PRINCETON, N.J. ― Princeton Theological Seminary will welcome Cornelis van der Kooi, professor of systematic theology and chair of the Department of Dogmatics and Ecumenics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, to campus March 31-April 3 when he delivers the annual Warfield Lectures.

The lecture series, titled “This Incredible Benevolent Force: The Holy Spirit in Reformed Theology and Spirituality,” will include six lectures given in the Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room in the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, at the corner of Mercer Street and Library Place in Princeton. The schedule of lectures is as follows: 

  • Monday, March 31, 7:00 p.m. ― “Cosmological Emptiness and the Presence of God: The Rediscovery of Pneumatology”
  • Tuesday, April 1, 3:00 p.m. ― “Christ and the Spirit: Towards a Sustainable Spirit-Christology”
  • Tuesday, April 1, 7:00 p.m. ― “Word and Spirit as Force Field: The Contribution of the Reformed Tradition”
  • Wednesday, April 2, 7:00 p.m. ― “Transformative Spirituality: F.D. Schleiermacher, J.H. Scholten, R. Rothe, A. Kuyper”
  • Thursday, April 3, 3:00 p.m. ― “Partaking in His Anointing: The Threefold Office as GPS for the Theology”
  • Thursday, April 3, 7:00 p.m. ― “Eyes and Ears Open to the World:  Discernment and Hope.” 

van der Kooi earned his Ph.D. from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1984. He joined the university in 2003 as the director of the Center of Evangelical and Reformation Theology.          
He is the author of several books, including Christelijke Dogmatiek (O.W. Dubois, 2012), Critical Edition of Karl Barth (Basel, 2010). His numerous articles have appeared in several journals and books.  

van der Kooi has served as convener for the European Science Foundation and co-leader of the project, Evangelical Theology in Transition. He is on the editorial board of editors of Kerk en Theologie, a member of the wissenschaftliche Beirat der Karl Barth, and a member of the editorial board of Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Theologie. He is currently working on “Sharing in His Anointing,” a project on inquiry in Christology and pneumatology. 

The Warfield Lectures are named in honor of Annie Kinkead Warfield, wife of  Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield, professor of theology at the Seminary from 1887 to 1921. The lectures are free and open to the public. Please call the Office of Communication and External Relations at 609.497.7760 for more information.

DECATUR, Ga. ― Interest in spiritual formation is usually related to our individual lives. We search for ways to grow closer to God through a variety of spiritual practices and may seek out others committed to the spiritual journey. But we often are unable to take the next step which is to create a community dedicated to spiritual formation.

Columbia Theological Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning will offer a March 31-April 4 course to explore many practical ways for building such a community by teaching spiritual formation in our congregations.

“Teaching Spiritual Formation in the Congregation”  will begin by discussing what is meant by spiritual formation and envision what it might look like in a congregation. Then the course will move into experience practices that guide personal spiritual formation, and find ways to share these disciplines with others.

Participants will look closely and compassionately at their own churches to discern their needs for spiritual growth. Finally, the course will discuss specific methods for introducing spiritual formation and eliciting commitments from our congregations

The experiential course, taught by Jane Vennard, will include prayer, small groups, individual reflection, and silence as well as presentations and discussion.

AUSTIN, Texas ― In the midst of competing cultural claims on our identity, Christians continue to profess identity in the triune God. We understand our worth and purpose as individuals and in community through this identity. The patterns and rhythms of Sunday worship and the church’s year form us in this identity. They give us an abundance of riches for faith formation in community.

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is presenting a March 31-April 2 workshop entitled “Learning Through Liturgy.” The event will explore ways that the patterns of worship throughout the church’s year provide purpose and growth even in times of change. Specifically, the event will help participants:

  • Explore secular and religious ways of marking time
  • Analyze the power of repetition in human life
  • Understand how the themes of the church year relate to life questions and experiences
  • Interpret the relationship between rational and aesthetic liturgical practices
  • Utilize a variety of practical strategies, ideas, and resources to make connections between worship throughout the church’s year and lifelong formation in the life of God.

Designed for Christian educators, pastors, Certified Ruling Elders and worship leaders, the workshop will be led by The Rev. Jennifer L. Lord, who pastored congregations in New York state before joining the APTS faculty in 2005. She is currently professor of homiletics and liturgical studies.

CHICAGO ― How do you inspire generosity during  difficult economic times? What do you do when the landscape of religious giving is dramatically changing? How do you apply needed raining and tools to meet the needs of your congregation or non-profit institution?

McCormick Theological Seminary, in cooperation with the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at Indiana University is offering a four-day course, June 2-5, leading to an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising. The purpose of the ECRF is to provide clergy with expertise in fundraising principles and practices and to train development personnel who serve faith-based organizations.

