Perspective Online, Perkins School of Theology SMU
Welcome to Perkins Perspective Online, our monthly e-magazine with updates and information on the Perkins community! 
Perkins’ Certification in Spiritual Direction program launched its largest cohort of students in August; hear what brings students from a wide range of backgrounds to this program and why it is growing. Plus, learn about faculty member Susanne Johnson’s research at the U.S.-Mexico border; a profile of student Cori Clevenger, who is interning in England this year; faculty and alumni/ae news and much more.

We hope you’ll enjoy. Let us know if you have news you’d like to share.  

A Message from Dean Hill

Who is cut out for the ministry? Having heard the “call stories” of hundreds of students over the years, Dean Craig Hill shares his observations about common traits that suggest someone is truly called to ministry. These include characteristics such as integrity, responsibility, empathy, a growing faith and an ability to build community. Dean Hill encourages us to “be like Barnabas” (a disciple who appears in the book of Acts) by learning to recognize gifts that fit well with a career in ministry and encouraging others in their vocation.

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Monthly Updates
Office of Enrollment Management: Perkins Recruitment and YOU
Office of Development: Houston-Galveston Extension Program
Bridwell Library

Welcome to Campus!

We'd like to extend a warm welcome to our visitors on the Perkins campus this month who are here for United Methodist Certification Courses in Christian Education & Children’s Ministry and in Youth Ministry. Those include the more than 150 registrants expected January 6-9 for “Wayfinding,” the 2020 Perkins School of Youth Ministry (PSYM). Including program leaders, attendance at PSYM will total 200 people representing 11 states and 15 annual conferences, plus four denominations in addition to the United Methodist Church.  In addition, 30 persons will participate in the Christian Education and Children's Ministry certification courses.

Certification is the United Methodist Church's method of recognizing that an individual has met the required standards for academic training, experience and continuing study necessary to achieve and maintain professional excellence. To earn certifications, candidates complete five certification courses and then complete further steps with their annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry in cooperation with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. 

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2020 Perkins Summit for Faith and Learning

Perkins Summit for Faith and Learning

“Boundless Learning, Bountiful Living” offers multiple course options, March 26-28.

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CSD Soul Shakers

Perkins Certification in Spiritual Direction

Perkins’ Certification in Spiritual Direction program welcomes largest cohort in recent years.

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Faculty Profile

With her work at the border, Susanne Johnson keeps her theology firmly grounded in the real world.

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Internship in England

Internship in England

Perkins’ partnership with the Methodist Church of Great Britain opens up option in England for Perkins student internships.

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Faculty Update

Faculty Update

Robert Hunt weighs in on Jesus’ birth date; Ted Campbell’s video available online.

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Dean Craig Hill

Houston Lay School of Theology

Dean Craig C. Hill will lead a day-long course, “Servant of All: Status, Ambition, and the Way of Jesus” at the Houston Lay School of Theology on February 22.

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Perkins Signs MOU

Perkins Signs MOU

Perkins signs Memorandum of Understanding with Bishop Han Theological School in the Philippines.

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Student Spotlight

An internship in the United Kingdom expands Cori Clevenger’s cultural horizons.

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Student News

Student News

Wallace Wyatt III makes a “fast pitch” for the win.

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Alumni/ae Updates

Alumni/ae Update

Alumna Keva Green writes a new book; ordinations and obituaries.

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Upcoming Events

February 5:
Perkins Scholarship Luncheon

Mark your calendar for February 5, 2020, for the Perkins Scholarship Luncheon in The Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom at SMU. New York Times columnist and best-selling author David Brooks will be the featured speaker. For table sponsorship information, email John A. Martin ( Registration is required for this event.

February 13-14
Save the Date: Bonhoeffer Conference

On February 13-14, 2020, Perkins School of Theology will be sponsoring a short conference, “‘In the Face of Barbarism:’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Culture, Humanity and the Importance of Ordinary Life.” Most scholarly and popular portrayals of Bonhoeffer focus on the exceptional circumstances in which he found himself. The conference, by contrast, is focused on the importance of everyday life in Bonhoeffer’s theology and ethics. Lecturers Victoria Barnett, Michael DeJonge, and Natalie Carnes will help us to position the intersection of art and theology as related to everyday life. The conference will conclude with a one-person play on the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as adapted and performed by Al Staggs.
This conference is generously supported by the Robinson Fund at Perkins, which encourages work at the intersection of theology and the arts. This is appropriate given Bonhoeffer’s interest in music especially and in the way in which the arts were woven into the everyday life of the Bonhoeffer family and the student community at Finkenwalde.

Registration information coming soon. If you would like to be notified when registration is open, send an email to

February 14:
Inside Perkins

Inside Perkins

The next Inside Perkins takes place Friday, February 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the Dallas campus. The events give prospective students the opportunity to visit classes, meet faculty and current students and experience the warmth of the Perkins community. Additional information and registration are available here.

Additional Spring 2020 Inside Perkins events will take place on the following dates:

  • Thursday, March 26
  • Monday, April 6

February 22
Houston Lay School of Theology

Houston Lay School

Dean Craig C. Hill will lead a daylong course, "Servant of All: Status, Ambition, and the Way of Jesus" at the Houston Lay School of Theology from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on February 22, 2020, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Houston. The course will examine the tension between the biblical view of servant leadership and the status that Christians today often desire and pursue. The church is located at 5501 Main Street in Houston. Online registration is now open.  All those registering by February 14 will receive a free copy of Dean Hill's book Servant of All: Status, Ambition, and the Way of Jesus. 

March 9-11
MSM 60th Anniversary Reunion

MSM Reunion

Registration for the Master of Sacred Music 60th Anniversary Reunion is now open! The event will be held at Perkins March 9-11, 2020. A website with full details including a schedule, feature speakers and more will be available soon. Until then, please visit our website to save your spot and register now

March 26-28
Summit for Faith and Learning

With the theme “Boundless Learning, Bountiful Life,” the next Perkins Summit for Faith and Learning (formerly the Perkins Theological School for the Laity) takes place March 26-28, 2020. Featured speakers include William Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School, and several Perkins faculty members. Registration is now open. Visit our website here.

April 20:
"Preaching And..." sponsored by
Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence

The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence is sponsoring an interdisciplinary annual workshop and book series called “Preaching And…” A homiletician collaborates with a scholar from another field in offering a workshop for clergy that becomes a book in a series edited by Dr. O. Wesley Allen. The workshop will be held April 20, 2020 at Perkins.

The topic will be “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pulpit: Preaching and Humor.” Co-leaders are Alyce McKenzie and Owen Lynch, Associate Professor and Director of the Honors Program and SMU-in-London Internships, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs.

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