Contact: Roberta Cox

December 2, 2003

SMU Announces Bishop-In-Residence

DALLAS (SMU) -- SMU’s Perkins School of Theology announced today that United Methodist Bishop William B. Oden will be appointed to a four-year term as Bishop-in-Residence, effective September 1, 2004. He will succeed Bishop David L. Lawson, who has served at Perkins since 2000.

As Bishop-in-Residence, Dr. Oden will teach courses, such as those in United Methodist and ecumenical studies, to graduate students and others studying for leadership in the Christian church. He will occasionally preach and preside at the Eucharist during the school’s semi-weekly worship services, and will counsel with students, faculty and staff.

“Throughout his ministry, Bishop Oden has been both a supporter and contributor to our work at Perkins,” said Dr. William B. Lawrence, dean of Perkins School of Theology. “We are delighted that Bishop Oden has agreed to accept this invitation. His presence is further evidence of our close connection and commitment to the Church. We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with him in preparing the next generation of church leaders.”

Dr. Oden, who will retire from the active episcopacy on September 1, is currently serving as bishop of The United Methodist Church’s Dallas Area, where he was appointed in 1996. He also served as bishop in the Louisiana Area from 1988-1996. Prior to that he served as pastor of several churches throughout the Oklahoma Annual (regional) Conference.

Dr. Oden earned a Th.D. from Boston University and an M.Div. from Harvard University. He completed his undergraduate work in philosophy at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Oden currently serves as a trustee of SMU, is president of United Methodist Communications and currently co-chairs the bilateral dialogue between the Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church. He served as president of the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and is past president of the Council of Bishops.

He has contributed to a number of theological and pastoral journals and is the author of several books including Evangelism in Biblical Wesleyan Perspective, Liturgy as Life-Journey and Oklahoma Methodism in the Twentieth Century. Dr. Oden was also a contributor to Send Me: The Itinerancy in Crisis and recently co-edited a book with Bishop James Matthews for the Council of Bishops entitled, Vision and Supervision: A Sourcebook of Significant Documents of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, 1968-2002. During the fall of 2003, Dr. Oden has been a “Charles E. Merrill Fellow” at Harvard Divinity School.

He is married to Marilyn Brown Oden, the author of ten books and a widely-known retreat leader. They have four children and four grandchildren.

Perkins School of Theology was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now The United Methodist Church, as one of the original schools of Southern Methodist University. Perkins is one of five university-related United Methodist theological schools in the nation. Besides its programs at the main campus in Dallas, Perkins offers programs in Houston-Galveston and San Antonio.