Category Archives: Seminaries

Columbia Seminary Offers New Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Decatur, GA—The Spirituality Program at the Center for Lifelong Learning is pleased to announce the new Certificate in Spiritual Direction program. The first residential session will begin in the fall of 2015. Applications for the first cohort will be accepted through April 30, 2015. The application may be accessed here.

This program of study is designed for individuals who discern a call to the practice of Spiritual Direction. Grounded in the tradition of Christian Spirituality, the curriculum includes four one week-long residencies on the Columbia Theological Seminary campus, individual reading and reflection, and supervised practice in the art of spiritual direction. Organized on the cohort model, the certificate is intended to be completed in two and a half years.

Spiritual Direction, often called spiritual companioning or spiritual friendship, is an intentional relationship between a person seeking spiritual guidance (the directee) and a trained individual (the spiritual director). Together with the Holy Spirit, they listen for and explore the workings of God in the directee’s life.

During the residencies students will receive practical training in the art of spiritual direction through supervised practice in facilitated small groups. At home students will meet monthly for one hour with a supervisor in their area to further their learning in the practice of spiritual direction.

Upon completion of the requirements of this program, a certificate of completion will be awarded. The certificate will attest to completion of this formation and training program to develop the gifts and sensibilities of spiritual directors and support their callings to this ministry.

Associate Director of Spirituality Debra Weir says of this new venture, “I sense this program will fully open the contemplative dimension of the Spirituality Program and support growing depth in the Columbia Seminary community at large.” She expressed eagerness to meet and start working with program participants and course leaders during the first program cycle.

Columbia Theological Seminary is committed to “educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God’s changing world.” The Spirituality Program at the Center for Lifelong Learning offers courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people. For a complete list of classes offered by the Center for Lifelong Learning, visit www.ctsnet.edu/lifelong-courses-and-events.

For more information on the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program, please contact:
Debra Weir
Associate Director, Spirituality and Lifelong Learning
404-687-4557
weir.debra@nullctsnet.edu

CBA Certification course at Union Presbyterian Seminary

The Leadership Institute at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond VA is again offering the core courses necessary for certification as a Church Business Administrator through The Church Network (NACBA).  This program will take place July 21-24 and/or July 27-30, 2015.

Cost for the program, which will fulfill all of the core course requirements, is $550 for both weeks (8 days), $275 for one week or the other (4 days), or $85 per day for individual classes (a two-day class would be $170; both days of a two-day class are required).

Topics are:

JULY 21-24, 2015

  • Managing Strategic Planning Issues (1 day)
  • Managing Human Resources (2 days)
  • Managing Communication Issues (1 day)

JULY 27-30, 2015

  • Managing Financial Issues (2 days)
  • Managing Legal and Tax Issues (1 day)
  • Managing Facilities and Property Issues (1 day)

Meals and on-campus housing are available.  Visit the website for more information, http://www.upsem.edu/leadership_institute/certificate_programs/church_business_administrators/

Or go directly to https://www.regonline.com/cba2015 to register.  You do not need to be seeking certification to attend these very helpful seminars.

Stay tuned:  On October 1, 2015, Union Presbyterian Seminary will offer a seminar on Church Technology Basics and Church Technology Trends, led by Bryan Compton of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, for which you can earn 0.8 CEUs toward certification, or to keep your credentials current.  Registration information will be forthcoming at the website.

Applications Accepted for 2015 Guthrie Scholars Cohort

Decatur Georgia—The Center for Lifelong Learning is accepting applications for the 2015 Guthrie Scholars Cohort. This is a limited enrollment opportunity to engage in five days of independent study among a small group of clergy, educators and other church leaders on the campus of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.

The program is named for the late Shirley Guthrie, professor of theology at the seminary and funded in part by an endowment established in his honor. Those selected for Guthrie Scholars are invited to the campus to pursue a topic of their choice that engages a pressing issue of the church from a Reformed perspective. Scholars are provided with a guest room and meals in the campus dining facilities, and will have access to the seminary library, chapel services, and fitness room.

The dates for the 2015 Cohort are September 21-25. Applications must be submitted using the electronic form, linked below. They will be reviewed as they are received and the application process will close when the available spaces are filled.

For additional information about Guthrie and the Scholars program, including a link to the application form, please see the Guthrie Scholar Brochure posted on the seminary website.

For more information, contact
Sarah Erickson
404-687-4526

Union Presbyterian Seminary Spring Events

The Leadership Institute at Union Presbyterian Seminary offers workshops, seminars, and free public events for those interested in learning from nationally-known experts in a variety of topics that will enhance your personal faith life and your leadership in the church.

