CHICAGO — McCormick Theological Seminary has installed one of the first Latino deans of a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

In his inaugural address, the Rev. Luis Rivera-Rodriguez, who is serving a five-year term as dean, spoke of the efficacy of theological education in today’s world in terms of preparing “interculturally competent” pastors and leaders. Rivera’s previous work as Director of the Center for the Study of Latin American Theology and Ministry and his research in the areas of immigration and diaspora communities has convinced him of the need for seminaries such as McCormick to develop programs and faculty who are able to engage the realities of ever-diversifying communities with a built-in awareness of their own cultural identities.

“One of the challenges we face is how to integrate the perspectives and pedagogies developed in the fields of cross-cultural training, diversity education and anti-racism education to theological education,” Rivera said in his address, suggesting a new era of “dealing creatively, empathically, appropriately, and fairly with cultural differences. This has been in the womb of McCormick for some time and I, as your dean, ask that together we participate in the birth of this vision.”

McCormick operates three collaborative racial-ethnic ministry centers under the leadership of the Institute for Cross-cultural Theological Education. In addition, on Nov. 4, the seminary celebrated the official launch of the Common Ground Project, an expansion of the former AADVENT Project bringing together Asian American, African American and Latin American pastors and lay leaders to address collectively common challenges in their ministries.  

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. — San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) Committee on Theological Education (COTE) will hold an open forum on future leadership needs of the church Nov. 16 here on the SFTS campus.

As seminaries around the country strive to be wise stewards of shrinking resources, COTE hopes to identify goals and strategies for leadership training during the panel discussion, which is part of its scheduled meeting Nov. 16-18 hosted by SFTS.

“The overall purpose of the interactive discussion is for all present to gain greater clarity about the emerging leadership needs of the PC(USA) and other mainline denominations,” SFTS President Phil Butin said. “We hope to gain insight into how our seminaries can better concentrate their resources over the next five to ten years to respond to and address those leadership needs.” 

Butin will moderate the panel, which will include the Rev. Judy Siker, SFTS vice-president for Southern California and professor of New Testament; the Rev. Ruth Santana-Grace, executive presbyter of San Gabriel Presbytery; the Rev. Jeffrey Bullock, president of the University of Dubuque/Dubuque Theological Seminary; and  the Rev. Marcia Myers, director of vocation for the General Assembly Mission Council and the Office of the General Assembly.

Following the panel, the floor will be open to comments from other COTE members and for questions and answers from the audience.
DECATUR, Ga. — A new online archives catalog online at Columbia Theological Seminary provides public access to records of archival holdings relating to Southern Presbyterian history.

Formerly located at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Montreat, N.C., the records were transferred to Columbia seminary in 2007 and are part of the Special Collections and Archives of the seminary’s John Bulow Campbell Library.

The archives include primarily materials from more than 800 congregations, 500 individuals, and 80 presbyteries of the former Presbyterian Church in the United States, the southern stream of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its predecessor bodies. The southern stream is identified as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Virginia.

At present, the online archives catalog contains records for about half of the materials transferred from Montreat, and more records are being added regularly. Legacy finding aids are attached to the catalog records when available. Books and periodicals are not included, but can be searched through CALVIN, the library’s online catalog.

For additional information please contact archivist Chris Paton at (404) 687-4638 or by email.

PRINCETON, N.J. — William Robert Sharman III has been named director of alumni/ae relations at Princeton Theological Seminary. He begins his duties on Dec. 1, 2009.

Sharman is presently pastor of Jamestown Presbyterian Church, a 700-member church in Jamestown, N.C., where he has served since 2003. He also served churches in Alabama and in Bonn, Germany.

Sharman earned his B.A. at the University of Mississippi, his M.Div. at Princeton Seminary, and his D.Min. at Columbia Theological Seminary. As director of alumni/ae relations, he will be responsible for building connections with the seminary’s 10,811 graduates, who serve in every state and in eighty-three nations in the world.