Matthew Wesley Williams

Recent Entries

Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon - In Her Own Words

The loss of a life well lived can give rise to good grief. Over the past week, while pained and saddened by the passing of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, the FTE community has paused to reflect with deep gratitude on the tremendous legacy she leaves. In both seemingly small gestures and grand strides Dr. Cannon’s teaching, mentoring, and ministry helped us remember how to be human, how to be the family of God. Sometimes good grief sends us into the picture albums, shoeboxes, and scrapbooks that enable us to tell ourselves the story of the love that will endure beyond the grave.

Read More »

August 17, 2018

FTE Remembers Rev. Dr. James H. Cone

Today we grieve the loss of Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, a Bill & Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. He was a friend and mentor to many in the FTE community and will be missed dearly. On behalf of FTE, I offer our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Cone’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Read More »

May 07, 2018

What is Changing?

“We live in a time of rapid change.” If I had a quarter for every time I’ve said or heard this about the state of theological education I would have enough money to pay off my student loans. Change seems to be the watchword of the day.

Read More »

October 25, 2016

It Takes a Village

Yesterday FTE announced the appointment of Dr. Patrick Reyes to the position, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives. He carries forward this sacred work, and its legacy within theological education to a new moment both rife with possibilities and fraught with increasingly complex challenges.

Read More »

February 02, 2016

Why We Do This

Every now and then it is important to remember why we do what we do. On October 1, we launched the 2015 FTE Doctoral Fellowships. This is an appropriate moment to reflect briefly on why we do the work of supporting rising theological educators of color.

Read More »

October 15, 2014

When Lions Have Historians

History, James Loewen observes, is the only subject that professors assume students know less of the further they advance in school. Historians know that part of their job is to help students unlearn the fairy tales most of them have absorbed as history.

Read More »

February 03, 2014

The Future of the Doctoral Programs

Recently we announced that FTE is putting a hold on fellowship programs to undergo a strategic assessment and planning process for the future of the organization. Thus, the doctoral programs will not accept new applications for fellowships during the 2012-2013 academic year. This is a bold and unprecedented move for FTE. These programs have been a vital source of support for underrepresented communities in the academy. There is much at stake in this decision for people of color. We don’t take this lightly.

Read More »

November 15, 2012

Freedom to Flunk

I started in the preaching ministry at the age of 15. Fifteen is a strange age. At least it was for me. I was just old enough to have my own ideas about this and that. And I was just young enough to be very certain about my ideas. But I was also just “green” enough to believe that what I had to say might be useful to God in a preaching moment. I preached my first sermon on a chilly spring day in April 1992 in Chicago, IL. This was the pulpit in which a master preacher got up each Sunday to “break the bread of life.” However on this Sunday, this people and this preacher let the young people “run the service.” And they let me preach the morning message….

That church was a grace-filled space in which I had the freedom to flunk. With that freedom I was provided the space to identify, explore, and reflect on my sense of call to ministry…

Read More »

January 07, 2011

Single-Leader-Centered vs Group-Centered Leadership

Consider these two statements on leadership:

“Strong people don’t need strong leaders.”

“Leadership never ascends from the pew to the pulpit. It always descends from the pulpit to the pew.”

The first quote is a famous line from Ms. Ella Baker, whose masterful work in organizing and leadership development helped to launch and stabilize the early work of many of the most significant civil rights organizations of the 20th century: NAACP, SCLC, SNCC and MFDP. The second quote is a lesser known line from a better known figure: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ...

Read More »

July 20, 2010