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Report of the Sixty-Second Annual Convention of the College Theology Society, June 2–5, 2016

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2016

William L. Portier*
University of Dayton
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CTS Convention Report
Horizons , Volume 43 , Issue 2 , December 2016 , pp. 472 - 475
Copyright © College Theology Society 2016 

Two hundred and two registered participants gathered for the 2016 CTS Annual Convention at Rockhurst University, in Kansas City, Missouri, June 2–5, 2016. It was the twentieth year that CTS has met in conjunction with the Region at Large of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion (NABPR). The convention theme was “Liturgy + Power,” the title of the forthcoming annual volume to be edited by Brian Flanagan, Marymount University (Virginia), and Johann Vento, Georgian Court University (New Jersey). The call for papers focused on three broad areas: liturgical practice and ecclesial structures, liturgy in the relation of the church and the world, and the liturgy in relation to God and God's power. Over three days, from Friday to Sunday, nineteen convention sections hosted ninety-four paper presentations and five panels. Bruce Morrill, SJ, of Vanderbilt University gave the first plenary address on Thursday night, “Sacramental Liturgy as Negotiation of Power, Human and Divine.” On Friday, Susan Ross, Loyola University (Chicago), presented the second plenary address, “Power and Weakness: Liturgy and Justice in the World.” Ricky Manalo, CSP, Santa Clara University, delivered Saturday's plenary address, “The Liturgy of Life.”

The CTS Women's Caucus met on Thursday afternoon. The opening social on Thursday evening, as well as the social prior to Saturday's banquet, was generously hosted by a CTS member who wished to remain anonymous.

At the Saturday evening banquet, board member Julie Rubio, chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee, presented the inaugural Monika K. Hellwig Teaching Award to Christopher Pramuk, Xavier University (Cincinnati). Mary Kate Birge, SSJ, chair of the Awards Committee, presented the award for Best Book Published in Theology in 2015 to Andrew Prevot, Boston College, for Thinking Prayer: Theology and Spirituality amid the Crises of Modernity (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press). The award for Best Article Published in Theology in 2015 went to Gerald J. Beyer, Villanova University, for “Labor Unions, Adjuncts, and the Mission and Identity of Catholic Institutions,” Horizons 43, no. 1 (June 2015). Nicholas Blair Munhofen III received the 2015 Award for Best Student Essay for his “The Philosophical Categories of John Henry Newman Applied to The Idea of a University.” Elena Procario-Foley, editor of Horizons, next came to the podium to speak in gratitude for Anthony J. Godzieba's long service as editor of Horizons, and to honor him on behalf of CTS for “outstanding leadership and service as editor of Horizons, 2004–2015.”

President William Portier opened Saturday afternoon's business meeting by noting that, with the new website functioning well, and revisions to the constitution approved, this business meeting, happily taken up with reports from the officers, would have a welcome calm. Board member Andrew Getz gave the vice president's report on behalf of William Clark, SJ. Getz announced the 2016 election results: Shannon Schrein as president-elect, to assume the presidency at the conclusion of the 2017 annual meeting, and Mara Brecht, Brian Doyle, and Jason King as new board members, to take office at the conclusion of the 2016 meeting. Getz also reported on the panel on marriage and family and the liturgy, hosted by CTS, at the November 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Religion. He also announced that the board had approved a change in the dues structure that creates two dues options for full members, identifying continuing and contingent faculty.

Secretary Nicholas Rademacher presented the society's membership numbers, reporting that, as of May 31, 2016, CTS had 483 total paid members, including 329 full members, 19 joint members, 46 associate members, 84 student members, and five lifetime members.

Treasurer Brian Flanagan reported that, thanks to individual memberships, contributions to the Gerard S. Sloyan Annual Fund, and continued prudence on the part of the board, the overall financial position of the College Theology Society continues to improve. With all sources taken together, the total income of CTS in 2015 was $35,717. Expenses related to administration, the annual volume, and Horizons amounted to $27,839, leaving an operating income of $7,878. Flanagan then introduced his successor as CTS treasurer, Stephen Okey of St. Leo University, Florida. Flanagan concluded by inviting members interested in serving on the Financial Task Force to contact him, Stephen, or another member of the board.

