Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision the people perish, but happy is he who keeps the teaching.” After the vision is made plain, it is to be continually shared and taught to people as it grows, becoming reality. Writing is very important seminary trained stained learn that writing is telling stories. Even Jesus loved telling stories. As a matter of fact, most of his teachings were through storytelling. If we write the vision down, it will come to life.
At Gammon Theological Seminary we understand the importance of writing and storytelling and we want our secular, academic and church communities to access to this knowledge. On July 22 – 25, 2019, Gammon hosted its first Writers Retreat and it was a tremendous success. Dr. Daniel Black presented a workshop entitled “Am I Saying it Right? Precision and Exactitude in the Art of Writing”; Ms. Vikki Jones owner of VHM Publisher presented a workshop “Getting Published” and Rev. Cynthia Jackson presented workshop was called “Writing and Self-Publishing”. One of our facilitator said “there are people waiting to hear your story and they will only hear it through your voice-tone. Open your mouth and tell your story!”
Habakkuk 2:2 says, “And the Lord answered me: Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who reads it may run.” When it is written down and implemented, those you lead can ‘run’ with it and all will see it succeed!
Gammon’s next Writers Retreat is schedule for August 19- 22. We hope invite YOU to join us in learning new tools so that you are inspired to write and tell YOUR own story.
For more information visit us at gammon-itc.org.
We would like to first thank our partners for allowing our Gammon students to be part of your community. The purpose of a church internship is to give seminary students practical ministry experience in the church. Theological education is very important, however, experiencing ministry practical setting is priceless.
If you are in need of an intern, feel free to call us at 404.581.0300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
2018-2019 Church Intern:
Nicolas Pettye - - North Decatur UMC
Christopher Weems - - Calvary UMC
Kylan Pew - - East Point First Mallalieu UMC
Paul McReynolds - - Conyers First UMC
Brenton Lopez --Conyers First UMC
Ray Allen - - Cliftondale UMC
Marcharkelti McKenzie -- Newnan Chapel UMC
Brenisha Sherman -- Headland Heights
The sanctuary of Fellowship Community Church was filled with family members and friends gathered to honor the graduating class on May 11 from The Interdenominational Theological Center (The ITC)/ Gammon Theological Seminary Celebration of Degrees and Academic Achievements.
Seventy five students received their Master of Divinity diplomas from The Interdenominational Theological Center (The ITC), including 21 Doctoral graduates. From this, Gammon graduated 1 doctoral students and 8 seminary students with M.Div. and/or M.A.C.E.
Judge Penny Reynolds Brown was the 2019 Commencement speaker. Judge Penny's life work includes social justice advocacy, legal expert, entrepreneur, former jurist, mediator, and public theologian. She graduated first in her class, with highest honors and a perfect 4.0 GPA from the Interdenominational Theological Center (I.T.C.), Atlanta, Georgia, earning a Master’s degree and receiving the James H. Costen Award for Excellence as an Emerging Leader.
Life… it is full of moments – ups and downs – that define our existence by testing the very core of our humanity. This is arguably the most inevitable phenomenon of life even as members of the Church. However, what does not always arise within us is a willingness to embrace and learn from life’s countless tests, especially for us, the Church. Unfortunately, in many instances we are sanctimoniously confident that our ideological convictions are precise and unadulterated, we have nothing much more to learn concerning the divine or the world around us, and we speak inerrantly and absolutely for God to others as if God does not ever speak through others to us. Since these realities often drive unforgiving walls of self-righteous piety between the Church and the world, in my opinion, what is ultimately more important is not the fact that we merely exist as a group called the “Church” but that we become human enough to allow the very core of who we are to be shaped by life. We must also value the experiences that perpetuate the life-long process of our shaping as human beings and as Christians. For me, one of these pivotal experiences was unquestionably the 2019 special session of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference.
Since the core matters of discussion were same-sex marriage and same-gender-loving clergypersons, it was quite enlightening to experience firsthand the impassioned sentiments of those who were on opposing sides of the debate. Having come from a theologically conservative household, I most often had heard theological rhetoric concerning homosexuality that was conservative, rigid, and exclusive. The language was centered in a theological conviction that God designed humanity to be procreational making only heterosexual union pleasing to God as it can produce offspring. Conversely, it was at a circle discussion activity organized for seminary students that I intimately experienced the theological views of people who differed just as passionately. With listening ears and an open heart, I was able to hear the testimonies of persons who mentor youth and young adults who are same-gender-loving and those of persons who are same-gender-loving and devastated by the UMC’s conservative vote on the matter that evening. I also witnessed the tears of those who endured years of confusion, ostracization, and self-hatred because of sexual feelings that they did not choose. They had finally reached a personal breakthrough when their feelings of shame were met by God’s unconditional love. However, they suffered a new disappointment when the UMC ruled that openly embracing all of who they are made them unfit for ministry and marriage within the UMC. Sitting with them in solidarity and simply listening, an act that many fellow believers are often unwilling to do, reshaped my embedded theology considerably since there was no theology that I had ever heard that could justify to me such exclusion. If homosexuality is a “sin” that makes persons unfit for ministry and marriage, then what about all the other sins that we all commit unapologetically or unknowingly… does (or should) God then render us all “unfit”? Does God have a hierarchy for sin or is the hierarchy sustained by human bias? Bearing in mind that we are United Methodists and not Roman Catholics, is this religiously socialized hierarchy of sin a legitimate Protestant doctrine? These are all theological and theodicean questions that reshaped my thoughts and heart during this life-changing moment.
