they spend time specifying motives and who’s to blame.”

Hall, Carder Tapped as Graduation Preachers


Bishop Kenneth Carder was selected by the graduating class to preach at the 81st Baccalaureate Service May 12. Carder is among 22 Duke University faculty members recently awarded distinguished professorships. Effective July 1, he will be the Williams chair of the practice of Christian ministry.


Amy Laura Hall, director of the doctor of theology program and assistant professor of theological ethics, was selected as the preacher for Closing Convocation, which was held April 19.

Storey Awarded Honorary Duke Degree

Duke University awarded an honorary degree to South African church leader Peter Storey during its May 13 commencement ceremony.

Honorary degrees recognize extraordinary achievement and give graduating students inspiring examples of what others have done with their educations, said Duke President Richard Brodhead. “Each of those we honor was once upon a time starting out his or her own career, full of hope and promise. Having these accomplished individuals with us at commencement gives our students wonderful images of how they might put their own learning to use in the future.”


Storey, who served as Williams professor of the practice of Christian ministry at Duke Divinity School from 1999 until his retirement last summer, is former president of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, a former Methodist bishop for the Johannesburg/Soweto area and past president of the South African Council of Churches. He returned from South Africa in March for the 1st Annual Peter Storey Conversation, “Lessons of Caution and Promise from South Africa and Greensboro for Durham.”
Watch video, listen to or read his March 21 sermon in Goodson Chapel.

Diving into Temple Life

Students in Professor Thea Portier-Young’s spring semester course “Introduction to Old Testament Literature” dove into a 3-D tour of the reconstructed wilderness tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple in the DiVE Tank at the Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering Medicine and Applied Sciences (CIEMAS).

Photo by Megan Morr/Duke Photography
Students in Anathea Portier-Young’s Old Testament class used futuristic technology to study one of its most ancient biblical structures—all within a few hundred yards of Duke Divinity School.

Wearing 3-D glasses, students entered a 12’×12’×12’ room where they could explore chambers and climb stairs and ramps for an aerial view as though physically present in the temple complex.

Following the 30-minute tour, students met to discuss how the experience helped them to appreciate the otherness of the biblical world, the significance of sacred space and symbolization, and how the detailed descriptions of temple (and tabernacle) spaces might themselves serve as a virtual temple for Diaspora Jews.

Those discussions were energetic, and students gave the experience rave reviews, said Portier-Young.

“Now that I’ve experienced the Temple, I can go back and study the Old Testament with a renewed sense of relevance and enthusiasm,” said first-year student Leslie Nambo D’09.

The experience was made possible by Portier-Young’s $3,300 Jump Start grant from Duke University’s Center for Instructional Technology. DiVE is an acronym for Duke Immersive Virtual Environment.

ABC News Primetime Producer is Media Fellow


Caroline Borge, a producer for ABC News Primetime and the Spring 2007 Divinity Media Fellow, discussed the intersection of poverty, society, media and the church April 10. Borge showed excerpts from “Waiting on the World to Change,” a Diane Sawyer special she co-produced for ABC’s 20/20. The network spent more than a year following three children growing up amid poverty and violence in Camden, N.J., and plans follow-up programming in the coming year.

Sexual & Domestic Violence, A Human Issue

In 2003, when Meredith Jones D’00, developed the pastoral care training seminar “Offering Sanctuary,” she wanted both the church and its ministers to understand sexual/domestic violence as a human issue, not a women’s issue.

The workshop’s subtitle, “Understanding the Church as a Safe and Healing Place for Survivors of Sexual/Domestic Violence,” suggests Jones’s hope that women affected by such crimes would find help and healing through the church—not further disaffection, disbelief and silencing.

Photo by Reed Criswell D’87
More than 90 students and community members attended Dina Helderman’s workshop “Offering Sanctuary: Providing Pastoral Care for Victims of Sexual Assault and/or Domestic Violence.”

Although Jones has left the area, her efforts in Durham continued last semester thanks to Dina Helderman, a former colleague at the Durham Crisis Response Center who currently works in Duke Divinity School’s Office of Continuing Education.

In January, Helderman presented a free public seminar, “Offering Sanctuary: Providing Pastoral Care for Victims of Sexual Assault and/or Domestic Violence,” at Duke Divinity School. Organized by graduating seniors Tracey Adams, Chanequa Walker-Barnes and Kathryn Broyles, the free, full-day seminar evolved from the students’ course in Gender, Ministry, and the Church with Professor of Theology & Women’s Studies Mary McClintock Fulkerson.

“Knowing that women make up more than half of most congregations, and that one in three women experiences some kind of sexual assault in her lifetime, we hope that many additional women will now receive more understanding and compassionate care,” says Broyles D’07.

“Offering Sanctuary” was sponsored by the Black Seminarians Union, in cooperation with the Divinity Student Council, the Divinity Women’s Center, and the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

Read about Meredith Jones and “Offering Sanctuary” in the Spring 2003 Divinity magazine. For more information about resources for survivors of sexual and/or domestic violence, go to Faith Trust Institute.

Lenten Donations

Students, faculty and staff contributed funds and time to provide more than 26,000 meals for hungry school children around the world through Operation Sharehouse during Lent. According to Associate Dean of Student Services Greg Duncan, the 60 volunteers packaged the meals “in record time.” The Office of Student Services plans to make the project an annual part of a school-wide Lenten discipline.

Elias Chacour Visits Duke


Three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Elias Chacour, archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, president of Mar Elias Educational Institutions in Galilee, Israel, and author of Blood Brothers, visited Duke for interfaith dialogue during March.

Student Michelle Shrader D’07 was the catalyst for Chacour’s visit, which was sponsored by The Center for Reconciliation and Duke Chapel. Shrader met Chacour during winter break 2005 while researching an article about hope in the Holy Land for the newsletter for Friends of Duke Chapel, where she served as a missions intern.

After their meeting, she told the Durham Herald-Sun, Chacour asked Shrader what she would do with all she had learned. She returned feeling charged with a responsibility to share her experiences and began working to arrange Chacour’s visit to Durham.

“I think Archbishop Chacour embodies the type of discipleship we’re called to as Christians,” says Shrader, who graduated in May and will serve as The Center for Reconciliation’s first Alumni Fellow.

Hear Chacour’s March 7 comments.

‘Lampstand Goes to Broadway’

Photo by Franklin Golden D’07
Maureen Knudsen Langdoc and Sarah Yeates sing “Marry the Man” from Guys and Dolls.

The Divinity School's first Broadway review, inspired by lunchtime performances each month by students, faculty and staff, filled Reynolds Auditorium and raised nearly $5,000 for the Alliance of AIDS Services.

View the online slideshow.



Exhibit on the Musical Wesleys

The exhibit “Sacred Harmony: The Musical Wesley Family,” opens June 18 in the Baker Reading Room of the Divinity School Library and will be on display during library hours through Aug. 1.

Curated by Carlton R. Young, professor emeritus of church music at Emory University and editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, the exhibit features correspondence, hymn and tune collections, books and scores illustrating the formation and development of 18th century British Wesleyan-style worship song, and the musical gifts of several generations of the Wesley family.

The exhibition premiered Feb. 1, 2007, at Perkins School of Theology’s Bridwell Library to commemorate the tercentenary of Charles Wesley’s birth. It pays special attention to John, Charles, Charles Jr., Samuel and Samuel Sebastian Wesley and includes numerous items from Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library.

For more information about the exhibit, which is open to the public, see Sacred Harmony: The Musical Wesley Family.