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News from the Hill July 14, 2009 | back to index

News from the Hill: July 16, 2009

News from the Hill

July 16, 2009


President Nick Carter and Alumni Board President Karen Peters flank Andover Newton’s 2009 Spirit of the Hill award winner Lily Tu ‘49 at Spring Convocation.  (full story below) (photos by Priscilla Deck,  VP Institutional Advancement)

Tooze and Carter

Convocation keynote speaker Rev. Dr. George Tooze ‘75 shares his research on Adoniram Judson’s third wife, author, Fannie Forester (aka Mrs. Emily E. Chubbuck and Emily C. Judson) and their mission work in Burma.


At the festive dinner honoring Andover Newton’s devoted Heritage Society members, who have remembered Andover Newton in their wills and estate plans, Alumni Board member emeritus, Veronica Lanier ‘69 shares stories with Ernest Bodenweber ‘52.


Former Alumni Board president, John Reynolds ‘00 is registered for Alumni Day / Convocation by veteran staff member par excellence, Mary McKearney, Coordinator of Gifts and Records for Institutional Advancement.

Hope you are having a lovely summer!  Please phone, send me your reflections via email, and come visit!

Devon Bates



Devon L. Bates, Director of Community Relations

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 617-964-1100 ext. 201


Is there a future pastor worshiping in your congregation? 

Do you have a friend who has been putting off a call to ministry?

Help us identify prospective students! 

Do you know someone who might be interested in enrolling at Andover Newton and enriching our community?   

(Could it be you?)

Prospective Students are Welcome!

Please send us contact information for your friend or associate who you believe might be on the path, so that we may extend an invitation to them to learn more about Andover Newton.  Then, take it one step further and send us a letter of recommendation on their behalf…  

To whet prospective students’ appetites (and perhaps yours?) here is a sampling of the evening and online classes offered this fall term…and of course more classes are available on weekdays.


THEO614 Systematic Theology II (core requirement) 

HIST610 Topics in the History of Christianity I (distributional) 

OLDT627 Rights & the Peoples of the Book

CMPR622 Thematic Preaching

IFTH608 Spiritual Memoir & Autobiography: an Interfaith Exploration

HIST645 American Religious History from the Colonial Period to the Present

PSYF640 Love Through the Season of Death


[EL]OLDT509 Introduction to Scripture I

[EL]IFTH/HIST782 Introduction to the Interfaith Movement in the United States

Check out our online catalogue at and see what’s happening here on the Hill! 

Recommend a new student, encourage someone to follow their call, share the good news!  Help Andover Newton to grow and serve future ministers, theologians, social activists and their mission!


Save the Date!

Fall Convocation is September 16, 2009 – come commission new students and celebrate the start of the new school year!  Alumni will gather at 10 AM for fellowship; lunch on the quad is at noon, and Community Chapel starts at 1 pm.  Join us for a refreshing and uplifting day.  Contact Devon Bates for reservations and details. 617-964-1100 ext. 201 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The 2010 Woodbury Leadership Workshop is February 4-5, 2010.

The theme is "Emerging Leadership for an Emerging World" and the speaker will be Brian McLaren.

More details will be available soon!

To be placed on the mailing list, contact Jen Walker at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Spirit of the Hill Award 2009

Lily Tu ‘49, this year’s Spirit of the Hill award winner, received her MA from Andover Newton with scholarship support from the Baptists.  While at Andover Newton, she sang with the Handel and Haydn Society and also with Sara Caldwell’s opera company.  However, she is best known for her pioneering work in liturgical dance.  A prize-winning ballroom dancer, she wrote her thesis for a Master’s in Religious Education on liturgical dance and went on to teach young people this way of relating to a church service. She has had dance groups large and small, some of which traveled to other churches and places as far away as St. John’s and St. Andrew’s.  She has taught a lot of people and influenced ways of worship near and far.

Tu Family

Lily Tu and two of her five daughters

In addition to dance, she has worked in race relations in a number of contexts, winning recognition for her work with Christians and Jews and with residents of Chinatown.  Despite her active and wide-reaching career, she raised five daughters, two of whom attended Convocation to see their mother receive the Spirit of the Hill Award. One of her daughters recently accepted the Unsung Heroine award in Westford!  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Still very active in her home church in West Barnstable, MA, Lily serves the finance and stewardship committee and is also the go-to person for the Christmas pageant.  In addition to the Spirit of the Hill award, the Trustees of the Whelden Memorial Library in West Barnstable named her Citizen of the Year in 2007 for “making West Barnstable a better place through her inspiration, dedication and community spirit.”