The course will be taught by William Enright , director of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving and a former pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis; Aimée Laramore, associate director of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving with 15 years of experience in fundraising with non-profit and faith-based entities; and Lisa M. Dagher, vice-president of seminary relations and development at McCormick Seminary.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― San Francisco Theological Seminary has announced a new Certificate in Worship Leadership. This program for lay leaders, pastors, and others who help shape worship services will focus on strengthening skills in four key areas: music in worship, spoken word in worship, prayer, and visual arts.

The series of four classes will be offered over a period of nine months beginning in the summer of 2014, with a 25 total contact hours. A nominal fee of $100 will be charged at the time of the second workshop, and lunch will be available at each workshop for an additional fee.

The different areas of worship will be explored by four different, dynamic speakers and will include the following topics:

  • Music in Worship includes two workshops led by John Bell of the Iona Community in Scotland: “The Effect of Sung Text on Popular Belief” and “Embracing Musical Diversity as a Gift of God”. 
  • Spoken Word in Worship is offered in a day long workshop by Jana Childers, dean of the seminary and professor of homiletics, and will address the dynamics of perceiving and evoking the written word, oral interpretation skills, and how the actor’s values and habitus are applied to the act of worship leadership. 
  • Prayer and Words for Worship is offered by SFTS Chaplain Scott Clark and will focus on the flow of the worship service: writing words for liturgy and developing themes in semi-extemporaneous prayer. 
  • Praying a Liturgical Environment, led by Jeff Gaines, pastor of Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church in San Francisco and former spiritual director at the Lloyd Center Pastoral Counseling Service Center on campus. Offered in the fall of 2014, through imagination, discussion, lecture and hands-on experience this workshop will explore creating a liturgical environment for the Season of Advent.

PITTSBURGH ― The World Mission Initiative of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is sponsoring its biennial mission conference, “Beyond the Stained Glass: The Church Sent into the World,” April 4-5.

Keynoters include the Rev. Julie Clawson, author of Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of our Daily Choices;  the Rev. Fahed Abu Akel, a Palestinian-born Presbyterian who was moderator of the 2002 General Assembly and founder of the Atlanta Ministry for International Students; and Richard Peace professor of evangelism and spiritual formation at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Eighteen workshops will also be offered at the conference, with topics ranging from “Can We Really Be Friends with Muslims?” to “Site Unseen: Church Website Outreach” to “Burning Pews, Creating An (Un)Church for the Unchurched.” 

 “The gathering will bring together individuals, congregations, and mid-councils to explore practical ways to look forward,” said the Rev. Donald Dawson, director of the World Mission Initiative and the New Wilmington Mission Conference. “Our hope is to help pastors, mission leaders, mission committee members, and others take away at least one thing that they can use in their church to help their church become more missional focused, more turned out toward the world.”

The World Mission Initiative, dedicated to developing mission vision, nurturing missionary vocations, and cultivating missional congregations, equips students for global mission.

LOUISVILLE ― Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary recently announced the three recipients of its 2014 Distinguished Alumnus/a Award and its First Decade Award.

Established in 1986, the Distinguished Alum Award is given to LPTSgraduates who have made a lasting impact on the church and society through outstanding professional, volunteer, or philanthropic accomplishments; and/or who has advanced the seminary's mission, thereby, enhancing LPTS’ impact on the church and future generations of students. The 2014 recipients are:

  • Lewis Donelson (MDiv ’76), professor of New Testament studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
  • The Rev. Kathy Angi (MDiv ’01), master trainer for the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance and a former PC(USA) mission worker in eastern Europe.
  • The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II (DMin ’02), director of the PC(USA)’s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.

In 2012, Louisville Seminary added a First Decade Award, which is presented to a recent graduate who has made a significant impact on the church and in her/his community in the first five to nine years of ministry and service. The 2014 Louisville Seminary First Decade Award recipient is the Rev. Dr. Lewis Brogdon (MDiv ’05), assistant professor of New Testament and black church studies and director of the Black Church Studies Program at LPTS.

RICHMOND, Va. ― Union Presbyterian Seminary is mourning the passing of Peggie L. Atkins, former director of foundation relations at the seminary.

After teaching private piano lessons for nearly 20 years, she joined Union as a part-time receptionist and quickly rose to grants guru in the development department (1982-2007), where her wit, kindness, and sage advice are still missed today. Upon her retirement in 2007, she continued in her service to the seminary on the President's Advisory Council.

“Peggie was an exceptional Christian,” said Louis Weeks, president emeritus of the seminary. “She was thoroughly effective professionally and thoroughly hospitable in caring for all around her ― 100 percent of both.”

A lifelong Methodist who grew up in Windsor, N.C. Atkins is survived by her spouse of 59 years, James Atkins; three children, Thomas M. Atkins, Susan Atkins (Easterling), and Lynn A. Shibut; five grandchildren and four stepgrandchildren; one brother, Paul T. Lassiter; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A funeral was held at Welborne United Methodist Church in Richmond on March 13.