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A Message from Department Chair Jerry Sittser

Dear Friends of Whitworth's Theology Department,

I always write this introduction to the annual theology department newsletter with a sense of deep joy and gratitude. On Sunday, May 19, we watched as 24 theology majors walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, plus dozens of students who had minored in biblical languages or in theology, had participated in the Certification in Ministry Program, or had simply taken multiple classes in theology, which adds up to a large number of students. We are proud of all of them and pray God's blessings on them as they seek to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.

Several of our students distinguished themselves at the end of the academic year. David Rurik received the Whitworth Alumni Ideals Award and Cameron Williams received the Whitworth Servant Leadership Award. Abigail Miller and Troy Duppenthaler won the Theology Department Award; P. James McCord won Zondervan's theology award; Michael Bouterse won the Zondervan Greek award; and Rachel Toone won both Greek and Hebrew Zondervan awards.

These students' achievements remind us of the generosity and support of so many, especially the Welch Foundation, which funds the endowed chair that Jim Edwards currently occupies, provides scholarship funds for theology students, who lose Washington state need grants when they declare theology as a major, and this year provided money for our faculty to employ current theology majors as assistants in scholarly research through the Welch Foundation Scholar Research Assistant Program.

In the following messages you will read more detailed reports of the theology faculty, both present and past and, in one case, future. That "future" colleague is Will Kynes, who will move to Spokane this summer with his family to join us as assistant professor of theology. He earned his Ph.D. from Cambridge and is currently teaching at Oxford. His expertise in Old Testament studies in general and wisdom literature in particular will round out our biblical literature offerings and strengthen our Hebrew program, especially in light of Scott Starbuck's departure, or at least leave of absence. Scott has served the department very ably in teaching Old Testament and building our Hebrew program. He is assuming a visiting professor position at Gonzaga in fall 2013. We are grateful for his significant contributions, and we're excited that Will is joining us in a tenure-track position to replace, if that is possible, Roger Mohrlang, who has begun the process of phased retirement.

I want to highlight just a few of the accomplishments of my esteemed colleagues. Keith Beebe had a great year: he was promoted to full professor, received the Collaborative Teaching Award, and is awaiting the final publication (in July) of his two-volume critical edition of The McCulloch Examinations of the Cambuslang Revival. Other faculty books that were published include: Roger Mohrlang, Paul and His Life-Transforming Theology: A Concise Introduction; Jonathan Moo, Hope in an Age of Despair: The Gospel and the Future of Life on Earth; and my book, A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life. In addition, both Dale Bruner and I received Awards of Merit in Christianity Today's annual book awards, which is good news for Whitworth! Jim Edwards has labored (and just finished!) a major commentary on Luke. Meanwhile, Karen Petersen Finch lectured for several days at Beeson Divinity School and Karin Heller is working to complete Women and Men in the Church: a Worldview in Evolution. This is one productive faculty!

We wish two departing members of the theology-department community well, too. After many years of service Toni Sutherland in the chaplain's office is leaving to pursue other adventures, and Tim Dolan has accepted a position at Denver Seminary. We will miss them.

Thanks for taking the time to read the following letters. We welcome the opportunity to communicate with our alumni. So send us an e-mail! Grace and peace to you.

Jerry Sittser



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