Ron Sider, evangelical activist, dies at 82

Ron Sider, an author, seminary professor and evangelical social justice activist, has died, according to an online update from his son.

“I have some bad news: my father Ron Sider died suddenly last night (July 27, 2022), of a cardiac arrest,” Ted Sider wrote in a post on his father’s Substack newsletter website. “Please join our family in grieving for him.”

William Bergkamp named interim CEO of Friendship Press

William Bergkamp has been named the interim chief executive officer of Friend­ship Press, which supports the National Council of Churches and publishes the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Bergkamp comes to Friendship Press after nearly two decades at 1517 Media, the publishing arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He most recently served as editor in chief of the organization’s Fortress Press imprint.

In a statement, Bergkamp said he was excited to bring his experience to Friendship Press.

UCC leader Teruo Kawata dies at 94

Influential United Church of Christ leader Teruo Kawata died July 1. He was 94.

Kawata, a Japanese American whose family was interned in an Arizona relocation camp from 1942 to 1944, was in­strumental in creating the UCC’s Paci­fic Islander and Asian American ministries. He was also the first person of Asian descent to hold the office of conference minister in the Central Pacific Conference and in the Hawaii Conference.

AnneMarie Mingo named head of Metro-Urban Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Religious social ethicist AnneMarie Mingo will be the next head of the Metro-Urban Insti­tute at Pitts­burgh Theological Semi­nary. Mingo comes to the seminary  from Penn State Universi­ty, where she was most recently an assistant professor of African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

In a statement, Asa Lee, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s president, praised Mingo: “She is not only an expert in . . . Christian social ethics, but she is also a prolific writer and researcher with a proven track record of engaging students in the classroom.”

Uyghur activist Nury Turkel to head US religious freedom commission

Nury Turkel was unanimously elected chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom on June 21. Turkel, who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first appointed to the commission in 2020, is the first Uyghur American to serve on the USCIRF.

Turkel was born in a Chinese re­educa­tion camp in 1970 but left China in 1995 to attend graduate school in the United States, where he was later granted asylum. Turkel earned a masters in international relations from American University be­fore ultimately graduating from the university’s Washington College of Law.

Kim L. Coleman reelected president of Union of Black Episcopalians

Kim L. Coleman, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia, has been elected to a second three-year term as president of the Union of Black Episcopalians.

According to a UBE press release, in her first term Coleman and her leadership team not only reversed the union’s $86,000 deficit but also implemented new financial management policies to protect the group in the future and doubled the size of its membership.

Joel Brown to head Disciples of Christ Historical Society

Scholar Joel Brown has been selected as the next president of  the Disciples of Christ Historical Society.

Brown, a recent PhD graduate of the University of Chica­go Divinity School, was previously the managing editor for the school’s Martin Marty Center for the Public Under­standing of Religion as well as for its Religion and Culture Forum.

In a statement, Brown said he was “incredibly honored and deeply humbled” to serve in his new role.

Indonesian church leader, politician Willem T. P. Simarmata dies at 68

Willem T. P. Simarmata, Indonesian politician and moderator of the Christian Conference of Asia, died June 17 at the age of 68.

Simarmata, widely seen as one of the most influential leaders of the Asian ecumenical movement, also served as head of Indonesia’s largest non-Catholic denomination, the Batak Christian Protestant Church, from 2012 to 2016.

In a statement, Mathews George Chuna­kara, general secretary of the Chris­tian Conference of Asia, called Simar­mata’s death a great loss to the Asian ecumenical movement.

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