DECATUR, Ga. — Fourteen years after inaugurating its certificate program in Christian spirituality, Columbia Theological Seminary will this fall offer five spirituality courses. All count toward the completion of certificate requirements but are open to anyone of any denomination.

Columbia faculty members Kimberly Long and Martha Moore-Keish, along with Professor Emeritus Ben Johnson, who founded the program, former General Assembly Moderator Joan Gray, and John Kloepfer are among the class leaders.

Courses include "Worship and Spirituality," Sept. 17-20, led by Long and Moore-Keish;, "Immersion Experience: Invitation to a Deeper Spiritual Life," Oct. 1-4; "Mysticism and Christian Spirituality," Oct. 22-25 at Montreat Conference Center, led by Kloepfer; "Introduction to Spiritual Direction," Nov. 1-6, led by Gray; and "Interfaith Spiritual Immersion," Nov. 15-20 (repeated Nov. 20-22), led by Johnson.

CHICAGO — McCormick Theological Seminary has received approval from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools to offer two new degrees beginning in the fall of 2010: the Master of Arts in Urban Ministry and the Master of Arts in Discipleship Development.

The M.A. in Discipleship Development is a two-year course of study designed for the student who is called to nurture and form members of a congregation in practices of Christian discipleship. The student may or may not be ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament.
The M.A. in Urban Ministry is a two-year degree offering students a way to focus on the practices, skills, and strategies that are essential to urban ministry. It is designed "to help students sharpen their capacity for social analysis, ethical reflection, and organizing people to get things done in the city.

PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of Heidi Gehman as director of academic administration — a new position — effective Sept. 8.

Gehman earned her B.A. at Houghton College, her M.Div. at Princeton Theological  Seminary and her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her dissertation was on the theme “Conscience and Moral Agency: Iris Murdoch and H. Richard Niebuhr on the Formation of the Moral Self.”

She previously served as associate director for the international Ph.D. program at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT. While at Hartford, she also taught theology and ethics, and served as adjunct faculty at Fairfield University and Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. — San Francisco Theological Seminary is leading the way among seminaries throughout the nation to reduce carbon footprints, according to a new report that establishes a baseline measurement for greenhouse gas emissions.

According to David Rhoads, professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and one of the organizers of the national Green Seminary Initiative, SFTS is believed to be the first seminary to produce a substantial carbon footprint report. The baseline provides the starting point against which to measure whether SFTS is moving toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. 

Already a key member of the Green Seminary Initiative, SFTS has been asked by Rhoads to share its findings so other seminaries can analyze their carbon footprints as well. The Green Seminary Initiative, which boasts 38 member seminaries in the U.S., Canada and Sweden, is devoted to equipping graduates to lead congregations and communities in creation care, foster seminaries as models of creation care, and serve as a clearinghouse for information, ideas and resources.

Now that the SFTS Green Seminary Initiative Group has determined the Seminary’s carbon footprint, the intention is for SFTS to reduce carbon emissions over time until reaching carbon neutrality.

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Elmer Colyer, professor of historical theology and Wesley studies at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, is the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin - Platteville.

The award is given annually to alumni who have significant and broad career achievement, evidenced through state, national and/or international recognition in their chosen discipline or profession. The award was given in conjunction with the university's May 2009 commencement ceremony.

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Theological Seminary kicked off its"Pneuma" spiritual direction and leadership certificate program Aug. 27-29. The first group meets for a two-day retreat during which time they will be introduced to the new two-year program.

The program offers educational and supervised training of pastors and laity in the dynamics of the spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola while engaging in Reformed, Catholic, and other diverse theological perspectives on growth in faith and the Christian life.

Participants select between two tracks: spiritual direction or spiritual leadership. Spiritual direction emphasizes ministry with individuals and small groups while spiritual leadership emphasizes ministry with groups and larger institutions such as congregations, governing bodies, non-profits, or corporations.

RICHMOND, Va. — How is the science of human evolution related to the theological understanding of human uniqueness?

This question will be explored on the campus of Union Presbyterian Seminary (formerly Union Theological Seminary-Presbyterian School of Christian Education) at an Oct. 1-2 conference cosponsored by the seminary; the Carl Howie Center for Science, Art and Theology; the Institute for Reformed Theology; and the Presbyterian Association on Science, Technology and the Christian Faith.

An array of 10 pastors, theologians and theology professors, scientists and medical professionals will review current scientific findings on human evolution, explore the theological significance of those findings and provide a scientist's and pastor's reflection on the future of the church in light of human evolution.