New dean, professors at seminary

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 09, 2009, at 9:10 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A new academic dean and two new faculty members will greet Bangor Theological Seminary students this fall.

The Rev. T. Richard Snyder, 73, of Lincolnville was named academic dean last week. The Presbyterian minister will work part-time from the seminary’s Bangor offices at Husson University.

Pamela Shellberg, 50, formerly of Milwaukee, was appointed earlier this year as the New Testament instructor. She succeeds David Trobish, 50, of Branson, Mo., who left the seminary two years ago to lecture and write.

The Rev. Michelle Ellis, 38, formerly of Montgomery, Ala., was appointed earlier this year as the instructor of Hebrew Scripture. She succeeds Ann Johnston, who retired last year after more than two decades as the seminary’s Old Testament scholar. Ellis is the first African-American to serve as a full-time member of the faculty.

The appointments of Shellberg, who is based in Bangor, and Ellis, who is based at the seminary’s Portland campus, were effective July 1.

Snyder, who succeeds the Rev. Glenn Miller, professor of ecclesiastical history, is professor emeritus of theology and ethics and a former academic dean at New York Theological Seminary in New York City. He earned his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., and his master’s of divinity and doctorate degrees from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

The minister most recently served as a visiting professor at American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley, Calif. He is the founder and chairman of the Restorative Justice Project of the MidCoast and served on the boards of the MidCoast Forum on Foreign Relations and the United MidCoast Charities, all located in Knox and Waldo counties.

Miller has returned to teaching full time. He and another seminary faculty member are expected to retire over the next two years.

Shellberg began her career as a public school teacher in Wisconsin. About 10 years ago, she decided that a teaching ministry rather than the ordained ministry was her calling.

“I have always understood teaching to be a vocation to which I have been called to express the following commitments,” she said in a news release. “First, that my primary task was to create experiences where students could flourish, participate in community, be supported in their process of vocational discernment, and to glimpse in themselves and in each other the image of God; and second, that any classroom for which I had responsibility should provide the context in which students could learn, practice and experience justice, mercy and hope.”

A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, she is the former director of Christian education at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, Wis. Shellberg earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary and special education from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., and her master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also earned a Master of Arts degree in theology and is working toward her doctorate at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Ellis is an ordained Baptist minister. She most recently taught religion at Huntingdon College, a small liberal arts school associated with the United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala. She has served as a teaching fellow at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

She spent a decade in the 1990s working as a civilian for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy after earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She earned her Master of Arts degree in theological studies from United Theological in Dayton, Ohio. She is completing her doctorate at Brandeis.

Ellis’ visit to the seminary campuses revealed “developed skills and confidence as a classroom teacher,” the Rev. Kent Ulery, seminary president, said in a news release. “She clearly invests in her teaching, and it shows. Happily, here’s someone who loves the Bible, loves the church, has had a good seminary experience herself, and is eager to prepare church leaders for their diverse ministries.”

Early this year, Shellberg and Ellis visited the campuses in Bangor and Portland. They met with faculty, staff and students.

Ulery described both women as “first-choice candidates who have heard and accepted our call.”

Founded in 1814, Bangor Theological Seminary is an ecumenical school in the Congregational tradition of the United Church of Christ.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/08/09/news/bangor/new-dean-professors-at-seminary/ printed on September 17, 2014