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British Clergy Couple Joins Duke Community

Samuel Wells

The Rev. Canon Dr. Samuel Wells, priest-in-charge of St. Mark’s Church in Cambridge, England, will become dean of Duke Chapel in August. He succeeds the Rev. William H. Willimon, who was elected last summer as a bishop and now leads the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church.

A fourth-generation Church of England priest, Wells, 39, has served churches in Newcastle, Norwich and Cambridge. He has published numerous books and scholarly articles, including The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics, which he edited with Stanley Hauerwas. His most recent book is Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics (2004).

Jo Bailey Wells

Wells’ wife, the Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, holds a Ph.D. in Old Testament from the University of Durham, and was ordained in the first wave of female priests in England. The former dean of Clare College, Cambridge, she currently is a scholar and lecturer at Ridley Hall, a seminary in Cambridge. Her responsibilities at Duke Divinity School will include teaching and serving as director of Anglican Studies.

First DYA Reunion: Gleaning Greens and Memories

Photo by Elizabeth Ingram

 Alumni at the first Duke Youth Academy Reunion: (l to r) Becca Boone ’04, Jordan Gregson ’04, Jennifer Ricks ’02 and Lee Ballard ’02.

Close encounters with colossal quantities of collards, chopping and stacking firewood, and worship in Duke Chapel awaited alumni Feb. 11-13 at the first reunion for the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation.

Sixty-six DYA alumni from across the U.S.—52 students and 14 staffers—spent the weekend on campus and at nearby Camp Chestnut Ridge in Efland, N.C., engaged in worship, plenary sessions, and service, which is where the collards—3,000 pounds gleaned for the N.C. Food Bank—came in.

After four summers of the two-week residential program on Duke’s campus, DYA has approximately 220 alumni, many of whom are now in college. Next fall, James “Hutch” Stull DYA’01 of Maumee, Ohio, will become the first DYA alumnus to enter the master of divinity program at Duke.

While alumni stay connected through e-mail groups where they post prayer concerns, theological questions, and discuss Christian responses to current events, this was the first reunion. DYA sends alumni a quarterly newsletter, which features an “Edietorial” written by Faculty Director Fred Edie.

“We hear from many alumni that they are seeking a college environment that will nurture their faith as DYA did,” said Edie. “Others are accepting calls to ministries of teaching, missions and parish ministries.”

The fifth Duke Youth Academy will be July 10-23 at Duke. The academy began in the summer of 2000 with funding from Lilly Endowment. Participants must be rising juniors or seniors in high school. For more information about DYA and dates for 2006, visit the Web site at http://www.divinity.duke.edu/programs/youth/.

Author Tim Tyson at Duke Divinity School

Photo by York Wilson

 Tim Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name

Vernon Tyson D’57 found himself in a divinity school classroom again, but this time his son, author and professor Timothy Tyson G’94, was standing behind the podium. The younger Tyson’s April 5 talk about his book Blood Done Sign My Name, inspired by his father’s ministry of racial reconciliation (cover story, Divinity Fall 2004), was the first public event in the new Westbrook Building.

Blood Done Sign My Name has been described as “part memoir, part history, part detective story” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss. The book focuses on the 1970 “late-model lynching” of a young black man and the racial conflagrations that followed in its wake in Oxford, N.C., where Vernon Tyson was pastor of Oxford United Methodist Church.

Timothy Tyson, who earned his Ph.D. at Duke in 1994, is professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During 2004-05, he was the John Hope Franklin Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park.

Blood Done Sign My Name is the 2005 Summer Reading Program selection at UNC-Chapel Hill and a finalist for the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award. It was also among The New York Public Library’s annual “Books to Remember”—the 25 most memorable books during 2004.

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