Board of Advisors

The role of the Earlham School of Religion Board of Advisors is to serve as a channel of communication, in both directions, between ESR and the wider world of Friends.

The Dean of the Earlham School of Religion seeks the advice and assistance of the Board of Advisors on matters relating to mission, program design, faculty searches, fundraising, student recruitment, placement and other matters.

Members

Carol Alpern holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s in 19th-Century British literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and has completed all but her dissertation toward a doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo, having finished research for a variorum edition of Norman Mailer’s The Deer Park—but never writing up what she found. Life in New York City became more interesting than scholarship.

Part of that life was rejoining the Quakerism she’d been raised in outside Philadelphia, becoming active in New York Yearly Meeting and serving as clerk of ministry & counsel in 1989 and 1990. During that time she attended two consultations at Quaker Hill sponsored by ESR. She followed M&C service with a year in the School of the Spirit and returned to an old passion, studying acting at HB Studios.

In 1995 she earned Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity memberships with a small part in a movie titled Milk & Money. On stage, she played a series of large roles in tiny venues in the off-off-off Broadway scene—Raneveskaya in The Cherry Orchard, Mrs. Alving in Ghosts, Mrs. Solness in The Master Builder, and Mrs. Sorby in The Wild Duck. Wallace Shawn gave Holmes permission to do his monologue The Fever as vocal ministry, rising out of the silence, in Quaker venues.

On Sept. 11, 2001, she was six miles from Ground Zero. That day made theater work irrelevant. She enrolled as an ESR Access student and also began nine years on the FUM General Board, the last three as recording clerk.

She is currently on the board of the Norman Mailer Society, is an editorial adviser to The Mailer Review, and contributed to the authorized biography, Norman Mailer: A Double Life.

She is a member of Scarsdale Meeting and, in 2017, was married under its care to Bowen Alpern, a computer scientist, retired from his research career, and now serving as an adjunct at Lehman College/CUNY. Carol has been a freelance editor and proofreader since the 1970s. She is currently the copy editor for the Pendle Hill pamphlets.

Micah Bales Photo

A 2009 graduate of ESR’s Master of Divinity program, Micah has been active in church planting, writing, and network building among Friends. He now serves as a bivocational pastor with Berkeley Friends Church, while also working as a software engineer. Micah lives with his wife and three small children in Oakland, California. Explore his ministry and writing at www.micahbales.com.

After graduating from Olney Boarding School, Barnesville, Ohio, Lavona Bane attended Earlham College in 1948-49. She went on to raise five children and in 1968, Landrum Bolling hired Lavona as Earlham College’s registrar. She served in this role until retirement in 1995. Five of these years she served as associate dean of students. She also served on the Advisory Committee, Curriculum Committee, was head of Big May Day and Commencement Committees. Lavona is a life-long Quaker, member of First Friends Meeting in Richmond, Indiana. She has served as clerk of stewardship and finance, ministry and counsel, presiding clerk of the meeting and hospitality committee.

Lavona’s “ministry” for over 30 years, has been as a hospice volunteer caring for more than 60 clients who are terminally ill and their families.

When her parents, Glenn and Velma Reece, died, she and her siblings wanted something that would honor their memory. They established two scholarships at ESR which are awarded every year, enabling current students to complete their dreams of their own ministry.

After graduating from Earlham College in 1969, Ellie Bane attended the University of Southern California and received a master’s in physical education. She taught high school P.E. and U.S. government for five years, and then was employed by Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier, California, for 35 years. She taught physical education courses in health and fitness and coached the women’s tennis team. For the last twenty years at Rio Hondo, she served as the dean of the Physical Education and Health Science Department and was the athletic director.

Ellie served on the California State Athletic Governing Board’s Commission on Athletics for 20 years, and served as chair for three years and chaired the Gender Equity Committee, the Constitution Committee, and represented the sports of women’s basketball and volleyball. She also served on the executive committee of the State Athletic Director’s Association, and served as president of that organization. In addition, she served twice as president of the Foothill Athletic Conference, on the Whittier YMCA Board of Directors, the Rio Hondo College Foundation Board, and as president of Delta Sigma chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma.

Ellie has been a member of First Friends, Whittier for 60 years, and currently serves as clerk. In the past she has also clerked the Personnel and Nominating committees, and served on the Finance and Trustees committees. While serving on the Earlham Board previously, she chaired the Education and Nominating committees. Ellie has given 24 years of service to the Earlham Board of Trustees.