Check out these events coming up in the winter/spring of 2015 (all events are on the Richmond campus):

  • The Mid-Atlantic Korean-American Pastors Continuing Education features Dr. Chun-Hoi Heo speaking on the topic, “Theological Method for Korean Preachers and Scholars in the 21st”  This workshop, which takes place February 23-25, will help you discover a multi-cultural understanding of the historical Jesus, in an effort to raise spiritual leaders for the next generation.  This event is part of the Asian American Ministry Center.  Cost:  $100 for pastors, $150 for couples.
  • The Dawe Lecture on Thursday, February 26, features Dr. John Thatamanil, associate professor of theology and world religions at Union Theological Seminary in New York.  The lecture, which is FREE, is called “Caged Chickens or Free-Range Chickens?  Can Christian Theologians Fly the Coop to Learn from Other Religious Traditions?” An intriguing title and topic for those interested in the relationships between people of various world religions as we struggle to live together in peace.  Registration is not necessary for this event, which begins at 7:30 p.m.  For those who can’t attend in person, the Dawe Lecture will be streamed live on http://union.live.org
  • The Carl Howie Center for Science, Art, and Theology event takes place on Monday, March 2.  Dr. Steffan Lösel, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia, will present his work on Mozart and Theology.   This event will take place in two parts, a free lunch followed by a seminar and conversation entitled, “May Such Great Effort Not Be in Vain:  Mozart on Divine Love, Judgment, and Retribution” from noon to 4:30 p.m. (the seminar begins at 1:30), followed by an evening lecture at 7:30 p.m. entitled, “Mozart: Catholic Enlightenment in a Musical Key.”  Both events are FREE, and will be streamed live on  http://union.live.org.  Registration is required for the afternoon part of this event.
  • John Roberto, nationally known speaker, writer, and consultant, leads a workshop March 9-11 on “Vision and Practice of 21st Century Faith Formation.”  The workshop is designed to help develop a connected, networked model of lifelong faith formation.  Those interested in Christian education and formation in the church and in other settings will be inspired and energized by Dr. Roberto and this workshop.  Cost:  $195 ($150 if you register by February 6)
  • Board of Pensions Workshops:  Leaders from the PCUSA Board of Pensions will lead two workshops:  Post-Retirement Workshop on March 18, and Growing Into Tomorrow . . . Today, a workshop to help to plan for mid- to late-career plan members to prepare for retirement March 19-20.  These workshops are FREE (except for a $12 charge for lunches each day). Register for one or both!
  • “Staying Fresh in a Long Small Church Pastorate,” is geared for pastors of smaller congregations who are in, or envision being in, a long-term pastorate.  Chris Stewart, who served the same two churches in Ohio since 1978, will share his experience and will offer suggestions for creating healthy boundaries and for keeping your message and ministry relevant and interesting.  This workshop, March 24-26, is offered at a special low cost due to the generous grant from the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Cost:  $130 ($95 if you register by February 16)
  • Everyone called to be a leader in the church is a model for others, personally and corporately, in the area of financial discipleship.  “Called to be Stewards:  Embracing our Leadership Roles” uses the theological concepts of abundance, generosity, and hospitality to help leaders in living and sharing the message of responsible stewardship.  Meets April 13-16 with leaders Diana Barber, Associate Synod Executive for Leadership Development, and David Crittenden, PCUSA teaching elder and director of stewardship for the Presbyterian Mission Program.  Cost:  $250 ($195 if you register by March 2)
  • Reformed Theology:  For Christian educators seeking PC(USA) certification, for those working in the educational ministries of the church, and for those in any denomination wishing to learn more about reformed theology, this hybrid course begins with online and at-home work on March 23.  Students completing the at-home portion then come to campus April 21-23 for additional face-to-face work with Dr. James Brashler, professor emeritus of Bible at Union Presbyterian Seminary.  This course fulfills the requirements for educator certification in the PC(USA), but is open to all.  Cost:  $295.

Check out the website at www.upsem.edu/leadership_institute for more information and to register for any of these events.

News and resources from PC(USA) seminaries

Grace. Faith. Encouragement. Hope. Spiritual Formation. Education. It takes seminaries and churches together to grow strong leaders.

Counting our Blessings: A Season of Thanksgiving for Theological Education

Thank you, PC(USA) seminaries! Excellence in theological education is the result of committed faculties and inspired academic programs that are supported by sound and balanced budgets.

Thank you, Theological Education Fund (TEF) supporters—your gifts grow sound leaders, to the glory of God! If you haven’t yet contributed, now is the perfect time to join a 25-year tradition of giving in the life of the Church.

