News and resources from PC(USA) seminaries

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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:

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