JMC was short-handed in Spring 2017 without Dr. Cheryl Mann Bacon (’76) in the department chair’s office. Bacon took a faculty renewal leave to help ACU trustee Dr. Eddie Sharp (’73) write a book on ministry, and at the same time got a taste of Hawaiian hospitality.
For more than two decades, Bacon had been urging Sharp, minister of University Church of Christ in Austin and former adjunct professor in the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry, to write a book to help ministers be more effective in their ministry to the dying and families of the dying. Bacon took it a step further by obtaining a sabbatical to focus on the book, allowing her to edit all of Sharp’s eight chapters and write two herself.
“Eddie does wonderful funerals and is extremely pastoral and caring to people in times of crisis,” Bacon said. “I told him, ‘You need to write a book about that. There are young ministers out there who need to hear what you have to say.’ ”
But the semester wasn’t all work and no play for Bacon – she spent a month of her time in Hawaii. After hearing of the University of Hawaii East West Center from Dr. Cole Bennett and other colleagues, Bacon was able to use its housing and facilities, including the UH Manoa library.
“ACU’s culture of hospitality, combined with its digital expertise, made working from Hawaii so easy,” Bacon said. “I could find materials on the library portal, and if I couldn’t access what I found directly in Hawaii, [Dr.] Mark McCallon would turn it around like that for me.”
Bacon’s month in Hawaii did not consist exclusively of work. During her four weeks on the island she met up with her niece for a weekend and, in true ACU-network fashion, ran into a couple of ACU alums including JMC alum Sondra Rodriguez Fontenot (’10), who was working for a government contractor at Pearl Harbor.
The manuscript is now in the hands of ACU Press and includes Bacon’s chapters on the topics of obituary writing and media relations when media attention happens as the result of a death. Bacon says it should be released in 2018.