A compilation of news from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries including Austin Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary and Union Presbyterian Seminary; and other pertinent seminary news. 

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

  • Austin Seminary faculty publish four new books

New books have been published by Austin Seminary faculty including David H. Jensen, academic dean; the Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer, associate professor of New Testament; and Dr. William Greenway, associate professor of philosophical theology.

Jensen's book, 1 & 2 Samuel: A Theological Commentary on the Bible, has been published by Westminster John Knox as part of their Belief series. Aymer co-wrote and co-edited Islands, Islanders, and the Bible: Ruminations, which has been published by the Society for Biblical Literature. Greenway's books, For the Love of All Creatures: The Story of Grace in Genesis and A Reasonable Belief: Why God and Faith Make Sense, have been published by Eerdmans and Westminster John Knox respectively.

  • Austin Seminary launches Spanish language certificate program

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary announced a new program entirely in Spanish without qualification, Certificate in Ministry (CEM), with course offerings starting in winter term—Jan. 4 - March 11, 2016.

This series of courses is designed to address the interests of adult students in theological Christian classics. Those seeking to be commissioned as Commissioned Ruling Elders in presbyteries of the PC(USA) may find these courses meet the requirements for this type of education.

Spanish version: <http://www.austinseminary.edu/page.cfm?p=3189>

Columbia Theological Seminary

  • Event explores change, organization and generosity in smaller churches

The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at Columbia Theological Seminary has extended the early registration discount for Change, Organization, and Generosity in Smaller Congregations (Smaller Churches Seminar 2015).

This energetic and creative learning event will take place at the CLL on November 3-5, 2015.

Congregational Consulting Group members John Wimberly, Sarai Rice and Dan Hotchkiss are experienced congregational leaders of large, medium and smaller congregations, and former consultants with the Alban Institute. They will lead this series of three one-day seminars designed for congregational leaders who welcome 150 or fewer in worship.

Participants may register for one, two or all three days. Each day of this event will focus on a specific topic relevant to small church success.

11/2: Seminar I with Sarai Rice
Fearless Change in the Small Congregation – Clarity, Creativity, and Occasionally Conflict

11/3: Seminar II with John Wimberly
Creating a Lean, Effective Organization in Small Churches  

11/4: Seminar III with Dan Hotchkiss
Beyond Generosity: Small-Church Fundraising Based on Relationship, Vision, and Competence

Registration discounts are still available for early registration and for the three-day bundle. Lunches, refreshments and course materials are included, and at least one of the seminars will offer a complementary evening discussion with dessert.

For a complete program description and to register, click here.

  • Mitri Raheb Added to Bible, Empire, and Reception History Speakers

Columbia Theological Seminary announced a new addition to the speaker list for its Nov. 18-19 conference on Bible, Empire, and Reception History.

“We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Mitri Raheb, an internationally acclaimed author, will present at the Bible, Empire and Reception History conference at Columbia Seminary,” said Dr. Raj Nadella, professor of New Testament, in a statement. “Dr. Raheb is the author of 16 books, and he has appeared on networks such as CNN, ABC, BBC and in publications such as Newsweek and The Economist.”

Mitri Raheb is the president of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem. He is the recipient of several international awards such as the Aachener Peace Prize, the Wittenberg Award, and the German Media Award, for which past recipients include the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, and Kofi Annan.

The Bible, Empire, and Reception History conference will explore the production and use of the Bible in various historical contexts of empire. It will consider the use of postcolonial criticism in interpreting biblical texts and its implications in modern contexts.

  • Rodger Nishioka Appointed to Leadership for Theology of Joy and the Good Life Project

Rodger Nishioka, Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education, has been appointed to the Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing (JAFF) Advisory Board of the Theology of Joy and the Good Life project based at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. The three-year research project is made possible by a $4.2 million grant from The John Templeton Foundation.

The JAFF Advisory Board will assemble some of the nation’s foremost scholars of youth ministry. As a member of the board, Nishioka will conduct research and direct the project in collaboration with the project’s principal investigator, Miroslav Volf, Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School, and a group of scholars and religious leaders from institutions around the globe, including Jürgen Moltmann, Jonathan Sacks, N. T. Wright, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.

