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Distinguished Professor Murray Dempster Honored

During the 45th annual conference of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS), Southeastern University’s Dr. Murray Dempster was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dr. Margaret English de Alminana was installed as the new executive director of SPS. The annual conference was held at Life Pacific College in San Dimas, California, from March 10 to 12.

Dr. Dempster, distinguished professor of social ethics, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award along with Dr. Byron Klaus and Dr. Doug Petersen. The honor celebrated the 25th anniversary of their co-edited book, Called and Empowered: Global Mission in Pentecostal Perspective.

Southeastern University’s president, Dr. Kent Ingle, said, “Dr. Dempster has been a longtime mentor and friend to me. There is no doubt that Murray has had a long-lasting impact on my life and on the lives of his students over the years. I’m honored to be considered his friend. He is definitely deserving of this honor.”

Dr. Dempster has served at Southeastern University since 2010. In addition to teaching, he is the co-director of the Center of Global Pentecostalism. Prior to serving at Southeastern, he served for 40 years at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California, in a variety of administrative roles. He served as the president of Vanguard University for eight years and has written numerous scholarly articles and book chapters as well as co-edited and co-authored three books.

Dr. Klaus retired last summer as a long-time president of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes long-time members of SPS in good standing who have made a significant contribution to Pentecostal research.

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SPS members unanimously elected Dr. de Alminana, assistant professor of theology, as the executive director of SPS. In her role, she will direct the administrative aspects of SPS. “The fellowship and mutual respect offered to all — even to those who might differ — is a unique feature and a treasure offered at SPS that must be nurtured and protected,” said Dr. de Alminana. She has authored the book Removing the Veil and numerous articles.

SPS was founded in 1970 with the intent “to serve the church world by providing an authoritative interpretation of the Pentecostal Movement.” SPS hosts annual meetings every year, where members can meet to present papers, participate on panels, listen to key-plenary speakers and network with other members. This year’s theme was “Worship, the Arts and the Spirit.”

Faculty who presented papers

  • Peter Althouse, PhD, professor of theology, “Theological Foundations of Christian Morality” and “Pentecostal Responses to Mass Incarceration”
  • Kenneth J. Archer, PhD, professor of theology, “The Making of an Academic Pentecostal Tradition: The Cleveland School”
  • Melissa L. Archer, PhD, associate professor of biblical studies, “‘Worship in Spirit and Truth’: The Role of Worship in the Fourth Gospel as a Prelude to the Liturgy of The Apocalypse”
  • Margaret (“Peg”) English de Alminana, PhD, assistant professor of theology, “Scandal and Censure: A Reinvestigation of the Socio-Political Forces Surrounding the Disappearance of Aimee Semple McPherson” and a symposium introduction of Women and Pentecostalism: Informing an Ongoing Dialogue on the Faith Contributions of Women
  • Esteban (“Steven”) Félix-Jäger, adjunct professor, “Charismatic Eschatological Community in Folk Art of the American South”
  • Richard Griggs, adjunct professor, “Musical Worship as Pentecostal Sacrament”
  • Anthony Richard Roberts, adjunct professor, “Dancing with the Ancestors: A Black Pentecostal Theology of the Communion of the Saints”
  • Zachary Tackett, PhD, associate professor of theology, “Love Beads, Bell Bottoms, Beehives and Draft Cards: Pentecostals Interact with 1960s–70s American Culture”
  • Robby C. Waddell, PhD, professor of New Testament, “The War for the World: A Comparison of the Green Apocalypses in Ursula Le Guin’s The Word for World is Forest, James Cameron’s Avatar and the Book of Revelation”
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