Alum E-News
September/October 2012



United's Alum E-News keeps alums connected with one another and highlights happenings at the seminary. Alum E-News includes information from alums, so please send news you'd like to share for the next issue to by October 15.
Alum Gathering with President Barbara A. Holmes


October 30, 3:00-5:00 PM
United Theological Seminary

Dr. Barbara Holmes
This is a great chance for alums to meet United's new president, Barbara A. Holmes! Hear first-hand about her hopes and plans for United's future and ask her any questions you may have. (This event is hosted by the Alum Council.)

Help Us Welcome Our New President! 

We are compiling a book of prayers, poetry, artwork and words of welcome for United's new president. Please submit an 8.5 x 11 page contribution to Laura Smidzik at by the end of the day on Monday, September 17. We will present it to her on at Fall Convocation on September 20.



Milestones and Memories
Bigelow Chapel Courtyard Paver Project

Bigelow Chapel 
Create a tribute to the significant people in your life or the life of the seminary when you purchase and inscribe a paver that will be installed in the courtyard outside the stunning Bigelow Chapel. All proceeds from the purchase of pavers will go to United's scholarship fund.

Paver options:
  • 8" x 8" brick paver @ $150 each
  • 8" x 16" stone paver @ $750 each

Watch your mailbox for a brochure and more information to be delivered soon. 


Click here to download a printable order form


Click here for more information and online ordering 



Recent Alum News


Elizabeth Mahan was installed as chaplain at Lake Region Healthcare on August 30 in a 4-way covenant between Elizabeth, Lynnhurst Congregational UCC in Minneapolis, Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls and the Minnesota Conference.

Leslie Neugent was ordained on July 22 at Wayzata UCC.


Zoe Kuester was ordained on August 26 at Cherokee Park United Church in St. Paul. Zoe serves at St. Peter's UCC in Stillwater.    


Luke Stevens-Royer will be ordained and installed on September 22 at 2:00 PM at White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church. 



Kelli Clement accepted the position of Executive Director with the MN Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (


Kimber Olson was one of twelve Minnesota artists chosen to create a work of art in one day during the Minnesota State Fair. Read the Pioneer Press article. 



Bryan Allen has been accepted as a pre-candidate for the Ph.D. program at Saint Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida. He was solicited to apply for the program as an outgrowth from his work in the impoverished communities in Florida as well as in the broader LGBT community.  


In July, three churches in St. Anthony held an interfaith gathering between Christian and Muslim leaders in response to anti-Islamic comments made at a City Council meeting. Members of Nativity Lutheran Church, Faith United Methodist Church and St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church organized the event, at which United alum Leigh Brown (pastor at Faith UMC) was a speaker.

Read the Star Tribune article.  


Bryan Olson has accepted a position as pastor of Cottage Grove United Church of Christ.  


An Ecclesiastical Council for Rex Beyer will be held September 11 at 7:00 PM at Living Table UCC, Minneapolis. 



Matt Fitzgerald has been called as the Senior Pastor of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Chicago. July 1 was his first Sunday.


Jim Peck served as Chaplain with the Chautauqua United Church of Christ Society at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York in late June. In May, he received the Harvey Milk Award for Lifetime Achievement in advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality from the Gender and Sexuality Equality Center, a student-led organization at California State University in Chico, California. He continues to serve as pastor of the Congregational Church of Chico, UCC.


In Memory and with Gratitude

Mary Carolyn Dorfman '78 died on Monday, August 27 at age 70. Read the obituary.

Do you have news you'd like to share? Send it to Kayla at by October 15 to be included in the next edition of Alum E-News.

Faculty News


Bob Albers

Bob Albers has edited a new book, Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families, published by Fortress Press. As editor, Bob has drawn upon a diverse group of writers dealing with a variety of topics to give religious leaders and family members helpful resources. Bob also co-wrote a chapter of the book.


A book event will be held at United on Tuesday, October 9, at 12:15 PM. This event is free and open to the public. 


Martha Postlethwaite writes for "In Trust"  

The section on United is based on an interview with Martha Postlethwaite, who shares her reflections on the role of the arts and spiritual formation at United. Click here to read the Summer issue of In Trust magazine.



Institute for the Support of Pastoral Ministries
Hurry! Just a few spots left!


Pastoral Care Consultation Groups, led by Christie Cozad Neuger, are for pastors who want to improve their knowledge and skill in pastoral care and counseling. Groups are limited to eight participants and meet for a four-hour block, once a month, for 10 months. Sessions involve collaborative consultation around case studies from group members.

Two consultation groups are being offered: one for religious leaders working primarily in congregations and one for those primarily in specialized pastoral care settings (e.g., chaplains, pastoral counselors).