Lily embodies the Spirit of the Hill in a unique and inspiring way, as a pioneer in the arts, a border-crosser helping people negotiate boundaries of race, and as an exemplar of precisely the qualities we hope to encourage in our graduates today.  We are proud to hold her up as an Andover Newton alumna and our Spirit of the Hill award winner for 2009.



President Nick Carter

At the ABCUSA Biennial in Pasadena June 26-28, 2009 our president, Nick Carter was the keynote speaker at the Baptist Peace Fellowship breakfast (Sunday) and he introduced Dr. Kirk Jones (Andover Newton adjunct professor) who was the plenary keynote speaker Friday evening. 

President Carter will be preaching at First Baptist Church in Worcester, MA on Aug 23rd and The Congregation Church of Harvard in Cambridge, MA on Sept 27th.

Sarah B. Drummond, Associate Dean of the Faculty & Assistant Professor of Ministerial Leadership is serving for the second time as Summer Minister at Memorial Church in Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA. Services run from June 21 - August 2 at 10 a.m., and she will preach on June 28 and August 2.  Professor Drummond also has a book coming out this month, Holy Clarity: The Practice of Planning and Evaluation – (see attached).  Order your copy now!

Brita L. Gill-Austern, M.Div., Ph.D., Austin Philip Guiles Professor of Psychology and Pastoral Theology just published a chapter in Injustice and the Care of Souls edited by Sheryl A Kujawa-Holbook and Karen B. Montagno Foretress Press (2009) entitled "Engaging Diversity and Difference: From Practices of Exclusion to Practices of Practical Solidarity".

Professor Gill-Austern will be in South Africa and Zambia for all of July and leading a delegation for Communities without Borders to work in the compounds of Lusaka furthering educational opportunities for AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children.  She will also attend the dedication of a health clinic in the rural village of Simukanka that she helped raise the money to build. 

Mark Burrows gave the keynote at the 2009 "Kirchentag" in Bremen, Germany, on May 22 and he was busy directing the Institute for Arts and Worship on the Hill (June 20 - 24).  Professor Burrows keynoted the Craigville Colloquy, on the topic:  "The ‘Immediate Theatre’ of the Spirit:  The Peril and Promise of Christian Spirituality Today" on June 13 at the Craigville Conference Center on Cape Cod.  He will be preaching at the Lutheran Church of the Newtons (August 16) and on Fishers Island he will be preaching at the Congregational Church (August 23) and leading a poetry workshop (August 22).

Jeff Jones: In his dual capacities of Instructor in Ministerial Leadership and Director of Distance Learning Jeff Jones is involved in teaching both regular courses and continuing education events. He works with Sarah Drummond to plan and teach courses in leadership and serves in the field education program. Jeff also coordinates the LEARN (Local Education and Renewal Network) program, which offers on-line seminars for both clergy and laity. A unique feature of this program is a cooperative venture with the Alban Institute in which Alban authors teach seminars based on their books. Jeff is working on plans for next year’s seminars which are posted on the LEARN website  

For the past four years Jeff has led Andover Newton’s Woodbury Leadership Workshop.  The next gathering will be February 4-5, 2010 with Rev. Brian McLaren who is an author, speaker, pastor, and networker among innovative Christian leaders, thinkers, and activists. As a leader in the emerging church movement, Rev. McLaren is a frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs. At the Woodbury Workshop he will focus on the challenges leaders face in a world in which change is both rampant and radical.  Plan ahead and please join us for this inspiring workshop February 4-5, 2010.

Jeff brings a commitment to and knowledge of the local congregation to both his teaching and administrative work, and he also serves as the part-time pastor of the First Baptist Church of Plymouth, MA.


Dr. Musonda Bwalya was the Judson Scholar in residence at Andover Newton this past year.  During his tour of duty, he ably interacted with faculty, staff and students; published his doctoral thesis on ethics and development; contributed to book and journal publications; co-edited a major book on the mission of the church in the 21st century and church development; and gave class lectures on African studies.  His Judson lecture, delivered to the Andover Newton community on May 5 was titled “The Post-modern Paradigm of Mission in David Bosch and its implications for the involvement of religious organizations in the public sphere.”

