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Award for Divinity Addition

Photo by Bryan Becker

Duke Divinity School’s 2005 addition, which includes Goodson Chapel and the Westbrook Building, was awarded a Golden Leaf Award by the Appearance Commission of Durham city and county.

The award, presented on May 24, recognizes contributions to the community and is meant to encourage better designed and maintained properties.

“Incorporating wide circulation spaces, the design allows a more centrally oriented arrangement for student services, worship and hospitality while linking seamlessly with the older Langford and Gray buildings,” the judges said. “A great job mixing the old and the new…the best new building at Duke.”

The 53,000-square-foot building and renovation project was designed by Hartman-Cox Architects, and construction was led by general contractor Skanska USA.

The addition previously won awards from the American Institute of Architects, Faith and Form/IFRAA and the Triangle Business Journal.


A publication of the Office of Black Church Studies, Gatherings aims to raise awareness about the Global Black Church.

This current issue includes a focus on the Christian response to genocide, the Divinity Schoolís emerging partnership in Haiti, the new Durham Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope program and many more contributions from faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Read current and archived issues of Gatherings.

Reader Response Boosts Annual Fund

Last spring more than 1,000 alumni and friends of Duke Divinity School were invited to complete a readers’ survey for Divinity magazine. Each response to the randomly-selected mailing netted a $5 donation to the 2006-07 Annual Fund.

Thank you to the 300-plus readers who responded to the survey, either on the Web or in print. Your participation added more than $1,500 to the Annual Fund, which supports student financial aid. Look for more on the survey results in the Winter 2008 Divinity.

Duke Appreciation ’07
Sheila Williams

Director of Financial Aid Sheila Williams, who was 16 when she began her Duke career, was recognized for 30 years of service during Duke Appreciation 2007.

“So much has happened,” said Williams, who began an after-school job here in 1977. “I’ve grown up at Duke.”

Since she began working at the Divinity School in 1990, Williams has earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude at Shaw University and has helped countless students explore financial aid options for seminary.

After so many years, she is still inspired by her work: “It’s impossible to be in the midst of this magnificent place and not be affected by its ethos,” she said.

She and her colleagues have helped more than 40 percent of divinity students graduate debt free.

New Guide to End of Life

The Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life has published Jewish Ritual, Reality and Response at the End of Life: A Guide to Caring for Jewish Patients and their Families.

“Judaism provides a vision for compassionate care through the continuum of illness—from sickness and death to grieving and mourning,” said Dr. Richard Payne, professor of divinity and medicine and Esther Colliflower director of the ICEOL.

“This guide extends beyond better care for Jewish patients and families to better care for all who face life’s end.”

The guide provides practical suggestions for responding to the sometimes complicated situations where the clinical, religious and cultural are entwined. Chaplains, social workers, healthcare professionals, funeral directors, family caregivers and others caring for Jewish patients and families through illness, death and bereavement will find this an informative and useful resource.

[From the Field]
Clinica Mobil, San Jeronimo, Peru

Editorís Note: Student Stephanie Lind Dí08 served her summer field placement with the Rev. Cesar Llanco, who is senior pastor in the Methodist Church of Peru, chaplain at the Colegio Metodista, a school for grades 1-11, and also serves at Seminario San Pablo, an ecumenical seminary.

Lind, who is fluent in Spanish, taught at Seminario San Pablo and the Methodist Seminary, and worked with youth at Colegio Metodista. Her blog is from a week spent translating for volunteer doctors and nurses from South Carolina.

Monday, June 25, 2007

When we arrived in the pueblo of San Jeronimo, the line of patients already wrapped around the side of the building. As one of just a few female translators, I was assigned to the OB/GYN team. We served many women that day—some pregnant, some not, some sick, some well—but the face of one woman, whom I will call Maria, will never leave my memory.

Stephanie Lind (l) and Meredith Wende (r) with Sadith, whose family hosted the divinity students for a weekend. Sadithís family lives in the jungle
near Pucharini, Peru.

As I translated Maria’s answers to the intake questions, she began to cry. I sat down beside her on our make-shift exam table and asked what she needed that day.

With a meek voice, she said, “I fear that I might be pregnant.” The nurse gave her a pregnancy test kit, and we directed her to the bathroom. Minutes later, back on the exam table, Maria looked at me with fear and dread.

When I took a deep breath and invited her to relax and do the same, she cracked a bit of a smile. Then I told her, “Maria, the test is positive, which means that you are pregnant.” She began to cry.

The nurse told me everything that I needed to explain, from the approximate due date of the baby, to prenatal vitamins, to the clean-home delivery kit. (I am now pretty much a pro at explaining how to cut an umbilical cord). I asked Maria if she would like to talk to a pastor before going home. She said that she would, so I ditched my post at gynecology for a few minutes, thanked the women in line for their patience, and then escorted Maria to the church, which served as our waiting room.

I invited her to sit and went in search of a pastoral presence to be with Maria. When I couldn’t find the pastor, I felt defeated, and went back to Maria. We sat in silence while she held my hand and cried. Then I heard myself saying, “Stephanie! You are a pastor. Why don’t you do this?”

How could I have been so slow to realize it? I was so caught up in my tasks as a translator for the week, and as a teacher during my time in Peru, that I forgot that indeed I am a pastor. I confessed my idiocy to Maria, and asked if she would like to talk to me.

Indeed she wanted me to listen. We talked about how this baby, her sixth, would be born into an uncertain financial situation, but would be a gift. I reminded her that God loves her and her child, and that the psalmist tells us that God knits us together in the wombs of our mothers.

I touched her newly pregnant stomach and told her, “There is life here.” She put her hand on top of mine and said, “Sí, Mamita… sí.

After we prayed, I told her that I would continue to pray for her. She kissed my cheek and held me in an embrace for a long time, until I was summoned back to translate in the clinic.

That afternoon, I saw countless faces of women coming in and out of the clinic. Later that afternoon, as we were about to leave, I saw Maria walking past with four small children grabbing her legs, and saying “!Mamí! Mamí!” She looked up from them for a moment, still carrying her prenatal vitamins and other medicines, and our eyes met. For the first time that day, Maria smiled. I jumped down out of the trailer, and she turned around and walked back toward me. I kissed her face and told her that I loved her. She held my hand and said, “God bless you, Mamita.” Then, smiling, she walked away holding her vitamins in one hand, and the hand of her 3-year-old with the other.

Read other From the Field student blogs.