Leadership Team

Amy Jill Levine

Amy Jill Levine

University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies
Mary Jane Werthan Professor in Jewish Studies
Professor of Jewish Studies

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, and Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science; she is also Affiliated Professor, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK. Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus; The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (co-authored with Douglas Knight); The New Testament, Methods and Meanings (co-authored with Warren Carter), and the thirteen-volume edited Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writing. Her most recent volume is Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. She has also just written, with noted children’s book author Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Who Counts? 100 Sheep, Ten Coins, and Two Sons (a volume on the parables of Luke 15, designed for children). Dr. Levine is also the co-editor, with Marc Z. Brettler, of the Jewish Annotated New Testament, now in a second edition. Holding the B.A. from Smith College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, she has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College. A self-described Yankee Jewish feminist, Professor Levine is a member of Congregation Sherith Israel, an Orthodox Synagogue in Nashville, although she is often quite unorthodox.

Rev. Mandy Sloan McDow

Rev. Mandy Sloan McDow

Senior Minister
First United Methodist Church, Los Angeles

Rev. Mandy Sloan McDow is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee. After hearing her call to ministry while working on staff at Camp Wesley Woods, Mandy attended Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA, which, ironically, had no religion department. Regardless, Mandy was admitted to Princeton Theological Seminary, from which she received her Masters of Divinity and the sudden realization that she was an adult now.

After graduating from seminary, Mandy began a Masters in Sacred Music in Voice at Westminster Choir College, but was especially grateful to be appointed to serve West Farms UMC in Farmingdale, NJ, who taught her how to be a pastor. A year later, the church was yoked with Bethesda UMC in Adelphia, NJ, and the experience of preaching on a two-point charge while mothering an infant gave her the false assurance that she was invincible.

In June 2005, Mandy joined the staff at Grace United Methodist Church as the Children’s Minister in Atlanta. In 2007, she was appointed to serve as the Minister of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation at Saint Mark United Methodist Church. It was here that her heart was warmed to ministry for and with the LGBTQ community, and she became an advocate for marriage equality.

In June 2014, Mandy was appointed to serve as the Senior Minister at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church in Laguna Beach, CA. She spent three years suffering for the Lord with an ocean view from the sanctuary and a marvelous and inclusive congregation with whom to serve before feeling a strong call to do something strange: plant a new church in the heart of an urban area.

In July of 2017, Mandy confirmed to most onlookers that she had, in fact, “lost her damn mind” (author unknown) when she eagerly accepted an appointment to serve Los Angeles First United Methodist Church in the heart of Downtown LA. She exchanged a beautiful church, with beautiful people, and a beautiful ocean view for a church with a long history, but no building. What remains is a hopeful remnant congregation and a surface parking lot in the middle of the nation’s second largest city. It’s Mandy’s job to figure out what to do with all of this (details forthcoming in her first book most likely to be titled, Losing my Damn Mind: I Left Paradise and Took on a Parking Lot).

Mandy holds a black belt in Taekwondo, makes music whenever possible, enjoys cooking (but loathes making dinner), knits to sit still, and is the deeply proud mother of Jackson, Cooper and Sloan, and an impossibly small dog named Posey. Together, they watch a lot of baseball.

Rev. R. Wayne Perkins, PhD

Rev. R. Wayne Perkins, PhD

Special Faculty, Open Table
Professor Emeritus of Religion

Wayne Perkins, Professor Emeritus of Religion and retired elder in the United Methodist Church, earned his undergraduate degree at Asbury College, magna cum laude, and an S.T.B, summa cum laude, and PhD at Boston University. He came to the University of Evansville in 1966 as a faculty member in the department of philosophy and religion. During his tenure at UE, Wayne served as Director of Religious Life, University Chaplain, and Chair of the department. He also taught World Religions and Religious Perspectives for many years in the Adult Education program at UE.

Rev. Tamara K. Gieselman, Dmin

Rev. Tamara K. Gieselman, Dmin

Director and Special Faculty, Open Table
University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life
tg85@evansville.edu

Tamara K. Gieselman earned a Doctor of Ministry in preaching from Chicago Theological Seminary at the University of Chicago. Her research focused on prophetic preaching and biblical authority, which fashioned her doctoral thesis entitled With Compassion and Gospel for All: Toward a Homiletical Hermeneutic of Inclusion. She earned a Master of Divinity with honors from Vanderbilt Divinity School and a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from the University of Evansville. Gieselman is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and spent 17 years in parish ministry before coming to UE. She has served as preaching coach and mentor for the Academy of Preachers and in 2015 co-edited, with her husband, Rev. Mitchell Gieselman, Pentecost on Mockingbird Lane, Volume 6 in the Academy of Preachers’ series published by Chalice Press. She has preached in notable pulpits in the United States and in England. In 2016, the Rev. Dr. the Lord Leslie Griffiths, Superintendent Minister at Wesley’s Chapel in London, England and member of the House of Lords, invited Gieselman to preach in John Wesley’s historic pulpit. Gieselman preached, Prophetic Eyes, at the City Road chapel on June 5, 2016. She has led and participated in a variety of international study tours and education abroad experiences with UE students and adult learners including England, Israel, Rome, and Russia. Her interests focus on preaching, worship, practical theology and interfaith engagement for understanding.

