Austin, Texas

Graduation activities for the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Class of 2010 are scheduled for May 29-30. Forty-one students are expected to receive the Master of Arts (Theological Studies), the Doctor of Ministry, the Master of Divinity, or the Diploma degrees.

A Baccalaureate service will be held May 29 at 6:00 p.m. at University Presbyterian Church in Austin with the Rev. Arun Jones, professor of evangelism and missions, preaching. Also participating in the service is the Rev. Cynthia Rigby, the seminary's professor of theology.

The 2010 Commencement exercises will begin May 30 at 2:30 p.m., also at University Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Thomas L. Are Jr., pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kan., preaching. Are serves on the seminary’s board of trustees.

DECATUR, Ga. — Opened last summer, the new "green" residence hall for Columbia Theological Seminary students has earned the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council.

It is the first facility in Decatur  to earn LEED Gold Certification and is expected to use approximately 50 percent less energy than a conventionally constructed facility. An energy-monitoring system in the entry lobby allows students and visitors to see real-time energy consumption as compared with an average building performance.

"Taking care of God's creation has always been a biblical priority, but not always a priority of the church," says Columbia's president, Steve Hayner. "Environmental stewardship was a key factor as we planned this new residence hall, and we’re excited that the structure has now been LEED certified for its ecologically friendly design."

"Green" design strategies include an exterior building envelope with above-average insulation values, energy efficient windows, and a geothermal mechanical system which will provide low operating costs and a long lifecycle. In addition, the residence hall’s orientation minimizes east and west exposures to reduce sun angles, thus reducing unwanted glare and heat gain. Nearby trees provide natural sun shading from the south. Large windows take advantage of natural light as much as possible, provide access to views and use sunscreens to reduce direct solar gain where appropriate. To improve energy efficiency, lighting includes motion sensor switching, energy efficient lamps.

Water efficiencies include rainwater collection for landscape irrigation, and water saving plumbing fixtures. Indoor air quality is protected through the use of low VOC adhesives and coatings. Recycled and regional construction materials were used, and construction waste was recycled and reused to the greatest extent possible.

NEW YORK CITY — Auburn Theological Seminary, which is in covenant relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), inaugurated the Rev. Katharine Rhodes Henderson as its sixth president on April 15.  

From radio host Brian Lehrer to John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, from Bishop Yvette Flunder, African American lesbian presiding bishop of the Fellowship, to Dan Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, Auburn convened groups all over the city to discuss exemplary women's religious leadership, corporate ethics, the state of the public intellectual, and the future of seminary education in America.

Henderson said, "Auburn's business is leadership. We believe that leaders matter today more than ever as we see all around us the devastation left in the wake of leaders who have fallen short — from those religious leaders who have stolen from children their childhoods to leaders on Wall Street, Main Street and K Street who have misused their power. At Auburn, our strategy for healing the world is to equip bold and resilient leaders who embody the moral courage for which our world hungers, who can rise to the challenge of this hour. I am honored and humbled to take the helm today."

Author of God's Troublemakers: How Women of Faith are Changing the World, Henderson formerly served as Auburn's executive vice-president, spearheading programs ranging from convening CEOs of major American corporations to engage in rigorous review of ethical business practice pre- and post-recession to gathering young leaders from war-torn countries to practice conflict resolution and multifaith understanding through Auburn's flagship youth leadership program "Face to Face/Faith to Faith."

She succeeds Barbara Wheeler, a Presbyterian elder.

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Jill M. Hudson has been named recipient of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary's Distinguished Alumna Award.

Hudson is middle governing bodies coordinator for the Office of the General Assembly and the General Assembly Mission Council here. She was formerly executive presbyter for Whitewater Valley Presbytery.

Her most recent and widely-read book, When Better Isn’t Enough: Evaluation Tools for the 21st Century Church, was published by the Alban Institute in 2004.

RICHMOND, Va. — Union Theological Seminary-Presbyterian School of Christian Education (soon to be Union Presbyterian Seminary) is celebrating Women and History of Mission Court today (May 3) during a special ceremony and reception.
The Mission Court Buildings on the Union-PSCE campus were built and managed with generous funds provided by the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic to create housing for Presbyterian missionaries on furlough and their families. Beginning in 1920, Mission Court provided a valuable service to the church and to the seminary community.
The Court consists of three buildings on Rennie Avenue — the Virginia Building built in 1921, the North Carolina Building built in 1927, and the West Virginia Building built in 1955.
"We at Union-PSCE are truly grateful to the women of Mission Court for their generous hospitality to so many missionaries and church leaders over the years. The presence of these families on our campus has been a rich resource to area congregations and to the students and professors at the seminary," said Union-PSCE President Brian Blount.
Beginning this summer the buildings will be razed in preparation for the seminary’s future development.

CHICAGO — Beginning in August of 2010, McCormick Theological Seminary will offer the Certificate in Environmental Ministry and Leadership in partnership with Faith in Place, a Chicago-based organization educating faith communities about clean energy and sustainable farming.

The certificate program takes an interactive, cross-disciplinary approach to the faith and environment conversation, leveraging Faith in Place’s experience with a number of innovative ecological initiatives and McCormick's expertise in leadership development for a variety of ministry settings.

Designed for pastors and leaders of religious and nonprofit institutions seeking to integrate ecological justice and care for God's world into their communities and core missions, the program consists of a series of two and one-half day sessions held on McCormick's campus. Sessions are scheduled for August and October of 2010, and February and May of 2011.

For more information on the Certificate in Environmental Ministry and Leadership, visit McCormick Theological Seminary's website.