New Faces at Calvin Seminary – Fall 2017

Date Published

October 11, 2017

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Gary Burge

It is a joy and a privilege to join Calvin Seminary’s faculty this fall. I recently completed 25 years on the faculty of Wheaton College where I taught New Testament to both graduate and undergraduate students. There are many similarities between the educational ethos of Calvin and Wheaton. Wheaton students are seriously devoted to their studies and deeply committed to their spiritual development. I sense the same thing at Calvin Seminary. Academic excellence and a deep commitment to faith formation are central to our identity and mission.

My own history begins in California where I was born into a Lutheran family whose celebrated identity was Swedish (we ignored the other bits of European DNA in the family tree!). I even am heir to the pocket watch of my great grandfather who made the voyage from Sweden to Ellis Island in 1895. But “Swedish” we were (especially at Christmas) and till I was 25, I was immersed in the world of Lutheran life and faith. I am grateful for this. This heritage laid a foundation that still forms me today: a reliance on God’s grace alone for the totality of who we are.

I studied at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena and there recognized that reformed theology resonated with me immediately. And Presbyterian leaders at Fuller encouraged and shaped me further leading ultimately to my ordination in the Presbyterian Church, USA. I was then invited to enter a PhD program in New Testament in Aberdeen, Scotland, working with I. Howard Marshall. I will be forever grateful to him for his mentorship and friendship for many, many years. Howard died in 2015. But another shaping influence for me was Kenneth E. Bailey whom I met in Beirut, Lebanon, when I was young and he became a lifelong friend. Ken died in 2016. The passing of these two great men now reminds me that one of my tasks is to invest deeply in the next generation just as I was shaped when I was young.

I have now been in the classroom for quite a few years. And it strikes me today more than ever, that what we are doing is not transferring information to our students but forming their reflexes. They inherit who we are; not just what we say. When we invite them into our lives, when we become transparent mentors, they begin to see what maturity, wisdom, and knowledge we do or do not have. It inspires us to grow and in that growing, our students (hopefully) see how growth works.

My wife, Carol, has had a long career in psychology as a counselor and today would like to write a new chapter as a spiritual director. We have two adult daughters, one single and one married. The oldest lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two children who now get to visit us every week. It has been a new joy for us that I can barely measure.


Sarah Konynenbelt

Sarah Konynenbelt joined Calvin Theological Seminary in August 2017 as a part-time Administrative Assistant for the Dean of Students Office. She is a graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she earned her Bachelors of Business Administration degree. Sarah brings experience from both the sales and construction industries, and is grateful to now be working in a faith-centered higher education environment. Sarah grew up in Hastings, MI and has lived in west Michigan her whole life. She is married to Stu Konynenbelt, who grew up in Alberta, Canada. They have two active boys, Owen and Isaac, and an American Bulldog, Bruiser. She loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. Sarah is also a certified yoga instructor who teaches classes for all experience levels. In her spare time you can find her bargain hunting at local thrift stores, or wandering along the shore of Lake Michigan searching for sea glass.


Young Ahn Kang

Young Ahn Kang joined Calvin Seminary last summer as Visiting Professor of Philosophical Theology. After having retirement in 2015 from his long time workplace, Sogang University (Seoul, South Korea), he has served, until just before coming to Calvin, as President of Kosin University and Korea Theological Seminary Board of Trustees. He was raised in a Korean Presbyterian Church that had a close relationship with the Dutch Reformed tradition. As a college student, he began to read the works of Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Herman Dooyeweerd, Henry Meeter, Henry van Til, and others. He studied philosophy and Dutch language and literature at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Seoul, Korea) and continued to study philosophy at Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) before receiving his PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Earlier in his career, he taught philosophy at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands) and Calvin College. During his teaching career in the Netherlands, Korea, and the United States, he published articles and books on East-Asian philosophy, Modern and Contemporary European philosophy, and Christian philosophy.

