The Collegeville Institute, and the Christian Church, lost two giants this past year, New Testament scholar the Rev. Cain Hope Felder, and Paulist Fr. Thomas Francis Stransky, both of whom were key figures in past Collegeville Institute programs. Dr. Felder was the editor of Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation (Fortress, 1991), a classic text still in print that grew out of a four-year Collegeville Institute consultation. Tom Stransky led and/or participated in multiple Institute consultations beginning in the 1970’s, including a multi-year inquiry, Confessing Faith in God Today that led to the book God on Our Minds (1982) by Stransky and the Collegeville Institute’s then executive director, Patrick Henry.
Felder, a world-renowned biblical scholar, was professor of New Testament language and literature at Howard University where he was also editor of the Journal of Religious Thought. He was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. At various times in his illustrious career Felder held prominent positions within the American Academy of Religion, the National Center for African American Heritage & Culture at Howard University, The Middle East Studies Association, The Black Theology Project, The Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization, and the Society for Biblical Literature.
Stransky was ordained a Paulist priest in 1957. He served on the staff of the Vatican’s Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity where he was deeply involved in preparing key documents that came to define the Second Vatican Council. From 1988-1999 Stransky served as rector of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Stransky, known for his sense of humor, was once asked, What is ecumenism? His answer, “Ecumenism is something which, if we had a better name for, we would have more of.”