Dean and VP, Western Seminary

Western Theological Seminary invites nominations and applications for the position of Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

About Western

Rooted in the historic Christian faith, Western Theological Seminary (WTS) is an evangelical and ecumenical community of faith and learning in the Reformed tradition that serves the church of Jesus Christ. The purpose of Western Theological Seminary is to prepare Christians called by God to lead the church in mission. In covenant with the Reformed Church in America, Western equips men and women for Christ-centered, biblically based, theologically integrated, culturally competent, and mission-oriented Christian leadership.

With a full time faculty of 22, WTS offers four degree programs: the M.Div. in both residential and distance-learning formats, an M.A., a Th.M., and a D.Min. In addition, it offers graduate certificate programs and a dual-track M.Div./M.S.W. program, as well as a variety of continuing education initiatives.

Some of the distinctive features of our seminary that inform our life together are our genuine respect for the depths of the Christian tradition, our commitment to the centrality of the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and our lively engagement with the cultures and communities we are part of and that surround us. These three features of our community of faith and learning are mutually enriching. These features find expression in daily worship together, a recent chapel renovation, the innovative way we teach Hebrew, many faculty publications, and the fact that we have two liturgical theologians on the faculty. They also find expression in our Community Kitchen (which serves over a hundred free hot meals daily to anyone who desires one), the Bridge (a downtown store which sells and supports the work of global artisans), the Friendship House (innovative housing where persons with an intellectual/ developmental disability live in community with seminarians), Journey (the continuing education branch of the seminary), our certificate programs in Urban Pastoral Ministry and Disability and Ministry, our intercultural immersion requirement for M.Div. candidates, our partnership with the Newbigin House of Studies of City Church San Francisco (for training those called to church planting and center-city renewal ministries), the many writings on the missional church by our faculty, and our growing cooperation with Latino/a theological education in our city. See for more information about the commitments and spirit of our seminary.

WTS developed a strategic plan in 2013 which seeks to engage and expand our commitment to forming leaders for renewing, empowering and planting new congregations and ministries. Five priorities of the plan are now beginning to be implemented.

They are:
1. Teaching and Learning for Culturally Engaged Leadership
2. Diversity and Cultural Competence
3. Partnerships for Church Planting, Empowerment and Renewal
4. Resourcing a 21st Century Seminary, and
5. Facility Expansion and Renovation.

See for more information about our strategic plan.

Western Theological Seminary is intentionally committed to a diverse board, faculty, staff, and student body.

Position Description

The Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs shall be responsible to the President, and is a member of the President’s Council and Administrative Cabinet and, in that role, shares responsibility for the internal administration of the seminary. The Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs takes overall responsibility for the support and supervision of faculty, and for the design, implementation, and evaluation of all academic programs and policies. The Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs is responsible for the oversight of the Formation for Ministry department and the work of the library. This person is also a teaching member of the faculty and will teach on a regular basis.

The specific responsibilities of this position are:


  • Work with the President’s Council and Administrative Cabinet on matters of seminary priorities, budget strategies, long-range planning, personnel matters, and internal policies
  • Together with the president, represent and interpret faculty decisions and actions to the church and community.


  • Nurture participation in a shared and deepening vision for theological education among the faculty, nurture faculty development, and coordinate the faculty’s collective decision-making processes
  • Supervise and evaluate the faculty, and administer faculty reappointments, promotions, and post-tenure reviews
  • Recruit and supervise adjunct faculty as they are needed
  • Supervise, evaluate, and coordinate the work of the academic field secretaries
  • Make appointments to faculty and student committees, with approval of the president
  • Coordinate sabbatical leave proposals for their submission to the trustees


  • Assist the seminary to focus and implement its academic programs in ways which will most effectively serve the seminary’s mission and the church’s needs
  • Represent the needs and concerns of academic programs as a member of the President’s Council
  • Provide leadership for the development and evaluation of curricula for the degree programs, and, in relationship to the appropriate degree program committees, develop the specific courses needed to implement those curricula
  • Oversee the development and maintenance of academic standards for all degree programs, including approval of transfer credits, course substitutions, requests for waiving of normal academic requirements, and monitoring students with incompletes or who are on academic probation
  • Oversee the articulation, revision, interpretation, and implementation of the academic policies contained in the WTS Handbook
  • Administer the assessment programs of the seminary with respect to student learning and curriculum effectiveness
  • Administer all processes for ATS program approval, accreditation evaluation, and necessary reports to other academic agencies
  • Work with the Dean of Formation for Ministry to develop and implement a strategic vision and develop effective day to day operations for the Formation for Ministry/Student Services department
  • Work with the Director of the Library to develop and implement a strategic vision and to develop effective day to day operations for the library


  • Supervise the registrar and the academic office associate


  • Regularly teach courses in their field of expertise
  • Engage in scholarship and professional development, including active participation in scholarly societies and associations

    Qualifications and Attributes

    The Dean must be a person of strong Christian faith. While no specific denominational affiliations are required, the Dean must be sympathetic to the Reformed tradition, willing to become a member of the Reformed Church in America, be able to accept the Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) as the only rule in faith and life, and affirm in good conscience that the Reformed Church in America Doctrinal Standards (the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of the Synod of Dort, and the Belhar Confession) are historic and faithful witnesses to the Word of God. We will also be looking for someone who fits with and is genuinely excited about advancing the particular identity and mission of our school as described above.

