chimes.sum2013.web0729 - page 33

SFTS CHIMES | Summer 2013
had recently begun teaching: Herman
Waetjen, professor of New Testament
from 1962 to 1997, and Ben Reist,
professor of systematic theology from
1957 to 1992. One of the joys of the
50-year class reunion, Evans said, was
having both Waetjen and Reist return
to visit with their former students. At
a gathering in the Shaw Guest House,
the students and professors shared
memories of SFTS and updated each
other on their lives post-seminary. Lat-
er in the weekend, Waetjen presented
a lecture humorously titled “Herman’s
New Hermeneutics.” The class of 1963
enjoyed hearing their professor lecture
again, Evan recalled.
“It was terrific and so much fun,”
he said. “We shared old stories and
questions. They were excited, we were
The class of 1963 also spent time
remembering classmates who died
during the 50 years following gradua-
tion. SFTS alumnus Don Register led
a service of remembrance that included
Scripture and a reading of the names
of those who had died. Classmates
placed flowers in a bowl as each name
was read.
“It was a beautiful service of wor-
ship and remembrance,” Evans re-
called. “And there probably wasn’t a
dry eye there. We were remembering
the people who were our friends and
the image of them when they were in
their 20s.”
At the end of the alumni reunion,
the class of 1963 gathered in Alexan-
der Hall for an appreciation dinner.
SFTS alumnus Jim Nielsen hosted the
evening’s activities. Alumnus Jim Heer
played the piano, and alumnus Alan
James read excerpts from a book he has
written about former SFTS president
Theodore Gill.
“We sat around tables and told
old war stories,” Evans said. “It was so
much fun.”
A lot of things have changed at
SFTS since he and his classmates grad-
uated in 1963, Evans said. There are
new professors and staff, for example.
But the campus buildings and many
other things are much like they were
when he was a student. Most impor-
tant, Evans said, the sense of commu-
nity that he and his classmates enjoyed
during their time in seminary remains
“They were fun times together,
marked by maturing, growing up, and
being a launching pad for ministry,”
Evans said.
Fifty years later, as the class of 2013
leaves SFTS to do ministry, Evans
shares this advice to the new alumni:
“Keep the faith but also share it. You
will continue to learn what forgiveness
is and what God’s grace is all about.”
Christopher Schilling is a 2013 M.Div. graduate.
George Hipkins (B.D.)
began his
studies at SFTS in 1949, accompa-
nied by his wife, Nellie, and their
first child. Due to his prior service in
the military, he and his family lived
in Vet Village and the G.I. Bill paid
for his second year of seminary. The
couple’s second child was born in
1951 while Hipkins was a student
at SFTS. After graduation, Hipkins
and his wife had two more children
and adopted a son from Switzer-
land. Hipkins spent 60 years as a
firefighter, chaplain, and photogra-
pher, and served as vice president of
a local historical society and chair
of the Health and Welfare Coun-
cil. He and his wife currently live in
Maryland, where he is a chaplain of
the Veterans of Foreign Wars, plays
the piano at Perryville Presbyterian
Church, and writes a monthly hom-
ily for a local newspaper.
Kim Warner (M.Div.)
served for
16 years in youth ministry and the
pastorate before moving into funds
development for theological institu-
tions. He spent eight years in this
role, first with SFTS and then with
the Presbyterian School of Christian
Education. He then served for 20
years as vice president of the Texas
Presbyterian Foundation, a counter-
part to the Presbyterian Foundation
of the PC(USA) that has grown to
serve 18 states and manage more
than $600 million. He currently
serves as Director of Gift Planning
for the foundation of First Presbyte-
rian Church in Dallas. He describes
First Presbyterian as a “vibrant church
[with] one of the most extensive in-
ner-city ministries anywhere.” War-
ner and his wife, Diana, travel fre-
quently to keep in touch with their
five children and 11 grandchildren.
Class of 1963 enjoys socializing at Shaw Guest House.
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