In April of this year, HELM’s board of directors met at Chapman University in Orange, California for the Spring HELM board meeting. The meeting began on Friday afternoon with a tour of the Chapman University campus, led by Rev. Nancy Brink, Director of Church Relations. Many of the board members had never visited the campus and were impressed by the growth in the programs offered, with a new 140,000 square foot Center for Science and Technology opening in the fall of 2018 and the establishment of a school of engineering, set to open in 2019 or 2020. Saturday’s portion of the meeting took place at the beautiful Fish Interfaith Center. Board members were able to spend some time talking with Dr. Daniele Stuppa, President of Chapman University, as he talked about his vision for the future of Chapman.
The day concluded with a time of fellowship and worship with students and staff from the Disciples Seminary Foundation, located in nearby Claremont. Worship was led by Tevita Uesi, an M.Div. student and HELM board member. Rev. Clemette Haskins and Rev. HaeJin Park, both Ph.D. students and Ann E. Dickerson Scholars, spoke about their calling to ministry and higher education as well as the specific topics they are researching. Other students who participated included Leah Laird (Ph.D), Sarah Fiske-Philips (M.Div) and Toni Bond Leonard (Ph.D.). All present were moved by the talents, calling and commitments of those who participated in worship and give thanks for the leadership they are already providing the church.
During the business session of the meeting, the board took two significant actions. Having previously called Chris Dorsey to the presidency for a transitional period of three years, the board voted to extend the call to Chris Dorsey to become the permanent president of HELM. This is an affirmation of the work that has been done over the past three years and a commitment to continue the important work of transforming HELM. The board also voted to enter a period of intentional discernment about the future of HELM to ensure that the mission of HELM continues in a way that meets the needs of the church in the present age.