Dear Friends,

While the Denver campus may be relatively quiet, we are alive and busy in Iliff’s virtual community welcoming prospective students through Iliff’s new Virtual Open Houses; giving thanks to the 71 years that Taylor Hall served our students, faculty, and surrounding community; welcoming new faculty member, Dr. Philip Butler; and, engaging in Dr. De La Torre’s upcoming course "Ethics in an Age of Plagues, Pestilence, and Pandemics."
Not only do we enjoy sharing the milestones and updates from Iliff, we love sharing the good news and work of our alumni/ae community.

Please join me in celebrating the work of our featured alumni, faculty, staff, and students.

Kelsey Cochrane
Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Faculty and Staff News
Dr. Philip Butler was appointed Term Assistant Professor of Theology and Black Posthuman Artificial Intelligence Systems this summer.

Butler previously held the position of Visiting Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, where he taught since 2017.

He spoke at Iliff's Renewal Conference in February 2020 and participated at the inaugural event of Iliff's AI Institute in May, 2019.

"Dr. Butler brings knowledge, experiences, and vision that will deepen our excellent degree programs, and significantly enhance Iliff's work with new learners," said Iliff President Tom Wolfe. "At Iliff, Dr. Butler will work with the AI Institute, generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, as well as teach courses for our degree programs and public audience as a member of the faculty."

Butler's interdisciplinary work, deep love for Black communities, and desire to construct digital consciousnesses associated with racial and cultural identities is directed towards making difference normative in emergent technologies and future existence. He is the founder of the Seekr Project, a distinctly Black conversational artificial intelligence agent with mental health capacities, combining machine learning and psychotherapeutic systems.

Butler received his B.A. from Morehouse College, M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the Claremont School of Theology. His teaching and research interests include theology, spiritual formation, neuroscience and spirituality, black studies, ethics, and technology.
Br. Daniel Klawitter (MDiv '02), Iliff Admissions Representative and Brother in the Order of Saint Luke, won first place in the 2020 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards for his children's book of poems, The Trickster: Poems for Very Clever Children & Silly Adults.

The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards is a worldwide book competition that was created in 2009 to celebrate the best in children’s books.
Being honored with a Purple Dragonfly Book Award gives authors the recognition they deserve and provides a boost to further their writing careers.

Klawitter's poems have been published widely in literary journals and magazines, both online and in print, in Australia, the UK, and the United States, including: The Australia Times, Blue Collar Review, Colorado Life Magazine, Journal of South Texas English Studies, Nomos Journal, The Penwood Review, Think Journal, and Wayfarer: a journal of contemplative literature.

He has a BA in Religion Studies with a minor in Theater Arts from the College of Santa Fe and a Master of Divinity degree with a justice and peace studies concentration from the Iliff School of Theology. He is a member of the Colorado Poets Center and the Academy of American Poets. Learn more about Klawitter and his other works.
Taylor Hall Decommission
After 71 years, Taylor Hall has served as long as it could as home to students and guests of Iliff. The cornerstone was laid in 1949. We decommissioned the building and gave thanks for all that it has done to offer shelter and home to generations on July 27.

Here are some ways you can mark this transition:

There was a time capsule secured into the cornerstone of Taylor Hall. That capsule was opened on July 27. Here is a video clip of the cornerstone that was removed and the opening of the capsule. Watch the video to find out what was in the time capsule!

May you find your memories of Taylor Hall bless you.
Alumni Updates
Michael Glen Bell (MAR '95) started the painting below on the day that he began his COVID-19 shelter-in-place in March.

"It reflects my frustration and disorientation through this unpredictable time." The 18" x 24" artwork is titled, “Coronavirus Charts and Graphs.”  The painting's media is oil paint on Venetian plaster over poster board.

Michael is a musician, artist, and guitar instructor currently residing in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber (MDiv '08) will present at the Evolving Faith 2020 conference, taking place live, virtually online on October 2 to 3.

Evolving Faith exists to "cultivate love and hope in the wilderness, pointing fellow wanderers and misfits to God as we embody resurrection for the sake of the world." In addition to an incredible line-up of speakers and artists, conference participants will have community engagement opportunities, connection with other attendees, and spiritual formation.

Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran minister who founded the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She is the author of three New York Times bestselling memoirs—Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, Accidental Saints: Finding God in the Wrong People, and, most recently, Shameless: A Sexual Revolution. In July 2018, she retired from House for All Sinners and Saints in order to pursue full-time her call as a public theologian. For Nadia's speaking schedule, please see her website
Dr. David Heetland (MDiv '72, ThD '75), a national fundraising leader, recently published Creating Generous Congregations

The book assist church leaders in gaining necessary expertise in the stewardship of financial resources, so that persons will be invited to grow spiritually and the various ministries of the church will flourish.
"A problem facing many churches today is the lack of strong leadership in the area of stewardship, particularly the stewardship of financial resources. Church leaders—clergy and laity—have had little or no training in this area, and they feel uncomfortable and embarrassed in encouraging financial support for the church’s ministries. Failure to provide decisive leadership in this area has had negative consequences for the church, including a decreasing percentage of charitable dollars directed toward churches and a growing lack of understanding among church members of the relationship between giving and spiritual growth."

