Faculty member helps lead church

The president of the Brite Divinity School said he hopes through his background in the history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) he can help the church evolve with the changing times instead of dwelling in the past. President Newell Williams was elected as moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) this summer at the church’s biennial general assembly in Fort Worth.

Williams said in his position he will preside over the general and administrative boards, making sure all business matters are addressed, and will travel the country for various speaking engagements.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has made news recently for officially forming and releasing a resolution opposing the war in Iraq at its assembly this summer.

Members within the church have come out in disagreement with the resolution, causing some to ask why it was passed, according to the Disciples News Service, the church’s publication.

Williams said he feels controversial issues need not be resolved in a large group setting where people don’t always get a chance to grasp the issues through in-depth discussions.

Williams said he hopes his influence as moderator can bring small group discussions, where the people involved have a better grasp on the issue and can make more significant and informed decisions, to the next assembly.

Rodney Thomas Jr., a third-year student at Brite, said Williams is good at including everyone and fostering better learning environments.

Another goal, Williams said, is to better inform the church as a whole and to encourage more conversation with not just those who attend the assemblies, but members everywhere.

Angela Kaufman, minister to the university, said this kind of recognition by the church is just one more example of Williams’ “lifelong commitment to his faith, to the church and to the people of God.”

Molly Taylor, third-year student at Brite and a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), said Williams’ new role will not only help Brite students discover their own roles in the church, but “also help the denomination discover and honor who they are as a church.”

While Williams said he was flattered by this accolade and looks forward to his position, he feels that this is as high as he wants to go.

“At my age, I think that I now know that I am essentially a teacher,” Williams said, referring to his life at TCU. “This is the world where I belong.