The winner of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award
is The Rev. Steven E. Hulme '59
The Rev. Steven E. Hulme, Class of 1959, (at right) officiating at the wedding of a young woman who had found sanctuary at his parish after coming to America as a refugee as a very young girl;
The Alumni Executive Committee of The General Theological Seminary is delighted to announce that the Rev. Steven E. Hulme, Class of 1959, is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. Hulme is Rector Emeritus of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Niantic, Connecticut. As Rector from 1971 to 1998, and during the years following his retirement from parish ministry, Hulme provided leadership for the resettlement, in a new homeland, of approximately 35 refugee families, comprising over 150 individuals, with many more able to join them later by way of family reunification.
Hulme was nominated by St. John’s current Rector, the Rev. Anthony Charles Dinoto, Class of 1999. “With more refugees today than at any time since World War II,” Dinoto points to the importance of clergy and laity knowing “a parish can do much to assist those who are not its members: In fact, not many refugees were Christians in the past, or today.”
St. John’s Parish acting alone, and at times in cooperation with other faith communities, resettled refugees from Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Eritrea, Rwanda, El Salvador, and Burma from 1975 to 2013. Hulme traveled to Southeast Asia on ten occasions to address refugee issues, family reunifications, and humanitarian and educational endeavors. From the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia, and later, from the murderous chaos in Rwanda and Burma, precious lives were saved.
From 1998 to 2013 Hulme was the founding Executive Director of the Karen (Burma) Emergency Relief Fund, Inc. The Fund, with donors in 40 states and four foreign countries, raised upwards of $750,000.00 for humanitarian aid to thousands more refuges who remained in squalid, and often dangerous, camps along the Thai-Burma border.
St. John’s Parish relationship with many of the resettled refugees, along with Hulme’s leadership as Rector Emeritus, continues to this day.
The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Hulme during the next annual Alumni Gathering at General Seminary, at the Memorial Eucharist May 16, 2017.
Call for Nominations 2018
The Alumni Executive Committee is pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award. This annual award is for Seminary degree-holders worthy of special recognition. The award presentation will take place during the 2018 Alumni Gathering. Nominations must be received by October 1, 2017. The award will be decided by the Alumni Executive Committee at its October 2017 meeting.
What does it mean to be an outstanding graduate of The General Theological Seminary? The Close represents many things to those of us who studied here at General. A home for some of us, or a home away from home where we went to be in communion with others striving toward the same goals. It is a place where the serenity and beauty of the grounds are enhanced by the families who live there and the community who makes it come alive. It is also a place where Leaders for the Episcopal Church are formed. The time spent at General has led to fruitful expressions of faith in all parts of the world.
We are proud to stand as a community with all of our brothers and sisters in the General Community. Some efforts are so inspirational however, that we choose to recognize these people of faith with our Distinguished Alumni/ae Award. Past recipients have included exemplars of a broad range of ministry. We have had the privilege of holding up both extraordinarily original, path breaking ministries and extraordinarily faithful, though quiet ministries. Candidates may be put forth on the basis of lifetime achievement, or to honor extraordinary accomplishment that brought credit upon the church and GTS. Nominees may be well-known, but care should be given to identifying inspiring yet unheralded ministries.
We rely on our alumni to select an inspirational example for all of us to receive this honor.
The winner of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award:
The Rev. Paula M. Jackson '85
The Rev. Paula M. Jackson, Class of 1985, was the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. Jackson has been the Rector of the multicultural Church of Our Saviour/La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador in Cincinnati, Ohio since 1990. She is married to the Rev. Daniel M. Watson; they have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Jackson previously served as Associate Rector of Christ Church Episcopal in Cincinnati, Vicar of St. George Church, Louisville, and Deacon-in-Residence at Calvary Episcopal Church in Louisville. She has been a Deputy to General Convention in 2015, 2012, and 2009, and a 1st Alternate in 2006. In 2015 Jackson vetted, authored, and/or enlisted sponsors for successful Resolutions on Birthright Citizenship and TPS for Guatemalan and other refugees for whom return to their original countries puts them at risk. In 2012 she testified on a successful Resolution calling for a moratorium on “Secure Communities” practices and racial profiling in immigration enforcement.
A “preacher’s kid,” Jackson spent her childhood years mostly in the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. Her family home was the place in town that would welcome the rare visitors who were people of color or immigrants. This distinction impressed upon her the beauty of human diversity, as well as the urgency and necessity of justice and equity for all people.
These lifelong commitments were met years later in seminary, with the opportunity to study various liberation theologies, and to complete a dissertation on José Porfirio Miranda of Mexico. The greatest learning, of course, comes from the people among whom one may serve. The Church of Our Saviour began working intentionally at dismantling racism in 1960, and ended its tacit "don't ask-don't tell" practices with LGBT members in the early 1970s. Immigrants began arriving in 1992; soon the parish became known also as La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador.
After the parish took a strong role in the Justice for Janitors campaign, connecting even more with latino workers, the parish became officially bilingual in 2006, and a Parroquia de Santuario in 2007. It’s non-profit Transformations CDC is an umbrella for advocacy, education, empowerment, and microdevelopment opportunities with underserved immigrant families and neighbors.
Jackson has been the recipient of numerous humanitarian awards, most recently the League of United Latin American Citizens Cincinnati Human Rights Award, and is a member of the Board of the Cincinnati Interfaith Worker Justice Center. She is the author of Transformation: A Way to Freedom – Conversations with the Book of Exodus and What Does the Bible Say about Being Gay? – Probably not what you’ve been told!
