February 25, 2014
DALLAS (SMU) – Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has named Philip Wingeier-Rayo to be director of the Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Church Ministries Program. In addition, Wingeier-Rayo will be nominated to serve as director of the Regional Course of Study School, under the auspices of The United Methodist Church. Both appointments will be effective June 1, 2014.
Wingeier-Rayo, professor of Religion at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, succeeds Rev. Jeannie Treviño-Teddlie, who retired January 1, 2014, after more than a decade at Perkins. As an aspect of being director of the two programs, Wingeier-Rayo will also have the title “Professor of Christian Mission and Intercultural Studies.”
Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence praises the scope of the new director’s expertise. “Wingeier-Rayo has a wide range of experience in and beyond the United States,” Lawrence said. “His work both in the academy and in the mission field ideally suits him for leading the Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Ministry Program as well as the Regional Course of Study School at Perkins. His diverse gifts will enhance Perkins’ mission to prepare women and men for faithful leadership in Christian ministry.”
Besides his faculty responsibilities at Pfeiffer, Wingeier-Rayo has taught as an adjunct professor at several theological schools. He is a 1988 graduate of Earlham College with a double major in Human Development/Social Relations and Spanish. He earned master’s degrees in theology from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Seminario Evangélico de Teología in Matanzas, Cuba. He also earned a Ph.D. in theology, ethics and culture from Chicago Theological Seminary.
A commissioned missionary of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church for 15 years, Wingeier-Rayo has served in Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico, and the Rio Grande Valley in southwest Texas.
In addition to numerous articles, Wingeier-Rayo has published two books: Cuba Methodism: The Untold Story of Survival and Revival (2006) and Where are the Poor? An Ethnographic Study of a Base Christian Community and a Pentecostal Church in Mexico (2011). Philip is married to Diana Wingeier-Rayo, an elder in the Western North Carolina Conference UMC, and together they have three children.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve God, the church and the world through the Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Ministry Program and the Regional Course of Study at Perkins School of Theology,” Wingeier-Rayo said. “As we face declining church membership as a denomination, there are opportunities to reach different population groups in the changing demographics in the United States. Given the dramatic growth of the Hispanic population over the last few years, Perkins’ Mexican American Program with its strong reputation and valuable resources is well-situated to offer leadership to the church and society.”
“My family and I are grateful for this opportunity to re-locate and be part of the rich heritage of the Perkins/SMU community in the southwest,” he added.
The Mexican-American and Hispanic Latino/a Church Ministries Program, founded in 1974, prepares church leaders for effective ministry in Spanish-speaking contexts and cultures. In addition, the program recruits, prepares, and provides continuing education for people in ministry with Hispanics-Latinos/as. The Regional Course of Study School—offered in both English and Spanish tracks—is a program of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. The five-year curriculum of the Basic Course of Study provides theological education for all licensed local pastors not enrolled in a seminary degree program.
Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Church Ministries, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.