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Published by jparker, 2022-07-12 16:33:37

GTF Summer 2022 Newsletter

Summer 2022 Newsletter


Summer 2022
Summer at the GTF


01 | President's Message | 07 | Dr. Robley Whitson’s Papers
| 08 | Alumni/Faculty News
09 | New Student Spotlight


02 | President Kirbas visits Cuba |


03 | 2022 Graduation Review |


05 | A Season of Residential |
Institutions |

A Letter from the President


Dear GTF Community,
We are in the deep days of summer, but here at GTF, summer is not a time for resting. Unlike some
other educational institutions, GTF is a rolling system where new students can apply any time in
the year, and our courses are fully offered at any time in the year. We are not an institution that has
“semesters”, and the calendar of activity is fully available all seasons, including the summer season.
So if you are interested in applying as a new student, or if you are a current student needing to take
courses, please know that we are open for business here in the summer season!
Earlier this summer, GTF held our first graduation exercise in several years. We held this graduation
online. This was a combined graduation exercise, that included graduates from the current year and
several years in the past. You can learn more about this in this newsletter, as well as find the link to
the video of the graduation exercise.
The summer is, however, also a time for planning. Now that the world is coming out of the pan-
demic era, it seems that the time may be right to reintroduce in-person residential courses for our
GTF students. In this newsletter, you will discover four possible residential courses that are being
planned for the coming year. All of these courses will be offered at our GTF building in downtown
Sarasota Florida. We invite our students to consider residential courses as a newly reinstalled option
for completing coursework here at GTF.
Another sign that the pandemic is easing is the return of some other summer school programs with
which we are involved. The Centro Pro Unione summer school in Rome, led by GTF faculty mem-
ber Dr. James Puglisi is currently underway, and GTF students are in attendance. The Oxford Centre
for Animal Ethics summer school is also happening this August, led by GTF faculty members Dr.
Andrew Linzey and Dr. Clair Linzey. The Oxford University Theology summer school has not hap-
pened this summer, but leaders are planning for its return in the summer of 2023.
So wherever this summer season takes you, and whatever this summer season finds you doing,
please know that GTF is open and active. We look forward to hearing from you!

All the Best,

Dr. Paul J Kirbas 01
The Graduate Theological Foundation

EOLOGICAL President Kirbas visits Cuba
NG to meet with faculty and students

President Dr. Paul J Kirbas recently traveled to Havana, Cuba, to meet with the faculty and students
of the GTF programs that are being offered in partnership with the Ecumenical Theological Seminary
in Matanzas. A group of 15 students, most of them being the professors at the Matanzas Seminary, are
currently in the GTF PhD program. A group of 28 students, most of them being local pastors in many
towns and villages across the Island nation, are in the D.Min program. Dr. Kirbas met to discuss the
progress of the students, as well as to hear their own personal testimonies of the challenges that they are

“Life is very hard in Cuba at this time. In addition to the ongoing burdens caused by the Embargo that
has been in place, the impact of COVID and then the economic aftermath and supply chain issues, have
all combined to create a perfect storm of difficulty for the citizens of Cuba”, Dr. Kirbas reports. “Our
students and faculty are very much facing these challenges, and find that all their energy seems to be
needed for issues of daily survival. I think for me to be there to hear their stories and share the support
of GTF was very important”

Dr. Jorge Colon Dr. Carlos Ham, standing with
Dr. Colon

Dr. Kirbas traveled to Cuba with GTF professor Dr.
Jorge Colon. Dr. Colon stayed longer in Cuba to meet
with each student individually. The GTF visit was very
beneficial to bring encouragement to our students and
faculty in Cuba.

EOLOGICAL The 2022 Graduation

The 2022 graduation ceremony is now in the history books. Due to the ongoing
challenges of travel related to the Pandemic, this graduation ceremony was held
virtually. We recognized not only the 2022 graduates, but also all of the graduates
from past years who did not have a graduation ceremony. These included the classes
of 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.
The in-person portions of the graduation ceremony were filmed by GTF board
member Dr. Dennis Reid. Our GTF administrative staff, including President Paul
Kirbas, Provost Jennifer Kirbas, and Bursar Luann Falkowski, all participated in the
in-person portions of the ceremony. Guest participants included Dr. Jorge Colon
from Puerto Rico, and Dr. Imad Benkhaled from Sarasota, FL. The graduation
address was offered by Dr. Carlos Ham, Rector (President) of the Matanzas Ecumen-
ical Seminary in Cuba. Dr. Ham was recognized for his partnership with GTF by
being inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the GTF.