Please send your gifts for 2014 to:

Theological Education Fund TE999999
PO Box 643700
Pittsburgh PA 15264-3700

Please send your gifts for 2015 to:

Theological Education Fund
Presbyterian Foundation
200 East 12th Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130

For more information or to make a gift online go to: pcusa.org/tefgive

Seminaries’ biggest fans:

Members of the Seminary Support Network on why theological education matters and why they support the Theological Education Fund (TEF)

I have a 2 1/2 year old grandson. As a family, we are intentional about raising him to be kind, to care for his neighbors and to love the Lord. For now, he states that when he grows up, he aspires to be either that person who gets to stand on the back of the trash truck when it drives away, a forklift operator OR that person that gets to stand up in front on Sundays to “talk about it” (his phrase for something he wants to hear more about). “For now” might not last forever; however, someday he might want to go to seminary . . . maybe, even, a PC(USA) seminary. My prayer is that all the seminaries are still there if and when that day comes. The gift given now becomes a stake in the future. I believe in the future.—Susan Cornman, Ruling Elder, Arvada, Colorado

It has been said that if the church does not educate it dies. For me the heart and soul of the church remains centered in the training of pastors in an environment that provides a quality education, cutting edge learning and practical application. For me seminary was a time of stretching and growing, but it was also an experience that affirmed my call to ministry and expanded my gifts and talents. Our seminaries are institutions poised to equip women and men called to ministries of preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and social justice. At the same time our seminaries engage the needs of the church and the wider world in a host of caring and creative ways: critical thinking and meeting the needs of people theologically and pastorally; increased awareness of God’s creation and our relationship to it, Christian education, church polity and the history of Reformed faith. Through the TEF I support seminary education because the world needs the witness that we bring to Jesus Christ and his saving grace.—Ann Hayman, Teaching Elder, Santa Monica, California

For many—all too many—the stories or passages they might read in Scripture do not resonate with what they hear Sunday morning. They hear of God’s presents of blessing, prosperity, and belief, but they look at their own life and can barely imagine where these might fit. They read the selected passages that bolster the desires for blessing, prosperity, and belief while ignoring and glossing over those other, tougher, messier passages that refuse to comport to their hopes and designs. But yet, as much as they—we—hold on to these stories of God’s presents, we have difficulty believing God’s presence in the reality of our stories; we can hardly see, let alone believe our presence within God’s story.

Why Theological Education? Because it’s what pushed/pulled me into the very real human messiness found in the Scripture we hold to be God’s written Word. If I can share God’s presence within the very real messiness of the biblical world, maybe folk I’m ministering with will better experience how God is engaged within the reality of their messy worlds.—Mike Foster, Teaching Elder, Phoenix, Oregon

I support TEF because I understand and appreciate the vital role that seminaries play in our church and in the world. Our denomination, and our society both need well-trained leaders who can teach and guide congregations in ministry to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Seminaries provide this leadership by offering programs and services that, not only equip pastors and other church professionals, but others who support and lead our society at all levels.

I believe that when we support seminaries, we are supporting the transformation and creation of congregations and communities that witness to the Goodness of God by loving and serving God’s people. —Catrelia Steele Hunter, Ruling Elder, Cleveland, North Carolina

Theological Education gave me—and continues to give me—the tools to let God minister through me. Without intentional rigorous theological education I would have been silent at the scene of many tragic accidents. Without theological education I would have sneered at the call to “perform an exorcism.” Without theological education I would have fled to Nineveh when things got tough and got tough again. Without theological education I would be speechless after 18 years of preaching the lectionary. Without theological education I would have given up on my call—I am not in charge; I cannot be a disciple on my own; I cannot pastor God’s people with my own wisdom. The rigorous intentional theological education from our Presbyterian-related seminaries prepared me, and prepares women and men every day to make sense out of the world in which we live. I support the TEF because without theological education we would be striving in vain to be Christ to this broken world.—Matthew Sauer, Teaching Elder, Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Our Presbyterian Seminaries: Updates on People, Programs, and Partnerships

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty by Gregory A. Boyd is the December selection from the Austin Seminary Book Club.
More information on the upcoming books selections and how to join the club.

Columbia Theological Seminary
Hear tributes honoring Steve Hayner for his service as the ninth President of Columbia Theological Seminary.

University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
Attention lay leaders: registration is open for the Spring 2015 term of the Christian Leadership Program.  More information and to register.

Johnson C. Smith Seminary
New directions for JCS Seminary were featured recently in The Presbyterian Outlook.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Read President Michael Jinkins’s thoughts on “The Cost of Mediocrity” from his blog.

