“So our goal at seminary is not to produce priests who have pre-made solutions to problems and who are solely focused on fixing things. What we are here to do is to provide wise, resourceful people who know how it feels to struggle to live on the Way of Wisdom and who know how to be companions to others following alongside.” –Rev. Andrew G. Kadel
And just how exactly do we do this at the General Theological Seminary? Our Dean and Faculty went on retreat in January to consider these questions, and then returned to the Northeastern winter to come back and preach at the Feast of Jesus’ Presentation at the Jerusalem Temple (and also Theological Education Sunday, a day* to honor those involved with Christian education).
Faculty members visited parishes all over, from New Mexico to South Carolina to Brooklyn, and the Rev. Andrew Kadel, Director of the Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, preached and celebrated Eucharist at St. Paul’s On the Hill, Ossining. Take a look at what he has to say about what we do and how we are thinking about doing it. (You can find more of Father Kadel’s observations over here on his blog.)
Here’s a snippet for you…
So what IS Theological Education? Over the years there have been a lot of confused, obscure and frankly, quite deadly, sermons and other presentations on that topic. There’s actually a reason for that. Theological Education has been regarded as being about the training of professional clergy in specialized skills which are seldom of interest or relevance to ordinary Christians or about the support of theologians whose job is to think thoughts and write books in obscure terminology that are usually inaccessible to most ordinary church members and often to ordinary clergy.
Thus presentation of Theological Education is usually an anemic attempt to communicate across a vast divide to a foreign audience. This is a problem, not just with seminaries, but with the whole church, including congregational life. The faculty of General spent a very intense week on retreat in January working on this very problem, and I would like to report out some of my perception of what we arrived at.
For more, check out the Declaration on the Library webpage, and find out what our Dean has to say about this innovative concept here!
*General Convention Resolution 2006-D008 designates “the first Sunday in February each year as Theological Education Sunday to share the work of theological education at the seminaries.” The resolution also urges the seminaries to “strive diligently to strengthen partnerships with dioceses and congregations” through conversations about how we “provide theological education for both ordained and lay persons in support of the Church’s mission to restore all people to unity with God and with each other in Christ.”