Oskar Castro Photo

Oskar Pierre Castro is an artist and HR/Equity and Inclusion professional with over twenty-five years of service in the social justice wing of the nonprofit sector. A member of Central Philadelphia Monthly meeting, he is a 1992 graduate of Rowan University, Oskar’s art has focused on themes of resistance and cultural identity in the context of racism and oppression, all of which ties into and is informed by his social justice work. He has served the American Friends Service Committee, Quaker Voluntary Service, and he currently serves as the Director of HR & Inclusion for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

We will add more information soon.

Much of Dale’s childhood was spent in Kenya where his parents served with the Friends Mission at Kaimosi. He did my undergraduate work at William Penn University and graduated from ESR in 1977 with an M.Min. Dale has served in various ministries for over 50 years, much of that time in at least part-time pastoral ministry. He served with Friends in Uganda in the mid ’80s and for the last quarter-century has worked as a hospital chaplain in Des Moines, Iowa. He and his wife have been married for over 45 years and have three children and 6 grandchildren.

Jessica was born on the island of Guam to two members of the U.S. Navy. She earned a bachelor’s in media and cinema studies from Earlham College in 2011 and an M.Div. from Earlham School of Religion in 2014. While she originally intended to become a broadcast journalist or media critic, she fell in love with chaplaincy during her studies at Earlham School of Religion. She currently works as a staff chaplain for the Intermediate Care Unit and the pulmonary/cystic fibrosis floor at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago. Jessica enjoys working out, listening to music, exploring cities, and eating Ethiopian food. She is the older sister of Danielle who is a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force.

Travis is a 2017 graduate of ESR who lives in Durango Colorado with his partner, ESR grad Tracy Davis. He is currently working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a case manager. In his free time, Travis is quite involved with my monthly meeting (Durango Friends Meeting). He is clerk of the meeting and enjoys a ministry of spiritual nurture alongside my Friends in Durango. Currently that ministry includes a weekly Bible study. He is also becoming more involved in the yearly meeting (Intermountain Yearly Meeting). Travis will be working on the Program Working Group for IMYM for the next three years. In addition to Quaker stuff, he enjoy spending time in creation by biking, hiking, kayaking and cross country skiing in beautiful Southwestern Colorado. Tracy describes it as a “heavenly realm.”

Adria is a lawyer, mediator, teacher, mother and Young Adult Friend. For the last few years, she has carried a concern for how Friends’ traditional faith and practice translate into an increasingly unstable, atomized and uncertain world. In her ministry activities and in her daily life, Adria is passionate about inviting all into deeper relationship with the Spirit of Christ, which spoke so strongly to early Friends and continues to speak today. She is a member of Chatham-Summit Monthly Meeting (New York Yearly Meeting) and the Friends of Jesus Fellowship. Adria’s blog, In the Shadow of Babylon, can be found at shadowofbabylon.com.

Anne M. Houtman, a distinguished educator, scientist, author, and higher education leader, became the 20th president of Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion in July 2019.

Houtman came to Earlham from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs. She holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford in zoology and a master’s degree in anthropology from UCLA. She earned her bachelor’s from Pomona College. Houtman is a Quaker and is the first woman to serve as President of Earlham.

Previously, Houtman served as dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering at California State University Bakersfield, and as head and professor at the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology. Earlier in her career, she held faculty positions at California State University Fullerton, Soka University of America and Knox College. She has authored numerous textbooks and articles on scientific and pedagogical topics. Houtman is currently a trustee of the College Board.

Pam Kuhn Photo

Pam Kuhn started her Quaker life at Germantown Meeting in Philadelphia when she was two years old.  She spent her youth surrounded by Friends while attending Germantown Friends School (K-12) and Swarthmore College.  As an adult she moved to the Chicago suburbs and was a stay-at-home mother for two boys.  She is a member of Lake Forest (IL) Friends Meeting, part of Illinois Yearly Meeting, and has spent much of her free time serving both.  In 2019, she completed an MA degree at Earlham School of Religion, specializing in nineteenth century Hicksite Friends.  Steve Angell once said of her, “If you want to see Pam Kuhn come alive, ask her about her monthly or yearly meeting.”

Pam and her husband, David, are currently dividing their time between western North Carolina and northeastern Illinois.  Their younger son is an Earlham College alumnus.