    In terms of personal qualities, the Dean must be trustworthy, hold themselves with courage and humility before God, and be able to lead, encourage, and supervise faculty and staff in a way that builds up our community of faith and scholarship.

    Academically, as the Dean will be a teaching member of and leader of the faculty, the Dean must be a strong scholar with an earned a Ph.D. or its equivalent in a field appropriate to the theological curriculum, have teaching experience at an academic institution, and have a record
    of scholarship in their field. Faculty rank and tenure status will be determined according to the selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.

    Given Western’s commitments to gender parity, women in ministry, and racial-ethnic hospitality and diversity, the Dean must be similarly committed.

    As far as administrative experience and capacities, the Dean must have a record of demonstrated administrative ability in some position and experience in or potential for educational administrative leadership and vision. Given that the contexts of theological education are undergoing great change, the Dean should be currently aware of or be interested in developing expertise in those contexts of theological education.

    Western Theological Seminary welcomes nominations for this position. Please direct inquiries, nominations, and applications to:

    Rayetta Perez
    Executive Assistant to the President 101 East 13th Street
    Holland, MI 49423
    Applications should include a cover letter and a curriculum vitae, and will be received until December 7, 2015. Women and members of racial-ethnic minority groups are encouraged to apply.

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Robert Jackson’s obituary of John Hull

As memories continue to flood in with the death of John Hull, readers may find Robert Jackson’s obituary of John Hull a powerful catalyst for recollection. It was recently published in The Guardian newspaper.

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CFP Journal of Childhood and Religion

The Journal of Childhood and Religion (  is a free online journal launched in 2010. Peer-reviewed, it provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars representing a wide range of research fields, interests, and perspectives that relate to children and religion.

JCR is interested in publishing work in such fields as: religious studies, biblical studies, the range of human sciences, pastoral psychology, practical theology, pastoral theology, religious education, psychology of religion, sociology of religion, counseling psychology, social work, and cultural studies. See this link for more information on publishing with JCR:

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Pastoral Minister – St. Alphonsus Church, Auburn, NY

This full time position is seeking a person to be a member of a dynamic ministerial team.
This person will  provide  and  develop  leadership in areas that include: Funerals and Bereavement,  Liturgy,  Sacramental  Preparation,  Visitation, and Lifelong
Faith  Formation  and  RCIA.  Qualifications  include being an active Roman
Catholic  with a willingness to share and pass on one’s faith, a bachelor’s
degree,  certification  (or  the  willingness  to  pursue certification) in
pastoral  ministry,  a  solid working knowledge of Microsoft Office and the
ability  to  learn  new  software, excellent abilities to work with a team.
Send  cover  letter  with  salary  requirements and resume to St. Alphonsus
Church, c/o Fr. Timothy Niven,
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Candler, Asst. Prof. of RE

Candler School of Theology invites applications and nominations for a tenure-track faculty position at the level of Assistant Professor in Religious Education beginning Fall 2016. Preference will be given to complete applications submitted by October 1, 2015.

The person appointed to this position will be committed to theological education, preparing women and men for ministries in the church and the world. Successful applicants will hold, by time of appointment, the religious education or in another related discipline that prepares the candidate to teach in the field of religious education, with a focus on issues of identity formation and faith development. Other areas of expertise may include multicultural education, ecumenical and interfaith education, intergenerational education, and spiritual formation and spirituality.

The person selected for this position will develop and teach courses in several of the degree programs of Candler School of Theology. Candidates may teach courses in the Religious Education Certificate within the MDiv and MTS programs, a youth ministry concentration in the MARL program, and the Doctor of Ministry program. The appointee will be responsible for an introductory course in religious education, and will have regular faculty rotation in the Contextual Education program.

The successful candidate will have a research and publication agenda to equip them to participate in the Graduate Division of Religion (including the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology) in the Laney Graduate School of Emory University. In addition to teaching and research, faculty members of Candler School of Theology are committed to service, both within the school and in the larger church and community. Candidates within the Wesleyan tradition (e.g., UMC, AME, AMEZ, CME, Nazarene) are encouraged to apply.

