Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary will celebrate its144th Founders’ Day on March 3 in the chapel of the Interdenominational Theological Center here. The Rev. Byron Wade, pastor of Davie Street Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, N.C. and vice-moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is the Founders’ Day preacher. 

The Founder’s Day celebration will culminate later that day with the inauguration of  the Rev. Paul T. Roberts as the new president and dean of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary.  The Inauguration will take place at New Life Presbyterian Church in College Park, GA at 7:00 p.m.  A reception will follow immediately. 

Roberts’ installation marks the beginning of a new theme for the institution: “A New Seminary for a New Day.” Those planning to attend the inauguration are asked to RSVP by phone at (404) 527-7781 or by email.

LOUISVILLE — The Women’s Center at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has taken an active role in raising awareness about the seriousness of domestic violence. Over the next three months, the Center will offer “Mending the World: The Margaret Hopper Taylor Seminars Challenging Domestic Violence,” a series of workshops to encourage seminarians, individuals, and faith leaders to become more active in recognizing and standing against domestic violence, even within their own faith communities.

The series includes:

Sat., Feb. 19, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.: “It Happens in the Nicest Congregations — What Everyone Needs to Know about Domestic Violence” with JoAnn Rowan, Center for Women & Families.

Sat., March 12, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.: "Gender Respect: New Directions in Preventing Domestic Violence" with Rus Funk, director of Menswork, Inc.

Sat., April 2, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.: "Congregational Responses to Domestic Violence" with the Rev. Nancy Troy, pastor and social welfare expert.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. — San Francisco Theological Seminary has received a $1.5 million pledge toward the renovation of its historic Landon Hall student apartments from the Rev. and  Mrs. John F. Shaw of Seattle.

The Shaws met on the steps of SFTS’ Montgomery Hall in 1951 when they were both new students at the seminary. They graduated in 1954. In 2000, they endowed the Shaw Family Chair of Clinical Pastoral Education, the first of its kind in the country. 

The renovation of Landon Hall will provide SFTS with flexible housing for married students. SFTS has decided to preserve the name of the Landon Hall apartments, which was named after the Rev. Warren Landon, who served on the seminary’s faculty for 36 years and was president from 1910-28. In appreciation of this gift, the Seminary is naming its Victorian guest house the Shaw Guest House.

The seminary will honor the Shaws for their pledge during Alumni Reunion Weekend April 7-9. On April 8, there will be groundbreaking ceremony at Landon Hall followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception at the Shaw Guest House from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The Shaws are expected to be in attendance.

RICHMOND, Va. — The Center for Ministry and Leadership Development at Union Presbyterian Seminary promotes excellence in ministry by stimulating growth, development, and renewal for church leaders. It sponsors a wide range of lectures and seminars geared toward congregational leaders and church professions in the Richmond area.

Upcoming seminars include:

The Carl Howie Center for Science, Art, and Theology Lecture, Feb. 7 with Dr. William C. Horton III speaking on “The Science of the Soul.”

Preaching Challenging New Testament Texts, Feb. 28-March 2 with UPS professors John Carroll, professor of New Testament, and Beverly Zink-Sawyer, professor of preaching and worship.

Recreology - A Three-Day Workshop on the Theology of Play!, March 7-9 with Beth Gunn,  associate for youth for the Presbytery of Western North Carolina.

The Dawe Lectures, March 28 with Paul Knitter, professor of theology, world religions and culture at Union Theological Seminary in New York, speaking on "Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian."

Theology and Film, April 4-6 with Pamela Mitchell-Legg, UPS’ professor of Christian education. 

PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton Theological Seminary has just begun a spring film festival in conjunction with its course “Through a Glass, Darkly: The Biblical and Shakespearean Visions,” taught by Clifton Black, the seminary’s professor of biblical theology.

The festival, on selected Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m., features directors and actors including Ian McKellen, Michael Radford, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes, Lynn Collins, Rupert Goold, Patrick Stewart, and Kate Fleetwood.

The schedule for film screenings is as follows:
Tue., Feb. 1: Acting Shakespeare (1982): a recital with commentary by Ian McKellen.

Mon., Feb. 14: The Merchant of Venice (2004): directed by Michael Radford and starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes, and Lynn Collins.

Tue., Mar. 1: Macbeth (2010): Directed by Rupert Goold and starring Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood.

Mon., Mar. 21: Hamlet (1996) [Part One]: Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, and Richard Briers.

Tue., Mar. 22: Hamlet (1996) [Part Two]: Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Kenneth Branagh, Kate Winslet, Billy Crystal, and Robin Williams.

Mon., Apr. 4: King Lear (2008): Directed by Trevor Nunn and Chris Hunt, and starring Ian McKellen and Frances Barber.

“Christian theology is, or should be, biblically based,” says Black, “and theology is considered reflection on what God is doing in the world. Shakespeare’s genius lay in crystallizing the stuff of our world with tension, insight, and poetry. The wedding of religion and politics, the freedom and limits of human will, the sense in suffering: to ponder his plays from a biblical platform is exhilarating.”

NEW YORK — In the only study of its kind, a team of researchers led by Barbara G. Wheeler, former president of Auburn Theological Seminary and director of the school’s Center for the Study of Theological Education, looked at new seminary presidencies and why they succeed or fail.

Their key finding is an eye-opener:  success hinges not on credentials, but on character. “There is no correlation between resume and presidential success,” according to “Leadership That Works,” an unprecedented four-year study of seminary leadership. Personal qualities — rather than experience or training — are the leading predictors of success.

"Experience would seem to be desirable,” the study notes. “But this study did not prove that presidents who had previously managed staff or raised funds in other settings necessarily do that work better when they become the head of a seminary than those with little or no practice at those tasks.”

The Leadership Report also finds that leaders who work outside of their "comfort zones", willing to tackle undesirable tasks, were amongst the most successful. "Presidents need to decide what the job requires and do that, rather than the parts of the job they're good at or feel good doing," Wheeler said.

Says noted seminary professor, theologian, and Fuller Theological Seminary President Richard Mouw: “I wish I had this study available to me when I started out as a president 17 years ago. And I am glad I have it now. It should become must-reading for all presidents of theological schools as well as for all who care deeply about the future of theological education.” — Susan K Barnett, Impact! Communications