Lee Hinson-Hasty is coordinator for theological education and seminary relations in the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the PC (U.S.A.). Through his work Lee hopes to capture and share a more expansive view of theological education, of church leadership and of vocational discernment as he sees through the eyes of some exciting Presbyterians in and related to seminaries.
Many of you know that my partner in life, Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, is a Teaching Elder that teaches theology to undergraduates at Bellarmine University. We met twenty years ago at Louisville Seminary and married eighteen years ago this week on a beautiful and colorful Fall day in the Seminary's Caldwell Chapel. Our relationship started studying Hebrew and grew as we wrestled with theology and pastoral care... not the least of which was a summer of Clinical Pastoral Education.
For our entire marriage we have lived and loved both the church and the academy and believed, as so many Reformed people do, that each need the other.
In the Office of Theological Education we often make this point saying "...for generations to come.... seminaries and churches together" or more recently, "Seminaries and churches together... for generations to come."
This slogan comes to life over and over again in a variety of ways and at all our PC(USA) Seminaries but the recent opening of Union Presbyterian Seminary's new Charlotte, North Carolina campus on the grounds of Sharon Presbyterian Church makes this case literally concrete! A congregation and an academy living out their mission only a few sidewalk steps away from each other. Teaching elders, ruling elders, members, candidates, inquirers, and professors view the world God loves from the same piece of real estate.
In a Presbyterian News Service story, Tom Currie, the dean of Union's Charlotte campus, speaks of a "theological seminary [as] more than an educational institution. It is also a community whose life together makes its own witness." That is consistent with President Brian Blount's articulation of Union's strategic plan that calls the "Charlotte campus ... a vibrant, thriving component of the seminary’s witness and work, consistent with the institution’s mission and resources."
I call it a witness to Christ and the growing and essential relationship between the church and the academy that has 200 years of history. Now that's an anniversary worth celebrating! One that we Presbyterians are celebrating with the Bicentennials of both Union Presbyterian and Princeton Theological Seminaries this year!
Make your plans now to celebrate over the next two weeks at service of dedication and celebration, open to the community, at 11 a.m. on November 3 at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte and a Bicentennial worship service at Princeton Theological Seminary on Thursday, October 25 at 2:00 p.m. in the Princeton University Chapel.
Lee in Louisville