Application for this position should include a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, an official transcript of the highest degree earned, writing sample and three confidential letters of recommendation.

Candidates should apply online at by uploading the letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and writing sample. Letters of recommendations should be sent by recommenders and transcripts should be sent from the granting institution to: the Religious Education Search, c/o Brenda Roberts, Manager, Faculty Development and Support Services, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, or email documents in Microsoft Word or PDF to Direct any questions to Dr. Liz Bounds, Search Chair, at

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Invitation to John Hull’s funeral

From his wife Marilyn:

“John’s funeral will take place on Monday 17th August at 12 noon at our parish church of All Saints, 2 Vicarage Rd, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7RA.

 Please allow plenty of time for parking, which can be tricky. The church grounds have  limited space but please let us know if you require disabled parking ( Otherwise there are the local streets and supermarket car parks.

 The service will be followed by a chance to eat, talk and informally celebrate John’s life. Please make your way to Queens College (about two miles away) where John, since 2005, has spent some of the happiest and most productive years of his life.

Address: Somerset Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2QH

The entrance to the college is in Somerset Rd, near the junction with Farquhar Rd. Here again the parking is limited and you may have to street park a little way away. Please once again let us know if you need disabled parking.

The coffin will be open from 11.30a.m. for any of you who would like to greet John in this way.

Dress: When he could still see, the only colour he disliked  me in was black, which I certainly won’t be wearing. After he lost his sight, what people wore or looked like mattered not at all. In that spirit please wear whatever you like.


Please don’t send flowers. There will be an opportunity to give to a charity if you wish -which one we are still trying to decide!

Thank you all.”


 Marilyn Hull

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RIP John Hull

We are deeply saddened to learn that Dr. John Hull, a religious education scholar of international esteem, died on July 28, 2015.

Joyce Miller, a good friend of John for many years, writes:

“Members of ISREV from across the world will be saddened to learn of the death of Professor John Hull in the early hours of this morning. He died peacefully, following a serious fall at home last week.

It is impossible to sum up the inestimable contribution that John has made to religious education, or his many wonderful qualities, or the impact he has had on the lives of his many friends and colleagues. All we know is that he was admired, respected and loved and that we will miss him – his razor sharp intellect, his deep compassion, his sense of humour, his energy and commitment. It is very difficult to imagine ISREV without him.

Marilyn has said that she and her family feel surrounded by love and support and I am sure she would be pleased to receive condolences and tributes.

May our wonderful, warm, inspirational friend rest in peace.”

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Video of Robert Jackson receiving Harper Award

In November of 2013, the Religious Education Association gave the William Rainey Harper award to Robert Jackson. Here is video of him accepting the award, with his speech.


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Int’l Conference on Nature and the Environment

Nazareth College, Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue is pleased to accept abstracts for its  3rd international conference on Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Nature and Environment in the Sacred Texts of World Religions at Nazareth College, Rochester, New York in collaboration with   Department of Religious Studies at Hobart William-Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY.  to be held on May 23-25, 2016 followed by a day or two site visits to area historical places in the Upstate, NY.

Please visit the website to know more about the conference submitting proposal and registration.

Please make copies of the poster and share it with your colleagues and friends: Sacred Texts Conference poster

The earlier scholars mail abstracts and a short bio, the sooner the committee will offer acceptance. The Conference is open for scholars in religious, theology, environmental studies and other scientists from US and abroad as presenters or participants.

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Belief in Dialogue conference

The Belief in Dialogue conference of the AULRE will be held on 1 – 3 September 2015,  at Mary’s University Twickenham.

The full details are listed on the new Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education website including the link to book The conference is open to all, academics, researchers, teachers, education professionals, advisors, students and others who share an interest in the interface between religion and education.

Farid Panjwani will be talking about reforms in the Muslim educational movement, internal diversity within Muslim communities and the implications for freedom and autonomy. Farid recently was part of the team that organised the conference on Education, extremism and criticality in London and will bring important insights from that event and his long work in the field. He is relatively unknown to the “religious education community” and this oversight needs to be rectified.

Tania ap Sion will be talking about evidence from the Qualitative strand of the Warwick research notably the impact of religious schooling on attitudes to other faiths and the effect of RE of community cohesion and the common good. This is particularly relevant given the ongoing discussion around, so called “faith schools”, now arguably a problematised term despite its ongoing use in many debates.

The incoming Chair of the REC, Trevor Cooling, will be talking about the idea of Christian approach to teaching RE. This builds on his major study of schools negotiating a Christian approach to teaching in general terms. His thinking will challenge some of the categorisations that have been used in RE discourse that espouse ‘neutral secular’ RE over ‘biased confessional’ RE.

And finally, outgoing Chair of the REC, Joyce Miller, will be sharing her wisdom, expertise and experience about RE and extremism and the religious, education and professional life.

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