Currently, Dr. Bwalya is the Principal of the United Church of Zambia Theological College located in the city of Kitwe, the hub of the Copper Belt province in Zambia. The United Church of Zambia is the largest protestant church in Zambia.  The College provides theological and social studies in the fast changing Zambian scenario in collaboration with the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. With an emphasis on ecumenicity and

contextuality, he observes that it hopes to contribute to the engendering of “leadership for adequate and life-affirming societal and ecclesial transformation.”

He came to Boston University and Andover Newton Theological School as a visiting professor with a wealth of experience spanning 13 years as a theological educator, researcher, academic programs manager, under-graduate and post-graduate examiner, and college administrator. He holds a PhD in social ethics, with a focus on African studies and development, from Pretoria University. 

After Commencement, Dr. Bwalya returned to Zambia and his family:  wife, Margaret, a secondary school teacher who teaches home economics, English and literature; his three daughters, Mutale, 19, Bwalya, 15, Chongo, 12; and his son, Musonda Junior, age 9.  Before he left, he expressed a thankful heart for the opportunity of being appointed by Andover Newton as the visiting Judson professor and he says he returns to Zambia with a wealth of experiences!


News from Admissions/Recruiting: promoting the new Master of Divinity curriculum!

At its Spring Open House, the Admissions/Recruiting Office helped kick off the new MDiv curriculum with an “Actions Speak…” theme and campaign. Opening devotions, sample classes, speakers, and worship all reflected this theme. Prospective students were given postcards representing the four areas of ministerial competence**see below and encouraged to write ways in which their “actions speak.” 

As part of the “Actions Speak…” kick-off, an alumna of the class of 2007 agreed to allow us to “solicit” submissions for six $500 Rev. Estelle Margarones Awards. Current Students, Ministers in the Vicinity, and/or Lay Auditors were asked to either use our "Actions Speak" postcards distributed around campus, or send an email to us describing the actions taken or actions planned to implement their unique/non-traditional/community ministries.  We had a wonderful response from many folks, and their descriptions are featured on the “Actions Speak…splash page at


News from our Readers


Congratulations to Alecia Freeman-Reeves ‘09 who was appointed Pastor of the First Church of Winthrop United Methodist, Winthrop, MA. Please keep her in prayers.


“How interesting that the June 11, 2009 newsletter came on the anniversary of my ordination!”

Congratulations, Eileen!

Eileen Norrington ‘78 MDIV


The Barnstable Association, Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ and Christian Union Church will ordain Nell Fields ‘08 to the ministry of Word and Sacrament on Sunday, August 2, 2009 in North Truro, MA.

Barack Obama’s Grandmother

“Many years ago Madelyn Dunham brought a small boy to the First Unitarian Church on Owahu, Hawaii for Sunday School.  On December 23rd, 2008 he came back to celebrate her memorial service.  She had died two days before he was elected President of the United States.

This time he came with his family, his sister’s family and a few close friends; and a huge contingent of Secret Service Agents, bomb sniffing dogs, and snipers.  The whole property was locked down.  Every nook and cranny of the church was searched.  The event was successfully kept a secret for two weeks ahead of time to protect the privacy of the family.


The service was a simple one, with music by Dion Hangtree.  Barack and his sister, Maya, spoke warmly remembering their grandmother, "Toot," (The Hawaiian word for grandmother is Tutu.)  She had been a local bank executive.  The president mentioned that she was the sort of bright, strong woman who, if she had been born 20 years later, would have been president of the bank.  Her ashes were later scattered in the ocean off Lanai Point, South Oahu.


This is from the opening I wrote for the service:

"Madelyn Dunham chose this land of gentle and violent beauty for her final resting place.  We stand now in the leeward shadow of the majestic Ko’olaus, in the distance the rich and fecund Pacific. Along this coast, Punchbowl, Diamond Head, Koko, Hanauma, craters of the ancient birthing of this land in fire.  Wrapped in moist trade winds scented and spiced with pikaki and ginger.  Mauka, the verdant mist washed valleys watering a fertile garden of the human spirit.  From the most ancient Kanaka Maoli to today’s rich diversity of peoples whose spirits are rooted in this land, here have you come.  Here will her ashes and the good wishes of those who loved her be joined with the elements of this place.  We come here today to seek the blessings of this land upon her repose.

Once, she admired this beauty as she moved through its spaces.  Now she will be a part of it; greeting the dawn and the sunset, storm and calm, from within the very heart of that beauty."

I was honored to have shared this moment with the family of President-elect Barack Obama.”

