Saint Paul School of Theology President H. Sharon Howell Announces Retirement

President Sharon HowellCiting medical concerns, Saint Paul School of Theology President Rev. H. Sharon Howell will step down from her leadership post, effective March 1, 2016. Although passionate about Saint Paul School of Theology’s mission and future, Rev. Howell said she made her decision at the urging of her physician.

“This is a tough moment for me. There is no other institution that could have called me out of retirement, and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve with and among students, staff, and faculty at both locations,” Rev. Howell said. “I step back into retirement knowing that Saint Paul is positioned for future growth with the establishment of strong collaborations and programs designed to attract students who will serve faithfully and effectively all over the world.”

The Saint Paul Board of Trustees selected Rev. Howell to lead the seminary as president in July 2014, and the former pastor graciously agreed to emerge from retirement. Under her leadership, the seminary established the 3 plus 3 program in collaboration with Kansas Wesleyan University, as well as the Saint Paul Fellows program, which eliminates student loan debt for candidates called to full-time ministry through fully endowed scholarships.

“We will miss Rev. Howell’s steady presence and dedication,” said Saint Paul Vice President for Advancement David Sisney. “We have made great progress in raising funds under President Howell’s leadership.”

Saint Paul Board of Trustee Chair Twila Glenn expressed gratitude for Rev. Howell’s willingness to serve.

“I want to thank Sharon Howell for her dedication to this seminary, our students, faculty and staff. Her commitment to theological education sets us up for success long into the future,” Glenn said. “While I am deeply saddened, I fully respect and support Rev. Howell’s decision to focus on her health.”

The Saint Paul Board of Trustees will convene the week of Feb. 8 to prepare a transition plan for immediate and long-term leadership for the seminary.

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Saint Paul School of Theology Prepares for Wave of Pastoral Retirements

More pastors will retire in next decade than candidates in school, creating unprecedented need and opportunity for young clergy.

dr chun and class

Leawood, Kan. and Oklahoma City, Okla.– Saint Paul School of Theology is responding to the coming “tsunami” of clergy retirements with full-ride scholarships, a fast-tracked master’s program and a new hands-on, collaborative curriculum.

“The graying of the United Methodist Church’s clergy ranks is an issue of utmost importance to Saint Paul,” Saint Paul President H. Sharon Howell said. “More than half of our ordained pastors are over the age of 55. There is an unprecedented demand for young clergy in our congregations.”

The expected exodus of pastors into retirement, however, creates an opportunity for the church and its United Methodist seminaries to identify and train a new generation of clergy.

“The church is part of an ever-changing world. We know there are creative, servant-oriented candidates for ordained ministry in our churches and communities,” Howell said. “We just want to make sure those candidates understand that seminary education can be affordable, flexible and transformational.”

Read more about opportunities for young clergy in this 2015 report from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.


Expanded Fellows Program

Central to Saint Paul’s outreach effort is the expansion of its groundbreaking full tuition and fellowship program in 2016. The three-year Fellows program offers candidates called to full-time ministry the opportunity to obtain a master of divinity degree and gain real-life pastoral experience without incurring student loan debt.

“The average seminary student graduates with $45,000 in student loan debt.The opportunity for future church leaders to graduate free of seminary debt and begin serving is a tremendous gift made possible only through the generosity and vision of Saint Paul supporters, United Methodist Conferences, benefactors and donors,” Howell said.

The application deadline for prospective students interested in the Saint Paul Fellows Program is Feb. 1, 2016. Finalists will be invited for on-site interviews following application review and acceptance.

Find out more details on the Fellows program and a link to the application here.

New 3+3 Program

Saint Paul School of Theology is helping students move more quickly into full-time ordained ministry by launching an innovative 3+3 theological studies undergraduate-graduate program in partnership with Kansas Wesleyan University. Leaders of both institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015, creating a first of its kind fast-track program between a United Methodist seminary and United Methodist university.

Under the 3+3 program, Kansas Wesleyan students would condense the four-year course of study for a Christian Ministry major into three years, followed by the completion of the Saint Paul School of Theology three-year Master of Divinity degree. The program allows students to prepare for entry into the ministry and ordination in six years rather than seven, enabling them to earn both a B.A. and M.Div. degree.

“Saint Paul is thrilled to collaborate with Kansas Wesleyan University in this bold and unique approach designed to save time and money for students who are called to serve,” Howell said.

Read more about the 3+3 program in this report.

New Curriculum Saves Students Time and Money

Saint Paul School of Theology continues to innovate its all-new curriculum centered around spiritual formation and practical collaboration with its partner churches, including United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan.

