Dr. Yatta Young Advocates for E-Reader Program in Liberia

Saint Paul DMin Alumna Advocates for E-Reader Training in Liberia

Saint Paul DMin Alumna, Dr. Yatta Young, believes that expanding access to theological resources in remote locations enhances teaching and learning. She was the first person to to launch the E-Reader Project under the African Association of United Methodist Theological Institutions in 2013. Dr. Young is the dean of the Graduate School of Theology at United Methodist University (UMU) that began classes August 2015. 

This summer (2017) the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Discipleship Ministries, and the African Association of United Methodist Theological Institutions  (AAUMTI) led an e-reader training in the area. Students and faculty from the Graduate School of Theology, United Methodist University (UMU) in Monrovia, Liberia attended.

Dr. Yatta Young shared her experience with the project at the training. She highlighted the importance of books and partners who have helped provide theological texts to Liberia. Through the E-Reader Project, students now have access to an electronic library with hundreds of publications. Many of the textbooks and books are written by Africans.

“We have a good champion and advocate for this program in Dr. Yatta Young. She inspired the whole group with her praise for reading and education,” said Robin Pippin, director of Contextual Resource Development and Distribution, Discipleship Resources International (DRI).

To learn more about the E-Reader Project, visit umcereader.org.

Capt. Jose Martinez Receives Air National Guard Chaplain of the Year Honor

Saint Paul School of Theology Alumnus Capt. Jose Martinez received a top honor in the field of military chaplaincy. He ceremoniously accepted the Air National Guard Chaplain of the Year award, also known as the Samuel Stone Award. Martinez was accepted into the Air Force Chaplain Candidate Program in 2006, graduated from seminary in 2009, and went on to be an Air Force Chaplain assigned to the 139th U.S. Airlift Wing/Missouri Air National Guard in 2010.

According to Tech. Sgt. Theo Ramsey of the 139th Airlift Wing, Chaplain Martinez was one of the first Air National Guard chaplains to offer support to United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) as an action officer, working at the command chaplain’s office.

Involved with the planning of military operations that occur in Europe and Africa, Martinez helped ensure that all the wings in the area of responsibility had substantial religious support. As the acting functional area manager at the command chaplain’s office, Martinez helped create a plan for how the Air National Guard would interact with active duty Air Force units during a transition of command chaplains.

As a civilian, Jose Martinez raised funds to help Haitian families in Kansas City directly affected by the destructive impact of Hurricane Andrew.

The Saint Paul Community congratulates Capt. Jose Martinez for this honor and for his faithful leadership in the community and world.

capt jose martinez, saint paul school of theology alumnus

Photo credit: The official portrait of U.S. Air Force Capt. Jose Martinez, a chaplain with the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Staff Sgt. Patrick P. Evenson)


Four Saint Paul Alumni Collaborate to Relocate Community Thrift Store

Saint Paul Clergy Alumni Reverend Alan Gager, Reverend Jeff Slater, Rev. Jeff Goetzinger, and Reverend Mic McGuire (not pictured) came together in a collaborative effort to move the Hutchinson Area UMC Thrift store ministry to downtown Hutchinson. The Fair Price Store had its grand reopening in it’s new location this spring.

The Fair Price Store started off as a ministry in a local doctor’s office when he saw a need to help patients and others in the community who needed a helping hand.

When he retired, the area United Methodist churches saw a need to continue to serve the community with the vital clothing ministry. In partnership with First Call for Help the store now helps to fill clothing vouchers and to provide household staples such as bedding and towels for those in need. The store provides a shopping experience for others with clothing in all sizes, at inexpensive prices. The ministry is made possible through the work of the laity in each of the churches in the Hutchinson area. Each church takes two months out of the year to staff the store, sort through donations, and to help customers with their shopping.

The decision to move was not taken lightly. After months of praying and searching for an affordable location a new landlord surfaced. The Wray family are members of South Hutchinson UMC and have been part of the thrift store ministry for several years. They offered a price and location downtown that fulfilled the vision of the store’s mission.

Clergy members jointly agreed that the store become a member of the Downtown Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce and even took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony. Since that time the store has been involved in multiple downtown events. The largest event took place during a Third Thursday music and art walk. Pastors from Trinity, Faith, South Hutchinson,10th Avenue, Fairview and Mitchell Chapel United Methodist Churches worked together to coordinate music and food. Together they went through 400 hot dogs, chips, cookies and lemonade.

“I thought it was great to see all the churches come together to support this hugely successful event. We look forward to continuing to serve our community,” said Rev. Jeff Goetzinger, pastor of Fairview and Mitchell Chapel United Methodist Churches.


