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.
I welcome and thank Ellie Roscher, editor of Keeping the Faith in Seminary writer at ellieroscher.com as a guest blogger in an Advent series answering the question, What is coming and becoming in theological education?Read this post for more about this series.
A former student of mine works for an e-commerce start up company whose office is in an old church in Minneapolis. He shares the church office space with his co-workers, a priest who got into real estate to make ends meet and a man who started a grain-based veggie burger business. The church started renting its space out during the week to small businesses for the financial benefit of everyone. This worship space/business office collaboration makes sense. Being some of the biggest community spaces in the neighborhood, churches can engage in a ministry of shared space. Sharing becomes not only a creative, mutually symbiotic idea, but in some cases a financial necessity. Boundaries that used to separate church and life are blurring.
Brian Blount, president and professor of New Testament at Union Presbyterian Seminary, was seven years old when Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what has come to be known as his “I Have a Dream” speech fifty years ago this week. Blount described it as “almost biblical in its proportions.” I tend to agree. As the parent of a seven year old myself, I continue to meditate on the speech and the dream. When I hear MLK’ Jr.’s speech my mind pictures Earnest Covington.
My daughter learned the words of institution for Communion by heart by the time she was three years old because our congregation sang them. Her tea parties as a preschooler often began with her giving thanks and then offering a cup saying, “Take a drink and remember me.”
The church and the academy 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."
The recent opening of Union Presbyterian Seminary's new Charlotte, North Carolina campus on the grounds of Sharon Presbyterian Church makes this case concrete, literally!
Cooperation and partnership with the PC(USA) and among the schools is alive and well. Numerous seminary staff groups meet regularly and collaborate often. They work on projects together that are serving the church better and leading in the academy.
So I wonder when we talk about our Presbyterian Seminaries as “crown jewels” of the PC(USA), if we could consider them in the singular?
How can we connect a new generation of gifted seminary graduates we believe God is calling to serve with visionary and faithful Christian ministries? The Committee on Theological Education encourages the PC(USA) to ask: "Why not?"