Rev. Mike Young ‘65 BD

Mission Trip to Turks & Caicos Islands

Rev. Willard Ashley shared this news article with us regarding his trip as part of a ministerial team that traveled to Turks and Caicos to counsel ministers devastated by recent hurricanes.   

“Dr. Glen Missick returns to TCI with help for hurricane victims” 


Rev. Willard Ashley ’ 84 DMIN .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Promise in his voice for the ministry…

Rev. Barbara Simmons ‘03 and pastor of Bethel Plymouth AME Church in Plymouth, MA is the proud first time grandmother (Nana) of Micah Benjamin Malden, born on August 7, 2008 weighing 8 pounds and 2 ounces. “He has promise in his voice for the ministry.” she says. He is the son, Minister Darryl Malden (son) and his wife Katia Schuster-Malden.

A School of the Church: “…a great read!”

Hello: I’m an alumnus (1980). I don’t know if you are planning anything around it, or have already done something, but Margaret Lamberts Bendroth‘s A School of the Church: Andover Newton Across Two Centuries (Eerdmans 2008) is an absolutely great read. It’s really well-written and I learned a lot that I did not know. Thank you.

Charles R. Crawley ‘80, Cedar Rapids, IA

To order copies of this informative book, please email the Bookstore at Andover Newton: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call: 617.964.1100 x 262

Rev. Robert L. Anderson ‘71

Zion United Church of Christ in York, PA announced the installation of Rev. Robert L. Anderson as pastor Emeritus where he had served as Senior Pastor from 1988 to 2006.  The service of installation was help on Anniversary Sunday on June 14, 2008 with Sr. Pastor Matthew Seeds officiating, assisted by Rev. Marja Coons-Torn ‘76, Penn Central Conference Minister, also an Andover Newton graduate.  In retirement, Anderson lives in York, PA.

Rev. Janet Bush ‘08

Rev. Bush was just called as the new settled minister at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, MA.  Congratulations to her and her new congregation!

A Spiritual Gesture, A Spiritual Place

Faith Johnson is a Boston based performance and video artist and recipient of an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  She first heard of the Andover Newton School of Theology Residency from her SMFA Professor Marilyn Arsem. Her work then and now seemed to play the line between art and the spiritual and it felt like a good match for the residency.  She writes:

“With the help of Joy Honen and Mark Burrows, the Andover Newton Artist Residency Program provided me with a studio space and wide open possibilities, allowing me to explore freely the intersection of art and the spiritual. My intentions at this residency and in much of my work is to explore the invisible and intangible by creating surreal and haunting poetics through the re-contextualization of everyday objects, actions, and spaces.

In my installation "A Spiritual Gesture, A Spiritual Place" I try to identify a personal spiritual expression using three religious elements at their most basic level: a physical space in which to go (referencing church or a temple), the movements of the body (referencing ceremony and the human presence), and communication through sound (referencing prayer). The Installation [was] located in the hallway between the Dabney and Worcester building and consists of a written record of my time spent at Andover Newton and a recording of sounds produced in the incredible acoustic space using my voice and movements.

It is my hope to bring attention to this hallway, a humble liminal space, to be used without language or objects, as a place in between religion, spirituality, and the everyday. Please listen to the silence or your footsteps…sit and hear your own breath…or let your voice take wing. Allow this hallway to be an empty space that you fill with your own intent and spiritual moments….”



The Congregational Church of West Medford, United Church of Christ, in Medford, MA, unanimously voted June 7, 2009 to become Open and Affirming (ONA). The special meeting to approve the ONA statement was conducted in Sunday worship as a response to a months-long process of discernment that preceded the vote.  The statement adopted by the congregation reads as follows.  For the full story, click here:

“The Congregational Church of West Medford, United Church of Christ, is a community that strives to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ and to share in the costs and joys of discipleship. We unconditionally welcome and affirm people of every age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, culture, ability, and economic circumstance, and invite everyone into full participation in our church life and ministry.” 


The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County Rhode Island has been selected by the Unitarian Universalist Association as one of four "Breakthrough Congregations," nationwide.  This honor recognizes a congregation’s excellence in service, worship, growth and mission.  The congregation will be honored before thousands of Unitarian Universalists at the General Assembly in Salt Lake City this summer. Andover Newton Alumna Rev. Betty Kornitzer ‘03 is the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County Rhode Island.  Congratulations Betty and your very impressive congregation!

