Applications are due September 30 for $500 study grants available from Columbia Theological Seminary's S3 (Sabbath, Study and Service) Project.

For small, self-selected groups of clergy and other church professionals, S3 offers the opportunity to design and participate in learning projects that strengthen their practice of ministry. Groups will receive $500 per person to fund self-directed projects. The S3 project also covers room and board on campus for two required retreats in February, 2011 and February, 2012.  

The application procedure requires a group proposal and individual applications for each group member. A brochure and application are available online at or by contacting Sarah Erickson at (404) 687-4526 or by email. Groups will be notified of acceptance by October 15.  

Assistance with transportation-related expenses to attend the retreats will be available on an as-needed basis (not to exceed $300 per person). Groups accepted into the project will receive more information about how to apply for assistance following acceptance.

CHICAGO — McCormick Theological Seminary has named Michael McConnell (1971 M.Div. as its 2010 Distinguished Alumnus for his nearly 45-year commitment to peacemaking.

An outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin in the mid 1960s, McConnell has never wavered in his commitment to peace and non-violence. In 1983 he traveled to the border of Honduras and Nicaragua, where his personal contact with families affected by the Contra War convinced him of the need to work for change at the policy-making level.

One of his best-known books, Sanctuary: The New Underground Railroad, was co-written with Renny Golden as a response to requests for more information about the movement.

McConnell’s more recent work has focused on a multi-sensory exhibit called "Eyes Wide Open: the Human Cost of War in Iraq," which is designed to create a public forum to enable the families of those who lost their lives in Iraq to speak openly and publicly about their experiences. Having debuted in Chicago's Federal Plaza in January 2004, Eyes Wide Open is now separated into smaller exhibits and is shown in several states.

A formal presentation of the award to McConnell is scheduled at a special alumni/ae luncheon at McCormick Days, October 26, 2010.

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Dean K. Thompson concluded his service as the eighth president of Louisville Seminary on Aug. 31. 

During his tenure, one-quarter of the seminary’s current faculty were hired. The student body reached 25% racial ethnic students and the first African American administrators in the seminary’s history were hired. Last fall saw the largest entering class of students in nearly a decade.

More than 60 percent of the seminary's trustees came on the board during Thompson's tenure. The Scholarship for Excellence program distributed more than four times the amount in grants during his last year than the year before he arrived. In just the last year, more than $1 million was given to the seminary for new scholarships and financial support of students.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. — San Francisco Theological Seminary is continuing its longstanding tradition of providing not only pastors to serve congregations, but also executive leaders for synods and presbyteries throughout the United States.

Close to its San Anselmo campus, SFTS graduate the Rev. Calvin Chinn (’66) is the new transitional executive presbyter for the Presbytery of San Francisco. The Rev. Richard Neese ('89) is the new moderator of the Presbytery of the Cascades in Oregon. The Rev. Laura Stellmon (’89) took over as executive presbyter for Presbytery of Utah in April after a year as transitional presbyter. And the Rev. Wendy Tajima (’97) is the new interim stated clerk for the Presbytery of the Pacific in Los Angeles after serving as SFTS associate dean of enrollment.

The most recent moderator of the PC(USA) General Assembly, the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, is also an SFTS graduate, as are numerous other GA moderators, such as the late Howard Rice (1979), the Rev. Jack Rogers (2001), the Rev. David Dobler (1993) the Rev. Harriet Nelson (1984) and Herb Valentine (1991).

PRINCETON, N.J. — The continuing education program at Princeton Theological Seminary has been retooled and is now known as the School of Christian Vocation & Mission (SCVM). The program includes everthing from multi-cultural mission training to courses dedicated to lay leaders.

The newly revamped program kicked off recently with a week-long Institute of Theology event focusing on how the Christian theological vision effectively translates into the real-world challenges facing congregations today.  The event also marks the launch of SCVM's newly restructured curriculum, building on a 70-year-old legacy of providing ongoing educational opportunities to pastors and lay leaders through theologically rich courses and resources for lifelong learning.

Later this fall, the SCVM will offer a newly designed Pastoral Leadership Program, focused on the continued development of core identities of  pastors, the newly-ordained as well as seasoned veterans.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary welcomed 38 master's-level students and 11 special students, representing 10 denominations, at the start of its 2010-2011 academic year on Sept. 7 under the leadership of President Theodore J. Wardlaw.

The Rev. Jennifer Lord, associate professor of homiletics, delivered the opening convocation address, "Being the Body: Liturgical Theology’s Images of Corporate Worship."

This year's entering APTS class includes students who have served as volunteers in ministry in places such as New Orleans, Hollywood, Romania, and Peru. The diverse incoming class includes, among various occupations and denominations, a registered nurse, a personal chef, a former employee of the Embassy of Kuwait, and a football player for the University of Illinois. Four of the students have master's degrees in fields such as global studies, religion, history, family ministry, and social work.

RICHMOND, Va. — Union Presbyterian Seminary-Charlotte campus will hold its opening convocation on Sept. 11 in Belk Chapel at Queens University. This year's service marks the first time students are being admitted to Union Presbyterian Seminary since its name change from Union-PSCE in July of this year.

"The beginning of the school year is always a time of joy and excitement," said Tom Currie, dean of students, Charlotte campus, "This is especially true this year as we begin with a new name, a new vision and new students who are eager to embark upon the arduous yet happy journey of preparation for service in Christ's church."

Rodney S. Sadler, Jr., associate professor of Bible, will address the student body during the worship service. Sadler earned his Ph.D at Duke University. His teaching experiences include courses in biblical languages, Old and New Testament interpretation, wisdom literature in the Bible, the history and religion of ancient Israel, and African American biblical interpretation.