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VIDEO: Interview with Jo Bailey Wells

Duke Divinity School Women’s Center Open for Conversation

The Duke Divinity School Women’s Center will be open throughout Saturday to facilitate casual conversation and provide space for female veterans and wives of veterans to share their stories. Given that servicewomen and women veterans experience traumas that men may not, we’re hoping to provide a safe space for women to discuss their experiences of war and military service. We also hope that hearing these stories will help us, as Women’s Center coordinators, to better address the needs of female students who are veterans or partners of veterans.

Meet Our Presenters – John Oliver

John P. Oliver, Rev. D.Min., ACPE Supervisor, BCC has been the Chief of Chaplain Service at the Durham VA Medical Center since 2005.  He is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Samford University.   John’s research, pastoral care and educational focus has been on training pastors and CPE students in the art of providing appropriate care to individuals who have experienced a traumatic event.  He is widely recognized as the National Veteran Affairs subject matter expert in this area.  John’s personal interest in trauma stems from both his having been raised in Cali, Colombia during some particularly turbulent years and his on-going pastoral care to Veterans.   John is married to Karin and together they have three children ages 15, 13 and 11.   John majored in music in college and has sung Opera professionally.  John’s current personal passion is learning as much as he can about Jazz piano & vocal performance


Meet Our Presenters – Bill Cantrell

The Reverend Bill Cantrell is Chief Chaplain for VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy in the Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) in Durham, North Carolina.  Chaplain Cantrell has a broad range of experience as a parish priest, Navy chaplain, President/CEO of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and most recently extensive work at Naval Medical Center San Diego working with PTSD patients in cooperation with Mental Health Services. In 1989 Fr. Cantrell completed his theological education at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin.  He was ordained priest December 5, 1989 and entered active duty as a Navy Chaplain in 1995, completing chaplain school and deploying on board the USS Hue City CG-66 for six months supporting Desert Shield in the Arabian Gulf. Although he was released from active duty in 1997, he has since been recalled twice to active duty, including to the Al Anbar province of Iraq in 2005 with 3rd Marine Air Wing. Ch. Cantrell has developed and facilitated group spirituality sessions forT PTSD treatment programs for active duty service members. Chaplain Cantrell’s present work examines the relationship between spirituality and health, the roles of VA and military chaplains and their integration into Mental Health Services in order to meet the spiritual healing that so many veterans are seeking or need.
Rev Cantrell will present a morning breakout session titled “Caring for Veteran’s After War”


From Dr. Richard Hays, Dean, Duke Divinity School

Dear Members of the Divinity School Community:

I would like to call your attention to the “After the Yellow Ribbon” conference being held at the Divinity School next weekend (Nov 11-12).  Initiated by students who are military veterans, it seeks to illuminate the difficult moral, psychological, and spiritual issues faced by members of the military who seek to re-enter civilian life.  The questions raised here are pertinent not only for all of us in the university but also–indeed, even more so–for all who plan to be engaged in ministry.  Among other things, the conference will ask what resources the Christian tradition can offer for the healing of the spiritual wounds of war.

I understand that a grant now allows students to register for the conference for only $10.

For information, please visit

Grace and peace,


Richard B. Hays

George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament
and Dean of the Divinity School
Duke Divinity School
Durham, NC 27708


Meet Our Presenters – J. Warren Smith

J. Warren Smith, Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Duke Divinity School, is interested in the history of theology broadly conceived from the apostles to the present, but his primary focus is upon patristic theology.  Dr. Smith’s current project centers on the theological foundation of Ambrose of Milan’s teachings on the life of virtue, and he has written previously on the ascetic theology of Gregory of Nyssa. Dr. Smith is also a United Methodist elder from the North Georgia Annual Conference. He lives in Durham with his wife, Kimberly Doughty who is a school social worker, and their children, Katherine and Thomas.


Meet Our Presenters – William Portier

William L. Portier holds the Mary Ann Spearin Chair in Catholic Theology at the University of Dayton.  Dr. Portier received his Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto in 1980. He taught at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland for twenty four years and helped to build that school’s nationally recognized core curriculum. Dr. Portier has written two books, edited or co-edited three others, and contributed nearly one hundred articles and reviews in the areas of theology, U.S. Catholic history, and Catholic higher education.
Portier will present an afternoon workshop entitled, “Healing ‘Heartfelt Grief’ Through Liturgy?  Problems and Possibilities” – In City of God (XIX.7), St. Augustine’s name for a soldier’s natural response to participating in war is “heartfelt grief” (animi dolore).  This session explores possibilities for addressing “heartfelt grief” through liturgy.


Meet Our Presenters – Rev. Shirley King

Reverend Shirley King is married to William M. King. They reside in Benson NC. She is the mother of three children, one deceased, grandmother of seven,  great-grandmother of eleven. She completed her Masters of Divinity at Shaw University in May of 2009.  Rev. King brings a broad and very applicable set of life experiences to her role as WVSS board President. There she works with homeless and abusive veterans of the armed services, mostly women and   their families.  This is her second turn President of the Charles T. Norwood American Legion Auxiliary Unit 157. She previously serves MVDA (CART) as the Faith President. She readily served as Youth Pastor  as well as on alternative  Ministries at Poplar Springs  Christian Church in Raleigh, NC, as well as many position in leadership at Macedonia  New Life Center formally Laodicea UCC in Raleigh NC. She is the wife of a Viet-Nam veteran, and along with her leadership abilities, brings insight and empathy for WVSS Inc clients, having experienced homelessness herself as a young mother fifty years ago.

Official Event Poster

Meet Our Presenters: Joshua Casteel


Joshua Casteel served as a US Army interrogator and Arabic linguist at Abu Ghraib Prison in the immediate wake of the prisoner abuse scandal. In 2005 he received an honorable discharged as a Conscientious Objector and in 2006 served on the board of directors of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Joshua was featured in the documentaries Soldiers of Conscience and Iraq for Sale and has spoken at dozens of venues throughout the United States and Europe. In 2007, Joshua served on a delegation to the Vatican to discuss US defense policy and contemporary just war reasoning. Joshua received Master of Fine Arts degrees in Playwriting and Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa and is the author of Letters from Abu Ghraib (Essay Press, 2008) and The City of God (2008, Pax Christi). His shorter writings have appeared in Harpers, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Alaska Quarterly Review, The Point, and the National Catholic Reporter, and his plays have been performed at venues including the Royal Court Theatre (London), the Abbey Theatre (Dublin), De Balie Theatre (Amsterdam), and Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.Joshua is currently pursuing advanced studies in Religion and Literature at the University of Chicago.

Joshua will present a morning breakout session entitled,“The Arts, Warfare, and Social Post-trauma.”

Register for After the Yellow Ribbon and purchase Derek Webb concert tickets here.