Boston, MA, November 20, 2017 – The Boston Declaration, condemning the abuse of the Christian faith by many conservatives today, was just written, signed and released by over 300 hundred Christian theologians attending the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, an annual meeting of nearly 10,000 professionals in religion.
In a dramatic press conference at Boston’s famous Old South Church, where many dressed in sackcloth and ashes to call for repentance and change in Christianity in the United States, the presenters were clear that white American Evangelicalism is in a crisis, a crisis of its own making. It has abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Is Roy Moore a hill on which Evangelicals are prepared to die? As for me and my house, ‘Hell no, we won’t go,’” said Evangelical theologian Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology at New York Theological Seminary, asking the crisis question and answering it. “During difficult days in our nation, The Boston Declaration calls Christians to follow the Jesus Way, bearing prophetic witness to Christ through fight racism, sexism, poverty and all forms of oppression.”
One of the key organizers of The Boston Declaration, Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Associate Dean at Boston University School of Theology, contrasted the Gospel teachings with what is being peddled as Christianity today in some conservative circles, both religious and political. She said:
We are here because Jesus taught us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” We are here because we take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart. We are here because we refuse to allow Christianity to be co-opted by the likes of people who support abuse of women, the closing of our nation to the immigrant in need and the normalizing of lie after lie after lie.
Finally, we are here because we believe our nation yearns to hear from us this day and to watch for how our commitment as Christian theologians continues into the election season of next year.
Boston, MA, November 20, 2017 – “Any time we can bring our various worlds together in one room and reflect, I think the church of Jesus Christ benefits,” said the Rev. Mary Elizabeth Moore, dean of Boston University School of Theology.
The meeting — or colloquy, as organizers called it — occurred Nov. 12-15 in Boston under the title “Missio Dei and the United States: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.”
“Missio Dei,” or the mission of God, proved a broad term, generating a wide range of topics for scholarly papers by colloquy participants and presenting a challenge as the group tried to consider how their work could help guide a denomination divided over homosexuality.
Read the full story by Sam Hodges of the United Methodist News Service here.
Dr. Xochitl Alvizo (STH ’07, ’15), along with Gina Messina, has edited a collection of works authored by feminist and womanist scholars and theologians. The collection invites the reader to imagine new possibilities for thought and action while tapping into a myriad of religious and social traditions.
You can read more reviews and purchase the work here.
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BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY ANNOUNCES
TWO NEW DENOMINATIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES
BOSTON, MA | November 9, 2017 – Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH) is pleased to announce that it has formed two new denominational learning communities, in collaboration with the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC). The mission of each learning community is to form a community of students, faculty, and staff dedicated to nurturing and preparing Episcopal and UCC students for future leadership and service in and through the church. The Anglican Episcopal Community of Learning (AECL) and the United Church of Christ Community of Learning (UCCCL) are specialized programs that aim to provide the best possible education in an ecumenical community that values the unique gifts, histories, and ministerial legacies of these denominations.
The mission of these two Communities of Learning is to form a community of students, faculty, and staff dedicated to nurturing and preparing global Anglican, Episcopal, and United Church of Christ students for future leadership and service in and through their distinctive traditions. Communities of Learning seek to nurture the next generation of leaders for ministries in the churches and in service to the larger world. The intention is to equip students in their own distinctive denominational traditions and in ecumenical traditions of Christianity, providing them with curricular and co-curricular opportunities to ground their academic, spiritual, ecclesial, professional, and social-global growth. At the same time, BUSTH seeks to enrich the ecumenical and global life for all students at the School.
The two Communities of Learning share common features that respond to unique denominational traditions and needs, such as courses, co-curricular opportunities, contextual education, spiritual life offerings, mentors and consultants, and opportunities to connect with programs and projects of the denominations and the School of Theology. These projects may focus on theological traditions, social justice, worship, sacred music, mission, and other important concerns. The rich collaborations and shared courses with other schools of the Boston Theological Institute will also be a part of the BUSTH Communities of Learning experience. Students in these two denominations will be eligible, as all of our students are, for generous scholarships to further their studies. More details are available at http://www.bu.edu/sth/ecl/ and http://www.bu.edu/sth/ucccl/.
“We have long had a significant number of global Anglican, Episcopal, and United Church of Christ students,” says Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore, who expresses enthusiasm for these Communities of Learning. “We value what these students and their churches have contributed to an STH education for at least five decades. Now we are able to offer more comprehensive support of the Episcopal and UCC students and to enhance ecumenical learning and global-ecumenical community for the entire community. This is the beginning of a new era in theological education at Boston University.”
BUSTH is grateful for the wise and generous leaders of the Episcopal and UCC churches, as well as its alumni/ae and students. Many have offered direction and ideas for the Communities of Learning. These collaborations will be ongoing and will not be limited geographically, though the consultations to date have been largely within the ecclesial bodies of Massachusetts and New England. These established Communities of Learning will continue to grow and change over time, with the addition of certificates and adaptations that are required by an ever-changing church.
Since 1839, Boston University School of Theology has been preparing leaders to do good. A seminary of the United Methodist Church, Boston University School of Theology is a robustly ecumenical institution that welcomes students from diverse faith traditions who are pursuing a wide range of vocations – parish ministry, conflict transformation, chaplaincy, campus ministry, administration, non-profit management, social work, teaching, justice advocacy, peacemaking, interfaith dialogue, and more. Our world-renowned faculty and strong heritage help students nurture their academic goals and realize any ministry imaginable. For more information, please visit bu.edu/sth.