The 2019 Special Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church taught me that we as human vessels called the Church exist with at least two very critical blessings having been bestowed upon us. First, we are endowed with the ability to be shaped – intellectually, spiritually, and ethically – by life as opposed to simply having to exist. Second, we are granted didactic experiences that are divinely designed to be the instruments by which we are shaped. If we, the Church, a family of imperfect people who are not omniscient, do not humbly embrace the lessons that life’s experiences have to offer, then I fear that the righteous walls that we build would quell our growth and ability to spread transformative love and fulfill the Great Commission.
Gammon Theological Seminary is a religion brand. Founded in 1883 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and with assistance from the Freedmen's Aid Society, today Gammon Theological Seminary is one of the 13 theological schools of the United Methodist Church. In 1869 -1870, Gammon was a department of religion and philosophy at Clark University. In 1958, Gammon became The United Methodist component of a consortium of six historical African-American theological schools at The Interdenominational Theological Center Atlanta, Georgia.
The faculty and administration of Gammon/ITC create an environment in which critical thinking, investigative reflection, decision making, and responsible action are fostered. Gammon honors and celebrates our founders day each December with lectures, a banquet and an alumni launching. This logo is a reminder of Gammon’s history, within the logo is Gammon’s Library from 1890.
Successful branding is about telling a story that will influence people to do better. Gammon’s history tells the story; we develop leaders and impact communities. This logo is a point of identification that we are hoping that people in the community will use to recognize our brand. As a religion brand, we want people to instantly connect the sight of the logo with the memories of Founders’ Day.
We hope that you join us this year for our 136th Founders' Day on December 3 & 4...
Gammon Welcomes New Staff Member Marcharkelti McKenzie, Communications Specialist & Student Services Liaison
Greetings Gammon Community!
Please join me in welcoming Marcharkelti McKenzie as a new staff member of Gammon Theological Seminary, effective June 1, 2019, as our Communications Specialist and Student Services Liaison.
Marcharkelti has several years’ experience in the field of website design, social media, promotional photo shoots, public relations and marketing of electronic publications. As a Gammon intern, Marcharkelti functioned in this capacity and now as a recent ITC/Gammon graduate (2019), she has been brought on as a full-time staff member. Her main responsibility will be to promote Gammon in the many forms of communications, create and implement marketing/social media platforms, with responsibility for the direction, design and production of public relation materials both internal and external. In addition, Marcharkelti will provide administrative support to the Student Concerns Committee of the Board of Trustees and coordinate student services connections to UMC Conferences and other UMC organizations. Marcharkelti has been a student leader and served as the President of the Gammon Student Fellowship, President for the 2019 ITC Graduating Class, served as the Female Representative of the Gammon Board of Trustees. Her local church ministries while in seminary included Impact UMC (Rev. Olu Brown), Andrews Chapel UMC (Rev. Donald Reed), and Newnan Chapel UMC (Rev. Terrilyn Lemons).
Marcharkelti is from Maxton/Laurburg, North Carolina, and a member of the Alabama/West Florida Conference. She served as a Global Mission Fellow-US2 Missionary from 2014-2016 in Mobile, Alabama. She loves playing softball, reading and community relations.
Ken J. Walden, PhD
Gammon Theological Seminary
My experience as an interim Youth Pastor at Calvary United Methodist Church has been effective in my life’s journey in discerning how to develop my own ministry. The church is located in the heart of the Westview community of Atlanta, Georgia where the church is most needed. The pastor, Rev. Kevvin Hankins, has been equipped with a vision ordained by God as to where he sees the people of the church can be the salt of the Earth that they are meant to be. This vision is communicated in ever sermon and taught at every bible study to empower us as God’s people to live up to our highest Spiritual potential. Through various acts of missionary work in the community, rejuvenating worship on Sundays, and insightfully sound theological knowledge taught on Wednesday’s, Calvary United Methodist Church is a blessing in more ways than one to the community and the world.
