Hood Theological Seminary Faculty Accepted to Oxford Institute of Methodist Studies


Salisbury, NC - Dr. Ashley Dreff and Rev. Thomas Grinter have been accepted to the 14th Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies to be held August 12-19 at Pembroke College of Oxford University in Oxford, England. This important gathering of top professionals in the field is held once every five years and is sponsored by the British Methodist Church and the World Methodist Council. Dreff is assigned to the working group on Methodist History and Grinter to the Biblical Studies working group. 

Dr. Ashley Dreff is Director of United Methodist (UM) Studies and Student Recruitment at HTS. As the focal faculty person in UM Studies, she is responsible for teaching required courses for the M.Div. degree, as well as advanced level courses in Methodist History, American Religious History, or Women/Gender Studies. In her administrative role, Dr. Dreff fosters networking with United Methodist (UM) districts and conferences, expands bridge-building with colleges and organizations, serves as a strategic team member with the Office of Recruitment to cultivate relationships to enhance enrollment, and enriches opportunities for UM student professional development.

Dr. Dreff has a Ph.D. in American Religious History from Drew Theological School with a concentration in Wesleyan/Methodist Studies and Women/Gender Studies. Her doctoral dissertation topic was Methodist and the New Morality: A History of Twentieth-Century Methodist Sexual Ethics.She holds a B.A. in Art History (cum laude) from the University of Arkansas and an A.M. in Religious Studies (History of Christianity) from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

As a lifelong United Methodist, she has devoted significant attention to historical writing and archival preservation. She was an Assistant Archivist for the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church (2012-2014). She was also a General Conference Legislative Researcher and Analyst for the Connectional Table of the United Methodist Church (2015-2016). She has a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). While at Drew University, she was the recipient of the Florence Ellen Bell Scholarship (2012-2014). 
Rev. Thomas Grinter is Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies and A.M.E. Zion Studies. He isan ordained Elder and member in full connection of the Kentucky Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. 

Grinter is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Bible, Culture, and Hermeneutics at Chicago Theological Seminary. He earned a B.S. in Business Managementfrom Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky, and a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Hood Theological Seminary, summa cum laude. He also holds a Master of Theology (Th.M.) from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, with a concentration in Old Testament. 

At Hood, Grinter has taught Old Testament, Hebrew, and A.M.E. Zion History courses. He also taught Hebrew Bible Introduction at Catawba College in 2012. 

Rev. Grinter is an Associate Minister at New Hope A.M.E. Zion Church in Salisbury, NC, and Walters-Clement A.M.E. Zion Church in Louisville, KY. Previously, he served Martin Temple A.M.E. Zion Church, Chicago, IL, and Stoner Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, Louisville, KY. He has also served as a Curriculum Writer for the Department of Church School Literature of the A.M.E. Zion Church.
Rev. Grinter is the recipient of a number of honors and awards including the 2008 President’s Award from Hood Seminary. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion and is a 2013 Presidential Doctoral Fellow, Chicago Theological Seminary. 

Hood Theological Seminary, located on I-85 just northeast of Charlotte in Salisbury, NC, is a graduate and professional school accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and approved by the University Senate of The United Methodist Church. Its student body currently comprises persons from many different denominations. As a theological seminary, it provides for the church and the world an educational community in which Christian maturity and ministerial preparation take place together. 

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.


  • Resources
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