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Spring Convocation

Thursday, May 17, 2012

8:00 AM

Alumni & Reunions
Spring Convocation

Contact: Ruth Edens (617) 831-2409 or

Andover Newton is excited to welcome back our Alumni/ae this May for Spring Convocation. Come, reconnect with friends and colleagues, and deepen living conversations about church and state, religion and politics, vital to all our ministries in this and every election year. We look forward to celebrating our seventh Spirit of the Hill recipient, Rev. Bill Cunitz, class of 1974. And be sure to Join us for our Charles River Boat Cruise, it will fill up fast! Lodging Information

Convocation Schedule

Thursday, May 17, 2012
8 AM – 9:45 AM Registration, Check-in, Continental Breakfast
Wilson Chapel
10 AM – 10:45 AM Morning Devotions with the Rev. Dr. Mary Luti
Wilson Chapel
11 AM – 11:15 AM Greeting: Nick Carter, Andover Newton President
Wilson Chapel
11:15 AM – 12 PM Keynote:
The Use and Abuse of Religion and Politics
The Rev. J. Brent Walker, JD, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee, Washington, D.C.
Wilson Chapel
Noon – 2 PM Lunch
Upper Noyes Hall

President's Address:
Nick Carter, Andover Newton President
Spirit of the Hill Award
Recipient: The Rev. William Cunitz, '74, President/CEO of Pilgrim Place, Claremont, CA

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Panel Discussion:
Interface Between Media and Faith:
How Faith Leaders Navigate in the World of Instant Communication
Wilson Chapel


3:30 PM – 4 PM Break
4 PM – 5 PM President's reception
President's Garden
5 PM Shuttle to River Boat Cruise (space limited)
6 PM – 8 PM Boat Cruise on the Charles River
Friday, May 18, 2012
9 AM – 10 AM Registration, Check-in, Continental breakfast
Wilson Chapel
10 AM – 11:45 AM Media Center Workshop: How to Use Media as a Tool of Faith
(Media is not the message)

Workshop led by:

Noon – 1:30 PM Community Picnic
Upper Noyes Hall
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Reunion High Tea: Toast to class years ending in ‘2' or ‘7'
Saturday, May 19, 2012
2 PM Commencement
50th reunion class year to be recognized

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Eric Anderson Eric Anderson:
The Rev. Eric Anderson coordinates the Conference's communications ministries and information technology systems, including print and electronic publications, podcast, networks and servers, web sites, and FIDO* service for the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ. He has produced a number of short video pieces about the Conference's life and ministry. He is available for workshops and church visits on communication and digital communications questions.

Eric is a native of Rockville, Connecticut, and was raised in the United Church of Christ. A graduate of Cornell University and Andover Newton Theological School, he was ordained in 1988. He has served installed and interim pastoral positions in Maine and Connecticut, and also operated an independent IT consulting service. On some weekends, he may be heard as half of the Boys in Hats folk/acoustic duo, performing primarily in local church coffeehouses. He has two children, Brendan and Rebekah.

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Nick CarterNick Carter:
In 2004 the Reverend Nick Carter was inaugurated as the President of Andover Newton. As the first non-academic to hold the position, his presidency has been marked by an unusual combination of skill in the areas of leadership development, organizational transformation, and resource generation. Nick is passionately committed to the preparation of a new generation of religious leaders, with emphasis on what he calls "interfaith border crossing skills" – the ability to meaningfully engage and work with people who think, speak and worship differently. Under Nick's leadership Andover Newton has developed a nationally recognized joint program in "Intercommunal Leadership" with Hebrew College and Rabbinical School, a unique transdenominational school which shares their hilltop campus in Newton Centre, MA.

Carter currently chairs the Interreligious Center for Public Life, and serves on the boards of the Boston Theological Institute, Ecclesia Ministry/Common Cathedral, Justice and Witness Ministry (UCC), and is a trustee of Old South Church in Boston. He has a BA from Colgate University, a Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and honorary doctorates from Hebrew College (Humane Letters) and Franklin University (Divinity). Nick's wife, Rev. Dr. Deborah Carter, is the Interim Minister of the Eliot Congregational Church in Newton, MA. Their son, Isaac, is the Executive Chef of The Bull Run restaurant in Shirley, MA.

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Bob CraigueBob Craigue:
Bob Craigue is a multi-Emmy award winning editor and videographer who has worked in Broadcast News and been a leader in computerized video editing. It has become his calling to bring that wealth of experience to assist faith leaders in using media as a support to their ministry.

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William CunitzWilliam Cunitz:
Is the 11th Chief Executive Officer of Pilgrim Place in Claremont, and, was elected by the Board of Directors in April, 1998.

A cum laude graduate of Hobart College in Geneva, NY and Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, MA, Mr. Cunitz has served in a variety of capacities since his ordination by the United Church of Christ in 1975.

Ministerial positions have included The First Church Congregational in Swampscott, MA; The First Congregational Church of Rindge, NH and Union Congregational Church in Peterborough, NH.

During the late 1980's and 1990's, Mr. Cunitz served the administration of Andover Newton Theological School and five presidents as Director of the 1982-85 Capital Campaign, Director of Church and Alumni/ae Relations, Director of Development and Vice President for Institutional Advancement. He was also a member of the school's adjunct faculty from 1991 to 1998, teaching course in the administration and theology of stewardship. In 1997, he helped to launch the school's distance education program, utilizing the Internet for course delivery and was among the first to teach a course at Andover Newton using the Internet.