Distinguished Graduate Award: Bishop Mande Muyombo


President Neil Blair presented the Distinguished Graduate Award at the 2017 Saint Paul School of Theology Commencement Ceremony to Bishop Mande Muyombo. Muyombo received his Master of Divinity degree with an Ethics/Church and Society Concentration in 2010 and his Doctor of Ministry as part of the Children and Poverty in a Globalized Economy cohort in 2015. 

“Bishop Muyombo’s praxis thesis, Affirming Human Dignity of Former Child Combatants: A Collaborative Ministry Model Between Kamina-Ville United Methodist Church and Kamina Methodist University, exemplifies the value of collaborative relationships,” said Dr. Angela Sims, Saint Paul Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Ethics and Black Church Studies. “Brother Guy’s work on behalf and with child soldiers and the communities in which they reside is a reminder that we are called to affirm the humanity in all of God’s children.”

Mande Muyombo worked as president of Kamina Methodist University. He then serve as executive secretary for Africa at United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. Muyombo was later promoted to executive director for Global Mission Connections as part of United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

Bishop Muyombo was elected to the North Katanga Episcopacy in March. At 44, he is the youngest bishop in the Congo Central Conference.

“I am committed to working towards the unity of The United Methodist Church because I am a product of the UMC connection,” said Muyombo.


Rev. Dr. Don Hall Receives Award for Mentoring Others

DonHallwithAwardThe Rev. Dr. Don Hall received the Barnabas award at the Arkansas Annual Conference in Little Rock, AR. He is a 1980 Master of Divinity and 1987 Doctor of Ministry graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology. Hall was commended for his work in encouraging and mentoring people on their way to ordained ministry.

The award is given by the Board of Ordained Ministry each year in memory of Rev. Jim Beal. “Jim was absolutely the greatest encourager, coach and mentor of pastors that we had, even before there were any official mentor programs,” said Hall.

“I am humbled to receive the award. While I have a record of mentoring other pastors both formally and informally over the years, I am just one of many to do so.”  Although officially retired, Rev. Hall serves at Trinity UMC in Little Rock this year.

Rodenburg Leads Rural Church During 125th Anniversary

Rev. Shannon Rodenberg, MDiv’ 13, visits with a long-time congregation member during Fairland First United Methodist Church‘s 125th Anniversary in Fairland, Oklahoma. She believes it is important to celebrate traditions and multiple generations in the church as a rural minister.

“We celebrated the past, the work that God is doing right now, and dreamed of where God will take us in the future,” said Pastor Rodenberg.

The congregation explored new ways to welcome young families and community members with mobility concerns to the festivities.

“The celebration was an excellent way to propel the congregation forward in ministry to the community,” Rodenberg said.

Church Renewal: Rev. David Kim Leads Congregation to New Growth

Rev. David KimWhen Rev. David Kim received his appointment  at Central Korean United Methodist Church in Overland Park in 2013, his congregation was small. With a congregation of only sixteen members, Pastor Kim knew that church renewal was only possible with God. “At that time, I spent most of my time in prayer,” he said.

David Kim interviewed and was chosen to be one of seven Resurrection Scholars when he attended Saint Paul School of Theology. The program had a three-pronged approach with a Church Leadership class taught by a seminary professor, an internship/practical application portion at Church of the Resurrection, and a small group reflection time with a pastoral leader to discuss pastoral issues that they had encountered. “The Resurrection Scholars program was designed to make faithful leaders to change the world,” he said. “I was able to learn many leadership skills and observe Rev. Adam Hamilton and their leadership team as I developed a pastoral mind.”

Reverend Kim learned that it was not enough to be satisfied with the status quo. He assessed the needs of those currently in the church but also in the rest of the area. He soon realized that not all immigrant families were available on Sundays for worship. Many of the parents had to work.

David began a Prayer Meeting on Friday evenings at 9:00 p.m. At first there was some push-back. Friday evenings are generally considered a “fun” night. “God gives us IMG_4356his best, why don’t we give Him some of our best time as well?” Pastor Kim explained. He also began early morning prayer services at 5:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.

As the youth population increased he implemented a contemporary service in English for second generation Korean youth to enjoy. Pastor Kim also began offering discipleship classes twice a week to challenge his congregation. He started a podcast for former sermons to be heard.

Slowly, the word got out about new church practices.

Pastor Kim started implementing programs to help with hunger and other social services. “Our congregation has been praying not only for this church but also for the entire community in Kansas City. We want to serve people in need,” he said. The congregation believes in serving others first. In 2014, the mission team renovated a United Methodist Church’s children’s room in Kansas City before renovating their own children’s classroom. This year, the congregation pledged to send money every month to support an Indian missionary and his ministry in the slums of MumbaRev. David Kim Congregationi, India.

