News & Announcements

  • ABSW COVID-19 (Corona Virus) RESPONSE

    March 17, 2020 ~ James Brenneman

    March 16, 2020

    Dear ABSW Faculty and Staff,

    Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our families, our workplaces, our classrooms, our communities, and our way of life. At ABSW, we’re focused on your health and safety, and that of our students, families and communities. We have already begun teaching all classes remotely (online) and will continue to do so for the rest of the semester.

    As you may have already heard, today, six area counties (San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda) issued strict “shelter in place” mandates beginning at midnight tonight lasting until, at least, April 7, 2020. The directive places severe limitations on travel outside our places of residence and only for the most essential purposes. In abiding by these directives, we are asking all employees to work from home remotely unless otherwise directed by their supervisors to cover essential services. Your supervisor will be in touch with you to clarify expectations of you during this quarantine period.

    Please also note that all in-person services of the GTU Library will be suspended and the building will be closed as of 5pm today and will remain so, at least, through April 7. Remote services will continue M-F, 10am-5pm. Access to all virtual services will continue.

    This moment reminds us that we’re all connected like never before. As members of the beloved community, under the ultimate care of God, we’re especially called upon to be our best selves, with patience, understanding and compassion toward others. May God grant us protection and good health, speedy recovery if we get sick, and, above all God’s abiding embrace during these difficult days.

    As we go forward, we’ll be sure to keep you updated, and know that we always value your questions, ideas and feedback.

    In Christian hope,

    Rev. Dr. Jim Brenneman, President


  • In Memoriam – Peter Yuichi Clark

    December 12, 2019 ~ Carolyn Matthews

    In Loving Memory 

    On Friday, December 6, 2019 Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark passed away at home after a nearly three-year battle with cancer.  Dr. Clark served as part-time Professor of Pastoral Care at the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) for 17 years. He also served as, first Manager and eventually, Director of Spiritual Care Services at UCSF Medical Center for 9 years; and before arriving at UCSF in 2010 provided chaplaincy care in general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, continuing care retirement communities and the United States Air Force Reserve.  He was known at ABSW, in the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the greater Bay Area as the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) guru.

    Rev. Dr. Clark was an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and a certified educator in the ACPE. Clark held a B.A. degree from Baylor University, an M.Div. degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Ph.D. degree in religious studies from Emory University in Atlanta.

    In addition to serving as professor of pastoral care at ABSW and the GTU, Dr. Clark taught in the UCSF School of Medicine. He has served on the ACPE board of representatives and as ACPE theory paper editor for the journal Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, and he is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles.  In his most recent article, “Two Ministers, 26 Years: A Reflection on Engaged Hope in Cancer,” published in The Journal of Oncology (July, 2019) Clark shares much of his own experience as a cancer patient through the lens of a trained chaplain.  This article is worth the read:

    Peter also was interviewed in the ACPE National Newsletter this last year where he insightfully detailed his journey through cancer. The interview was called Clinical Trail Indeed and can be found in the following link:

    Always the educator Peter sought to inspire his students and colleagues through his CaringBridge blog post and to offer his “sick body” in service to cancer research.  Accordingly, Peter said “yes” when asked for tissue and blood samples for research and when invited to participate in new treatment regimes, which led him ultimately to donate his body to science.

    Dr. Clark had an infectious laugh and sense of humor, he was and will continue to be, loved and adored by all of his students and colleagues.  In his final years as a cancer patient he modelled for us great strength, integrity, authenticity, transparency, and a willingness to serve his communities through thoughtful theological and spiritual reflection on his medical journey.  He will forever be remembered as a great spiritual leader, professor, scholar and humanitarian.  ABSW grieves the loss of this faithful servant and colleague and sends condolences to wife Tilly, son Adam, Peter’s mother and Sister, extended family members and his numerous students and colleagues.  His physical presence with us will be sorely missed, but our loving memory of him will surely live on.

    A memorial service will be held at UCSF sometime late winter/early spring.  The family has specifically asked that no flowers be sent, instead condolence cards may be sent to the family. Donations in Peter’s honor may be directed to the UCSF Cancer Immunotherapy Program, the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW), Bread for the World, Habitat for Humanity, and Amnesty International.


    November 12, 2019 ~ Carolyn Matthews

    Singing Through the Church Year
    Spring 2020
    RALS – 1727
    1.5 Units

    Tuesdays, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
    Class begins: February 4
    American Baptist Seminary of the West
    2606 Dwight Way
    Berkeley, CA

    Students will sing and read through the Christian year from Advent to Pentecost making use of the resources in a variety of recent hymnals and hymn collections. Students will also receive an overview of the hymnody of several Christian faith traditions, and interfaith as well.

    Rev. Dr. Nancy Hall is Faculty Emeritus, Associate Professor of Ministry & Congregational Music, at the American Baptist Seminary of the West. She is also the pastor and musician at First Baptist Church of Berkeley. Nancy previously served as editor of The Hymn: A Journal of Congregational Song, for The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Her book, The New Manual of Worship, was published in 2018 by Judson Press.

    Rev. Dan Damon, Fellow of the Hymn Society (2016), received his MDiv from the Pacific School of Religion and is a widely published writer of hymn texts and tunes. He currently is serving as pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Point Richmond and is Associate Editor of Hymnody for Hope Publishing Company.


    November 11, 2019 ~ Carolyn Matthews

    Need a Creative Outlet?

    Spring 2020 Course
    Thursdays – 2:10 PM – 5:00 PM
    First Class: February 6, 2020
    BSRA 4200 (Advanced Masters)
    BSRA 5200 (Doctoral)
    Professor: LeAnn Snow Flesher, PhD


    This course will focus on two major methodologies: Reception History of biblical texts and their interpretations and Performance Criticism of the Bible. Historically the Bible has been used to support and promote ideological social agendas. The first part of this course will be focused on research and reading historical interpretations of biblical texts related to race and gender relations in the US. Part II of the semester will be focused on Performance Criticism of the Bible, a relatively new methodology, as defined and developed in the Biblical Performance Criticism series published by Cascade Books. Final assignment(s) will include the creation of a performance related to select biblical texts and their interpretations studied throughout the semester. Performances can include: theater, music, poetry, rap, etc. Creativity required. The course is geared toward advanced Master’s, Min, and PhD students.