Initially I was nervous about how I would interact in a new place, with new faces, and new personalities to get along with. Despite my anxiety, I was welcomed with open arms and allowed to be used as an instrument to benefit God’s people. My work as Youth Pastor at Calvary allows me to understand the heart of the Youth as the future of the church. Nurturing and teaching God’s young people is a rigorous task but one that is very rewarding. It is my privilege to do so in knowing that I play such a major role in what is in store for the future of the church. Calvary has been more than god to me and God has been even greater than that good by allowing me to be a servant leader to its congregants. It is my hope that I may continue to be used as a vessel for the glory and edifying of God, the precious place where God’s people gather, and the community we all serve together.
Strengthening Leaders Call to Ministry Through Continuing Education By: Minister Brenda Bennefield, Christian Education Programs Manager
By: Minister Brenda Bennefield, Christian Education Programs Manager
The new Christian Education Programs at Gammon Theological Seminary is designed to equip, educate, faithful and creative leaders to help enhance their call to ministry, through continuing education. This year, three retreats were implemented, Clergy, Renew Refresh and Reconnect, Spiritual, Pathway to Physical, Mental and Spiritual Renewal, and Writers: Gifted Hands and Gifted Minds. Our retreats give seminary students, clergy, alums, and the community the opportunity to continue their education and be more effective in their call to ministry, along with self-care.
In March of this year, Gammon held their first Spiritual retreat offering the following workshops, Spiritual Resilience: Bouncing Back from Defeat, How Personality Shapes Your Spiritual Path: Exploring the Enneagram, A Space for Discovery, Respecting Body Intelligence and Its Lessons on Spiritual, Physical and Mental Health, and Using Spirituality as a Therapeutic Response to Building Resilience. One of our workshop facilitator, Dr. Bridget Piggue, Director of Spiritual Health at Emory University Hospital Midtown talked about the Mind, Body and Spirit Connection. In an intimate workshop, she engaged participants on how to reconnect to God, themselves, purpose and one another. She spoke about slowing down and carving in prayer, and meditation daily. Also, Dr. Piggue talked about the importance of being present, to feel, be aware of our thoughts, and how they affect our body. These small workshop setting allowed time for our participants to be in dialogue with the facilitator, one another, along with self-awareness, and action to take place. The smaller settings allowed time to explore the content for personal applications. Other Spiritual Retreat workshops leaders were Rev. Dr. Anthony Alford, Dr. Maxie Harper Norris, Rev. Sam Townsend, Dr. Dawn Britt, Mrs. Kimberly Broerman, and Dr. Terry Hillard. All of our facilitators led exceptional workshops per our participant’s evaluations.
If you were not a part of this workshop, we encourage you to join us for the upcoming Clergy and Writers Retreat in the month of July, August, and September. For more information, please visit our website at www.gammon-itc.org.
Grace and Peace,
Minister Brenda Bennefield, Christian Education Programs Manager
Graduation commencement is a time of the year that students, family and the community get to celebrate the accomplishments of their love once. This is the 60th graduating class at Gammon/ITC.
Gammon Theological Seminary Class of 2019:
Earnestine Campbell, Christian Ellison, Ricky Georgetown, Diane James, Elaine Latore, Marcharkelti McKenzie, Waldo Pearson, Shelly Sims and Michael Woodard.
At Gammon we celebrate with our student with lunch ITC Cafe (Morels), and an worship service at our Gammon Chapel. At our worship service Dean Walden preach a powerful message, Biship James King prayed and stole each graduate. If was a great pragram that family and the community got to be a part of.
Congratulation Class of 2019!!!
Greetings Fellow Gammonites!
It is my honor and privilege to serve as your President this 2019-2020 academic year. As we move forward in this next year, our theme is “Convocation: Eagles Soaring with Purpose.” An assembly of eagles soaring together is called a convocation. To those of us who are close to the end of our matriculation, those still fighting, and those who are new incoming students, I extend this welcome to the esteemed halls of Gammon Theological Seminary at the ITC. Each of us are Eagles who utilize their vision and wisdom to become pathfinders who are willing to go beyond the limits of self-discovery and personal freedom. We as leaders soaring in our purpose to change the status quo, to fight for those oppressed and serve our God with our heart, soul and mind. We are innovators, entrepreneurs and ministers of the gospel focusing our attention to the needs of the community, families and ourselves. Soaring together, we, moving in our purpose, become a group of warriors moving in solidarity towards empowering our people, communities and souls. As we fly in excellence we excel in seeing our paths and being able to focus on what we are seeking out. We are seeking liberation, justice and the heart of Jesus the Christ. As we serve God's people in our current context, fly high as God's Ambassador for this generation and the next to come.
Paul Ryan McReynolds (Class of 2020)
Gammon Student Fellowship President (2019-2020)