Horizons editor Elena Procario-Foley began her report by reading the In Memoriam that appeared in the June 2016 issue of Horizons, mourning the loss of longtime CTS member Maureen A. Tilley, Professor of Early Christian History in the Theology Department of Fordham University, who died on April 3, 2016. Elena Procario-Foley also drew members' attention to the tributes to Anthony J. Godzieba's work as Horizons editor by Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Harvard University, and Lieven Boeve, KU Leuven, both of which appeared in the June 2016 Horizons. She went on to update members on volume 42 (2015) of Horizons, noting that it included nine refereed articles, two theological roundtables, one book review symposium, and eighty-one book reviews. She informed the membership that 2,590 institutions worldwide have online access to Horizons via library consortium arrangements with Cambridge University Press. She noted that, between 2013 and 2016, the journal had a 39 percent acceptance rate and a 42 percent rejection rate, with 19 percent under consideration. She concluded by thanking the editorial team at Horizons, including associate editors Christopher Denny and Gerald Beyer, book review editors Colleen Carpenter and Christopher McMahon, and managing editor Christine Bucher.

Coordinator of digital media Dana Dillon reported that the website is stable and that the Technology Task Force actively works to improve it and seeks feedback from membership. She explained that Task Force members continue to develop the CTS presence on social media. She encouraged members to follow CTS on Twitter and Facebook. She expressed her gratitude to the members of the Technology Task Force, including George Faithful, Andrew Getz, Kate Mahon, Nicholas Rademacher, and John Slattery. She thanked Reid Locklin, in particular, for his contribution, noting that while he would be rotating off the board, he will continue to help with the Task Force. Finally, she invited members present to contact her with suggestions for the website and to volunteer with the Technology Task Force.

Director of Research and Publications William Collinge reported that the 2014 annual volume, God Has Begun a Great Work in Us, edited by Jason King and Shannon Schrein, OSF, won Third Prize from the Catholic Press Association in the category of Gender Issues. The 2015 annual volume, An Unexpected Wilderness: Christianity and the Natural World, edited by Colleen Carpenter, has been mailed. The 2004 annual volume, New Horizons in Theology, edited by Terrence Tilley, has been reprinted by Wipf and Stock. Collinge encouraged those who presented a paper relevant to the 2016 theme, “Liturgy + Power,” to consider submitting to this year's editors, Brian Flanagan and Johann Vento.

Director of National Conventions David Gentry-Akin began by thanking local coordinator Glenn Young of Rockhurst University for his dedication and hard work on site in preparing for the 2016 Annual Convention. He reported on present and future conventions. He again reminded the membership that Brian Flanagan and Johann Vento will edit the 2016 annual volume on “Liturgy + Power,” and submissions should be directed to them. He reported that the 2016 Annual Convention had 202 registered participants. Regarding future conventions, he informed the membership that the 2017 Annual Convention will be held at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, with the theme “American Catholicism in the Twenty-First Century: Crossroads, Crisis, or Renewal?” Jayme Hennessy will be the local coordinator. Benjamin Peters, University of St. Joseph (Connecticut), and Nicholas Rademacher, Cabrini University (Philadelphia), will edit the annual volume. David Gentry-Akin urged members to watch the website for the Call for Papers, which will be posted in due time. Subsequent conventions will be at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2018, and at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York, in 2019. The 2020 Annual Convention will be on the West Coast at a site to be determined.

Upon completion of these reports, Portier thanked outgoing past president, Sandra Yocum, and outgoing board members, Julie Rubio and Reid Locklin, on behalf of CTS, for their years of service on the board. He welcomed Board President-Elect Shannon Schrein, Treasurer Stephen Okey, and new members Mara Brecht, Brian Doyle, and Jason King, whose terms begin at the conclusion of the business meeting. Finally, Portier celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the association between the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and the College Theology Society.

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