August 23, 2005

Habitat for Humanity International has named Jonathan T. M. Reckford, a businessman and current executive pastor of a large Minnesota church, as the chief executive officer of the Georgia-based homebuilding ministry. Reckford, 42, was president of stores for the Musicland division of Best Buy before starting two years ago as administrator for the 4,300-member Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota. He succeeds interim CEO Paul Leonard. The widely admired ministry a year ago was battling with founder Millard Fuller over retirement terms until Fuller finally formed another agency doing related work. Ex-president Jimmy Carter praised Reckford’s selection as “a wonderful choice” to help Habitat “navigate the economy and business climate” while employing his “pastoral experiences” for the ministry.

William J. Carl III, pastor of the 1,700-member First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, has been named president of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. In 22 years as pastor, Carl oversaw a congregation whose endowment reserve grew from $1 million to nearly $25 million. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and has served on the faculties of three Presbyterian seminaries, including the Pittsburgh Seminary, where he will succeed Carnegie Samuel Calian, who is retiring after 25 years (a record for PCUSA theological schools). Carl, who will take office on February 1, has served as president and interim executive director of the Greater Dallas Community of Churches. “I really believe the future of the church involves both evangelism and social justice ministry,” Carl told Presbyterian News Service. “That’s what our church does.”

David A. Seamands, a retired United Methodist pastor and professor emeritus at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, has publicly apologized for “sexual misconduct with an adult female occurring over a number of years.” United Methodist News Service reported that Seamands read his statement July 31 to nearly 200 persons at Wilmore United Methodist Church, where he served as pastor from 1962 to 1984. Seamands and his wife, Helen, were missionaries in India for 16 years before he began as pastor and professor. The couple were regarded as pioneers in the Marriage Enrichment and Engaged Discovery movements, and his book, Healing for Damaged Emotion, sold over a million copies. Seamands, who retired in 1992 from Asbury seminary, confessed to his church that he had “sinned against the victim,” the institutions he served, and his wife and family. Under the terms of the United Methodist redemptive discipline procedure, he will refrain from performing all ministerial functions for one year.