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In celebration of Women’s History Month, the BST Bulletin asked Ms. Yvonne Watson, CFO and Vice-President of Finance, to reflect on a woman of great importance in her life. Below is her portrait of Katherine Stateman Watson, her mother-in-law, and a local East Bay educator and resident. Without strong women like Mrs. Watson, our world would be sorely diminished. We celebrate their lives and accomplishments in recognition that we stand on the shoulders of these remarkable women today.

Katherine was born on June 19, 1913, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Katherine graduated from Tuskegee Institute at the age of 19 and went on to receive her Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. After graduation, she returned to New Orleans, where she taught mathematics for more than fifteen years. Katherine retired from the school system in 1943 and enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps and was awarded the rank of First Lieutenant. This was a trying time for women in the military, especially Black women. She often told stories of going to rescue her fellow women enlisted from troubled areas in the South. She received an honorable discharge in 1946 and relocated to Oakland to join her husband, Rufus Watson. They had two sons.

Katherine returned to teaching in the Oakland Public School system and served as an educator and administrator. During her tenure with OUSD she served as a teacher and counselor at Lowell Middle School; Vice Principal of Westlake Middle School; Principal of Lowell Middle School and finally as Principal of Oakland High School. She retired in 1979, but continued her philanthropic efforts.

Katherine was active with the American Red Cross, served on the governing board of Wheatridge Foundation and a Lifetime of the NAACP.

Katherine attended Beth Eden Baptist Church and later moved her membership to Bethlehem Lutheran Church. While at Bethlehem, Katherine was instrumental in starting a tutorial program and serving on the Church Council and the Sunday School.

Yvonne remarks of her mother-in-law, “I look to you as you set the standard for me and others to follow. May we be the leaders you taught us to be.”

Dr. Gottwald was a groundbreaking theologian most notable for his 1979 work The Tribes of Yahweh: A Sociology of the Religion of Liberated Israel, 1250-1050 B.C.E. His other writings include The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction, The Hebrew Bible in Its Social World and in Ours, The Politics of Ancient Israel, and, as co-author, The Bible and Liberation: Political and Social Hermeneutics. He brought a sociological lens of study to the world of the Bible and his influence continues to be felt today.

An ordained ABCUSA minister, Rev. Gottwald was deeply involved in social justice movements all his life, while continuing to lecture and advocate for the unnoticed and underserved all around the world. “What an amazing life!,” contended Dr. Jim Brenneman, president of BST, upon hearing the news of Dr. Gottwald’s passing. “He was truly one of the greats in Older Testament studies, a first-order thinker. Like most everyone else who’s ever read his works, heard him lecture, sat in a classroom, or knew him personally, Norman shaped my own scholarship and biblical understanding in profound ways. That he was a one-time professor at BST, was truly gift of God to our students and our seminary.” May his memory and Christ’s peace bring solace to all of us at BST and beyond, and especially to his beloved wife, Laura, and their family.

Berkeley School of Theology also mourns the loss of alum Ivan Cleveland (BA ‘54, MDiv ‘71). In 1954 he was ordained a Baptist minister and the he was pastor at several churches in Utah, Oregon, Washington and California, including The United Church of Christ in Everett, Washington. Upon leaving the ministry in 1970's he attained and sold real estate, and did marriage counseling. Most recently he was active in the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell WA. Our deepest condolences to all of Ivan’s friends and family.

BST joins the Baptist World Alliance in prayer for peace and reconciliation among the people of Ukraine and their political leaders. We appeal to God to bring down tyrants, and lift up all those suffering, especially, our nearly five-thousand, five hundred Baptist sisters and brothers, who have been displaced or killed in Eastern Ukraine.

Save the Date! Join with Berkeley School of Theology this upcoming fall (delayed a year for Covid) for a weekend of celebration of BST’s 150th anniversary. We will have alumni reunions, a dinner gala, and many other celebratory events. Start making plans now to join us in October!

Turning 72 in 2022? Happy Birthday and a tax-tip for you!

If you’re turning 72 in 2022, you’ll want to be aware of your required minimum distribution (RMD) from your retirement accounts. Your required minimum distribution (RMD) is the minimum amount you must withdraw from your retirement accounts each year. This applies to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), SIMPLE IRAs, and SEP IRAs. Of course, you can give more than your RMD to a charitable organization, like BST, and it has the added tax-advantage of counting toward your Quality Charity Donation (QCD). The QCD regulations allows you, starting at age 70½, to instruct your IRA administrator to direct IRA distributions —up to $100,000 per year — to a qualified 501(c)(3) charity like BST. This process must be initiated by you and your IRA custodian. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact a BST Advancement team member here.

BST Administration, Faculty, and Staff are available to speak at your next event. Whether you are looking for a sermon, lecture, or lesson, someone from Berkeley School of Theology can provide it for you! For more information or to inquire or book, please email Sam Fielder at sfielder@bst.edu

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