Rev. Betty Kornitzer ‘03

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County, Peace Dale, RI


Notable Alumni/ae 


Rev. Julie Peeples ‘83 received the Antoinette Brown Award during the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Grand Rapids, Michigan last month. The award honors the first woman ordained in the United States.


As Associate Minister at First UCC in Winchester, MA, and co-chaplain at Habitat for Humanity, Americus, GA, Rev. Julie Peeples ‘83 was honored for her willingness to speak out.  Her list of involvement in community life includes the Guilford County Mental Health Board Family Life Council; black-white clergy dialogue; participation on the committee that promoted a successful $200 million school construction bond initiative; Guilford Regional AIDS Interfaith Network board of directors; and she is an honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma, the international education sorority. 

“I’m sure that she is a wonderful pastor to her congregation, but she is also a pastor to our city and county,” Massey said. “If there are bridges to be built, she’s bringing the steel. If there are injuries to be healed, she’s bringing the balm. If there is a better future to be grasped, her hands are wide open.”  Peeples has the courage to say the things that others want to say but can’t, for fear of losing their jobs or their church.

Peeples, who was raised Catholic in Charleston, S.C., felt the call into the ministry by high school. She thought the Catholic church would one day ordain women. While majoring in music at Furman University, she encountered the Protestant doctrine of “priesthood of all believers” and later enrolled at Andover-Newton Theological School, which put her on the path of ministry through the United Church of Christ.

For the full story, please go to:

Contributed by Nancy McLaughlin at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


In Memoriam Alumni/ae

Please see for complete articles on our In Memoriam Alumni/ae

Rev. Dr. Cedric Kirkland-Harris, M.Div. ‘81

Rev. Dr. Cedric Kirkland-Harris, M.Div. ‘81, died June 11, 2009 in Hampton, VA. His wife, Dr. Linda Kirkland-Harris is an Andover Newton graduate as well. Before serving as Senior Pastor of Bank Street Baptist Church in Norfolk, VA (15 years), Cedric pastored United Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, MA and served on the staff of TABCOM.  A memorial service is being planned for later this month in Norfolk, VA.

Rev. Charles Ludeking, B.D. ‘49

The Rev. Charles Ludeking, 90, passed away June 19.  He graduated from Columbia Bible School in Columbia, South Carolina and Andover Newton Theological School. He also attended Harvard Divinity School.  He was the pastor of the Woodville Baptist Church, Woodville, Massachusetts from 1947-1949; Market Street Baptist Church, Amesbury, Massachusetts from 1949-1956 and from 1964-1973; and the First Baptist Church of Situate from 1956-1964. He retired from the United Baptist Church, Concord New Hampshire in 1982.  His life verse was I Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  Expressions of sympathy may be made to his wife of 62 years, Ann Ludeking at 15 Piper Road, Kirkwood 313, Scarborough ME 04074.

Rev. T. Willard Hunter, M.Div. ‘73, S.T.M. ‘77

Rev. T. Willard Hunter died on June 29, 2009. He was 93.  Hunter was educated at Carleton College and Harvard Law School. He received an M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School in 1973 and an S.T.M. in 1977. His career included the Christian ministry and higher education. He was an author and a noted orator and a charismatic and well-known presence in the Claremont, CA area founding Claremont’s Fourth of July Citizens’ Oratory Program, the Good Friday Way of the Cross in Claremont in 1980 and the annual Labor Day Walk to Los Angeles from San Gabriel in 1981.

In the 1940s and the 1950s, he served in Africa, Washington, D.C. and Michigan as the associate of Frank Buchman, an "initiator of Moral Re-Armament (formerly Oxford Group), which gave rise to Alcoholics Anonymous." 

Rev. Hunter served as a minister with the United Church of Christ in New Hampshire until 1976, returning to work in communications at the School of Theology at Claremont (now the Claremont School

of Theology) until 1980. He wrote as a syndicated weekly columnist for newspapers in California and Illinois and authored several books including The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh: Another Dimension. 

In the 1984 and 1985 the Guinness Book of World Records, recognized Hunter’s oratory skills for his 34-hour and 8-minute address at Independence Hall in 1982.  Hunter’s funeral was held on July 7, 2009 at Claremont United Church of Christ.  He is survived by one son, Willard. Two other sons predeceased him.

(Adapted from an obituary by Wes Woods II in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and other sources.)

Rev. Rosemary Hensley-Weir, M.Div. ‘87

Local pastor and community activist Rosemary Hensley-Weir passed into her Savior’s arms on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, surrounded by family and friends. Rosemary had battled metastatic breast cancer for several years, but her recent health decline came unexpectedly fast. A memorial service was held Sunday, July 5, 2009, at First Baptist Church, 260 Mill Street, Poughkeepsie, NY.

