Talitha Arnold Honored by Yale Divinity School
Talitha J. Arnold was one of five alumni of the Yale Divinity School, YDS, given Awards for Distinction at the Fall Convocation on October 9. Honored this year were Ms. Arnold ‘80, Earl Harrison ‘59, Stanley Hauerwas ‘65, G. Scott Morris ‘80, and George Todd ‘51. Kenneth W. Clapp, president of the YDS Alumnal Board, introduced the award recipients, and YDS Dean Richard J. Wood made the presentations. Ms. Arnold served as worship leader for the YDS Convocation Service of the Word on October 9.
The Reverend Arnold was cited for “Distinction Among Recent Graduates.” While studying for her M.Div. degree at Yale, she was coordinator of the Women’s Center. After graduation she taught courses in parish ministry and women in the ministry and was acting assistant university chaplain at Yale. She then served the First Church of Christ, UCC, of Middletown, Connecticut, where she organized a major interfaith resettlement of Cambodian refugees. Her current congregation, the United Church of Santa Fe, New Mexico, has more than doubled its membership under her leadership, and programs in children’s and youth ministry and adult education are flourishing. Worship services are offered in Spanish as well as English and are signed for the hearing-impaired. The physical facilities have been revitalized, and the financial base stabilized.
Ms. Arnold is recognized as an exceptional minister, having received YDS’s Downes Prize for Leadership in Worship and the Alfred P. Klausler Sermon Award from “Christian Ministry.” She is a leading figure in ecumenical exchange, participating in Jewish and Catholic services. She has headed the Santa Fe chapter of Habitat for Humanity, co-initiated the first Service of Healing and Reconciliation for the General Synod of the UCC, and directed retreats for women in prison. Her writing has been published in “Biblical Preaching Journal,” “The Albuquerque Journal,” “The United Church News,” “Ghost Ranch Journal,” and “Shibboleth.”
Yale Divinity School was established in 1822, though ministers have been trained by Yale since the founding of Yale College in 1701. Today, YDS instructs students of all the major Christian church bodies. Its mission states that it seeks to create “a communal environment which combines rigorous scholarly inquiry, public worship and spiritual nurture.” It offers three degrees, a Master of Divinity, M.Div., formerly known as a Bachelor of Divinity, B.D.; a Master of Arts in Religion, M.A.R.; and a Master of Sacred Theology, S.T.M.. The divinity faculty and students work in close conjunction with the Department of Religious Studies of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.