Phillip Dodson (’60) and his wife, Jean (’60), celebrated Phil’s 80th birthday with a family concert on April 1, 2016, featuring instruments played by his children, grandchildren and friends. Phil retired in 2001 after 39 years as minister of music and worship at Olive Drive Church (First Baptist) of Bakersfield, Calif. He was instrumental in bringing the great organ from Harvard University to the church. Phil and Jean were part of the first class to graduate from the La Mirada campus in 1960.
Rabbi Barney Kasdan (’78, M.Div. ’81) published the book Rabbi Paul Enlightens the Ephesians on Walking with Messiah Yeshua through Messianic Jewish Publishers in June 2015. Having been involved in Jewish ministry for 40 years, Kasdan takes a fresh look at the Jewishness of the New Testament in this commentary, seeking to recapture the original Jewish context of Paul through his letter to the Ephesians.
Marcelo A. Tolopilo (’81, M.Div. ’86) recently published the book Discipleship: God’s Plan for Parenting through Chart & Compass Press. The book seeks to strengthen the spiritual connection between parents and their kids at a time when unbiblical cultural values and attitudes have invaded many believing families, threatening to diminish, divide and destroy the bond that God would have for parents and children. Tolopilo hopes the book will bring parents and children together in the relational intimacy of biblical discipleship.
Nancy (Matossian, ’83) Lomen is living the dream as a new labor and delivery nurse at a hospital a mile away from her home in San Gabriel, Calif. After being a childbirth educator and a birth doula for several years, she took the plunge and earned her B.S.N. in 2015. She'd like to thank her husband, Bill, for all of his support throughout the process.
Wilson Phang (’87) recently completed his second doctorate, a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Leadership from Multnomah University. He earned his first Ph.D. in counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary. He is most moved by his studies leading up to his dissertation, The Other Two-Thirds of the Gospel: Good News for All Peoples.
Mike Sciarra (M.Div. ’89, D.Min. ’00) published The Family Together: Worshipping God at Church and Home through Grovewood Publishing in June 2016. The book is a call for readers to engage their households in the process of following Jesus, to lead them in daily family worship and to worship with God's family.
Louima Lilite (’99), a graduate of the Conservatory of Music, is the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award at Oklahoma Baptist University. This award, the highest honor bestowed on OBU faculty members, is presented to a faculty member who has taught at OBU for five consecutive years or more, and has exemplified characteristics of superior instruction in their classes.
Colin (’01) and Liz (Langenwalter, ’03) Anderson are happy to announce a son, Luke Edward Benjamin. Big sisters Emily, Katie and Lauren are excited to show baby brother around campus on their next visit to see grandpa and grandma, Paul and Becky Langenwalter, who both work at Biola.
Brian Pinkston (M.A.’04) recently published From Garden to High Place: A Parable of Faith, Philosophy and Mental Illness. After finishing his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Virginia, he has remained there as a project manager in facilities. He and Flynn are the harried-yet-proud parents of teenagers: John Russell, Quincy and Florence. (Brian remains grateful to Talbot Wives Fellowship for saving his marriage!)
Matt (’06) and Nicole (Spedick, ’06) Provo celebrated the birth of their daughter, Mae Valor, on Feb. 4, 2016. M.V.P. weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces at birth. Her 7-year-old brother, Aedan Peace, is in second grade. The Provos are stationed in Charleston, S.C., where Matt is an entrepreneur and Nicole is a U.S. Air Force JAG Corps attorney.
Lindsey Trozzo (’06) began a new position in fall 2016 at Campbell University as the assistant professor of New Testament in the Department of Christian Studies.
Matt Hiett (’09) now works as controller at Kings River Packing in Sanger, Calif. He and his wife, Sheri (’09) celebrated the birth of their second child, daughter Camden Mae, on March 4, 2016.
Bob Karcher (’09) and his wife, Susan, recently coauthored the book Who Are The Joneses Anyway? Stop Living Someone Else's Life and Start Becoming who You are Meant to Be. The book challenges readers to stop measuring success by their accomplishments or the stuff they have accumulated, and to instead discover who they are, why they are here and the legacy they can create.
