HELM Calls Chris Dorsey as Transitional President

ST. LOUIS, MO – Recognizing a transitional point in the life of its witness and ministry, the board of directors of Higher Education & Leadership Ministries (HELM) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has called the Reverend Bernard “Chris” Dorsey to serve as its next President effective August 1, 2014. A dynamic and creative leader, Dorsey is currently an Assistant Professor of Theology and Preaching at Western Theological Seminary.

An ordained Disciples minister, Dorsey
received his BS from the University of Texas at Austin, earned a M.Div from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He has taught at a variety of academic and theological institutions and previously served as local church pastor, university chaplain of Clark Atlanta University, and as the Vice President of Development and Marketing at Chicago Theological Seminary.

While recognizing the current challenges facing local congregations and faith-based institutions, the HELM board was impressed with Dorsey's vision for the future, gifts for communication, and excitement for continuing and transforming HELM's programs and ministry.

Dr. Ed Strong, chair of the HELM board, commented, “We were pleased with the success of the search process that led to the calling of Rev. Dorsey. The enthusiasm he engendered during this process is indicative of his desire and ability to guide HELM during its transitional period as it seeks to determine how best to serve the colleges, universities, theological institutions, and students in the task of developing and fostering leadership within the Church and society.”

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), added "I am looking forward to Chris' leadership at HELM and also in the general Church. His breadth of experience, both sacred and secular, has already been a gift to the Church with his service on various task forces. I am glad to have him as a colleague."

“I am honored and humbled by this new opportunity to serve Christ’s church,” said Dorsey. “I look forward to building on HELM’s success of leadership development and finding new ways to equip people with the skills and tools needed for successful ministry and service in a rapidly changing world.”

Dorsey is the father of 10-year-old daughter, Alanis and they currently reside in Holland, MI. His appointment follows the retirement of Dennis Landon after nearly two decades of faithful service as the President of HELM.

HELM Announces New Class of Leadership Fellows 

The HELM Leadership Fellows Program, which supports undergraduate students who have demonstrated leadership skills and who want to help lead transformative change in the church and the world, has added six students for the 2012-2013 academic year.

These new fellows enter a significantly revamped program designed to introduce fellows to the rapid changes taking place in local Christian communities and provide experiences to help them serve as leaders in new and transforming congregations.

This is the second class of fellows to enter the program as second-year college students.The program will still be a four-year experience, with fellows continuing through their first post-college year.With the help of coaches from across the denomination, fellows will each investigate the life and witness of a specific congregation with an eye toward learning how

Christian communities are formed and renewed. They will meet for the annual Fellows Conference November 7-9 in Nashville, Tennessee for worship, fellowship and to report on their investigations.

HELM Leadership Fellows are selected based on their leadership potential, church participation, and academic promise.  The Class of 2014-2015 is:

  • Hope Casey-Allen, a Computer Science major at Stanford University, from Northwood Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Abigail Frings, a Political Science major at Culver-Stockton College, and a member of Disciples of Christ Community Church in Champaign, Illinois.
  • Abigail Henegar, a Psychology and Spanish major at Texas Christian University, and member of First Christian Church of Centralia, Illinois.
  • Spenser Pulleyking, a Pre-Med and Music student at The University of Tulsa from of Brentwood Christian Church in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Hoan Rahlan, an Art and Design major at Barton College, from First Christian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Toni Trujillo, a Strategic Communication student at Texas Christian University and a member of First Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada.

These new fellows join 18 continuing fellows and almost 90 alumni now serving throughout the church. 

Hope Casey-Allen

Abigail Frings

Abigail Henegar

Spenser Pulleyking

Hoan Rahlan

Toni Trujillo

Vanderbilt PhD Student Named 2014 Ann E. Dickerson Scholarship Recipient

Yolanda M. Norton, a third-year PhD student in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel at Vanderbilt University, has been named by Higher Education and Leadership Ministries as a 2014 recipient of an Ann E. Dickerson Scholarship.

The Dickerson Scholarship Program honors Ann E. Dickerson, who was elected Vice-Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in August 1975. A member of the faculty of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, she died in October 1975, shortly after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. The Dickerson scholarships are available to female members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who are engaged in graduate study in religion working toward the Ph.D. degree.

Ms. Norton is a graduate of Syracuse University and Wesley Theological Seminary, and has served as Associate Pastor of New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Nashville since 2011. Her academic work focuses on “…exegetical work…that addresses the complexities of scripture and the social, political, and cultural milieu of the biblical world from the African American female perspective.”

Ann E. Dickerson Scholarships are awarded annually by HELM.Application packets for 2015 will be available from HELM in January.The next application deadline is April 15, 2015.

Yolanda Norton

HELM Awards Jones Scholarship

Néstor Gómez Morales, a doctoral student in Religion and Social Change at the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology, and in preparation for ordained ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has been awarded the William Gilbert and Florence Leonard Jones scholarship for the 2014.

The scholarship is awarded annually by Higher Education and Leadership Ministries to a full-time student pursuing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy who is either preparing for ordination in or is already ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Gómez Morales has served in a number of pastoral and leadership roles in the Central Rocky Mountain region of the Christian Church (Discipels of Christ) and has taught extensively in several universities and seminaries in his native Colombia. His research interests include social ethics, Latina/o discourse, particularly related to Pentecostalism, and liberation theology.

The Jones scholarship, established by an anonymous donor, each year honors a Disciples PhD student who is also an ordained minister of The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) or who is seeking ordination.

Néstor Gómez Morales

Copyright © 2014 | Higher Education & Leadership Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)