Heetland is Senior Vice President for Planned Giving at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Prior to
assuming this position in 2018, he served as the seminary’s vice president for development for 35 years. is also the author of Happy Surprises: Help Others Discover the Joy of Giving.
The Rev. Kimberly Nipple (MDiv '14) recently became Hospice Chaplain at Hospice del Valle, a non-profit hospice that serves the San Luis Valley community in Colorado.

Nipple is an ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (PC USA), Professed Oblate with the Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs, as well as a certified Spiritual Director through Benet Hill Monastery's Spiritual Direction program.

Nipple directs Back Row Church, a community that came together in the spring of 2017 inside a Presbyterian Church located in the high mountain desert community of Alamosa, Colorado. Since then it has grown into an online community that worships, talks, and prays together.
The Rev. Ruth Rinehart (MDiv '16), Unitarian Universalist minister, founded JUUST Living, a queer-friendly intentional recovery community for long-term healing and recovery from addictions, located in Lakewood, Colorado.

"We are unusual in the recovery space, in that we are mixed-gender, in order to be especially welcoming to the whole LGBTQAI+ spectrum, especially non-binary. Our community is committed to the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We believe that addiction is a disease of disconnection; we believe that healing happens in community.
Rinehart believes in the healing nature of connection. "Long-term healing and recovery from addiction is itself counter-cultural, resisting the materialist, consumerist culture we live in, too often driven by fear and division. Building beloved community is the work for our times."

The organization was recently awarded a Daniels Fund grant, and also featured in a Lakewood Sentinel article about recipients of the Lakewood COVID-19 Nonprofit Impact Grants program.
Sarah Vanasse (MASJE '17) recently joined the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in St. Paul, MN as Student Success Specialist.

She serves on the school's finance team and financial aid advising. She works in advancement, tracking donations and working with the advancement team to organize institutional funding. On the financial aid side, she connects students with the funding they need to finance their seminary education.

She shares, "The school reminds me of Iliff in its commitment to social justice and ministry. We have wonderful programs in the arts which is what originally drew me into applying here."

Vanasse is also planning an upcoming wedding in September to her fiancé, Nichaolas Ascheman.
Share Your News!

If there is something going on in your world that you would like us to share with your colleagues, you are welcome to submit your news to the Alumni Office.
Student Spotlight: Rev. Amanda Henderson
Current Iliff Ph.D. student, interfaith leader, activist, and pastor Rev. Amanda Henderson recently published a book titled, "Holy Chaos: Creating Connections in Divisive Times."

In the book, Henderson shares personal stories and practices from her work at the intersection of faith and politics to help us find connections in the midst of the religious and political divides in our country, our communities, and our families and friendships.
Daily living and loving in our fraught and deeply divided world can be disorienting, unpredictable, exhausting, and scary. How do we find peace in the midst of the chaotic spaces? Connection in the midst of division? Healing in the midst of suffering?

With warmth, wisdom, compassion, and humor, Henderson reflects on the core principles of radical loving in chaotic times: rooting down; embracing fear; engaging curiosity; showing up; accepting our brokenness; finding joy in each other; and letting go to chart a way forward with integrity and love in an increasingly hostile world.

Questions at the end of each chapter make Holy Chaos ideal for book groups, small group study, or deeper personal reflection.

Henderson launched her book through an online book discussion, "Find the Holy in the Chaos: A (FREE) Conversation on Engaging Social Change." Henderson was joined by Iliff Assistant Professor of Religion and Social Justice, Rev. Dr. Jennifer Leath and Iliff Trustee and Executive Director of the Colorado Council of Churches, Adrian Miller.
Pandemic Resources for Leaders
Iliff offers a curated set of pandemic resources for those serving in leadership, whether in a church or a non-profit. Visit the Pandemic Toolbox at
Newly Added:

Community and Faith-Based Organizations: Plan, Prepare, and Respond, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As some community-based organizations (CBOs) begin to resume or increase their level of activities, CDC offers considerations for ways these organizations can help protect individuals and communities and slow the spread of COVID-19. CBOs can play a vital role in maintaining community morale and cohesion. They can also serve as a crucial link between communities and local health and other officials, providing insight about the feasibility and acceptability of proposed mitigation strategies and informing authorities about resources and needs in their communities. 
Register for "Ethics in an Age of Plagues, Pestilence, and Pandemics"
Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at Iliff, will lead a course this fall, "Ethics in an Age of Plagues, Pestilence, and Pandemics," which is open to alumni and the public to audit.

This self-paced, 10-week course provides a deep understanding and glimpse of our world from an ethical and moral lens following the global pandemic. Participants will wrestle with the importance of maintaining a moral compass during crisis and an ethical vision as a new reality is constructed. Special attention will be given to how not all suffer equally, and the role racism, classism, and sexism during national emergencies. Finally, the course will assist the student in finding their own ethical voice during a time of hopelessness and desperation.

Two registration options are available:
  • Self-paced course: $50.00
  • Self-paced course, plus five, one-hour live Zoom webinar sessions with Dr. De La Torre: $100.00

Dates and Location
The course begins on September 14, 2020. 10 weeks of material will be offered and each participant will have up to 16 weeks to complete the course. This is a self-paced, online course.

Iliff's Professional Information Network (PIFN)
Iliff hosts an online list of available positions for the community. You can sign up to submit positions directly, too!

To visit PIFN, click here.
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