In addition to new dean Dr. Philip Wingeier-Rayo, the Wesley community is blessed to welcome several new members of the faculty, including a new chapel elder and director of the Institute for Community Engagement in the new academic year.
New Dean Dr. Philip Wingeier-Rayo, Ph.D. comes to Wesley having served on the faculties of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Texas, Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, Baez Camargo Seminary in Mexico City and the Matanzas Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cuba.
As a fourth-generation missionary, Wingeier-Rayo has a breadth of experience that informs all of his other endeavors. When asked how this experience might inform his work at Wesley, Wingeier-Rayo is quick to point out that he has no immediate plans to promote any changes. “I believe that the curriculum should come through due process established in the faculty handbook and voted on by the faculty,” he said. “My background in missiology has informed me that we should be aware of where God is already at work. So new programming should follow where the Spirit is at work and not be something forced.”
Past experience also informs the work of Dr. Lorena Parish, Ph.D., who will join Wesley as associate professor of urban ministry and director of the Institute for Community Engagement. Parrish comes to Wesley from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, N.J., where she served as the Dirk Romeyn Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry.
“As a womanist scholar-practitioner who has served in a variety of multicultural, multiethnic, and multi-lingual congregations and whose work is profoundly informed by being raised in metropolitan New York, I have a heart for the city,” she said. The city provides unique opportunities to engage in ministry that not only addresses suffering and needs but helps envision building what Dr. King termed, ‘the beloved community,’ she said.
For Dr. Anna Adams Petrin, Ph.D., experience also speaks into her work. Petrin, who was appointed assistant professor of worship and chapel elder, comes to Wesley from the University of Notre Dame. “Even as a small child, I was captivated by attending different types of worship services,” she said. “That interest grew up with me, and my appreciation for the church’s many ways of worship expanded exponentially as I began to study liturgical history and theology. Through study and experience I came to appreciate not only my personal history of worship, but also the many ways in which Christians worship across the world. Ultimately my study of worship has led me to a deeper awareness and appreciation of how the church’s rich tapestry of prayer and practice extends across time as well as space.”
In her work as chapel elder, Petrin plans to draw on the rich expressions of worship already characteristic of the community.
“The intentional time that the community sets aside for worship together sits at the intersection of this formation, it is a time when we offer our work and ourselves to the God that we serve in so many other ways throughout the week,” she said. “I am excited to see God fashion this variety of styles and gifts together into the unique worshiping community.”
For Wingeier-Rayo, the opportunities afforded by being a part of the Wesley family also resonate. “I believe that Wesley has a proud history and tradition and is already doing so much,” he said. “It is a community of committed faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends and I want to continue to immerse myself and learn what we do well and what other opportunities are on the horizon before attempting to offer a vision.”
Other new members of Wesley’s teaching community for the 2018-2019 academic year include Dr. Douglas D. Tzan, Ph.D., assistant dean and director of the Doctor of Ministry and Course of Study programs and assistant professor of church history and mission; Michael R. Fisher, Jr., MA, M.Div., visiting assistant professor of religion and society; and Dr. M. Salih Sayilgan, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of Islamic and interfaith studies.