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Mary LutiMary Luti:
Is the Director of Wilson Chapel and Visiting Professor of Worship and Preaching at Andover Newton. She previously served for eight years as the pastor of First Church in Cambridge, MA.

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Steven SavidesSteven Savides:
Steven is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. He is emerging as a leader in the church revitalization and transformation movement with a passion for seeing progressive Christianity flourish.

Steven is a charismatic preacher and compassionate pastoral caregiver who seeks to equip and empower those he serves for their own vocations and ministries. He brings talents for storytelling, education, and spiritual discernment to his ministry and, when he's not spreading the gospel of church revitalization, offers workshops on spiritual practices. Among Steven's ongoing research interests are the writings of the Apostle Paul, shame theory, the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the promise of social media for evangelism.

He serves on the Committee on Ministry and as a Boundary Awareness Trainer for the Metropolitan Boston Association and on the Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, all of which serve Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.

Steven holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Andover Newton Theological School (graduated 2006) and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School (graduated 2008). Prior to entering seminary, he was a journalist with The Christian Science Monitor in Boston and with The Pretoria News and Eastern Province Herald in South Africa. He was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on May 21, 2006 at Hope Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass. Steven has been Pastor and Teacher of The Congregational Church of West Medford since mid 2008.

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Donna SchaperDonna Schaper:
The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper has been Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church for seven years. Her life goal is to animate spiritual capacity for public ministry. That means orienting individuals to find their power in such a way that they redistribute power and make the world beautiful and fun for all. She imagines beauty and enchantment as God's purpose in the beginning – and joins in the great stream of the enchanted as a life love. She also grows a fine tomato – and helps to grow fine congregations. She is the principal in a consulting firm called "Bricks Without Straw," which shows not for profits how to raise energy and money and capacity. A "Turn Around" specialist, Schaper brings communities into the 21st century, manages grief about what is lost and calmly plots resurrections.

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Nancy TaylorNancy Taylor:
Has served since 2005 as the 20th senior minister and chief executive officer of Old South Church. The dual nature of this role reflects Old South's dual identity as both a thriving urban church, and an historic leadership institution in Boston (and, as such, steward of storied events and personages, of a National Historic Landmark Building, as well as collections of rare books and silver).

Under Nancy's leadership, Old South Church has grown remarkably in ways measurable (worship services, attendance, participation, programming, national profile, financial stewardship) and immeasurable (there is a palpably spirited ‘buzz" at the church, a sense of excitement and joy in the work we are doing). The Church, recognized in 2011 as a United Church of Christ (UCC) "Center for Excellence," has grown in its vocation as a teaching church and developed an exciting Vision for the 21st Century in which it is engaged. The Church has exercised ecumenical and interfaith leadership, for instance, in hosting worship services on the inauguration of Deval Patrick as Governor, convening the leadership who planned services and events on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and addressing growing instances of Islamaphobia.

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Sharon ThorntonSharon Thornton:
Parish ministry and teaching in hospitals, prisons and urban settings inform Sharon Thornton's passion for pastoral theology. She seeks to cultivate a classroom climate open to imagination, courage and critical thinking in order to address pastoral issues emerging in diverse communities of faith today. She served as pastor of Christ Church of Chicago, UCC. She also provided pastoral leadership for Sycamore Congregational Church, UCC, and Stanford Memorial Church in California.

Her book Broken Yet Beloved addresses contemporary experiences of historical suffering. She also is working with public school educators to bring a faith perspective into conversations about diversity in the classroom. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Sharon joined the faculty of Andover Newton in 2000.

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Brent WalkerBrent Walker:
J. Brent Walker is Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee and both a member of the Supreme Court Bar and an ordained minister. A native of Charleston, W. Va., Walker holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Florida. He also earned a law degree from Stetson University College of Law.

Walker was a partner in the law firm of Carlton, Fields in Tampa, FL. Walker left the firm in 1986 to enter Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1989 and was named the most outstanding graduate. He pastored the Richland Baptist Church, Falmouth, Ky., and routinely speaks in churches and denominational gatherings. Having taught 10 years as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, he has, since 2003, served as an adjunct professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

Walker has been published widely and routinely provides commentary on church-state issues in the national media. He has been quoted by numerous national publications and has appeared on CNN's Talk Back Live, NBC's Today Show, MSNBC, Fox Morning News, Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor and National Public Radio's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Also, Walker is a panelist for The Washington Post and Newsweek's online project "On Faith," a conversation on religion and its implications.

Walker's latest book, Church-State Matters, is available from Mercer University Press or from popular online book retailers.

His wife, Nancy, is pastor for congregational care at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Va. They have two children. Ryan is a singer/songwriter, and Layton is a school teacher in Falls Church. Layton and her husband, Lucas McCann, are also the parents of Walker's grandson, Walker Huse McCann, born in 2009.

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Where can alumni/ae and guests stay in the area?

Andover Newton has been able to get a group rate at two local hotels:

The Boston Marriott Newton

2345 Commonwealth Avenue
Auburndale, MA 02466
Phone: (617) 630-3511
ANTS Alumni/Commencement
Be sure to mention “ANTS Alumni/Commencement” to get our group rate.

The Holiday Inn Boston-Brookline

1200 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02446
Phone: (617) 277-1200
Boston Marriott Newton >>
Be sure to mention Andover Newton Theological School or the group code: ANT to get our group rate.


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