Paper Presentations

Click on the links for each session to view the video.

Paper Session One: Historical Background

  • Saturday, March 18 at 9:00 am
  • Ford Memorial Chapel

“An Ever Widening Gap: Allegheny College and Methodism over the Years”
Allegheny College and the Methodist church in western Pennsylvania came together in the 1830s to address the college’s financial need and Methodism’s desire to expand its educational offerings in the area. Within fifty years, the two institutions were at odds over what direction the college should take. Focusing specifically on governance structures, as well as financial ties and diverging worldviews, this paper will trace the evolution of that relationship, which has led to recent calls for the college to disaffiliate.

Presenters: Charlie Waid, Allegheny ‘25 and The Rev. Jane Ellen Nickell, Ph.D., Allegheny College Chaplain, Retired

Paper Session Two: Historical Perspectives

  • Saturday, March 18 at 10:30 am
  • Ford Memorial Chapel

“The Ties that Bind: Methodism’s Early Relationship with Allegheny College”
This paper will examine the relationship of Allegheny College and the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC), in the early to mid-1800s, through the lens of the MEC. Throughout the nineteenth century, Methodism was on a trajectory of greater influence and institutionalization. One aspect of this trend toward institutionalization was MEC emphasis on higher education, which in the early 1800s led directly to the creation of formal ties with institutions like Allegheny College. During this time, a number of Methodists influential with the higher education movement—such as Martin Ruter and Matthew Simpson—were involved with Allegheny College. These associations furthered the connections between Methodist mission and the denomination’s rising influence. This paper will argue that the early partnership between the MEC and Allegheny College aided Methodism’s missional endeavors and provided an outlet for greater influence for the MEC.

Presenter: The Rev. Susan Lyn Moudry, Ph.D., Ordained Elder, Western Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church

“‘This Peculiar Convocation’: The Thoburn Jubilee and Allegheny’s Missionary Legacy”
From the 11th to the 13th of April 1909, Methodist clergy and scholars descended on Allegheny College for the fiftieth anniversary of Bishop James M. Thoburn’s departure to India. The Jubilee was designed to commemorate the impactful missionary career of the Bishop, but also as a forum to discuss ways to expand the role of Methodist institutions like Allegheny in training students for missionary work. This paper will examine the contemporary reception of Thoburn’s career, methods, and values, along with those ideas being discussed at the Jubilee, with the goal of evaluating their legacy in a post-colonial world.

Presenter: June Meadow Gromis, Former Allegheny Student

Paper Session Three: Aspects of Affiliation

  • Saturday, March 18 at 2:00 pm
  • Ford Memorial Chapel
  • Please note that this session will begin at 2:00 instead of 1:30 as previously announced, and will not include Rev. Lynette Moran, who is unable to be there. We look forward to including her paper in the published proceedings.

“Doing Good: Institutions, Cultures, and Enabling Morally Virtuous Action”
What does it mean to “do good,” not only as individuals but as institutions? How do the structures we create, and in which we participate, affect and even determine our ethical beliefs and behavior? Allegheny College’s conversation about whether to remain affiliated with the United Methodist Church (UMC) reflects a larger discord between two institutions with distinct structures, cultures, and guiding values. It is also an example of how institutions can constrain or enable the moral agency of both individuals and other institutions with which they share a relationship. This paper explores the relationship between two institutions—Allegheny College and the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church—with theories of virtue ethics and social structural ethics, posing ethical challenges and opportunities present in the ways both college and conference may choose to “meet this moment.”

Presenter: The Rev. Erik Hoeke, Ordained Elder, Western Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church, Th.M. Student in Moral Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

“Looking Back as a Means to Live Forward: Claiming One’s Institutional Truth in Order to Foster an Equitable and Inclusive Campus Community”
The question: As institutions of higher education continue to evolve in the pursuit of fostering equitable and inclusive campus environments, a process of looking forward; how does an institution reconcile past history, or even existing history, that may conflict with an aspirational institutional identity and desired campus climate? This paper will consider the need and role of truth-telling, such as “truth and reconciliation commissions,” as a means for an institution to gain an understanding of the impact of institutional history, culture, and operational practices on traditionally underrepresented and/or marginalized individuals and campus entities over the history of the institution.

Presenter: James Puglisi, D.Min., Allegheny ‘84, Ministry Formation Manager with Ascension Wisconsin

“Writing Our Stories: Naming Loss and Drawing Inclusive Bounds”
Tying together three theoretical approaches of emotion, this paper aims to better understand how we individually and collectively grieve and make meaning of our grief during times of social change. It also considers how institutions, groups, and individuals dynamically interact to impact the experience of grief. The paper connects to the author’s dissertation study of grief and the United Methodist Church at this time of change.

Author: The Rev. Lynette S. Moran, Ordained Deacon, Western Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church, Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, University of Pittsburgh