Annanda Barclay Named Fund for Theological Education Fellow

Each year, the Fund for Theological Education (FTE) awards ten thousand dollar fellowships to twenty upcoming middler (second year) students. Austin Seminary’s Annanda Barclay was named one of this year’s FTE Fellows. A portion of the grant is specifically designated for a ministerial project of the student's choice, and the remainder may go toward general expenses.

Annanda believes that the fellowship and friendships afforded by the FTE project will give her the ability to explore how to be a more effective minister. Her calling is borne of a profound conviction that the church needs to be a presence of social justice in the world. "Social justice belongs in the church," she said, "if anything, it should be at the forefront."

Barclay is still exploring where she is called to serve, but sees ministry as an act of solidarity and reconciliation for the worldwide church and the community.

“I see my ministry in common with all ministers as a teacher teaching others, as well as learning just as much from those who will teach me," she said. “Thus far, I have felt my call to be more an awareness of the radical love of Christ and the radical
inclusivity of humankind and all of creation as being a part of the beloved community of God."

For Annanda, this recognition of Christ's absolute inclusivity is essential for the formation a good minister.  “A good church leader should be aware of different cultures, people, and how the environment that he or she is a part of plays a role in their lives and the lives of those around them," she said.

This means that ministers are always attentive to the economic, ethnic, and social fabric of the community they serve, seeing themselves in an empowering and nurturing relationship with their congregation. Annanda vividly remembers a conversation she had with Father Plfeger, pastor of Saint Sabina Catholic, at the FTE conference in Nashville. Father Plfeger told the story of someone injured in a car accident, and asked how quickly people would rush to help if the injured person was their brother. He suggests that this is how Christ-like love is manifested, when every human being, even a stranger, is regarded as family.

The powerful message of recognizing human beings, whoever they may be, as family members because of the love and message of Christ, just shows how radical Christ’s love really is," Barclay said, "and the power of loving another person as family and how that has the ability to transform the entire world."

Annanda believes that grants like the FTE project can bring future generations of seminarians into a greater understanding of how to fill social and cultural gaps present in the church. “I feel that these cultural gaps are so important because Christ's teachings directly speak of the disconnect between the culture of the religious powers and the cultures of the world outside the four walls.”

She said, "this next generation coming up not only sees these differences but is willing to step outside of their comfort zone being in solidarity with those who have been ignored or marginalized by society; and, like Christ, I see this generation being willing to be outcasts themselves so that others may participate in the beloved community."

She expresses a hope that the future of the church will be rooted in this communal, radical expression of Christian love. Seminarians in particular have begun to manifest this practice of familial love in their development as innovators and ministers.

"This generation will do this with the help and support of each other," Barclay said.  "We recognize that all humanity is quite literally members of our family in Christ."

All FTE fellows undergo a rigorous discernment process for eight months with four other fellows, and then begin work on their project in the late spring or early summer. In August, all grant recipients meet at FTE headquarters in Atlanta to present their projects.

Annanda is still in the discernment process for her project, and the Seminary community is looking forward to what she and other ministry fellows will create and how their projects will speak God's love for the whole world.


C.D. Weaver, artist-in-residence, was inducted into the Texas Society of Sculptors. During their opening reception, he was presented with an Award for Excellence. Three of his pieces are included in the Society’s current show. C.D.’s sculptures are displayed throughout the Seminary campus.

Walter Lee (MDiv’79), pastor of First Presbyterian Church, La Grange, recorded a faith/folk-style album. He also serves as a volunteer chaplain for the Kerrville Music Festival.

Jennifer Lord, the Dorothy B. Vickery Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgical Studies, has been recently published in Interpretation: A Journal of Bible & Theology and the winter 2012 issue of Word & World Theology for Christian Ministry.

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the election of John Hartman of Houston, Texas, and Hugh H. Williamson of Denver, Colorado, to join its Board of Trustees. They will each serve a three-year term beginning fall of 2012 through 2015. The Reverend Dr. Jennifer Lord was also elected as the faculty executive officer to the board.


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