Currently he is working on two subjects: the philosophy of God and the philosophy of everyday life. His work on the philosophy of God is related with current streams of contemporary philosophy both in the Continental Europe and AngloAmerican Analytic tradition, which surprisingly shows a willingness to speak again about God after a long silence in academic philosophical circles. This change was influenced by Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff on the American side, and by Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur, Michel Henry, and JeanLuc Marion on the Continental side. Kang’s work on philosophy of everyday life is part of his project to develop a philosophy of life from a Christian faith and worldview. He thinks that God puts us in this world to live our life on an everyday basis as a gift given to us to enjoy and to be thankful to the Giver. God has also given us our life as task to fulfill for the sake of our neighbors, who are co-recipients of God’s gifts. He hopes that his philosophical dealing with everyday life is instrumental to equip future church leaders to serve the people of God and to lead them to live in His reign.


Matt Cooke

Hi, my name is Matt Cooke and I am the new Director of Communications and Enrollment Management. I’m excited to be serving the seminary in this new role! This isn’t my first time working at Calvin Seminary; I have served as the Director of Admissions from 2011- 2014 before spending the last three years working with my parents in the family business in the Detroit-area. Before my first go-around at Calvin Seminary I served for 10 years in a variety of roles at Calvin College in Admissions and Student Life.

In this new position, I am looking forward to telling the story of Calvin Seminary through written-story, video, photography, and any other outlets we can think of. Calvin Seminary is a vibrant community with a rich history and an exciting future. The work and mission of the seminary is compelling to me, and I am looking forward to contribute in whatever way that I can. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my wife Megan and our three kids. I like to read and enjoy playing basketball. My future goals include playing shooting guard for the Detroit Pistons.


Kenzie Krumm

Kenzie Krumm joined Calvin Seminary this September as an Academic Services Coordinator. She is a recent graduate from Calvin College with a degree in Organizational Communication, and is excited to start her career in a place that already feels like home. Having grown up in Okemos, Michigan with her parents, three siblings and favorite dog Sergeant, Kenzie is now excited to start her career on Michigan’s west side. In her free time Kenzie enjoys reading, watching documentaries, swimming and traveling, especially to the Traverse City area where both her sets of grandparents live. Last fall Kenzie spent a semester in Budapest, Hungary, and loved immersing herself in Hungarian culture. Kenzie considers herself a lifelong learner, and is happy to be working in a place where faith and academics combine.


Margaret Mwenda

Margaret Mwenda joined Calvin Theological Seminary in July 2017 to serve as the Chief Operating Officer. Margaret was born and raised in Kenya. After completing her undergraduate degree in Secondary Education, she studied in the United States, where she received a Master of Business Administration degree and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies. Margaret has held a number of administrative positions in post-secondary institutions, the most recent of which was her post as a faculty member and Interim Associate Dean at the Donald W. Maine College of Business at Davenport University, Michigan. Margaret’s breadth and depth of work experience spans approximately 20 years in higher education. Her current role at Calvin Theological Seminary includes operations and administration, with responsibilities over several functions including Human Resources, Information Technology, Facilities, Community Culture, Communication & Events, and Finance. In her own words, “I feel privileged serving in my role to advance the mission of Calvin Seminary and I am already enjoying working with a great team of colleagues.”

Margaret is married to Mwenda Ntarangwi and they have two daughters. The family attends Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids.


Gerone Lockhart

Gerone Lockhart joined Calvin Seminary and Calvin College as Theological Librarian. Since he was in grade school, Gerone has been interested in the teaching, training, and formation of followers of the Way. The son of a Church of God in Christ pastor, he grew up in an African American Pentecostal home that instilled both fierce independence and a commitment to community. His mother drew on her Presbyterian heritage and passed along her passion for education and exposure to the broader culture. The mixture of intense training, tightly bounded community, personal piety, and openness to the larger culture has been his constant companion over the years and helps explain in part his attraction to monasteries, outdoor action, and martial arts. Gerone completed his AB in Religious Studies at Princeton. Later, he went on to complete an MDiv at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. Following Columbia, he entered doctoral studies in Sociology at NYU and later Practical Theology at Boston University. His studies focused on the history of punishment, the global economy, and the formation of moral sensibilities. Gerone withdrew from doctoral studies at BU to pursue more directly how he might present strategic information about our world to communities of disciples who are non-specialists. During his MSLIS program at the University of Illinois, Gerone focused on user experience, information organization, and information processing.

Gerone’s current research interests center on creating spaces – flexible and intelligent – where teams of disciples can explore issues of the common good in light of Jesus’s teachings on the reign of God.


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