Todd Matteson, MFA

Todd Matteson, MFA

Special Faculty, Open Table
Assistant Professor of Art
tm8@evansville.edu

Todd A. Matteson, Assistant Professor of Art, is a 1995 graduate of the University of Evansville. Professor Matteson grew up in Washington, Indiana. He earned a Master of Arts in Ceramics from Purdue University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics from Kansas State University. He taught at Lourdes University from 2006 to 2015. Todd taught the 3D courses as well numerous Art History courses. He was also Chairperson of the Art Department his last 2 years at Lourdes. In the fall of 2015, Todd returned to UE to teach Ceramics, Sculpture, and studio foundation courses. He is also the Faculty Advisor for the Clay Club student organization. Professor Matteson's main medium is clay, both sculptural and wheel thrown. He believes that his talent is God given, and that his purpose is to share his talents and to teach students how to discover their gifts.

Mr. Keith Turner

Mr. Keith Turner

Assistant Director and Vocational Mentor
kt160@evansville.edu

Keith Turner serves as the John Wesley Minister and assistant chaplain, and assistant program director for the Lilly funded summer youth theology institute, Open Table.

Turner brings to the Office of Religious Life a breadth and depth of experience in preaching and ministry. As a student, he has served churches in the Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Episcopal traditions, and he is currently working toward ordination in The United Methodist Church. Turner also brings with him a wealth of experience as a pianist, organist, and church musician.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology from Asbury University and has completed all the necessary requirements for his Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. While at Asbury Theological Seminary, Turner was inducted into the International Society of Theta Phi, an academic honors society for exemplary scholarship and academic achievement. He is also a member of the Wesleyan Theological Society.

Gary Mazo

Lecturer, Open Table
Rabbi, Temple Adath B’nai Israel, Evansville, Indiana

Mitchell Gieselman

Vocational Mentor and Lecturer, Open Table
Conference Superintendent, Southwest District in the Indiana Conference
The United Methodist Church

Laura Helm

Vocational Mentor and Lecturer, Open Table
Access Youth Center, Wabash, Indiana

Marsha Bishop

Vocational Mentor and Lecturer, Open Table
Local Pastor, Owensville, Indiana

Nick Joyner

Vocational Mentor and Lecturer, Open Table
Recovery Counselor, Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare, Chicago, Illinois

JC Campbell

Vocational Mentor, Open Table
Assistant Pastor, First Gethsemane Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky

Jill Ann Knonenborg

Vocational Mentor, Open Table
Associate Pastor, Methodist Temple, Evansville, Indiana

Lance Newton

Vocational Mentor, Open Table
Jamestown United Methodist Church, Jamestown, Indiana

Greg O’Connor

Vocational Mentor, Open Table
Residential Coordinator, Assistant Director for Community Development, University of Evansville

Kurt Stone

Vocational Mentor, Open Table
Associate Pastor, Troy United Methodist Church, Troy, Illinois

Hannah Scheib

College Mentor

Maegan Scheib

College Mentor

Jacob Darabaris

College Mentor

Toby Holman

College Mentor

Grant Oxford

College Mentor

Rev. Michael E. Williams, PhD

Rev. Michael E. Williams, PhD (In memoriam)

Faculty in Residence, Open Table
Nashville, TN

Michael Williams earned degrees at Vanderbilt University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; he earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Michael is a retired elder in The United Methodist Church and has served churches in the Tennessee Conference since his ordination. He has taught courses for Garrett Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Candler School of Theology, and the Doctor of Ministry programs of Drew and Wesley Theological Seminaries. He is the author of numerous articles, stories, poems, plays and books and serves as General Editor of The Storyteller's Companion to the Bible series from Abingdon Press.

Michael is a frequent guest speaker and workshop leader at regional, national, and international events. He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival and has taught at the National Institutes of Storytelling. While a student at Northwestern a collection of his poems won an American Academy of Poets prize. Michael is married to Margaret, and they are parents of two daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth.

Michael unexpectedly passed away on March 19, 2018. You may read his obituary.