RICHMOND, Va. ― Union Presbyterian Seminary will host seminars in Church Business Administration on its Richmond campus July 22–25 and July 28–31. These seminars are designed to equip church business administrators, administrative assistants, treasurers, pastors, and others who want to develop and enhance their skills in church business administration. Participants in the seminar will learn to manage finances, legal and tax issues, facilities and property, human resources, communication, and strategic planning.

“We’ve been offering seminars in these areas for more than two decades,”says Ken McFayden, dean of the Leadership Institute of Union Presbyterian Seminary, which offers these seminars in cooperation with the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA).  “Beginning in 2014, we will have a new curriculum that will make church administration seminars more accessible and affordable.” 

This summer all of the core seminars required for certification as a Certified Church Administrator (CCA) are being offered in a two-week period. Participants may register for the full two weeks, or for one week this summer and one week next summer. Seminars also are open to people who are not seeking certification.

The cost of these seminars is $500 for both weeks (eight days) or $250 for one week (four days). Participants may also register for individual seminars at a cost of $75 per day (a two-day course would be $150). Meals and lodging are available at an additional cost.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― San Francisco Theological Seminary has entered into an agreement with the Disciples Seminary Foundation (DSF) that will make it easier for Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) students to attend SFTS.

SFTS is the fourth school to enter into such a partnership with DSF, joining the Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology, Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., and the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry.

SFTS President James McDonald said, “This valuable partnership and growing relationship between SFTS and DSF strengthens our common efforts in preparing leaders for service both in and outside the church in a constantly changing world.”

DSF President Jon Berquist added, “SFTS and DSF have shared a rich history of cooperation … Disciples ministers have been studying at SFTS for decades. Some of our strongest pastors and leaders have attended SFTS programs and DSF has been very proud of these graduates.”

DECATUR, Ga. ― Columbia Theological Seminary has launched a new blog called Columbia Connections. This builds on their successful advertising campaign theme “Columbia Connects!”

“We will use the blog both as a place to repost and highlight excellent work from other communication channels and as a place to try out some new things,” said Michael Thompson, director of communications for the seminary. “We have done everything possible to make this a full community site!”

There are five categories for the blog posts which will be used alternately:

  • About Columbia: information for prospective students and supporters
  • Along the Journey: continuing education articles from The Center for Lifelong Learning
  • In the Campus Forum: news from Columbia Theological Seminary
  • Imaginative & Resilient: articles by and about faculty, staff, and students
  • For God’s Changing World: articles by and about alumni/ae and church partners.

The first articles have already been published, along with the most recent videos on the theme “Columbia Connects!” The seminary expects to post about 3 articles each week. The site also uses static pages with information that will lead searchers back to the seminary’s website.

PRINCETON, N.J. ―  One hundred fifty-two students were awarded 165 degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary’s 202nd commencement on May 24.

Students received their Master of Arts, Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees during the ceremony. Graduates’ friends and family members filled the Princeton University Chapel and joined in the celebration.

In his address, “The Reverend Dr. Theophilus,” President M. Craig Barnes, challenged graduates to move from being disciples to apostles. Barnes ushered them to experience the unpredictable power of the Holy Spirit, which will take their ministry to unforeseen places. 

AUSTIN, Texas ― Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary graduating senior Jo Kretzler was named the 2014 Chidester Preaching Award recipient, a prize made possible through a gift from First Presbyterian Church in Malvern, Ark. Kretzler, a native of Manchester, England, was recommended for the award by the seminary’s homiletics (preaching) faculty.

The Chidester Award is given annually to recognize a graduating student who shows greatest potential in the area of preaching. The award includes a $5000 prize and an invitation to preach and worship with the Malvern congregation.

“I am honored and humbled to have won this award,” Kretzler said. “I am especially grateful for my classmates who also applied their exceptional preaching gifts, and I am looking forward to meeting the congregation at Malvern Presbyterian Church this summer.”

“We are very pleased to know that Jo’s gifts for preaching will be honored in this way. We remain so grateful for the Malvern, Arkansas, Presbyterians who made this visionary award possible,” said Seminary President Theodore J. Wardlaw.

CHICAGO ― McCormick Theological Seminary has selected the Rev. John Buchanan, pastor emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church, editor of The Christian Century and former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly as the inaugural recipient of its Visionary Award.

The Visionary Award honors distinguished persons who embody McCormick’s core values and vision for the future, and are agents of transformational change. The award honors one to three leaders annually.  Honorees are recommended by the Seminary Relations and Development Committee and selected by the president and board of trustees.

The award will be presented to Buchanan at a dinner in his honor Oct. 24 during the seminary’s October board of trustees meeting together with McCormick Days. The event will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner and program beginning at 6:45 p.m.  

PITTSBURGH ― The Rev. Edwin Chr. Van Driel was installed as the associate professor of theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary on May 12.

“At the center of the Seminary’s identity is a desire to produce people who can engage in theologically reflective ministry,” said van Driel.” We hope to send people into the church who not only can read high level scholarship and engage in the nuts and bolts of church work, but who can imagine one in the light of the other, who can re-think theologically what it means to be church in a post-Christendom world. And that’s exactly what I try to do as well. My work is always focused on helping the church to reflect more deeply theologically on what it is and called to be.”

Van Driel joined the seminary in 2009. Previously, he taught for two years at Fordham University. A native of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, he holds master’s degrees in theology and philosophy from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in religious studies (theology) from Yale University.

After the publication of his Incarnation Anyway (Oxford University Press, 2008), van Driel has been engaged in two research projects. One project teases out the implications for Protestant theology of contemporary Pauline exegesis. The other focuses on the doctrine of the church.