The entire online ceremony was edited by Jeff Kirbas, who also created a slide for each of our
graduates for the “graduation walk”. During this walk, GTF premiered the new Graduation
Anthem, which was uniquely composed for GTF by Jeff Kirbas, as the final project of his
Master of Composition degree at the Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City.
The graduation ceremony can be seen in its entirety at:

Following the taping of the graduation, President Paul Kirbas introduced Dr. Carlos Ham to the
regional gathering of the Presbyterian Church USA in Venice, Florida. Dr. Ham had an opportuni-
ty to speak to the gathering about the partnership between the Matanzas Seminary and GTF.


EOLOGICAL A Season of Residential

Now that travel seems more possible, GTF is excited to return to the offerings of resi-
dential institutes. A residential institute is a 5-day residential experience in which GTF
brings in one of our faculty to our Sarasota facility and students are invited to physically
attend a course that this faculty offers. Class sessions are held every morning and after-
noon Monday through Thursday and finish with a morning session on Friday. Students
are required to do advanced reading before the week, and to write a 10-page term paper
within 4 weeks of returning home. Each Residential Institute qualifies as one course for

3 credits.
The student fee for residential institutes is $1,400.00 tuition, and students are required
to cover the cost of their travel, room, and board expenses. GTF has made arrangements

with local hotels within walking distance of our building.
The following residential institutes are currently planned for the coming year. Please
contact our GTF office if you are interested in any of these options. Please know that a
minimum number of participating students is required in order to offer these courses.

WEEK ONE: October 3 - 7, 2022

Theories of Theodicy: If God is Great, and God is Good,
then why?

Led by Dr. Paul Kirbas

Description: Since the earliest days of our faith tradi- 05
tions, the meaning behind the children’s prayer “God is
Great, God is Good” had been one of the biggest puzzles
to solve. If God is all powerful, and If God is all good,
then why is there evil in the world? In this course, we
will examine the different answers that have been offered
to address this question, from the earliest records to the
most modern ideas. The strengths and weaknesses of
these models will be addressed, and each student will
be asked to interact with these models from their own
unique perspectives.

WEEK TWO: November 7 - 11, 2022

Christian Spirituality. Some Representative Characters

Led by Dr. Jorge Colon
Description: Since early Christian times, men and women have responded to
God’s call for an intimate relationship with him. They have responded in prayer
and action and have explored the heights of asceticism and contemplation. At the
same time, they had a great impact on society and culture, as they responded to
Jesus’ call to discipleship. This course will explore some of the main writings and
characters of Christian Spirituality, especially from the time of the Fathers to the
Renaissance. It will also offer a brief overview of Christian Spirituality, especially
dealing with the types of spirituality and its theological foundations. Following
the two textbooks assigned for this course, the group will be introduced to themes
such as the forms of prayer, the seven capital sins, the virtues, and the mysti-
cal-ascetical principles of Christian Spirituality.

WEEK THREE: January 9 - 13, 2023

An Overview of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy and Existential Analysis
Led by Dr. Edward Marshall
Description: Based on the new textbook written by GTF professors
Edward and Maria Marshall, this course will offer an overview of the
origins, basic tenets, methods, and applications of Viktor Frankl’s the-
ory and practice of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis. Students will
gain a deeper insight into the work and legacy of Frankl and his work,
and assist them in carrying on the flame in their own lives and work.

WEEK FOUR: March 13 - 17, 2023

The Black Church: Its History, Current Challenges, & Future Trajectories
Led by Dr. Hugh Page
This residential institute will offer a concise institutional survey of the
Black Church and an opportunity to think critically about its develop-
ment, present trends, and emerging possibilities. It will do so utilizing
tools from the discipline of Black Church Studies (BCS), for which a
practical introduction will also be offered. Attendees will leave with an
appreciation of the range of opinions about the contours, ethos, and
complexities of the Black Church as understood by selected BCS schol-
ars and representatives of its constituent denominations.