 More, including registration information. 


Or contact Christie Cozad Neuger, 651.255.6150.  

Art at United

"Holy Families: A Celebration of Love"

September & October 


In response to the anti-marriage amendment and celebrating the beauty of all families this exhibit will feature invited artists who offer their own 'visual' ode to the love and holiness of all families.


Holy Families - How do You Define Your Unique and Holy Family?           

September 22, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Get in on the act and be a part of this community art show! Bring an 8" x 10" photograph or drawing of your family (blended, nuclear, multi-generational, traditional, animal companions, LGBT, choice or .....) to contribute to the show. If you don't have a picture we'll have a photographer here to snap a shot. Any way you define your family, the common denominator is love!


This exhibition will travel to Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church for an interfaith worship service on November 1, 2012, celebrating and affirming the diversity of Minnesota families.


Upcoming Events
Fall Convocation
September 20, 11:35 AM  
Come to hear United President Barbara A. Holmes speak in Bigelow Chapel. Stay for lunch in the Context Cafe. Read more.

Music, Mirth & Memories: A Light-Hearted Musical Revue of United's 50 Years 

October 1 

Social Hour, Dinner, and Live Auction
5:30-7:30 PM 


Program: Musical Revue and Hymn Sing
8:00-9:00 PM

Come for the whole evening or just the revue. Musical program conceived and performed by Philip Brunelle, Vern Sutton, Dan Dressen, Bradley Greenwald, Janis Hardy, and Maria Jette. Proceeds benefit United's scholarship fund.
Read more and register.
Pain Knows No Boundaries: An Interfaith Journey of Healing and Hope 
October 4, 7:30 PM
Michael Lapsley knows, from personal experience, the terrain of emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds, and what it takes to heal them. When a letter bomb sent by South African security forces exploded in his face, Lapsley began a new journey, establishing the Institute for Healing of Memories and writing two books. He will be joined by others to discuss the commonalities across faith groups that can lead to reparation.
Read more and register.

10 Must-have Competencies for
21st Century Ministry
October 11, 4:00-6:00 PM
Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis
Mark Sundby, executive director at North Central Ministry Development Center (NCMDC), presents 10 must-have competencies that integrate the psychological, theological, and practical elements of ministry.
Read more and register.

Anniversary Bash for United and the UCC 
October 11, 11:35 AM
United and the UCC are both celebrating 50 years! The celebration will begin in Bigelow Chapel at 11:35 AM for a worship service highlighting the important role of the Minnesota Conference and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and their mutually beneficial relationship. Clyde Steckel, emeritus professor of theology, will preach during worship and afterwards he will discuss his new book, New Ecclesiology and Polity: The United Church of Christ, in honor of the Minnesota Conference milestone anniversary. Come for stimulating conversation, a lively celebration and, of course, delicious anniversary cake. Lunch can be purchased in the Context Café.

Healing as a Religious Leader:
Facilitating Personal Healing and Implications for Ministry
October 12, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
In this workshop, Michael Lapsley explores the need for personal healing as a key part of one's capacity for leadership. Participants may reflect on their life experiences and learn how to let go of that which is internally destructive and retain that which is life-giving for their work in the church.
Read more and register.

Theological Book Club 
Embodiment: An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology 
James B. Nelson, author & facilitator (via Skype)
Wilson Yates, facilitator
October 16, 7:30 PM  
Join us for this discussion about Nelson's 1978 seminal work regarding spirituality and human sexuality and its continued importance to the conversation around human sexuality and LGBT issues today.
Read more and register.

Clergy: Good People (Bad Friends)
October 15-17
ARC Retreat Center, Stanchfield, Minn.  

A retreat for clergy and interested spouses exploring the challenges and dynamics of maintaining healthy friendships outside of the congregation.

Read more and register. 


First Divinity: How Does the Goddess Reveal Herself Today? 
Mondays, October 15, 22, 29 and November 5

1:30-4:30 PM

For centuries before patriarchal religions developed, humans worshipped the Goddess, thought to be the source of all life and the mother to which we return in death. Become reacquainted with the esteemed deity who is no longer worshipped in any faith tradition and ask the question, "How might she guide us in caring for one another and our imperiled planet?"

Read more and register.  


50th Anniversary of the Dakota Conflict 

November 8, 11:35 AM

Join us for a chapel service reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the Dakota Conflict (also known as the Dakota War of 1862). The day of remembrance will also include a continuous presentation of Hawk Eyes: Native Artist's View Minnesota and a showing of Dakota 38. Watch for more information on our website and Facebook.



In This Issue
Meet President Barbara A. Holmes
Courtyard Paver Project
Recent Alum News
Faculty News
Institute Consultation Groups
Art at United
Upcoming Events
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