I am writing to strongly commend Dr. Torrance for his leadership in supporting interfaith dialogue. My heart is sick as I witness other Christians supporting division and power plays and hostility. Reading through the inSpire interactive excerpts [summer/fall 2005] was INSPIRING! I am pleased to see positive responses from churches led by ministers of all ages. I do hope this leadership given by Dr. Torrance and Princeton Seminary gets national and international recognition.
Tom Phillips (’61B)
I read with interest the article “Breaking Bread Together” [summer/fall 2005] and the invitation to Muslims to the PTS campus. The world needs more of that. Thank you.
Art Suggs (’83B)
Endicott, New York
The cover of the summer/fall 2005 inSpire caught my eye. Reading “Breaking Bread Together” raised my hopes. In a time of increasing religious tension and extremism (at home and abroad), I was encouraged to find the Seminary committed to the work of reconciliation through interfaith dialogue.
As a student in the Seminary’s India Summer Program in 1993 and in the Seminarians Interacting interfaith dialogue program with the National Conference of Christians and Jews (now the National Conference of Community and Justice), I personally learned an invaluable lesson when engaging a person of another faith. The understanding of another’s faith has an ironic way of deepening the understanding of one’s own faith.
In our post-9/11 world, it is hard to imagine a more valuable goal of any educational institution than to span the gaps of ignorance and hate with bridges of understanding and love. I am encouraged by the commitment of Princeton Seminary to extend an open mind and reconciling spirit—across an increasingly religiously divisive world—to cross over fear toward faith.
Jess Crawford (’94B)
Pine Grove, Colorado
Cross-Cultural Exchange in Cuba
Thank you for the excellent issue of inSpire, summer/fall 2005. The article “Breaking Bread Together” was very helpful.
Since I recently attended a PTS alumni/ae luncheon with President Torrance, I was particularly interested in his vision for our beloved Seminary. He emphasized the plan to help students and faculty have more cross-cultural experiences.
I recently returned from two weeks of lectures at the Seminario Evangelico de Teologia in Matanzas, Cuba. This seminary was founded in 1946 by PTS alumnus Alfonso Rodriguez Hidalgo (’46B, ’55D). I delivered the annual Mauricio Lopez Fe y Sociedad Lectures. My subject was “Christian Mysticism and Social Transformation.”
Our sister denomination in Cuba, the Presbyterian Reformed Church, is struggling to gain back the membership it had in the late 1950s—approximately 10,000 members and 30 pastors. There are four Presbyterian seminarians this year—one is a 32-year-old medical doctor who has chosen ministry as a second vocation.
John H. Sinclair (’47B, ’53M)
PTS’s First Woman B.D. Graduate
I found online a copy of the summer/fall 2000 issue of inSpire in which the passing of Muriel V.O. Jennings, Class of 1932, was mentioned in “In Memoriam.” Also a brief episode in the issue gives two wonderful stories about this fabulous woman, whom I knew very well when I was a child and teenager, and whose ministry was no less effective in that she couldn’t be ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in her day.
Muriel and Harvey Jennings came into my life in my childhood in the 1950s when they ran the summer camping program at Montrose Bible Conference in Northern Pennsylvania. Though trained as Presbyterians, and essentially Reformed in theology, they had migrated to the Baptist Church because they could not deal with the liberalization of theology in the Presbyterian Church.
Nonetheless, this young Presbyter-ian met and was deeply influenced by their work at that camp over many years of attending as a camper and later as a counselor, even into adulthood in the mid-1970s. They never convinced me to follow their conservative theology, but their witness as persons of integrity who knew Christ as Lord of their lives and showed it in every breath they took deeply moved me and no doubt led me into the church as a profession (I serve as organist and choirmaster at Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania).
The last time I saw Mrs. Jennings was in 1990. After that I did not get back to Montrose at all. However, I still think of her fondly, and of the effect she had on my young life.
The piece on Muriel Van Orden Jennings can be found at http://www.ptsem.edu/Publications/
Salute from Scotland
I write on behalf of my wife and myself to say a very warm “Thank you” for sending us a copy of the summer/fall 2005 issue of inSpire. It is a very evocative reminder of the short but memorable visit we paid to the Seminary in October. We have spoken of it often—the spirit of the place, the generous hospitality we received, and the delightful people we met, among them, I see, the new chair of the Board of Trustees, Mary Lee Fitzgerald. We were greatly privileged.
May I add that, although I have not seen many American alumni/ae magazines, I am not surprised that your correspondent on page 4 says that inSpire is the best!
Sir William Fraser
Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland
University of Glasgow
In the fine story “An Egyptian Sojourn” [summer/fall 2005, p. 24], the name David Crafton should be David Grafton. He is a rostered pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
John C. Melin (’69M)
Toms River, New Jersey
In “A Window on the Class of 2006” [summer/fall 2005], it says, “The class’s average age is 25, the youngest ever at the seminary.”
I would like to question this! Back in the 1930s and 1940s, most of the men (there were no women then in the B.D. program) arrived at PTS right out of college, which I suspect would have made the average age during many of those years under 25.
Anyway, thought this was worth mentioning to you!
Keep up the good work with inSpire.
Tom Goslin (’44B)
I was pleased and surprised to see my picture, along with Jim Kay, Mary Holtey, and Nancy Emerson, on page 13 of the summer/fall issue. I must offer one small correction, though— much as I would love to have sailed through the Ph.D. program in two years (!), I should, rather, be designated as ’98B, ’04D.
D. Matthew Stith (’98B, ’04D)
West Fargo, North Dakota