EOLOGICAL GTF receives the personal
RADUATE TH FOUNDATIO papers of Dr. Robley Whitson,
NG founder of GTF

GTF has received a collection of papers, pictures, and other items from the associates of Dr. Robley Whitson.
Dr. Whitson was the founding leader of what became The Graduate Theological Foundation. According to the
School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut, which houses the Whitson Gallery, “While living in Beth-
lehem, Whitson founded a ground-breaking institute of higher learning, which grew into the Graduate Theo-
logical Foundation. Whitson wanted to provide a flexible opportunity for people to pursue degrees in religious
studies while also working and raising families. His vision has helped countless students receive doctoral degrees
through research, summer studies and collaborations with institutions such as Oxford University”.

The collection GTF received includes several unpublished poems and papers
that Dr. Whitson composed, as well as artistic works from his own hands.
The School of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut states “Later in
life, Whitson shifted from scholarly writing to poetry and visual arts. He
began drawing with opaque ink on black paper, creating powerful images
of his beloved Lake Waramaug, the Nativity, the creation of the universe
and more. His artwork is housed at the Benton Museum of the University
of Connecticut at Storrs. Although many of his artistic compositions have
been published, this collection offers the final works of Dr. Whitson before
his death in 2019. Robley Whitson was a distinguished scholar, poet, visual
artist and Catholic priest who founded several innovative programs for the
advanced study of religion. He received graduate training at Fordham and
Yale Universities in theology and cultural anthropology. He was ordained as
a Catholic priest and completed pastoral assignments in the New York Arch-
diocese. As the chair of the Fordham University Theology Department, he
secured a National Science Foundation grant to establish a research facility
for the anthropological study of religion. While serving as a visiting scholar
at Princeton Theological Seminary, he was an advisory board member for
the newly launched Princeton World Religions Project. And he was also a
professor at the Hartford Seminary Foundation. A man of boundless curi-
osity and independent thought, Whitson fostered creative learning commu-
nities wherever he went. As the priest for the Benedictine Abbey of Regina
Laudis in Bethlehem in the early 1970s, he helped build a vibrant intellectual
environment where authors, playwrights and thought leaders came to speak
with nuns and laypeople. Whitson also helped launch Dayspring, a Catholic
community outside the parish structure that brought together monks, nuns
and local lay families for study and mass. And as the priest for the Sisters of
Mercy at the Mercy Center in Madison, CT, he led retreats and workshops in
spiritual direction.

The Whitson collection that GTF
received will be housed in the GTF li-
brary, which occupies the second floor
of our building in Sarasota, Florida. We
are grateful for this special collection
that means so much to the legacy of


Alumni and Faculty News


Dr. Vassilios Bebis, the GTF George Florvosky Professor of Eastern Orthodox
and Ecumenical Theology, participated in the leadership in the International
Scientific Conference of the University of Ljubljana. The topic of his presenta-
tion was “Sacred Cyclical Movements in Eastern Christian Rituals”.

We congratulate GTF professors Dr. Edward Marshall
and Dr. Maria Marshall on the recent publication of a
new textbook entitled “Viktor E Frankl’s Logotherapy
and Existential Analysis: Theory and Practice”

We congratulate GTF alumnus Dr. Douglas Busby
on the publication of his autobiography entitled “My
Experiences in Medicine, Theology, and Along the

We congratulate GTF alumnus Dr. Julie Hliboki on
the recent publication of her new book “Going to
Essence: Aging into Wisdom with Intention and


New Student Spotlight


We welcome the following new students who recently
enrolled at GTF…

Rosa Bustos Aparicio
Tom Edmondson
Moustafa Hazin
Nelson Henry
Scott Klepach
Charles Nolen
Peter Oyenugba
Dennis Reid
Jorge Santiago Cartagena


The GraduateTheological Foundation (GTF) is a 501(c)(3)
not-for-profit educational institution.

Graduate Theological Foundation - 751 South Orange
Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

800-423-5983 - 1-405-653-9410 - Fax: 1-405-653-9435

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