Rosemary would want first to be remembered as Mom to her two sons, James, 15, and Michael, 14. She was also spiritual mom to friends, family and a global village. Blessed with seemingly boundless vitality and energy, she crammed into each day enough love and adventure to exhaust those who journeyed with her.

Rosemary served during the last 17 years in many roles in the Hudson Valley area - interim pastor of First Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie and at the United Church of Christ in Stanfordville, Chaplain at Vassar College, Adjunct Professor at Marist College, Pastoral Counselor at Foundation of Religion and Mental Health, board member of the Vassar Warner Home in Poughkeepsie and member of American Association of University Women. Since 1997, "Chaplain Rosemary" has been the half time Protestant Departmental Chaplain at the Beacon Correctional Facility (BCF) for Women in Fishkill. Since 2006, she simultaneously served as the half time chaplain at the Fishkill Correctional Facility for Men.

Rosemary received her Masters of Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University in Baltimore and her Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1987. She was ordained into the American Baptist Church in 1992 while serving at the Second Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island. Rosemary and her husband, a United Church of Christ pastor, came to Poughkeepsie in 1992.

Rosemary is survived by her sons, Michael Kessler Hensley Weir and James Hensley Weir, by her mother Jessie Maxine Hensley, 89, of The Pines in Poughkeepsie, by her former husband Todd Weir, and by cousins and friends throughout the country and around the world. 

Interment of ashes will be at a later date. Donations in her memory may be made in her name to the Kairos Prison Ministry, 230 Wilcox Street, Wilson, NY 14172; Hour Children, 3611A Twelfth Street, Long Island City, NY 11106; or any of the numerous charities she supported.

Submitted by Carol Mitchell, Sherborn, MA

Elton Bertsch, B.D. ‘57

“Good afternoon!

Your e-mail detailing the activities of graduation weekend has stirred me, finally, to tell you of the death of Elton Bertsch on July 4, 2008.  He was a graduate of Andover Newton (the Andover side) in the spring of 1957.  He did his field work at Central Congregational Church in Newtonville and at Tabernacle Church in Salem.  Late in his senior year he decided that perhaps the pastoral ministry wasn’t for him after all. 

He was never ordained or continued in that profession but returned to South Dakota where he was in the life insurance business with Northwestern Mutual for almost 39 years.  He never lost his interest in Andover Newton and enjoyed receiving communications from the Hill.  We both agreed that our years on campus were among the best years of our lives.  Elton was 77 years old at the time of his death from Parkinson’s Disease.

I send my best wishes for a great weekend coming up [Convocation, Alumni Day and Commencement].  Even I would enjoy being there for that event.  It looks so interesting.  Thank you, Andover Newton for all you have been to us in years past as a student and wife of a student.


Marilyn Bertsch”


Dr. Joseph C. Williamson, STM ‘63

“I was saddened to learn of the death of my favorite ANTS professor, Joe Williamson ‘64 in June of 2008.  I may have missed it; but was any mention made of Joe’s passing in the ANTS alum outlets?  I am certain that his many students would want to know of his death and to celebrate his life.

Here is a link to an obituary which I found online.

“Raised in Massachusetts, Williamson spent formative years in Kansas City, Missouri, graduating from Southwest High School in 1950. His early interests included poetry, arts, and sports and he lived his life with enthusiasm as he pursued knowledge. He received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Nazarene College in 1954 and his bachelor of divinity degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1958. He went on to receive a master’s degree from Andover Newton Theological School in 1963, where he remained as assistant professor of theology and preaching for six years. After receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968, Williamson served as pastor and co-pastor of the federated Presbyterian and Congregationalist Church of the Covenant in Boston. He also was a member of the faculty at Boston University from 1973 to 1983.”

Leonard E. Sienko, Jr.  Andover Newton Class of 1971

The Sienko Law Office, Hancock, NY 


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Andover Newton is the nation’s oldest graduate institution of theological education, founded in 1807. Based in Newton Centre, MA, the school is known for its commitment to the pastoral ministry and the pioneering accomplishments of its graduates in the fields of mission and local church leadership. Historically covenanted with the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches USA, Andover Newton now celebrates a student body comprised of more than 30 denominations, including one of the largest concentrations of Unitarian Universalist students in the US.