DUBUQUE ― This fall, the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (UDTS) will offer two Christian Leadership Plus online continuing education courses ― Preaching for Pastors and An Advent of Alternatives: The Lectionary, Year D, and Beyond

Preaching for Pastors will be taught by the Rev. Gary Neal Hansen, associate professor of church history, and will feature an interesting twist.  This course, which began Sept. 15, examines how pastors teach and encourage the discipline of prayer in their congregations.  Through reading, lectures, discussions, and the practice of prayer, this class invites pastors to examine five different Christian approaches to prayer.

The second Christian Leadership Plus class, An Advent of Alternatives: The Lectionary, Year D, and Beyond,will be taught by the Rev. Timothy Slemmons, associate professor of homiletics and worship.  This course, which begins on October 20, will explore various approaches to preaching during Advent. Slemmons will provide a forum for pastors and commissioned ruling elders who are serving congregations to study and discuss alternatives for preaching and worship planning in Advent.  He will also help each pastor to exegete texts and plan sermons appropriate to their contexts and share the fruits of their labors in essay or sermon form in a way that may assist others seeking a fresh approach to Advent.

CHICAGO ― McCormick Theological Seminary has announced a new certificate program in Leadership for a Transformed Church, in collaboration with the Presbytery of Chicago. Announcing the new certificate program, the seminary said: “Effective leadership in today's changing churches requires new skills and abilities to meet tomorrow's growth and challenges. This program will match church teams with an experienced pastor/coach who will work with them to accomplish their church's goals.” 

This program emphasizes developing adaptive and transformation skills, combining church leadership theory and practice with theological reflection. Pastors, church leaders, and staff are welcome to participate in the four-part program and coaching sessions. The two-day sessions will meet over the course of a year and cover diverse, yet related, topics:

  • November 2014: “Who's and How's of Reaching Our Neighbors in the 21st Century” 
  • January 2015: “Challenges of Growth in the Missional Church”
  • April 2015 “The innovative Church”
  • September 2015: “Living into Your Church's Vocation”

Applications are being accepted now through October 15, 2014

DECATUR, Ga. ― Distinguished scholar Kathleen A. Cahalan of Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville, Minn., and director of the Collegeville Institute Seminars will present the Smyth Lectures at Columbia Theological Seminary on Oct. 28-30.

Cahalan recently co-edited Opening the Field of Practical Theology with Gordon Mikoski. In 2005 she was recognized with a second place book award from the Catholic Press Association for her work Formed in the Image of Christ: The Sacramental-Moral Theology of Bernard Haring.

Her lectures will include:

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7:00 p.m.: Called to Profess: Why Vocation Matters in the Work We Do

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 12:00 Noon: Toward Practical Wisdom: Integrative Teaching and Learning in Theological Education

Thursday, Oct. 29, 12:00 Noon: Spiritual Practice for the Sake of Practical Wisdom: On Discernment, Humility, and Unknowing

The Smyth Lectures were established at Columbia Seminary in 1911 by the bequest of the Rev. Thomas Smyth, pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, S.C. The aim was to establish “a course of lectures on the fundamental principles of the Christian faith.” 

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― San Francisco Theological Seminary is offering two workshops this fall as part of course three in its certificate program in worship leadership. The course title is “Prayer and Words for Worship.”

The first workshop, on Sept. 27, is called “Prayer Experiences for Worship.” Led by SFTS Chaplain the Rev. Scott Clark, the workshop explores the central role of prayer in worship. Participants will experience different ways that we pray in worship ― through the words of liturgy, sung prayer, incorporating silence in worship, praying for each other and for the concerns of the world, to name a few. Working with the SFTS Worship Team, the workshop participants will craft a worship service, creating interactive prayer stations.

The second workshop, on Nov. 8, will be led by the Rev. Jeff Gaines, pastor of San Francisco’s Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church. Titled “Praying a Liturgical Environment,” it will explore creating a liturgical environment for the Season of Lent through imagination, discussion, lecture and hands-on experience. The lectionary texts will be prayed in order to discover a theme, visual focus, and overall environment for the liturgical setting. 

ATLANTA ― Paul T. Roberts Sr., president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary has announced release of the seminary’s 2013-14 Annual Report, which he said reflects “one of the most dramatic years in its 147 history.”

The most striking of these changes, Roberts note, “took place on June 30, 2014, when JCSTS disaffiliated from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) after 45 years.”

As the seminary moves forward, Roberts said, it does so aspiring to: 

  • Become a leading seminary.
  • Optimize the use of web-based and mobile technology in delivering customizable and affordable theological education.
  • Build a dynamic web presence integral to institutional advancement and recruitment.
  • Be responsible stewards of the heritage of the Black Church rendering it relevant and actionable for new generations of African-Americans and other racial-ethnic groups.
  • Recruit a diverse student body, giving particular attention to underserved communities.
  • Be a voice for justice in the PC(USA) and the world.
  • Prepare and equip students for the economic realities of today's Church. 
  • Be institutionally nimble and financially strong.
  • Collaborate innovatively with seminaries, undergraduate schools, and other partner organizations. 

The full report is available at: http://www.smithseminary.org/Annual-Report.

PRINCETON, N.J. ― Dale C. Allison Jr., professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, will deliver the seminary’s Stone Lectures beginning Monday, Oct. 6. The five-lecture series is titled “Death, Imagination, and the Last Things.”  

The schedule for the lectures:

  • Monday, October 6, 7:00 p.m. ― “Death and Fear”
  • Tuesday, October 7, 3:00 p.m. ― “Ignorance and Imagination”
  • Tuesday, October 7, 7:00 p.m. ― “Bodies and Resurrection”
  • Wednesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m. ― “Judgment and Partiality”
  • Thursday, October 9, 3:00 p.m. ― “Hell and Sympathy” 

Allison’s academic research has focused on the Gospel of Matthew, the historical Jesus, the Sayings Gospel (Q), early Jewish and Christian eschatology, inner-biblical exegesis, the history of the interpretation and application of biblical texts, and the Jewish Pseudepigrapha, especially the Testament of Abraham and 4 Baruch.

His recent publications include A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle of James (International Critical Commentary) and Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History On a more popular level, he has written books on the Sermon on the Mount, George Harrison, and religious experience in the modern world. He is currently working on a book on death as well as a commentary of 4 Baruch.  

Allison received his M.A. and his Ph.D. from Duke University.

 The Stone Lectures were created in 1871 by Levi P. Stone, Esq., of Orange, N.J., a director and also a trustee of the seminary.