Dr. Samuel Keyes, an ordained Episcopal minister and teacher at a Maryland private school, is following his call to Catholicism and will begin his position as JPCatholic’s new theology professor starting summer quarter.
“My path to the Catholic Church has come largely through a long stop in Anglicanism,” Dr. Keyes said. He was raised as a Southern Baptist in Mississippi, but while teaching English in Hungary, he was drawn to the traditions of Anglicanism. “My wife and I have felt drawn to the Catholic Church for several years — since before we were married, really — and we discerned in the last couple of years that now was the time for us to follow that call, even if it meant laying down my ministry as a priest.”
Dr. Keyes will be received into the Church at Pentecost, and hopes that his past will benefit his teaching at JPCatholic. “I hope that my background as a newbie Catholic convert — but also someone formed in a tradition that Pope Benedict XVI explicitly recognized as bearing fruits for the whole Church — will add to the already-rich mixture of experience among the faculty and student body.”
Professor Kramp, Chair of Humanities, also shares this sentiment. “I think it’s wonderful that he has experience in ministry, and is bringing that along with his masters from Duke and his doctorate from Boston College,” he said. “I think that pastoral experience is going to be a real strength of his here.” He looks forward to students meeting Dr. Keyes in person.
JPCatholic’s unique missional focus is what attracted Dr. Keyes here; although he has his doctorate in historical theology, he also loves the arts. “Though my main training is theology, I’ve always loved keeping up with film and all the arts. Those are things that have helped me especially as a pastor to reach the heart and the imagination, not just the intellect.” One of the classes he will teach in the summer will look at the afterlife in pop culture, along with two other theology classes.
Dr. Keyes would like to see a “more fruitful dialogue and cooperation” between the disciplines of art and theology during his time at JPCatholic. “I hope that the students studying those other things will be able to appreciate theology as a true center for Christian life, even if you’re not going to become an academic theologian who likes to think about fun stuff like Trinitarian appropriations.”
Prof. Kramp stated there are no immediate plans to hire another full-time theology professor.
Photo from stjames.edu.