Name: Trav Wilson
Denomination: United Methodist! (he'd add an exclamation point... trust me)
Future Home: Huntsville, Alabama
Trav is one of two Auburn grads who were somewhat insufferable until Saturday where they got the pants beat off of them by a team from the football hotbed of Arkansas. Presumably both teams had to be convinced to wear shoes and ate a pre-game meal invovling grits and copious amounts of sweet tea. Anyhow, Trav, armed with a mechanical engineering degree, spent a couple of years in the field manufacturing stuff, only to be called by God to go into the ministry. So, Trav went to Chandler Theological School in Atlanta, returned to the North Alabama Annual Conference to be ordained as an Elder, and got to work as a UM-pastor. An associate pastor in his last appointment, Trav's desire is to, upon completion of this program, return to Huntsville to plant a new church. Married to the lovely Becca, Trav enjoyes building model rockets (four of which we shot off today... Travis and John David made a fifth) and (no joke - I mean how could I make this up?) surfing to Annual Conference web sites. Possessed by the belief that the UMC needs a "President" with significant powers to enforce the Book of Discipline (which is about as likely as me walking on the moon, but everyone needs to have a dream), Trav is deeply loyal to the UMC, warts and all. We firmly believe that someday he will be elected as a Bishop... and maybe "President" (you never know). Trav's dissertation will focus on the necessary elements that must be incorporated into a new church start.
Name: Nolan Donald (he's not the lovely one in the picture)
Denomination: United Methodist
Hometown: Auburn, Alabama
Nolan is our second Auburn grad, and was greatly humbled this weekend when his Tigers pootered all over themselves Saturday. The interesting thing about Nolan is that he is, in fact, the second-biggest Auburn fan in his house. Susanna, his bride of only three months, grew up confused and deceived by a father who convinced her that there was nothing better in the world than Auburn football. Since Susanna just earned a Masters Degree in English Lit from Wake Forest, I'll write a Haiku especially in her and Nolan's honor.
Home of Bo Jackson
Razorbacks whoop War Eagle
Bo waits til next year
Nolan was heavily involved in the Katrina relief work until coming here in June. His experience of working in New Orleans has only confirmed his commitment to the social justice ministry of Jesus Christ. At a relatively young age, he is already an exceptional preacher. Having served as an associate pastor, he would like his own church upon completion of this program. I'd like to tell you what his dissertation topic is because whenever I'm at his townhouse we're watching football. You see, I don't have cable, so if I want to watch college footbal, I have to go knocking on Nolan and Susanna's door... which, come to think of it, makes my making fun of Auburn football a pretty stupid thing to do.
War Eagle, kids! War Eagle!
(I'm such a sellout)
Name: Kent Reynolds (the guy on the right, next to Travis)
Denomination: United Methodist
Home: Athens, Georgia
Kent is our class sage. Filled with wisdom from having spent a good many years in the UMC as a pastor, Kent, who is in his fifties but still a babe magnet (sorry ladies, he's married to Sandra, a lady who really puts the "better" in "better half"), came to the Beeson Pastor to avoid "sliding into home". Not wanting to pastor just to draw a paycheck, Kent will be spending a great deal of his time doing pastoral training in Tanzania through the Assembly of God denomination. Kent left a fifteen-year long stint at St. James UMC (described by all those I've met from the North Georgia Annual Conference as one of the best, innovative churches they have) where he preached to a lot of University of Georgia students, traveled all over the world taking people on mission experiences, got heavily involved in prison ministry, and served for a good many years as the chaplain to the Georgia Bulldogs Soccer Team (since they don't play football at that school). He has three children, Chaz (30 - an organic farmer in Montana), Cassie (25), and Justan (18 - a freshman at UGa). Sandra, among other things, is heavily involved in Francis McNutt's prayer healing ministry and somehow tolerates being married to a man 6'10". In all seriousness, Kent, a deeply spiritual man, is basically mentoring a bunch of us down here, and I don't think we could do better. His dissertation will focus on establishing pastoral training for prospective Assembly of God pastors in Tanzania.
Name: Aaron Wymer
Denomination: Indepedent Christian
Home: Johnson City, Tennessee
Aaron and I have something in common: we are the only members of this class who will be returning to the same church we served before we became Beeson pastors. I mention this solely because some of you at Shawnee UMC will meet Aaron later this year when he comes to do an ethnography (and I, in return, will do the same on Grandview Christian Church, where Aaron has been Senior Pastor for seven years). Aaron is also a University of Florida of grad, and spend a great deal of his time practicing picking his nose with Jim while talking about the days of the "Fun and Gun" offense. Aaron has a great mind, but because of his family heritage, is rooted in such way that he can relate well to both the brainy prof and whatever stereotypcial harded doofus you want to employ as an example. He's a great storyteller, and is constantly making all of us laugh. Another runner, I think he's happiest listening to punk music as he pumps out mile after mile on the open road. He is married Cyndi, and they have three daughters, Meghan (14, and recently was escorted by a strapping young man to the Homecoming Dance, much to her father's dismay), Anna (10), and Cora (7). Once again, I can't remember what Aaron's dissertation topic is, but I gather it has something to do with him being Senior Pastor at Grandview Christian Church. Welcome him well Shawnee... he's a great guy!
So there you go, unbiased and somewhat inaccurate introductions to my fellow BP's. They're all great. I'm very, very lucky to be one of them.
And, before I go, here are a few more pics for you to enjoy before I take off. Enjoy!
John David Muse - Future Major League Baseball Star
Max and Max - The Bionacle Duo