Seminary Sunday, Feb. 27, honors schools that prepare church leaders
Before COVID-19 arrived, seminaries were already adjusting to changes in the worlds of church and church leadership.
Then the pandemic brought more adjustments — not only in how seminaries teach, but in the skills they’re teaching.
In the United Church of Christ, “Seminary Sunday / Church Vocations Sunday” encourages local churches to celebrate and support those schools, their resilience and the leaders they prepare. This year it’s on Feb. 27.
“Our seminaries continue to play a vital role in the health of the church,” said UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer. “With a clear mission for preparing leaders to serve the church, they have all become centers of adaptive learning in a rapidly changing world that also maintain clear and strong ties to our cherished traditions and core values.”
Seminary Sunday resources
The six Seminaries of the UCC are:
- Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn.
- Chicago Theological Seminary
- Eden Theological Seminary, Webster Groves, Mo.
- Lancaster (Pa.) Theological Seminary
- Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Calif.
- United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, St. Paul., Minn.
All are featured in this video, which is free for churches to use on Seminary Sunday or at other times.
The schools themselves can help churches celebrate Seminary Sunday, too. Online resources include those found at this cooperative web page of the CUE Seminaries (Chicago, United and Eden), this CTS page and this Eden page. Some also offer resources from past years or their own local Seminary Sundays — as seen, for example, at this Andover Newton page and in this United video. All six welcome inquiries from congregations that would like a guest speaker or more information — and not only on Seminary Sunday. However, because of the pandemic, many are limited in their ability to provide guest speakers at the moment — as Lancaster, for example, has noted since last year.
Many Conferences and local churches list a seminary as a partner or include one in their annual mission budget. The Southern California-Nevada Conference and First Congregational UCC, Berkeley — in their relationships with PSR — are just two examples.
UCC seminaries “are individually unique, representing the broad array of theological, cultural and experiential perspectives that make up the household of the United Church,” Dorhauer said. “Collectively, they create a wonderful variety of opportunities for faith leaders to fully equip themselves for their life in service to the church.
“Now more than ever they need our full support,” he said. “We cannot take for granted what they continue to provide to a denomination that values a fully prepared clergy.”
Information on all closely and historically related UCC schools, colleges, universities and seminaries is here.
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