The new curriculum requires fewer hours to complete and includes spiritual formation retreats, hands-on experience in a church setting and ministry collaboration groups led by experienced clergy.

Read more about the seminary’s new collaborative curriculum here.

“We are Saint Paul”

Saint Paul School of Theology students are called from every walk of life and circumstance. Our graduates include a U.S. Congressman, a former Kansas City Chiefs football player, a man wrongfully imprisoned for two decades, corporate leaders and stay-at-home moms. The common denominator among Saint Paul students is a desire to serve an ever-changing church in a broken and hurting world.

“Whether it is serving on staff at the largest United Methodist congregation in the country or assuming pastoral duties in a rural or urban church setting in Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska or Kansas, Saint Paul students will receive intentional practical experience combined with rigorous scholarship and small group reflection during their time in seminary,” Howell said.

If you’d like to see yourself at Saint Paul, click here.

About Saint Paul School of Theology

Established in 1958, Saint Paul School of Theology is a United Methodist seminary with groundbreaking collaborations with UM Church of the Resurrection, the largest United Methodist church in the United States and Oklahoma City University, an award-winning United Methodist university. While students and faculty are predominately United Methodist, over 20 denominations are represented in the seminary community each year. Saint Paul offers Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry. Saint Paul is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS), as well as The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The seminary is also approved by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. Learn more at http://www.spst.edu.

Saint Paul Fellows: February Deadline for Full Tuition and Fellowship

Seminary Fellows Program Eliminates Student Loan Debt for Future Pastors

Leawood, Kan. and Oklahoma City, Okla.— Saint Paul School of Theology, one StPaul-Fellows_Logo_4cseminary in two locations: Oklahoma City University and Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS will expand its groundbreaking full tuition and fellowship program  The three-year Fellows program offers candidates called to full-time ministry the opportunity to obtain a master of divinity degree and gain real-life pastoral experience without incurring student loan debt, Saint Paul President H. Sharon Howell announced.

“Saint Paul is thrilled to be able to grow this one-of-a-kind fellowship program for students seeking a career in full-time ministry,” Howell said. “The average seminary student graduates with $45,000 in student loan debt. The opportunity for future church leaders to graduate free of seminary debt and begin serving is a tremendous gift made possible only through the generosity and vision of Saint Paul supporters, United Methodist Conferences, benefactors and donors.”

“We are looking for seminarians with a desire to serve an ever-changing church in a broken and hurting world. Whether it is serving on staff at the largest United Methodist congregation in the country or assuming pastoral duties in a rural or urban church setting in Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska or Kansas, the Saint Paul Fellows will receive intentional practical experience combined with rigorous scholarship and will have an active clergy mentor who works with them during their time in seminary,” Howell said.

The application deadline for prospective students interested in the Saint Paul Fellows Program is Feb. 1, 2016. Finalists will be invited for on-site interviews following application review and acceptance. More details on the Fellows program and a link to the application can be found at http://www.spst.edu/fellows/.

About Saint Paul School of Theology

Established in 1958, Saint Paul School of Theology is a United Methodist seminary with groundbreaking collaborations with UM Church of the Resurrection, the largest United Methodist church in the United States and Oklahoma City University, an award-winning United Methodist university. While students and faculty are predominately United Methodist, over 20 denominations are represented in the seminary community each year. Saint Paul offers Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry. Saint Paul is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS), as well as The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The seminary is also approved by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. Learn more at http://www.spst.edu.

 

Media Contact:
Heather Snodgrass | Director of Communications | heather.snodgrass@spst.edu | (913)253-5084

Nationally Known Preacher Speaks about Peace and Justice at Saint Paul School of Theology Events

Dr. ForbesThe Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr. is Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church in the City of New York and served as Senior Minister for 18 years (1989-2007). He is nationally and internationally known as a speaker, preacher and teacher and was named one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world by Newsweek magazine. He was also designated as one of America’s greatest Black preachers by Ebony magazine in 1984 and 1993.

More recently, Forbes has been President and Founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, a national and global ministry for spiritual renewal and holistic health. The foundation is a non-partisan, interfaith, not-for-profit organization for the promotion of a holistic understanding of health and wellness. It seeks to broaden the awareness of the inter-relatedness of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and community health.

Dr. Forbes came to speak at an afternoon luncheon for pastors and at the Saint Paul Peace Lecture with the lectures entitled, “Justice Calls Our Name: What is Our Response?”

