Category : Seminary / Theological Education

Daniel Westberg, Professor of Ethics and Moral Theology at Nashotah House, RIP

Fr. Westberg’s most recent book was Renewing Moral Theology: Christian Ethics as Action, Character and Grace (InterVarsity Press, 2015).  He co-authored Preaching the Lectionary (3rd ed.; Liturgical Press, 2006) with the late Professor Reginald Fuller.

It was exceedingly gratifying to have served as Fr. Westberg’s dean for ten and colleague at Nashotah House for twelve years.  Dan had a brilliant mind and keen sense of humor.  He had a quiet demeanor–a gentle man and a gentleman.  As a professor, he was a friend and mentor who spent time with his students and truly cared about their spiritual as well as their intellectual formation.  But, above all, he was a godly man who truly lived the faith he proclaimed.  Dan’s tragic death is a great loss for Nashotah House.  He will be missed by all who knew him, but especially by his wife Lisa, his father, a brother and three sisters, four adult children, and three grandchildren who survive him.

We commend our brother into the loving arms of God.  May he rest in peace and may light perpetual shine upon him.  Our prayers go out for Lisa and Dan’s family.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Death / Burial / Funerals, Seminary / Theological Education

Rod Dreher–Face It, Parents of Faith: There Is No Peace in the midst of the current culture

I write in this space quite a bit about how conservative Christian parents (and others) are largely — and willfully — clueless about what’s going on in this post-Christian culture, and how they ought to be thinking about it and responding to it. When I talk to pastors, educators, and others about what they’re seeing on the ground, I find this view of mine affirmed with depressing regularity. We are in a terrible crisis, but insofar as far too many Christian parents think, it’s a crisis of a threat from Islam, or from liberal elites, or homosexuals, or any number of villains that are easy to identify. I don’t deny that all of these groups, and many others, do pose a challenge to the Christian faith, but by far the most important and neglected challenge is that posed by the widespread failure of parents and church communities to pass the faith on to their children.

This is not a problem you can address by voting, or by judicial rulings, or by restricting immigration, or by watching more Fox News. Nor is it a problem you can address by going to church on Sunday, dropping your kid off at youth group mid-week, and leaving it at that. Nor is it a problem you can address by simply affirming the correct set of propositions.

Over and over, I hear from pastors and Christian educators that the biggest obstacle to forming the hearts and minds of the community’s children in an authentically Christian way are parents. Parents who want to outsource the job to the school and the church, versus working in harmony with the school and the church to accomplish this mission. Parents who get mad at the school or the church for being demanding of their children (and of them). The plain fact, amply demonstrated by the sociology of religion, is this: there is no single factor more important in determining whether or not a child will keep the faith than the example set by parents.

Read it all (emphasis his).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Secularism, Seminary / Theological Education

Anglican Church of Bermuda Launches a New Training Course in partnership with St Mellitus College, London

Saturday, October 21 at 11.00am – St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Paget: Inspired Souls- Reflections on Saints and Holy People from Around the World

“Modern celebrity has become an increasing feature of our media obsessed society. From The Rolling Stones to Rhianna, the phenomena reflects something of a human need for heroes who exhibit an unusual quality. In the history of the Christian faith, can the same human tendency be applied to the veneration of saints?

“What is it about their lives and experiences that attracts interest throughout the ages? The lecture focuses on the stories of saints and holy people from diverse backgrounds and their relevance to modern life.”

Saturday, October 21 at 2.00pm – St Paul’s Anglican Church, Paget: Come as we are: Representation and the Church

“Europe is experiencing a resurgence in a political narrative around nationalism as a reaction to mass migration, terrorism and growing social and economic inequality. In the face of such challenges, how does the Church live out the reality of the Gospel and the kingdom of heaven where an emphasis is on loving others and the stranger is preeminent?”

