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VTS Announces Two New Faculty Appointments


Media Contact: Curtis Prather 

Tel: (703) 461-1782 
Email: cprather@vts.edu 

Alexandria, VA - Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) announced this week the appointment of the Rev. Ruthanna Hooke, Ph.D. to the position of Associate Dean of Students and the appointment of The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes to the position of Associate Dean of Chapel.

“I'm thrilled that my colleagues are taking this step,” said the Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs. “They are both committed and creative leaders who have made VTS stronger in the core areas of worship and community life. In the years ahead they will bring their significant gifts to their new roles, and I'm excited about the future."

Hooke joined the VTS faculty in 2003. Her areas of interest and research include Comparative Religion, Divine-human relationship in preaching, embodied preaching, Performing Arts, Linklater Vocal Training, Kierkegaard, Barth, Levinas, Irigaray, and Derrida. During her appointment as Dean of Chapel, she facilitated the community's move into the new Immanuel Chapel; reorganized the worship planning process and the worship schedule, creating a rhythm of worship that allows for a range of liturgies; and enhanced our processes for training, rehearsing, and reflecting on worship services.  After five years in this post, she is ready for a new challenge, and looks forward to continuing to support our community life as Associate Dean of Students.

Hooke said, "I have thoroughly enjoyed my work as Associate Dean of Chapel, and I am now looking forward to supporting students' experience and the life of the community in a new way as Associate Dean of Students."

Mathes joined the VTS faculty in 2017. His areas of expertise are congregational development and clergy mentoring. He teaches courses on Theory and Practice of Ministry. During his tenure, he has reorganized August term, served as director of contextual ministry, and handled the complexity of both construction and COVID-19. As Associate Dean of Chapel, Bishop Mathes will be able to continue to work closely with seminarians in a crucial part of their formation as he brings decades of experience in ordained ministry to this central part of our community life. Before coming to VTS, he was the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

"I love learning and growing with our students,” said Mathes. “And in this season, our community will be called to value our traditions of worship as we adapt to a changed environment. This will call us to be resilient, creative, patient, and open to the Holy Spirit. I grateful for the opportunity to serve.”

We are delighted we will have both their gifts in our community for many years to come.


Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit Virginia Seminary online at www.vts.edu
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