Seminar Bloggers

Harold Attridge

Harold W. Attridge, The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School and Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament, is a New Testament scholar with expertise in New Testament exegesis, the study of Hellenistic Judaism, and the history of the early church.   A strong advocate of interfaith cooperation, he was one of the principal drafters of the Loving God and Neighbor Together document that pointed to commonalities between Christianity and Islam and that was published in its entirety in the New York Times.  He has written a number of books, including, among others, Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, The Acts of Thomas, and Essays on John and Hebrews. He co-edited Religion, Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Galilee and served as general editor of The HarperCollins Study Bible, Revised Edition (2006). He was president of the Society of Biblical Literature in 2001.  A Roman Catholic layman, Dean Attridge previously taught at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, where he also served as dean of the College of Arts and Letters.  He holds an A.B from Boston College; a B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University; and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Christina Baik

Christina is a first year M.A.R. student concentrating in Religion and Literature at YDS and the ISM. She grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from Swarthmore College’s Honors Program in 2008 with a degree in English Literature and Sociology/Anthropology. Following graduation, she raised funds for arts education programs and founded an open-mike artists cafe at the Painted Bride Art Center through Philly Fellows, a fellowship affiliated with Americorps*VISTA. Then Christina found her calling as a teacher over her two years teaching middle school English, Spanish, and a course she created called “Identity in Community” at Abington Friends School. With each lesson she created for her eighth graders, she realized the value of faith-informed teaching as her students confront the profound ethical-political issues of today. She is grateful for the opportunity to join the "Sacred Land" travel seminar, and looks forward to getting to more intimately know this fraught home of two nationalities and three faiths with all of you.


John Lindner

John B. Lindner serves as director of the Department of External Relations at Yale Divinity School since 2002.  Among the spectrum of his responsibilities, he has given leadership to Reflections magazine, a national publication of theological and ethical inquiry. He spent over a quarter century providing leadership for international, ecumenical/interfaith programs of the PCUSA, the National Council of Churches (NCCCUSA) and the World Council of Churches (WCC).  He served as writer for the NCCCUSA’s Middle East Policy and directed its program of US-USSR Church Relations. He served the WCC as director of planning and development for the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey. Lindner is co-author of By Faith: Christian Students Among the Cloud of Witnesses (1991, Friendship Press) a history of the ecumenical Christian student movement in the U.S. and co-issue editor of a special issue of the journal Theological Education (vol. 34, autumn 1997) on “Ecumenical Formation: A Methodology for a Pluralistic Age.  The Case of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.” He is active in programs supporting peace initiatives for the Middle East.  He has served as a member of the Leadership Council of Churches for Middle East Peace and on the Executive Committee of A Different Future.

Constance Royster

Connie Royster is director of development at Yale Divinity School following positions at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and as the first director of major giving at WSHU Public Radio in Fairfield, CT.  Connie is a lawyer who practiced law for more than two decades after graduating from Yale College as part of the first group of women undergraduates at Yale. Her law career included clerkships on the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, as an associate with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City, as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York, and as a law firm partner.  Connie has travelled extensively since her gap year as an English Speaking Union Scholar. Most recently she helped lead a Yale Alumni Service Corps/Yale China Association/Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange trip to China in 2011. Connie is an active member of the Yale/ New Haven community. She is chair of the board of Dwight Hall at Yale, and serves on the board of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Connie is also an active Yale volunteer, having served on the AYA Board of Governors, the Yale Alumni Schools Committee, and the Yale Annual Fund board. She is a fellow of Jonathan Edwards College. Connie lives in Bethany, CT, with her daughter, who is a scholar/athlete/singer/actress at Cheshire Academy.

Elaine Ellis Thomas

Elaine is a second-year Master of Divinity student at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Prior to arriving in New Haven, she worked as director of human resources for Episcopal Community Services in Philadelphia and has served as an organist and choirmaster throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. A postulant for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, Elaine's particular interests include preaching, teaching, and social justice, with a strong commitment to reconciliation ministry in all its forms. In the summer of 2011, Elaine spent two weeks at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael in Coventry, England, working as a volunteer organizational consultant for the Community of the Cross of Nails, the global reconciliation ministry that grew out of the destruction of the cathedral in World War II. In the summer of 2012, she will travel to Capetown, South Africa, to participate in a training workshop at The Institute for Healing of Memories, founded by The Rev. Michael Lapsley. Elaine is grateful for these many opportunities to explore issues of forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace, including this travel seminar. Elaine is married to Timothy I. Thomas, founder and principal of Makarios Consulting, LLC, in Downingtown, PA. Tim will also be on the trip. She has a daughter, Rachel Barr Peterson, in Cardiff, CA, and a son, Seth Alan Peterson, who died in 2009.