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Seminary / Theological Education

James Jordan–“..We should sing the Bible in worship. When I found out that the Church used to do it, and then stopped, I was amazed. “

I was speaking with a minister in the Reformed Episcopal Church a while back, and he told me a revealing incident that happened during his ordination examination. An older clergyman asked him if the psalter were an important part of prayer, and thus of counseling and worship. When my friend replied in the affirmative, the older clergyman asked him to give the theme and gist of every psalm, starting with the first and ending with the 150th. My friend, who had spent some years in Episcopalianism and thus knew some of the psalms, struggled for a while, but finally had to give up. The older clergyman opposed his ordination, maintaining that my friend should master the psalter before presuming to lead God’s people.

Amazing? Surprising? I think not. In fact, I think that the older gentleman’s position is absolutely correct. I think this is a great ordination question – though I confess that I would fail it. After all, I’ve spent twenty years in hard-core, Bible-believing, tough-as-nails, Reformed, evangelical Presbyterian churches, so I barely know the psalter. I only know what I’ve studied on my own.

Here’s a question for you: Given that our theological seminaries have chapel services daily, or at least several times a week, how many of them teach the students to sing all 150 psalms during chapel? How would you like to have a pastor who went to seminary where the psalms were taken seriously? A pastor who was taught to sing the psalms, and who was familiar with all of them?

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology: Scripture

A Church Times Article on the recently released C of E Ministry Statistics

The statistics, published on Wed­nesday, show signs that the drive to nurture vocations to the ordained ministry — a central plank of the Renewal and Reform programme — is having an effect. Overall, the number of those entering training is 14 per cent higher than last year (476 candidates).

None the less, the C of E must reach its target of 50 per cent more ordinands by 2020 if it is to reverse the overall decline in clergy num­bers. At the present rate, people are not entering the ministry at the same rate as others are retiring.

Another Renewal and Reform target is to recruit younger and more diverse candidates. Ordinands are younger than last year: 28 per cent of this year’s intake are under the age of 32, compared with 23 per cent last year. At the other end of the age range, 16 per cent are aged 55 or above, compared with 20 per cent of last year’s intake. The overall number of new ordinands under the age of 39 rose by 39 per cent, from 109 to 151….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

(Telegraph) Priests-in-training to be given glossaries because they struggle to understand the Book of Common Prayer

Priests-in-training are to be given glossaries to help them understand the Book of Common Prayer for the first time because they struggle to decipher the language.

The Prayer Book Society, which gives out free copies of the 17th century book to first-year students in theological colleges, will this year also include a key to some of its more old-fashioned words and phrases.

The list includes definitions for words such as “eschew” meaning abstain from, “concord”, for an agreement between people, and “froward”, meaning perverse or contrary.

Read it all.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

Brad East Pays Tribute to Robert W Jenson RIP (1930–2017)

Jenson passed away yesterday, having been born 87 years earlier, one year after the great stock market crash of 1929. He lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, Roe v. Wade, the rise and fall of the Religious Right, the fall of the Soviet Union, September 11, 2001, the election of the first African-American U.S. President, and much more. He also lived through, and in many ways embodied, a startling number of international, ecclesial, and academic theological trends: ecumenism; doctrinal criticism; analytic philosophy of language; Heidegerrian anti-metaphysics; French Deconstructionism; the initially negative then positive reception of Barth in the English-speaking world; the shift away from systematics to theological methodology (and back again!); post–Vatican II ecclesiology; “death of God” theology; process theology; liberation theologies (black, feminist, and Latin American); virtue ethics; theological interpretation of Scripture; and much more.

Jenson studied under Peter Brunner in Heidelberg and eventually spent time in Basel with Barth, on whose theology he wrote his dissertation, which generated two books in his early career. He was impossibly prolific, publishing hundreds of essays and articles as well as more than 25 books over more than 55 years.