Central Korean UMC now has 110 people in attendance. They have an orchestra and church choir. There is an interpreter and translating devices so that guests can hear the Korean language sermon in English. Sounds of happy children can be heard from the Sunday School rooms. Congregation members can smell the sweet smell of kimchi when they enter the building every Sunday. All are encouraged to stay for fellowship and a shared meal after worship.

“Church leadership is not easy,” said David Kim. “I have found that you will not always be liked.” Pastor Kim explains that he prays daily for God’s guidance as he works to bring about change and church renewal.


MATS Graduate Applies Knowledge to Career at Children’s Mercy Hospital

Robin CarrollRobin Carroll graduated this May with her Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) as part of the Class of 2016.“I enjoyed my time at Saint Paul. It has exceeded all of my expectations,” she said. “I feel that I’ve been academically and spiritually challenged over the past four years.”

Ms. Carroll wanted to attend Saint Paul to receive an MATS degree for a variety of reasons. “My goal was to become more ‘religion literate,’ and more fully understand why religion is important to others. I also wanted to grow in my own faith,” she explained.

Carroll works in Clinical Emergency Preparedness at Children’s Mercy Hospital. She has worked in a variety of roles during the past 30 years. Ms. Carroll became intrigued by the work of one of the founding sisters of Children’s Mercy Hospital and decided to write a historical-ethical review for her final MATS conference with Dr. Jim Brandt, Professor of Historical Theology.

“Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson was a fascinating woman, especially for the time period in which she lived (1860-1933),” said Robin Carroll. “She was selfless in her dedication to provide medical care to children from families unable to pay for such services. She welcomed the entire community to take part in caring for others. I find her an inspiration to the work that I do as Dr. Richardson was motivated primarily by strong ethical convictions and a concern for others.”

Robin has begun applying her learnings as she grapples with best practices in preparing for emerging infectious diseases in the Kansas City community, “In the back of my mind I think about what Dr. Richardson might have done with even less medical knowledge than we have today. I believe she would have thought through every possible scenario to prepare for and serve the needs of the community,” said Robin Carroll. And the Saint Paul graduate  plans to carry that same spirit forward in her work.

Rev. Dr. Stephenson and Rev. Lampe Receive 2016 Distinguished Graduate Awards

Saint Paul School of Theology presented two distinguished graduate awards at its fifty-fifth Commencement Convocation on the Kansas Campus.

Rev. Dr. Jack Stephenson, MDiv 1982 and DMin 1994

Jack StephensonRev. Dr. Jack Stephenson is Senior Pastor of Anona United Methodist Church: A Multisite Church with three campuses in the Largo and St. Pete, Florida areas. The Florida multi-site church is both a recognized laboratory and a teaching church referenced by many denominations. Stephenson is published and he teaches World Religion to college students. He is also a post graduate professor and lecturer for Protestant clergy in the areas of Church Health and Leadership.

“Your pastoral leadership at the Anona United Methodist Church: A Multisite Church and one of the fastest growing churches in the United States is not a secret,” said Acting President Nancy Howell. “Jack is a graduate who has taken a serious personal approach to making disciples for Jesus Christ. He has provided extraordinary vision, passion, faithful and effective leadership, and we honor him.”

Rev. Karen Lampe, MDiv 2002

Karen LampeRev. Karen Lampe is the executive pastor for Congregational Care at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Her work includes all of the pastoral care (counseling, financial care, prayer ministry, visitation) as well as weddings, funerals, baptisms, and pastoral connections to the church family. She has taught numerous practicums at Saint Paul School of Theology as a seasoned ministry practioner.

“No one has touched the lives of more Saint Paul students in the last decade than Karen has in her capacity as Congregational Care Executive Pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection,” said Saint Paul Acting President Dr. Nancy Howell. “In addition, her leadership across the United Methodist denomination has challenged many congregations to reshape how clergy and laity partner in the delivery of congregational care.”

Neil Blair to Serve as Saint Paul School of Theology President

The Board of Trustees has named Rev. Neil Blair as President of Saint Paul School of Theology. Blair is a 1980 Master of Divinity graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology. He will begin his leadership on July 1, 2016.

“We are fortunate that Neil Blair has agreed to provide leadership to Saint Paul during this time. Neil has a long and fruitful history with Saint Paul. He brings with him knowledge and love of the seminary as well as a strong understanding of the church and theological education’s special role in the life and vitality of the church,” said Saint Paul Board Chair Twila Glenn.

Neil Blair returns to the seminary with a combination of passion for Wesleyan evangelism, knowledge of The United Methodist Church, and a variety of development leadership experiences. Blair most recently served as the Executive Director for Institutional Advancement for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Previously, he was the President of The Foundation for Evangelism of the UMC in Lake Junaluska, N.C. and Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. Additionally, he served 19 years as Vice President for Development at Saint Paul School of Theology.

Blair is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Annual Conference and served eight years in a local church in Missouri. He has two grown sons.