Jim Lawrence is the dean of the Swedenborgian House of Studies at Pacific School of Religion and assistant professor of spirituality and historical studies

He earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Texas in 1978 and a diploma (MDiv equiv.), from Swedenborg School of Religion in 1984. Jim holds two doctoral degrees, a D.Min from Graduate Theological Foundation in 1991 and a Ph.D. from Graduate Theological Union in 2011

During 17 years in parish ministry in rural, suburban and urban settings, Jim helped three congregations re-energize, and he continues to have a special interest in the renewal of traditional ministries. In addition to Swedenborgian studies, he teaches in the field of spirituality and has special interest in the varieties of Protestant religious experience, the radical margins of Protestant history, the dialogue between science and religion, and biblical spirituality. He has contributed as publisher, editor and author to more than 30 works.

Frank C. Massey serves as pastoral minister of Jamestown Friends Meeting.  He is presently serving as clerk of the North Carolina Fellowship of Friends.  Frank serves as Gifts Discernment Coordinator and Campus Ministry Coordinator at Guilford College for 12 years.  Before that he served Baltimore Yearly Meeting as General Secretary for seventeen years.  Frank earned an M.Div. from Earlham School of Religion in 1984 and a master’s in biological and agricultural engineering from North Carolina State University in 1980.  He is married to Elizabeth Phillips Massey.  They have two children and three grandsons.

HANNAH MAYER, ASSISTANT TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Hannah Mayer (she/her/hers) has spent much of her adult and near-adult life thus far building Quaker community among youth and young adults in her personal and professional life. She currently serves Pendle Hill as executive assistant, including two recent stints as Continuing Revolution co-cordinator. Recent previous roles include teaching physical education course at Lansdowne Friends School, serving Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as the Young Friends Program coordinator (with shorter stints as the Middle School Friends co-coordinator and as the Young Adult Friends Program coordinator), and working as a counselor at various Quaker camps. Hannah lives in West Philadelphia with her husband and child.

Hannah is a former Earlham student, member of Maury River Friends of Baltimore Yearly Meeting and attender at West Philly Friends Meeting of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

Alicia McBride spent more than a decade leading the communications team at the Friends Committee on National Legislation before taking on her current role as the director for integrated strategy and impact. In that capacity, she works across the organization to improve cross-team strategy and FCNL’s facility in assessing and communicating about its effectiveness. She is a member of Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting, where she has served on committees related to family engagement and religious education, most recently as clerk of the Marriage and Family Relations Committee. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with her husband Sam Garman, and children Miranda and Howard. In addition to the ESR Board of Advisers, she serves on the board of Friends Community School in College Park, Maryland. She enjoys reading, cooking, doing crossword puzzles and making systems work better.

Julie-Ann is a 1991 graduate of ESR. A Unitarian Universalist, she has served as a parish minister in four states, both as a solo pastor and as a member of multi-clergy teams. In 2015 Julie-Ann changed the focus of her ministry to chaplaincy; first as a hospice chaplain in Pennsylvania, and following a recent move she is working as a hospital chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, a part of the Trinity Health of New England system. Julie-Ann and her husband Ken moved in September of 2019 to a small cabin in the woods of Western Massachusetts to what they lovingly refer to as their forever home. They have two adult sons.

Because of her experience as a counselor in a Quaker Camp in Indiana, Marty Smith became a Quaker as a teenager. After marriage and completing college, the Smiths joined the Peace Corps in Kenya. Back home in Ohio, she finished her master’s at Ohio State and then moved with her family to New Jersey to teach Middle School math and science at Moorestown Friends School. In 1985 the Smiths joined Moorestown Meeting, where Marty twice clerked the Meeting, taught FDS, led high school youth, facilitated Quaker parenting classes, and clerked Religious Education and Pastoral Care committees. In her professional life, Marty was a classroom teacher, teacher educator and religious educator. Following retirement in 2012, the Smiths became sojourning members of Honolulu Friends where they were resident Friends. There Marty was clerk of the RE Committee, taught Quaker parenting, and helped create a Child abuse prevention policy. Recently Marty was a traveling minister for FWCC in Arizona Half Yearly Meeting and Wilmington Yearly Meeting.