McCormick Theological Seminary
McCormick Theological Seminary and the Presbytery of Chicago are sponsoring a new Certificate in Leadership for a Transformed Church.
Learn more about the program and upcoming events.

Princeton Theological Seminary
Introducing The Brick Café—a space for conversation and caffeine, dedicated by President Craig Barnes and pastor Michael Lindvall on behalf of Brick Church.

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Again this year, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will celebrate Advent with an online devotional. More information and to subscribe.

San Francisco Theological Seminary
The Center for Innovation launched with a focus on the theology of gaming.

Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary
The Leadership Institute announces: “Vision and Practice of 21st Century Christian Faith Formation,” March 9-11, 2015, to be led by John Roberto. More information on this and other Leadership Institute events.

Auburn Theological Seminary
Auburn Studies publishes two timely reports on student debt and seminary finance—read the press release and find links to downloadable PDF files of both reports.

Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico
Meet newly-installed president Doris J. Garcia-Rivera

CTS Offers Pastoral Excellence Program

The Center for Lifelong Learning at CTS Initiates New Programs to Boost Pastoral Excellence

Decatur, GA—The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at Columbia Theological Seminary offers a new initiative in pastoral excellence. The Pastoral Excellence Programs builds on the successes of the Center for Lifelong Learning in clergy leadership formation and development. The new initiative begins in 2014 with two program facets: (1) the Leadership in Ministry Workshops, and (2) the Colloquy for Mid-Career Clergy. While each program is designed to meet the needs of different audiences, each builds on the best practices of clergy professional and personal development and learning. A key pedagogy for both programs is the peer-learning model.

The Leadership in Ministry Workshops is an on-going twice-a-year peer-based clergy leadership development program meeting at the Center for Lifelong Learning in Decatur, GA, on the campus of Columbia Theological Seminary. This program’s goals are to: (1) provide a peer-learning forum for clergy to explore the issues particular to their congregational contexts; (2) help participants develop a theoretical framework for interpreting practice and context using Bowen Systems Theory; (3) help clergy accurately identify and name the particular challenges of ministry in their context; (4) provide clergy with a safe and stimulating peer group experience for renewal and challenge.

The Colloquy for Mid-Career Clergy is for mid-career clergy (ten to twenty years into full time ministry) who are seeking to participate in a professional formative conversation or to reflect on their vocational experience, and assess their ability to meet the leadership demands/needs of their organization. Attention will be given to addressing common experiences and issues of mid-career clergy: facing either a normative or unanticipated career transition, standing at a vocational crossroads of some sort, engaging in reflective self-assessment and finding support among peers.

Clergy in mid-career face challenges, both personal and professional, that are unique to their stage in life and vocational trajectory. They have accumulated experience, know-how, and a certain amount of confidence. Not quite novices, many are still not “experts.” In fact, one of the paradoxes of clergy in mid-career is serving in increasingly complex contexts that continue to challenge their competencies, to the extent they are no longer able to solve certain problems for the systems they serve.

The goals of this colloquy experience include: (1) to provide a forum for mid-career clergy to explore the issues particular to congregational leaders at the mid-career point of their vocational trajectory; (2) to help clergy re-define and re-envision their calling and vocation; (3) to help clergy identify and name the challenges of ministry as a mid-career clergy; (4) to provide mid-career clergy with a safe and stimulating peer group experience for renewal and challenge.

Each year, more than 1300 people take courses or attend special events offered by Columbia’s Center for Lifelong Learning. Both pastors and lay persons are drawn to the center’s calendar of vibrant learning and cohort opportunities specifically created to build and enhance skills in church leadership, Christian education and formation, spiritual formation and spiritual direction.

For information on the Center for Lifelong Learning’s upcoming courses, including Leadership in Ministry and Colloquy for Mid-Career Clergy, visit www.ctsnet.edu/lifelong-courses-and-events

Faith in Our Music: Many Voices, Diverse Chords, Common Hopes

A music conference for clergy, church musicians, worship committees, and anyone interested in music in the church!  Featuring John Bell from the Iona Community in Scotland; Warren Cooper, who writes and performs sacred jazz music; and Amanda Powell, whose specialty is global music.

September 23-25, 2014 ~ Union Presbyterian Seminary Richmond Campus ~ $195 for the first two registrants from one church ($150 if registration is received by July 31); $125 for subsequent registrants from the same church. Includes dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday, lunch on Wednesday, and breakfast on Thursday.

Click here for more information and to register for Faith in Our Music:  Many Voices, Diverse Chords, Common Hopes.

Click here for a printable flyer to share with your congregation or denomination.