The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Jackson during the Alumni Gathering at General Seminary, at the Memorial Eucharist May 10, 2016 at which she preached.
The winner of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award:
The Very Rev. H. Scott Kirby ’63
The Very Rev. H. Scott Kirby (Class of 1963) was the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award. Kirby’s long ministry of service and devotion to the Church has emphasized community outreach and partnership. After many years serving parishes in Western New York, New Jersey, and Kansas, he was called as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Eau Claire, where he led a resurgence of congregational, spiritual, and financial growth.
Kirby’s distinguished ministry culminated with his unanimous election to be Vice President of the House of Deputies for the 2012 General Convention. Since his retirement from the Cathedral in 2005, he has continued his life-long interest in the Church in small communities as part-time Vicar of Grace Church, Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Kirby also serves as Chaplain for the Upper Mississippi River Region for the Seamen’s Church Institute and Captain Chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol.
Born in Richmond, VA in 1938, Kirby is married to the former Heather Roberts, and they have two grown children. He received his BA from the University of Richmond in 1960 before attending General, where he received his M.Div. in 1963, and was ordained deacon and priest the same year. He has served parishes in the Diocese of Western New York, the Diocese of New Jersey, the Diocese of Western Kansas, and the Diocese of Eau Claire. He has also served as the Resident Director and Vice President for Development of the St. Francis Homes in Kansas and New York.
Kirby’s wide-ranging Diocesan experience includes Budget and Finance, Ecumenical Relations, Commission on Ministry, Long Range Planning, Christian Education, Music and Liturgy, and Standing Committee. Service to the National Church includes the Board of Directors of Episcopal Relief and Development and the Disciplinary Committee of Title IV. He serves on the Interfaith Council on Marriage and the Family, and is an Associate Member of the Community of St. John Baptist, Midwest Representative to the Anglican Society, and a recipient of the Bishop’s Distinguished Service Award in the Diocese of Western Kansas.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Kirby during the Alumni Gathering Memorial Eucharist, November 5 , 2015.
The winner of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award:
The Rev. Margaret "Peggy" A. Muncie, '74
The Rev. Margaret “Peggy” A. Muncie (Class of 1974) was the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. Muncie, along with the late Paige Bigelow, was one of the first women to graduate in the MDiv program at GTS, and has written and spoken engagingly and movingly about what that was like. She has always sought to forward the profession of chaplaincy through practice, advocacy, and writing.
Muncie was ordained Deacon in June, 1974 for the Diocese of Long Island by the now deceased Rt. Rev. Jonathan Goodhue Sherman, also a General alum (’33) and a former President of our Board of Trustees. She credits the Bishop for supporting her postulancy at that critical time for the acceptance of female ordinands, and hopes he has “a smile on his face for me and for his brave stance sending me to GTS.” She was then priested for the Diocese of New York on April 25, 1977 by Bishop Sherman at the request of Bishop Paul Moore of New York. The ordination took place in the chapel at Vassar College where she served on the campus ministry team.
Muncie is a Board Certified Chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains. She has carried out her distinguished ministry as a chaplain in both long-term care and acute settings for over 30 years, including service as Director of Pastoral Care and Education at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City.
She is now engaged as Executive Director of Canterbury Counseling Center (CCC) in Greenville, South Carolina. CCC is a non-profit, church-sponsored organization that offers a healing ministry of pastoral counseling, integrating psychotherapy with behavioral sciences, spiritual issues, wholeness and health. They offer a broad spectrum of services, conducted by fully licensed mental health professionals trained in both theology and pastoral psychology. The services at CCC are available to individuals, couples, families, clergy, and congregations regardless of race, faith affiliation or financial status.
Muncie accepted her award at the Alumni Memorial Eucharist during the Alumni Gathering, November 6, 2014.
Peggy Muncie and Paige Bigelow,
the first two women to receive MDivs from General,
celebrate at their Commencement in 1974.
Other past recipients of the GTS Distinguished Alumni Award are:
2012-13 Brother Clark Berge, '84, Minister General, The Society of St. Francis, Mt. Sinai, New York.
2011 The Rev. Dr. Minka Shura Sprague, ‘78 and ‘85, St. James Episcopal Church, Jackson, Mississippi, scholar, author, preacher, lecturer, and workshop/retreat leader.
2010 The Rev. John L. Kater, ‘96 Professor Emeritus of Ministry Development, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
2009 The Very Rev. David duPlantier '93 Dean, Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans LA, Co-founder Jericho Road Housing Project
2008 The Rev. Dr. Marion J. Hatchett '66 and '72, Professor Emeritus, University of the South, School of Theology, Sewanee, Tenn.
2007 The Rev. Canon Elizabeth Geitz '93, Canon for Ministry, Diocese of New Jersey and author of several volumes, including Fireweed Evangelism and The Rev. J. Fletcher Lowe '59 Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
2006 Dr. Henry Carse '94, Director, Kids-4-Peace, St. George’s College, Jerusalem
2005 The Rev. Bertram Bennett '75, Priest-in-Charge, St. David’s, Bronx, NY and Chair, South Bronx Churches
2004 The Revs. Richard Fabian '70 and Donald Schell '71, Co-founders and co-rectors, St. Gregory of Nyssa, San Francisco