Robert Dean McNeil has published a spiritual memoir entitled Big Guy and Mr. God: Questions to Ponder. A lifetime of memories is framed as an imaginary conversation with God, not unlike those that Job had with God. The book can be used by individuals as devotional reading, or in a church school class setting. It is hoped the reader will follow the lead of the author in considering questions such as war, race, sexuality, why good people suffer and other questions.
You can read reviews and purchase the book here.
Mary Lou Shea (STH ’97, ’05, ’06) works In Need of Your Prayers and Patience: The Life and Ministry of Hiram F. Reynolds and the Founding of the Church of The Nazarene is a new biographical encounter with of the life of a mostly hidden figure of the Church of the Nazarene: Hiram F. Reynolds. Reynolds shaped the role of the General Superintendency, clarified and expanding the church’s Manual to meet the needs of the growing denomination, and established mission policies and practices that took it from a US church to a global presence. Shea’s work is an important addition to the expanding literature on Christian denominational history and evangelism.
You can view more information, read reviews, and purchase Shea’s work here.
Yonsei University has opened Rev. Soon-Young Kwon’s course “Re-imagining God in Korean Context” in a massive open online course (MOOC) called Coursera. This course will be an overview of a development of the theological methods in relation to Korea’s cultural context and will equip the students to understand cultural influences on the dynamic development of Korean churches and indigenous theology. Students in over 35 countries have already enrolled in the course since its opening last month.
For more information and to participate in the MOOC, please visit the course website.
Michelle Walsh (SSW’93, STH’06, STH’14) has released her new work entitled Violent Trauma, Culture, and Power: An Interdisciplinary Exploration in Lived Religion. Her work explores the intertwining impact of violent trauma, culture, and power through case studies of two ministries serving in different demographic contexts within the U.S. Walsh shows how all forms of violent trauma impact more than individuals but also communities, religious practices, and culture.
More information, reviews, and purchasing options for Walsh’s work can be viewed here.
This year’s Garner Prize for Preaching took place in Marsh Chapel on Saturday, October 28. The Rev. Dr. S. Chapin Garner (STH’97), Senior Minister at the Congregational Church of New Canaan in CT, with his wife Tammie Garner, Esq. (LAW’97) along with their church in Connecticut, provide the funding for the Garner Prize for Preaching every year. We thank them for being so steadfast in their support.
We are pleased to announce this year’s Garner Prize for Preaching winners are:
1st: Nikki Young
2nd: Alicia Vélez Stewart
3rd: Danyal Mohammadzadeh
Honorable Mentions: Emelia Attridge and Roger Gordon
Be sure to congratulate them all the next time you see them! To view all of Saturday’s preachers in action, please view the online album here.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY RECOGNIZED BY SEMINARIES THAT CHANGE THE WORLD FOR 2017-18 ACADEMIC YEAR
November 1, 2017 – Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH) is pleased to announce it has been recognized as a Seminary that Changes the World, Class of 2017-18 by The Center for Faith and Service, based at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL. Each year, Seminaries that Change the World identifies a select group of seminaries and divinity schools offering innovative courses, programs, and opportunities for students seeking to engage in social justice and service work while in seminary. Boston University School of Theology’s recognition as a Seminary that Changes the World reflects the ongoing work BUSTH is doing to seek a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.
According to Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore, “we are grateful and humbled by this honor by Seminaries that Change the World. The work of social healing and social transformation toward justice is communal work. We are highly motivated to deepen our spiritual centers as we study and act and reflect honestly for the sake of healing justice in our terribly broken world.”
At BUSTH, students, faculty, and administration alike are responsible for the social justice and service learning work that is evidenced each day. Students raise tough issues and initiate significant conversations regarding race and racism, immigration, poverty and homelessness, ecological justice, and mental health. Faculty lead actions in curriculum development, community responses to violence and discrimination, and research initiatives that will better inform faithful action toward justice. Administrators and staff work with others to envision and enact the future, creating supports through such actions as recruitment efforts for diverse and passionate students, sustainability improvements in renovations and community habits, and meaningful community activities.
“Seminaries and Divinity Schools are uniquely positioned to provide the most relevant, fast-paced, and innovative degrees in all of higher ed. The schools named in this year’s Seminaries that Change the World are helping to redefine what ministry looks like,” remarked Wayne Meisel, executive director of The Center for Faith and Service and founder of Seminaries that Change the World. “Their alums are involved in some of the most innovative and engaging work going on in our churches, communities, and world.”
The list of Seminaries that Change the World is published by The Center for Faith and Service, an organization that works to help seminaries, service programs, denominations and local congregations connect faith with service and social justice work.
For more information about Seminaries that Change the World, or to see the complete list of schools accepted to this year’s cohort, visit www.STCTW.org. The BUSTH page can also be found at http://www.stctw.org/boston.html.
The Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Seminary works to help the church to be present and relevant in the lives of young adults. Through a variety of initiatives, including Seminaries that Change the World, The Center partners with seminaries, summer camps, colleges, youth corps, denominations and local congregations to create programs and resources that help young people connect their passions for service and justice with their faith. For more information about The Center for Faith and Service, visit www.FaithandService.org.