Nishioka contributed to a 2014 planning project on the Theology of Joy, during which the fundamental questions of the Theology of Joy and the Good Life project were formulated. The Theology of Joy and the Good Life project will conduct research and facilitate interdisciplinary conferences and other gatherings to build a transformative movement driven by a Christian articulation of the joy that attends the flourishing human life.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Nishioka’s leadership in thisproject,” said Volf. “We are working to identify the practices and attitudes that hinder and develop sustained joy in adolescence, so that we can offer resources that will enable adolescents to live lives of joyful flourishing. Having Dr. Nishioka’s expertise in Christian education and the formation of faith in young people is essential for this important project.”

  • Lecture on Origin and Evolution of the Universe

Chris De Pree, theCharles A. Dana Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College, will be the next lecturer as part of the “Science for Seminaries” program sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Dr. De Pree will present his talk on "The Origin and Evolution of the Universe" Nov. 11, on the Columbia Seminary campus. The event is open to the public.

Prof. De Pree studies the formation and evolution of massive stars in the Milky Way galaxy. In this presentation, he will trace the origin and evolution of the universe from the moment of the Big Bang to the current era. Along the way, he will pause to explain some details in the origin and evolution of objects both large and small in the universe, and end with questions about the place of humans in all this.

Prof. De Pree hosts a popular monthly Open House series at Bradley Observatory on the campus of Agnes Scott College, where he is the Director. He has written and edited a number of popular science books, including Idiot’s Guides: The Cosmos (2014), The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy (4e, 2008), Physics Made Simple (2e, 2005), Recent Issues and Advances in Astronomy (2003) and The Van Nostrand Concise Encyclopedia of Science (2003).

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

  • Call for Nominations: 2016 Distinguished Alum Awards

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2016 Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Distinguished Alum Award and the 2016 Louisville Seminary First Decade Award.

The Distinguished Alum Award is given to a graduate of Louisville Seminary who has 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 its impact on the church and future generations of students.

The First Decade Award 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.

Nominations are due by Nov. 21, 2015. For questions, contact Sally Pendleton at spendleton@lpts.edu.

  • Call for Nominations: 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Religion

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Any work (book, address, essay, etc.) presented or published in 2010 or later will be eligible for consideration for the 2017 award.

Nominations are invited from religious organizations, appropriate academic associations, religious leaders and scholars, presidents of universities or schools of religion, publishers and editors of scholarly journals.

Nominations for the 2017 Grawemeyer Award must be received by Dec. 1, 2015.

Princeton Theological Seminary

  • Princeton named top generator of PhD faculty at theological schools

Princeton Theological Seminary has provided more faculty with doctoral degrees to schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) than any other institution of higher education, according to an August 2015 report from the ATS’s Commission on Accrediting.

“The doctoral program at Princeton Seminary has a long tradition of training excellent scholars who are also deeply committed to the life of the church,” said M. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Seminary. “The graduates of our program have made substantive contributions to their academic disciplines, and they have a profound influence on the church as they shape its future pastors and leaders in their classrooms. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the doctoral program this year, we are proud to mark the accomplishments of our alumni and the impact of this program in theological education.”

According to the report, 120 graduates of Princeton Theological Seminary’s doctoral program serve in faculty positions at ATS member schools. The Seminary jumped from fourth place in 2001 to the top spot in 2015.

  • Princeton Theological Seminary celebrates library’s completion

Princeton Theological Seminary marked the completion of its library by inviting friends and neighbors in the Princeton area to a public reception on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

“We’re delighted to celebrate the outstanding work of so many people to make this building possible,” said President M. Craig Barnes. “The Library is at the heart of the Seminary’s mission to encourage vibrant intellectual conversations that inform the life of faith. We hope the Princeton community will feel welcome in this building and view it as a valued resource for learning, reflection, and study.”

The celebration included remarks from President Barnes, light refreshments, and tours of the Library facilities with project architect Rayford Law of Rayford W Law Architecture+Planning in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Seminary dedicated the atrium in honor of former Seminary President Iain R. Torrance, who spearheaded the project, and the tower in honor of Heather Sturt Haaga and Paul G. Haaga Jr., whose generous support made the project’s completion possible. 

  • Library lecture series and book signings

Princeton Theological Seminary has announced speakers for its upcoming Library Lecture Series and Book Signings, October 2015 through April 2016. Discover a world of ideas about things that really matter.

The public is invited to engage in conversations about culture, religion, and public life. The lecture series and book signings are a free community event that will highlight the ways faith, film, politics and the environment intersect. 

