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Seminary's Family Ministry journal changes leadership, continues to fulfill unique role

Feb 05, 2005

Seminary’s Family Ministry journal changes leadership, continues to fulfill unique role

For eighteen years, practitioners and scholars of family ministry have relied upon the journal, Family Ministry: Empowering Through Faith, for research, inspiration, and practical and reflective information devoted entirely to ministry with families. Published quarterly by Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary through the Center for Congregations and Family Ministries for the past seven years, the success of Family Ministry is the result of the journal’s approach: guiding leaders in family ministry from a variety of fields – Christian education, pastoral counseling, church social work, and community ministry – and remaining committed to understanding and addressing the needs of today’s families.

Last spring, the journal entered a period of transition when Dr. Diana Garland retired from nearly a decade of editing and directing the publication, which had its beginning as The Journal of Family Ministry, published through the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Garland, a professor of social work at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, continues to write and serves as co-consultant with LPTS professor J. Bradley Wigger on the Families and Faith Book Series published by Jossey-Bass. In 1998, Garland and Wigger transformed the journal into a one-of-a-kind publication, reflecting ecumenical and evangelical traditions for a broad, ethnically diverse audience of Protestants and Roman Catholics including African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American Christians.

With new leadership in place, “there’s a lot going on with Family Ministry,” says Wigger.

The journal’s new senior editor is Rev. Dr. Dean K. Thompson, newly elected president of Louisville Seminary. Thompson was pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, W.Va., before following the call to lead the Seminary. He has more than 30 years of pastoral, teaching, writing, and lecturing experience – “a wealth of guidance and wisdom” for the journal, offered Wigger.

For the first time, the Family Ministry board has appointed co-editors: Wigger and LPTS colleague and Professor Dale P. Andrews, who served as interim editor during the journal’s most recent transition.

Andrews is a professor of homiletics and pastoral theology at Louisville Seminary. Wigger is professor of Christian education and director of the Center for Congregations and Family Ministries. As they represent their particular fields in directing the content and direction of the journal, the dovetailing of their unique backgrounds also promises a more contemporary understanding of the variety of families today.

“As I bring my European American heritage and Presbyterian tradition to the role, Dale brings his African American heritage and AME Zion tradition to the job, marking our ongoing commitment to an ecumenical and culturally diverse approach to Family Ministry,” said Wigger.

Other new faces to the journal include, Dr. Carol Lytch, presently the coordinator for Lilly Endowment’s Theological School Programs for Strengthening Congregational Leadership, who will become the Book Review Editor, and Martha Miller, a Christian educator and associate for Family and Intergenerational Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (USA), who is the new Snapshot editor, providing reports of actual family ministry taking place across the nation.

Much of the journal will not change, however. Shannon Daley-Harris will continue to edit the popular Children’s Resources Reviews, and Dr. Wendy Wright, Professor of Theology at Creighton University, and Dr. David Michael Thomas, editor for Family Life Education at Benziger Publishing Company and Theologian-in-Residence at Queen of Peace Catholic Parish, in Aurora, Colorado, will keep writing their insightful columns.

The forthcoming, spring issue will feature excerpts from two recently published books about children and their parents. Written by Bonnie Miller-McLemore and Karen-Marie Yust, Let the Children Come: Reimagining Childhood from a Christian Perspective and Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Lives, respectively, are part of the Families and Faith Book Series.

“Yust focuses upon the challenge of helping children negotiate living in multiple cultures while developing an indentity rooted in faith, and Miller-McLemore asks the reader to reconsider what childhood even is, particularly from a Christian point of view,” said Wigger. In their writing, these “theologians are helping to pave the way for taking children seriously in matters of the spiritual life.”

Family Ministry: Empowering Through Faith is produced quarterly and is available for a modest subscription fee. To subscribe online, visit www.fmef.org or call the journal office at 502.895.3411, ext. 365; toll-free at 800.264.1839.
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