Dr. ForbesA group of multi-denominational and multicultural pastors and community leaders from both sides of the state line were in attendance at the Clergy Leader Peace Luncheon at Resurrection Downtown in Kansas City, Missouri. The local leaders had a beneficial discussion as Dr. Forbes asked a question and opened the floor for input. The lunch was a collaboration with Saint Paul School of Theology and Saint Paul doctoral alums: Rev. Dr. Mark R. Holland, Mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/KCK and Rev. Dr. Emanuel Cleaver III, Senior Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church, KCMO.

Dr. Forbes gave the Saint Paul Peace Lecture that evening at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. “It is time to initiate a movement for a revolution of values in regards to the triple evils of bigotry, greed & violence,” said Dr. Forbes. The Saint Paul Peace Lecture is endowed by a donor in memory of his adopted brother PFC Wayne Drake who served in WWII and died as a prisoner of war. It is especially meaningful that he chose Saint Paul School of Theology to host the lecture on peace and justice issues as both topics are foundational to the seminary. Each year faculty are evaluated on ways that they incorporate those topics into their research and teachings.

Dr. Forbes James-Forbes-04Web

 

Saint Paul and Kansas Wesleyan Sign First 3+3 Agreement!

Rev. H. Sharon Howell, President of Saint Paul School of Theology, and Kansas Wesleyan University President and CEO Matt Thompson, Ph.D., and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a 3+3 theological studies undergraduate-graduate program.

The agreement is thought to be the first of its kind to be established between a United Methodist-based university and a United Methodist seminary.

presidents sign 3plus3 sm2Under this arrangement, Kansas Wesleyan students would condense the four-year course of study for the Christian Ministry major into three years, followed by the completion of the three-year Master of Divinity degree at Saint Paul School of Theology. This allows students to prepare for ordination and entry into the ministry in six years instead of the usual seven, while earning them both B.A. and M.Div. degrees.

“This collaboration will allow us to continue to serve the United Methodist Church, preparing people for ministry and service with a phenomenal partner,” said Dr. Thompson, who explained that the two barriers to a Ministry degree are time and money. “By condensing the time required to complete both degrees, the joint program provides a cost savings, which should open the door for many people to answer the call.”

“Saint Paul School of Theology is thrilled to be in this bold, new academic collaboration with Kansas Wesleyan University,” said President Howell. “We are eager to offer students an opportunity to enjoy their initial three years of undergraduate work at KWU, and then easily move into the M.Div. program at Saint Paul. It has been a joy to work with President Thompson to address our mutual concerns of time and money for students who are being called to leadership across God’s church and world.  This is an amazing moment for KWU and Saint Paul.”

KWU CampusThe distinctive Christian Ministry major at Kansas Wesleyan University prepares students for full-time ministry in an environment that encourages the interaction of faith and learning. It combines a practical in-the-field internship experience under the guidance of mentors in full-time ministry with coursework in four core areas: Bible; Religion and Philosophy; Ministry; and Educational and Social Sciences. In addition, the university has a robust campus ministry program, including Tuesday Night Alive weekly worship and a young adult discipleship pilot program of Upper Room Ministries. Learn more at www.kwu.edu/ministry.

Saint Paul School of TheologyThe Master of Divinity (M.Div.) at Saint Paul School of Theology prepares graduates for ministry in the church, chaplaincy, not-for-profit work and other forms of religious leadership. The M.Div. is required for ordination by many denominations and is among the requirements in the primary track toward becoming ordained as elder in the United Methodist Church. This graduate degree develops students as theologians who are able to understand the biblical, historical, and doctrinal traditions and the ecclesial practices of the Christian heritage. They learn to lead and minister sensitively in diverse contexts, to integrate practical skills and academic competencies, and to grow in maturity and reflective faith through continuing study and a life of justice and intentional spiritual formation for leadership in ministry. More information at www.spst.edu.


 

Saint Paul School of Theology – Established in 1958, Saint Paul School of Theology is a United Methodist seminary, located in the Greater Kansas City area in collaboration with The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and in Oklahoma City, OK, with the collaboration of Oklahoma City University. While students are predominantly United Methodists, the student body represents more than 20 denominations each year. Saint Paul is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS), and by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), and is approved by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. Learn more at www.spst.edu

Kansas Wesleyan University – Founded in 1886. Kansas Wesleyan is a liberal arts university affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and accepts students of all faiths. KWU provides a rigorous academic liberal arts education in its undergraduate and pre-professional majors and its MBA degree. Signature programs among the 50-plus degree options are Emergency Management, Criminal Justice, Nursing, Christian Ministry, Teacher Education, and Environmental Studies and Community Resilience. Learn more at www.kwu.edu.