The lecture series kicks off Thursday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. with “Light in the Darkness: Images of Evil and Redemption in Hitchcock’s Films,” given by Dr. C. Clifton Black, Otto A. Piper Professor of Biblical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary.

See the master of suspense in a whole new light as Black shows clips from classic films like The Birds, Rear Window, and Psycho, and discusses significant themes in Alfred Hitchcock’s work.     

The remaining schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, December 1 at 12:00 p.m.
Book Signing and Conversation
Inventing American Religion: Polls, Surveys, and the Tenuous Quest for a Nation’s Faith
Speaker: Dr. Robert Wuthnow, author, professor of sociology, and director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University

Thursday, February 11
at 7:00 p.m.
Lecture: “Faith and Politics: Religion on the 2016 Campaign Trail”
Lecturer: Elizabeth Dias, correspondent, TIME Magazine

Tuesday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Lecture: “Down to Earth: The Bible and Environmental Ethics”
Lecturer: Dr. Jacqueline Lapsley, associate professor of Old Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary 

Thursday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Book Signing and Conversation
The Battle for Yellowstone: Morality and Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict
Speaker: Dr. Justin Farrell, author, and assistant professor of sociology, Yale University
All events will be held in the Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room in the Princeton Theological Seminary Library, 25 Library Place in Princeton. It is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Kate Skrebutenas, director of access, research, and outreach, at 609.497.7933 or kate.skrebutenas@ptsem.edu.

  • New trustees appointed to Princeton Seminary Board

Princeton Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Trustees: the Rev. Dr. Hana Kim as a charter trustee, and the Rev. Mark J. DeVries as an alumni trustee. They were elected at the May 2015 board meeting and installed at the October 2015 board meeting.

Hana Kim serves as lead pastor at New Song Myung-Sung Community Church in Hanam, South Korea, and as CEO at Ethiopia Exploration Foundation. He previously served as executive associate pastor at Myung-Sung Presbyterian Church in Seoul, South Korea. Kim is adjunct professor of history at the United Graduate School of Theology at Yonsei University in Seoul. He has also taught at Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary in Seoul, New York Theological Seminary, Denver Seminary, Drew University, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He earned a PhD and an MPhil degree from Drew University, and was awarded a ThM from Princeton Seminary.

Mark DeVries serves as associate pastor of new ministry at the First Presbyterian Church of Nashville, Tenn. He previously served as associate pastor for youth and families from 1986 to 2014. In 2002 he founded Ministry Architects. He has trained youth workers across the United States and Canada, as well as in Russia, Uganda, South Africa, Ecuador, Trinidad, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, working with a wide variety of denominations.

At the October board meeting, Afeosemime (Afe) Adogame was installed as the Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Christianity and Society. F.W. “Chip” Dobbs-Allsopp was recognized for his promotion to full professor; he is now professor of Old Testament.

Fuller Theological Seminary

  • Artist Makoto Fujimura joins Fuller faculty

Makoto (“Mako”) Fujimura has joined the seminary as director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. Fujimura’s appointment, effective Sept. 1, 2015, follows a yearlong international search process. Master painter Fujimura is a respected leader in the conversation between Christian faith and art. A devoted believer, world-renowned artist, and cultural influence, his leadership has had a profound impact around the world.

Fujimura is the craftsperson of a movement toward renewal called “culture care.” This magnum opus work, his alternative to “culture wars,” is born from the integration of his work as an artist and his commitment to his Christian faith. He says it is worship that integrates all of his endeavors, acting as the heartbeat of a legacy that dovetails beautifully with the task before Fuller and with the original vision of the Brehm Center.

“I am filled with gratitude and joy at the rich opportunity I have to welcome Mako as the new director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts,” says Fuller President Mark Labberton. “This role ‘shaping culture shapers,’ as Bill and Dee Brehm noted in the early days of their vision, is key for Fuller, and Mako beautifully fulfills our commitment to innovation, collaboration, faithfulness, fruitful risk-taking, and courageous creativity. Bill has always said of the brainstorming process: ‘start with the universe!’ The appointment of Makoto Fujimura to the directorship of the center that bears the Brehm name lives up to that robust challenge.”

Fujimura will be a “vision director” for Fuller’s Brehm Center, working directly with President Labberton toward a “robust, imaginative experience for Fuller students,” says Fujimura. “My goal for all of us is to experience our God as the author of beauty.  My studio is where I experience the presence of my calling the most, and is also where I can offer an integrated experience to others.”