Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

OCU School of Religion graduates 12


The Class of 2010 from the Wimberly School of Religion: from left, Tasha Sargent, Shannon Rodenberg, Michael Madison, Eric Brown, Tino Herrera, Adam Shahan, Tina Dean-McDaniel, Andy Nelms, Anthony Li, and Brandon Kyle. Not pictured: Carron Jones and Melissa Thompson.

In May at Oklahoma City University, the Wimberly School of Religion graduated a class of 12 religion majors, with nine receiving bachelor’s degrees and three earning master’s degrees.

Master of Arts in Religion

Melissa Thompson will continue working as director of Student Ministries at St. Matthew’s UMC in Midwest City. She said the OCU faculty "made a point to teach us with love, understanding, and pushed us to be the absolute best we could be. These last two years have been absolutely amazing!"

Carron Jones continues to serve as an Army chaplain.

Chunhai "Anthony" Li described the 1½ years at OCU as one of the best times of his life; the university became his spiritual home. Anthony appreciated learning about various cultures and praised OCU for its "advanced academic scholarship and, more importantly, outstanding professors."

Bachelor of Arts in Religion

Brandon Kyle is deciding where to study philosophy in the fall, after receiving a number of acceptance offers from graduate schools. His goal is to write and teach at a university. Kyle explained, "Wisdom is meaningless if not paired with kindness. The professors at OCU teach this by example. The faculty affords their students respect and friendship. In addition to creating a familial atmosphere, this serves to create the best possible environment for learning."

Eric Brown will work at an Oklahoma City auto dealership as he considers his options for future seminary studies.

Tina Dean-McDaniel works at Wesley UMC in Oklahoma City.

Tasha Sargent served as an intern in OCU’s Religious Life office, where she coordinated the "Wednesday at the Wesley" lunches and Youth Service Day. She was grateful for opportunities to attend conferences and events and to participate in service projects. In August, she will begin studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., as a Leadership Scholar. She plans to return to Oklahoma to become ordained as an elder in the Church.

Tino Herrera serves as director of Middle School Student Ministries at McFarlin UMC in Norman and is considering future seminary studies.

Andy Nelms became a passionate student of the Hebrew Bible and largely attributed that interest to Dr. Lisa Wolfe, who specializes in the area. Nelms said, "I took so many of her classes because of her teaching style. She doesn’t stand up at the front of the class and lecture; she sits in a circle with the students and discusses the topic. She treats students as equals with valid ideas." Nelms plans to attend Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU in the fall.

Michael Madison is considering future seminary studies.

Adam Shahan will continue as pastor of Lexington UMC and begin studies at Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU in the fall. He and his wife, Aly, are anticipating the birth of their first child and celebrating the recent publication of his fiction book "The Fall of the Four."

Shannon Rodenberg said, "The professors genuinely cared about me and were always ready to challenge me and support me as I learned about my studies and about life." Rodenberg plans to attend Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU in the fall and then become a pastor in the Oklahoma Conference.


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