Dr. Young Ho Chun Announces Continued Service to Saint Paul

Dr. ChunSaint Paul School of Theology Systematic Theology Professor Dr. Young Ho Chun, Ph.D. gave a defining lecture entitled “Crossing” this past May at a dinner honoring his thirty-two years of teaching at the seminary.

Dr. Chun is renowned world-wide for his study and work within academia and the church. Korean Bishop Rev. Dr. Kim Sundo, pastor of the largest Methodist Church in the world, was present at the event as well as administrators, professors, pastors, students, family and alums.

This summer Dr. Chun announced that he will share his expertise with the seminary in other ways. He will now serve as the Director of Asian Studies and the Korean Doctor of Ministry Program at the seminary. “We are very grateful for Dr. Chun’s continuing relationship with Saint Paul,” said Saint Paul President H. Sharon Howell.

The following video is 33 minutes long but definitely worth watching!

What Is Happening At Our Former Campus? Guadalupe Centers, Inc. [VIDEO]

The property at the corner of Truman Road and Van Brunt is alive with activity. It’s new owner, Guadalupe Centers, Inc., is using every part of the the former Saint Paul School of Theology campus to provide services for the residents in the area.

It was critical to find a missionally aligned organization with Saint Paul that would expand the reach to serve those in the Northeast Neighborhood. The former campus at 5123 East Truman Road in Kansas City, Missouri is holy and sacred ground.

With the help of Saint Paul trustee John Ballard, we were able to identify Guadalupe Centers, Inc. as a viable and willing collaborator who would use the campus to its fullest potential for outreach to the community. The Guadalupe Center is a 95 year old organization founded to support the Hispanic/Latino populations in the Kansas City area.

The Truman Road campus is now their second location, allowing them to serve both the east and west sides of Kansas City. They have the highest ranked Charter School in the state of Missouri.

With this new location, Guadalupe Centers Inc. will have a 24/7 daycare for the youngest children in the area. Also, they will be opening a culinary arts program in the Holter Center kitchens.

Currently, Guadalupe Centers, Inc. serves 700 meals a day out of the kitchens. In the next few years, they will have senior citizens living in the residence halls. Their vision is lifelong service to the community.

Our alums think of our previous campus with nostalgia and love.  They were worried that it might fall into disrepair.  Clearly, this isn’t the case, and Guadalupe Centers is doing amazing work to provide educational and social services to the Hispanic/Latino community!

We went back to the campus to capture what is happening at Guadalupe Centers.  Please take a minute to check it out!

The 2015 Saint Paul Distinguished Graduate Award Presented to Rev. Meg Hegemann

Meg HegemannRev. Meg Hegemann, MDiv 2010, is the 2015 Saint Paul School of Theology Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient.

The award was presented to her by Saint Paul President Rev. Sharon Howell at Commencement. “Saint Paul School of Theology is honored to present Meg Hegemann with the Distinguished Graduate Award with gratitude for her faithful, courageous and visionary leadership,” she said.

President Howell went to Columbia, Missouri to spend the day with Meg and her congregation. She told of her experience when presenting the award. “When you drive into the parking lot at Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church in Columbia, Missouri, you’ll be greeted by a volunteer staff member who is also one of the flock at Wilkes Boulevard and likely to be one of the homeless who’ve found a home there,” explained Howell. “The church has a significant and bold ministry with those who are homeless.”

Meg HegemannOne of the ministries at Wilkes Boulevard is called Turning Point which promotes and restores dignity and hope among those who have experienced, or are currently homeless.

Those without a home have access to a number of unique services:

  • a physical mailing address
  • important document storage
  • showers and laundry facilities
  • temporary storage two bags (max) for up to 60 days
  • internet and telephone access
  • cell phone charging
  • employment and housing information
  • central location to meet with caseworkers, tutors, life coaches and mentors
  • support groups for those battling depression
  • prayer and bible study
  • encouragement and support in life’s most difficult times

Meg HegemannMeg’s district superintendent says that one of her favorite stories is the day Meg was taking the Missouri conference staff on a tour of the many ministries under the roof of Wilkes Boulevard UMC. While they were standing in a room hearing about Turning Point, a woman entered the room waving a knife and screaming about how awful the church is.” Meg said in her clear, strong voice, “we don’t have weapons in this safe place, but tell me your story” as she reached out and took the knife.  Meg then carried on a conversation about what was going on in the woman’s life.

