Here at McCormick, we have wonderful professors. Today, I’d like you to meet Ken Sawyer, Associate Professor of Church History. Ken’s been at this a while and he’s got lots of knowledge to share with his students and his wider community, which he is an active part of. Pretty much everyone goes through his class within their first semester, taking his History of Christianity 1 class in the Fall. I did not get this privilege as I took a class that was in the way, but I do have him now in Reformed Traditions (with Anna Case-Winters) and  I’ll have atleast 3 more classes with him before I graduate. I am not complaining in the least bit, I’m actually telling you to make sure and take his class. Not only will your knowledge be expanded in Church History, you’ll have many other fun times in class with Ken. Such as getting a Reformed Turkey activity for the holidays.

So here is the famous Ken Sawyer!

Ciao for now!


Shelley D.

Name: Ken Sawyer

Job Title: Associate Professor of Church History

Family: I am married with Patricia Cloud. We have three daughters: Elisabeth (soon to be 25), Anna (20) and Jane (20) – all quite grown – each is a blessing to us!

Congregation: Progressive Community Center, The People’s Church (48th and Wabash)

Favorite food: Bi Bim Bap anytime, anywhere, but especially if served in a hot stone bowl (dol sot)

Favorite Restaurant: Valois (53rd and Lake Park)

If you could be any animal, what would it be? Easy! The wondrous Okapi. (Okay, we had to look that one up!)

College/Graduate School/Post Graduate Work: After Seminary, I came to Hyde Park to go to the neighborhood university.

Why teach at McCormick? A welcoming place with profoundly friendly, faithful people.

How long have you been at McCormick? I joined the McCormick community in 1980 on the staff of the JKM library. I began classroom teaching as an adjunct teacher in 1988.

What classes do you teach/have you taught? Reformations! Early Church! Reformed Traditions! Survey! Church Mothers and Fathers! Calvin! Western Spirituality! Presbyterian History!

Why do you like to teach at McCormick? Classroom conversations – learning in the classroom. Wonderful colleagues. Partnership with the LSTC community.

Where else do you teach? In congregations wherever asked. I have taught at Dominican University and at Catholic Theological Union.

Favorite memories at McCormick? Memories of Ogbu Kalu. Memories of Anthony Biddings. Team teaching with David Daniels. Team teaching with Anna Case-Winters. Laughing through Feast of Fools skits. (Oh, Ken. Just wait until this year!)

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen happen here at McCormick? The opening of McCormick to new generations of students.

In your opinion, what does McCormick have to offer/what makes it different from other seminaries? McCormick is very different every year because our community forms anew each year.

Favorite theologian? Ancient: Gregory of Nazianzus; Reformation: Heinrich Bullinger; Early Modern: Thomas Goodwin or Richard Sibbes or Lewis Bayley…

The best thing you can imagine doing in your spare time? Walking with my wife anywhere, but especially from Regenstein to meet our children, or swimming in Lake Michigan!

Ken has many other favorites, such as…

Macrina the younger, the book of Psalms, the LRWC, Rome and Istanbul, Cappadocia, George Eliot, cottonwood, Alvin Ailey, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Growing Power (South side of Chicago), Favorite weekend commuter: TC Anderson, Marilynne Robinson, Amanda Berry Smith, John Timothy Stone, Barack Hussein Obama, FDR, Reinhold Niebuhr, Katie Cannon, Perpetua, Bronzeville, favorite editor of one blog and two dogs (one blind): Shelley Donaldson, Evernote, Martin Bucer, Katherine Zell, Freedom of the Christian, Augsburg Confession, the Thirty-Nine Documents, “Where is this Stupendous Stranger” by Christopher Smart (d. 1771), Second Helvetic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Confession of 1967, Brief Statement of Faith, Strasbourg, Andrew Sullivan/, James Cleveland or Shirley Cesar or both!, W.H. Auden, Nanette Banks, Bob Cathey, B. Herbert Martin or Brad Braxton or both!, Advent, Walter Bruggemann, Jack Benny, John Boehner, Ed Grimley, Pinky and the Brain, Garry Wills, Hercule Poirot, Lawrence Walsh, the Gruber collection at the Lutheran School of Theology and the McCormick Rare Books (now at the Newberry Library), JKM, Regenstein Library.

Well there you have it. Anything you ever wanted to know about Ken Sawyer and a little more. You can find Ken in his office at the McCormick building, surrounded by books (the best way to be!), and readying himself for class. Ken is always happy to speak with students and prospective students. He is very often helping with Inquiry Into Ministry with the Office of Admissions and is a faithful servant to the students and to God!

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