Della Stanley-Green, an 1990 ESR M.Min. graduate, is the part-time project director for Western Yearly Meeting of Friends Pastoral Ministry Excellence, which is a project initiated by Lilly Endowment to assist Indiana congregations in addressing the economic challenges facing pastors. She works full time as the executive assistant to the vice-president of academic affairs/dean of the faculty at Christian Theological Seminary.  She is a recorded minister in the Religious Society of Friends in Western Yearly Meeting.  Della has extensive experience with the breadth and depth of Friends including being a member of six different Friends Meeting associated with six different yearly meetings. She, her husband and two cats recently moved from their small vernacular Victorian cottage home in Plainfield, Indiana, to a mid-century modern townhome on the northwest part of Indianapolis. As a Western Yearly Meeting representative, Della joined the Board in 2011.

My name is Dinora Uvalle-Vázquez and I am a 3rd generation member of the Religious Society of Friends from Cuidad Victoria, Mexico. In 1998 I received a Master’s of Divinity from Earlham School of Religion. For many years, I have lived in Richmond, Indiana, and am the co-founder and former Community Outreach Coordinator for Amigos, The Richmond Latino Center. Currently, I am a community organizer and a DJ for two Spanish radio shows and have many interests from gardening to traveling. I attend First Friends Meeting in Richmond.

Jonathan Vogel-Borne is a lifelong Friend raised in Orange Grove Meeting, Pacific Yearly Meeting. Traveling widely across the full Quaker spectrum, from evangelical to liberal, Jonathan’s ministry is to seek deeper unity and a clarity of vision and witness among us. He and his spouse, Minga Claggett-Borne served as resident friends of Cambridge Monthly Meeting from 1985-1990. Jonathan was the lead staff person at New England Yearly Meeting from 1991 to 2013. He currently is serving as co-clerk of the Friends Peace Teams.

Scott Wagoner serves as the pastoral minister at Deep River Friends Meeting in High Point, North Carolina (North Carolina Fellowship of Friends). He is presently in his 19th year and has served in pastoral ministry for over 35 years. He also serves on the Board for Friends United Meeting and is certified through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in leading contemplative groups and retreats. Scott is also the principal and Founder of Growing Edge Resources, an organization that provides coaching/consulting services as well as contemplative retreat experiences. Scott is a 1990 graduate of ESR.

Dwight Wilson Photo

Although in a direct line from my parents to Adam and Eve no one had a high school diploma, I have four sons who have earned 9 degrees between them and three stepchildren who have earned 7 degrees between them. My wife is an attorney at the University of Michigan Medical School. I am a recorded Friends Minister and have been in the ministry since 1966. I am an author of psalms, a memoir and numerous historical fiction books focusing on the period between The War for Their Independence (The Revolutionary War) and the War for Our Independence (Civil War). I have spoken at and led retreats at numerous Quaker Gatherings and more than 40 United States universities from Stanford and UC-Berkley to Harvard and Yale. Subjects have ranged from domestic and international peacemaking to multi-cultural education and anti-racism. I have spent 34 years as a trustee, many as Clerk or Chair of Boards, including of the ESR BOA and currently as Chairman of the Board of the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County. I am retired after spending 28 years as CEO and 12 year as Dean, usually of non-profits. I have volunteered in several areas, currently on the Pediatric Cardiac Ward of Mott’s Children’s Hospital and around the nation on Police Oversight.

David is originally from Maryland outside Washington D.C. He was raised with a Jewish mother and Lutheran father, but neither were particularly religious. David started attending a Southern Baptist church as a teenager and then, at the age of 18, started attending Metropolitan Community Church. He met his life partner and husband, Jeff Miner, at church in Rockville, Maryland. They were married in 1990, then legally in 2013 in Maryland.

David and Jeff moved to Indianapolis in 1997, as Jeff (then a lawyer) was called to pastor Jesus MCC (Metropolitan Community Churches), now LifeJourney Church. David was a medical engineer for 25 years, working at the FDA, Quintiles Transnational, and for Eli Lilly. In the latter years of his career as a medical engineer, David finally responded to his call after many years of ignoring it, and attended seminary at ESR in 2007, graduating in 2010, while working at Quintiles Transnational.

David completed an internship at West Richmond Friends in 2010 and was ordained in Metropolitan Community Churches in 2011. David also completed a spiritual direction internship at a monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana. David was a full time pastor at LifeJourney Church from 2011 until 2015 and still serves as a part-time pastor there. David also serves as an MCC network leader for the Central US Eastern Churches, and network facilitator (Leading other Network Leaders) for the Canada, Northeast, North Central and Eastern Networks within MCC. In order to maintain health care costs for him and his spouse, David returned to engineering work as an environmental engineer with the State of Indiana in 2015.

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