theological education

Oldest U.S. Graduate Seminary to Close Campus

Image via Andover Newton Theological Seminary / RNS

America’s oldest graduate seminary is once again blazing a trail for other mainline Protestant institutions to follow. But this time it’s a path many would rather not travel.

On Nov. 12, Andover Newton Theological School announced plans to relocate and sell its 20-acre campus in Newton, Mass. The move will be part of “a bold new direction” for the 208-year-old school as it struggles with big deficits.

“God is doing something new in this time,” said Andover Newton President Martin Copenhaver.

“We have to figure out what it is and get with the program.”

Commemorating 9/11 by Desegregating Theological Education

I just returned from a very moving convocation at the Claremont School of Theology where I am on the faculty. We were celebrating the historic founding of a new interreligious theological university that brings together institutions representing the three Abrahamic faiths, along with our newest partner, the Jains. The Jains are an eastern religion founded in India over 2,500 years ago who are perhaps best known for their deep commitment to the concept of no-harm or ahimsa.

While each partner institution will continue to train religious leaders in their own traditions, the Claremont Lincoln University will be a space where future religious leaders and scholars can learn from each other and collaboratively seek solutions to major global issues that no one single religion can solve alone. The CLU's founding vision of desegregating religion was reflected in the extraordinary religious diversity present at the convocation held in a standing room-only auditorium. I sat next to a Jewish cantor and a Muslim woman who had tears flowing down her face as we listened to the prayers offered in all four religions along with a reflection from a Humanist speaker.

Teachable Moments

The Noise
By Avedis Abovian

One morning while  I was doing my clinical pastoral education, I was praying in the chapel at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. There was nobody else in that small room. The conditions were perfect to be alone with God. What else did I need at that beautiful moment to feel an important part of God's kingdom?

At that very moment my thoughts were interrupted by noises from the other side of chapel doors.

I stopped. I was amazed.

It was a revelation: "You cannot just know about people on the other side of your doors. Just listening to their cries and understanding their struggles can never be enough as long as they are on the other side of your doors. This is not about 'big plans' that may bring positive changes. It is about connecting person to person; having them sit next to you at your dinner table; praying not just for them, but with them. This is about opening your doors and bringing everyone in and making them 'you' -- turning yourself into ‘them’ and together becoming God's people."

We are never alone with God. There is always the noise that should become our being, our prayer, and our connection with God.

Avedis Abovian is a priest and the youth director for the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. He received his master’s in divinity from Claremont School of Theology in 2008 and his bachelor’s from Vazgenian Theological Seminary in Sevan, Armenia, in 1997. He lives in Burbank, California.

Everything is not Eschatological
By Nikia Smith Robert

Everything is not eschatological: Everything is not otherworldly or heavenly bound.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!