Wilkes Boulevard is host to Loaves and Fishes program which is a free meal to whoever shows up every night. They plan for 70 people and frequently go over a 100 people!

Wilkes Boulevard is a small membership church with a large mission that is grounded in worship. Every worship rehearsal and every worship service begins with these words:

“No matter who you are or what you’ve done.  You are welcome here in the name of Christ.”

Meg HegemannBishop Schnase is Meg’s bishop. He shared that after experiencing Easter morning worship at Wilkes Boulevard, his two college-age sons declared, “That’s the church we would go to every Sunday if we were here.”

“What kind of pastor does it take to understand the mission needs of the community and base the church’s response to those needs in worship?” asked President Sharon Howell. “It takes someone who has an unbelievable strength of faith and love of God, so that taking a knife away because it’s a designated safe place is just a matter-of-fact action. It takes someone who talks with passion about the education she experienced at Saint Paul: rigorous scholarship integrated with the practice of ministry.”

We are proud of the wonderful things our graduates are doing. Meg is a great example of “practicing what you preach” and we’re so happy to share the news that she is the 2015 Saint Paul School of Theology Distinguished Graduate!

Anne Scahill – Supporting Graduates Since 1962

The seminary’s past coincided with the present at the 54th Commencement Convocation in Leawood, KS.

Anne ScahillAnne Scahill, along with a busload of other resident’s from the Kingswood United Methodist Senior Living Community, proudly attended the commencement ceremony to support Saint Paul graduate Ryan Murray.  Ryan acted as Assistant Pastor and Bible Study leader for the residents of Kingswood.

Anne was the first secretary of Saint Paul School of Theology and distinctly remembers preparing for the 1st Commencement Convocation. The first Commencement Luncheon was held on June 11, 1962 in the conference room of the Brookside Hotel-currently Crestwood Condominiums. (It was the students’ residence for the Cherry Street Campus at the time.)

Anne continues to be dedicated to the life of the seminary.

She recalls working as a member of the seminary staff even before there were students. She noted a favorite saying that she continue to use in her correspondence:

“God does not call the prepared. He prepares the called.” Anonymous

Ryan MurrayIt was fun to see Anne, who has been involved with Saint Paul since the beginning, showing up to celebrate the Saint Paul Commencement once again for Ryan’s graduation.  Ryan graduated with honors with a Master of Divinity degree.

And it’s heartwarming to think about the fact that Ryan has been leading Anne and other residents of Kingswood in prayer and bible study as he studied to become a deacon.

It was a visible reminder of the importance of relationship as we grow in our faith.

Bishop Kim Receives Honorary Doctorate from Saint Paul

Bishop Sundo KimOn May 22, Saint Paul School of Theology presented an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to Bishop Kim Sundo. Bishop Kim is the founding pastor of Kwanglin Methodist Church in Seoul, Korea. It is the largest Methodist Church in the world with 94,000 members.

The first two degrees awarded in 1962 were Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees to Bishop Dana Dawson and Bishop Eugene Frank in recognition of their visionary work in establishing a Methodist seminary in Kansas City.

The seminary recognizes Bishop Kim as a visionary who has changed the way the world understands church growth and mission. He receives the third Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree given on behalf of the Saint Paul School of Theology Board of Trustees, faculty and president.

Bishop Kim completed his seminary training after the Korean War when the economy was in ruins. Great personal loss had fallen on the Korean people and families were separated by an arbitrary geographical line. Unlike Europe after WWII, Korea remained an economically struggling, suffering place for more than a decade following the war.

Bishop Kim served several churches in South Korea, but it was his appointment in 1970 as senior pastor of Kwanglim Methodist Church in Seoul that would provide his greatest opportunity for serving both God and the Korean people.

During his 30 years as their pastor, Rev. Dr. Kim brought the light of Christ to tens of thousands as he built Kwanglim Church into the largest Methodist church in the world.

Dr. Michael Parmely, Chair elect of the Saint Paul School of Theology Board of Trustees visited Bishop Kim in Seoul while on a trip to a global conference sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Dr. Parmely reflected on Bishop Kim’s book of sermons.

“It struck me that this amazing growth of the Kwanglim congregation must have derived from a combination of gentle healing and great hope that characterizes Bishop Kim’s work. His sermons capture his firm encouraging message of finding strength within ourselves in times of despair and personal anguish.”

Not satisfied with the growth and local impact of the Kwanglim Church, Bishop Kim and his congregation have established global mission centers and seminaries in Moscow, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and China, to name a few. It may be this aspect of his legacy that will last the longest.