The Alumni Executive Committee of The General Theological Seminary is delighted to announce that the Rev. Steven E. Hulme, Class of 1959, is the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. Hulme is Rector Emeritus of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Niantic, Connecticut. As Rector from 1971 to 1998, and during the years following his retirement from parish ministry, Hulme provided leadership for the resettlement, in a new homeland, of approximately 35 refugee families, comprising over 150 individuals, with many more able to join them later by way of family reunification. Hulme was nominated by St. John’s current Rector, the Rev. Anthony Charles Dinoto, Class of 1999. “With more refugees today than at any time since World War II,” Dinoto points to the importance of clergy and laity knowing “a parish can do much to assist those who are not its members: In fact, not many refugees were Christians in the past, or today.”
St. John’s Parish acting alone, and at times in cooperation with other faith communities, resettled refugees from Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Eritrea, Rwanda, El Salvador, and Burma from 1975 to 2013. Hulme traveled to Southeast Asia on ten occasions to address refugee issues, family reunifications, and humanitarian and educational endeavors. From the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia, and later, from the murderous chaos in Rwanda and Burma, precious lives were saved.
From 1998 to 2013 Hulme was the founding Executive Director of the Karen Emergency Relief Fund, Inc. in Burma. The Fund, with donors in 40 states and four foreign countries, raised upward of $750,000 for humanitarian aid to thousands more refuges who remained in squalid, and often dangerous, camps along the Thai-Burma border.
St. John’s Parish relationship with many of the resettled refugees, along with Hulme’s leadership as Rector Emeritus, continues to this day.
The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Hulme during the next annual Alumni Gathering at General Seminary, at the Memorial Eucharist on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.