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Teresa Reeve will become the first woman appointed as associate dean at the Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in the U.S. state of Michigan. [photo courtesy Andrews University]
June 27, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Andrew McChesney/Adventist Review
The Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, the preeminent training ground for the Church’s religious leaders at Andrews University, has chosen its first woman to serve as associate dean, a development that comes the same month that the university named a woman as its lead chaplain.
Teresa Reeve, an associate professor of New Testament contexts, will fill a role vacated by Clifford Jones, who will become president of the Church’s Lake Region Conference on July 1.
“This is a historical nomination because for the first time a lady will hold this position!” seminary dean Jiří Moskala said in a letter to seminary faculty and students this week.
Moskala said the selection process had included consultations with the church’s North American Division and the General Conference, which oversees the world church, and he believed that the appointment would bring “unique diversity in our leadership.”
Addressing Reeve, he said, “I praise God for you, and I am glad that I can play a part in this historic moment. I am looking forward to an excellent collaboration with you.”
Reeve, who received her doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and has taught at Andrews for 11 years, said she would seek to promote greater learning and leadership in her new position, which she likened to the role of academic dean.
“I have to make sure that we are making the best leaders for the church,” she said Wednesday by telephone from Pittsburgh, where she was attending an Association of Theological Schools conference. “I believe we are in the last days and we are on the verge of great new things that God wants to do for us in the church.”
Reeve promised to spend a lot of time listening, especially to the faculty. “They are the center of the institution,” she said. “We have a super faculty.”
She conceded that some people in the Adventist church might find it “a new idea” to have a woman serve as associate dean. But she said that on a personal level she didn’t see her appointment as a gender issue.
“The seminary believes that God gives people gifts and gives them for a reason,” she said. “It’s about pursuing God’s calling and gifting.”
Reeve’s appointment comes weeks after Andrews announced that that June Price, associate dean of its Lamson women’s residence hall, would become lead chaplain on July 1. The university said it had invested a substantial amount of time in the search process before deciding that Price would replace Japhet De Oliveira, who left in January to pastor in the U.S. state of Colorado.
“We are delighted to provide an opportunity for June to share with our entire campus community the spiritual gifts and leadership she has so effectively honed and demonstrated over the last decade in her ministry to Lamson residents,” Frances Faehner, vice president of student life at Andrews and chair of the search committee, said in a statement on June 5.
Price said in the statement that she was “humbled and honored to serve the family of God as chaplain.”
Meanwhile, Moskala, the seminary dean, praised Jones for his 19 years of work at Andrews, including the past 10 years as associate dean. “We will greatly miss you as a person and [for] your expertise,” he said. “The only comfort is that you will still live in Berrien Springs and do contract teaching for us.”
The Lake Region Conference that Jones will lead oversees more than 100 churches and eight elementary and high schools in the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is one of four conferences comprising the Lake Union Conference.
Reeve graduated with a doctorate in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity from Notre Dame in 2000. Before that, she earned her bachelor’s at Pacific Union College and went on to receive two master’s degrees from Andrews University, including one in educational and developmental psychology in 1990 and a second in divinity in 1997, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Her husband, John, is an assistant professor of church history at the theological seminary and also serves as editor of Andrews University Seminary Studies, the institution’s scholarly journal.
On LinkedIn, Reeve summarizes herself in one sentence: “Just a quiet servant of the King of the Universe—looking forward to welcoming Him back soon.”