Brian (’11) and Kari (Petersen, ’09, M.A. ’15) Juola were excited to welcome their first child, Kaisa Leigh Juola, into the world on Jan. 21, 2016. The family lives in Louisiana, where Brian serves in the Air Force and Kari has the wonderful privilege to stay at home with their little lady.
Lydia (Ness, ’12) Sharp, a 2016 graduate of Chicago- Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, has been selected as a 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow. Starting in September, Sharp began working for Equip for Equality, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities in Illinois, where she will provide legal services and outreach to protect people with disabilities from sexual abuse and sex trafficking. During her two-year fellowship period, Sharp will investigate reports from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, about sexual abuse at facilities serving people with disabilities and identify situations where people with disabilities are not safe.
Tyler Wigglesworth (’12) recently received the 2015–16 Teacher of the Year award at Covina High School for his work as a choir teacher.
D.P. Myers (M.A. ’14) published the book A New Song: Responding Poetically to the Psalms through Westbow Press in June 2016. According to the book, being made in the image of God means, at the very least, that we must acknowledge we are creative beings. Thus, when God urges us, through the Psalmist, to sing a new song unto the Lord, we should consider responding with our own creative voice. Myers encourages believers to find their creative voice in response to God’s Word and offers numerous examples of his own poetic responses to the Psalms.
Natasha McGuinness (’16) published the book Local Eats London: Bangers & Mash, Pasties, Jaffa Cake and Other London Favorites through Yellow Pear Press in April 2016. A whimsically illustrated guide to the traditional British fare found in the markets, pubs and cafes of the city, McGuinness originally wrote the book during her time in Biola’s study-abroad program in London. McGuinness currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is at work on her next book, Local Eats Paris.
Walter Warkentin (’48), the founding director of Hume Lake Christian Camps and a longtime Biola trustee, passed away on April 18, 2016, nearing his 101st birthday. A graduate of Biola’s original location at Sixth and Hope streets in Los Angeles, Warkentin served for 33 years as director of Hume Lake and was recognized for his service there with an honorary doctorate from Biola in 1962. He served on Biola’s Board of Trustees for 40 years, from 1958 to 1998, and was named a lifetime honorary member in May 1998 by President Clyde Cook and board chair Bill Billard. Warkentin was married to fellow Biolan Frances Rachel Hofer (’48) for 53 years before her death, and together they farmed, pursued many areas of ministry and raised three daughters. He is survived by his three daughters, Nancy, Sharon Hilts and husband Bob, and Colleen Friesen and husband Dennis; eight grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; one sibling; and many relatives.
Joy Pennock Gage (’50) passed away on April 30, 2016. She was a former mentor for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild, and had students on four continents and six different countries. She wrote 20 books and contributed to many anthologies and magazines. She also co- authored books with her husband, Ken, as well as Ted Engstrom, president emeritus of World Vision. Several of her books have been translated into other languages.
Ervin Jenkins (’52, ’55) passed away on June 29, 2016, two days after his 88th birthday. He served as senior class president in 1952 and was part of the first graduating class of Talbot Theological Seminary in 1955. He served as the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Santa Rosa, Calif., from 1955 to 1987 along with his wife Eula (Jones, ’52). He also served as pastor of the Guerneville Bible Church from 1991 to 2014. Eula passed away in 2015 and Ervin developed ALS and lost the ability to speak. However, he continued to communicate in writing with friends and family and had a tremendous impact on the staff and caregivers he encountered at Brookdale Senior Living. He regularly quoted 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your cares upon him, for he cares for you,” and was known for his ready smile and the gift of encouragement. He is survived by his children Ruth (Jenkins, ’75) Schweitzer, Lois Bigone, Brian Jenkins (’78) and Linda (Jenkins, ’85) Easter as well as his sons-in-law Dale Schweitzer (’77) and Marvin Easter (’85).
The Rev. Dr. Steven Lyle Ogne (’80, M.A. ’86) passed away on Oct. 14, 2015. He is survived by the love of his life, Jane. His legacy lives on through his pride and joy, his three sons, Timothy, Jeffrey and Gregory. As a pastor and missionary, Steve influenced and mentored thousands. Every conversation he had could be simplified to a three- point sermon outline. He loved God, he loved his family (dogs included) and he loved the church.