Initially an activist, Jenson and his wife Blanche—to whom he was married for more than 60 years, and whom he credited as co-author of all his books, indeed, “genetrici theologiae meae omniae”—marched and protested and spoke in the 1960s against the Vietnam War and for civil rights for African-Americans. His politics was forever altered, however, in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. As he wrote later, he assumed that those who had marched alongside him and his fellow Christians would draw a logical connection from protection of the vulnerable in Vietnam and the oppressed in America to the defenseless in the womb; but that was not to be. Ever after, his politics was divided, and without representation in American governance: as he said in a recent interview, he found he could vote for neither Republicans nor Democrats, for one worshiped an idol called “the free market” and the other worshiped an idol called “autonomous choice,” and both idols were inimical to a Christian vision of the common good.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Lutheran, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Post-Gazette) New Testament Scholar Robert Gagnon Leaves Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Robert A.J. Gagnon, a biblical scholar who became one of the most outspoken and polarizing opponents of same-sex practice in a generation of debates within his and other Protestant denominations, has resigned from the faculty of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

The seminary is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a denomination that debated sexuality for decades before deciding in 2011 to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians and in 2015 to authorize same-sex marriages in its churches. Mr. Gagnon, an ordained elder in the denomination, spoke out often against such liberalizing trends.

The seminary and the professor “mutually agreed to end their relationship” effective this past Monday, the East Liberty school said. Mr. Gagnon, 59, was a tenured professor of New Testament and had been on the faculty for 23 years.

“We appreciate the contributions Professor Gagnon has made to our students and the community during his time here and we wish him the best in his future endeavors,” a seminary statement said.

Read it all.

Posted in Seminary / Theological Education

(America) Ellen Koneck–How modern technology helped me teach theology to uninterested college students

I have found that it is unproductive to force theological ideas—like Augustine’s understanding of evil, Dante’s depiction of the beatific vision or Flannery O’Connor’s morbid but hopeful anthropology—into the minds of students despite their disinterest.

Instead, I try to translate the import of these weighty concerns, claims and questions so students can feel what Augustine or Dante felt when facing these existential summits, or so they can entertain Plato’s suggestion that perception and reality are not necessarily what they seem.

Theology is impotent and irrelevant when simply presented as a set of ideas, doctrines or conclusions to be passively internalized. Instead, it is the kind of discipline that requires first making the questions that drive theological inquiry meaningful, long before answers can even be introduced.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Young Adults

Trinity School for Ministry appoints associate Professor of Practical Theology and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program

Trinity School for Ministry is pleased to announce the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Jack Gabig as the new Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program. Trinity’s Board of Trustees ratified the call to Dr. Gabig after a unanimous vote of the faculty in July.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Jack Gabig as a full-time member of our residential faculty,” said The Very Rev. Dr. Henry L. Thompson III, Dean & President of Trinity. “He brings many years of pastoral wisdom, creative energy, innovative thinking, passion for academic rigor, and an abundance of love centered in the love of Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Gabig received his MDiv from Trinity School for Ministry and then served for eight years as Assistant Rector at the Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, PA. He then moved to England where he completed his Ph.D. at King’s College in London during which time he served as a Chaplain at New College, Oxford. Dr. Gabig, who currently serves as the Associate Professor of Practical Theology and the Director of Advanced Degree Programs at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, WI, will join the Trinity Community on August 28, 2017

Read it all.

Posted in Seminary / Theological Education

Dean and President of Nashotah House to Step Down From Leadership At The End Of August

The Board of Directors of Nashotah House announced on Monday that the Very Rev. Steven Peay, Dean and President, will step down from his leadership position on August 31, 2017. Dean Peay has been appointed Research Professor of Homiletics and will remain affiliated with the seminary upon the conclusion of his service as Dean and President. Dr. Garwood P. Anderson, Ph.D., Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament studies, will assume the position of Acting Dean, effective September 1. Dr. Anderson is well-known to the Nashotah House community due to his many years of dedicated service as a teacher, scholar, and previous academic dean.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Seminary / Theological Education

Al Mohler–The Agonizing Ordeal of Eugene Peterson — You Might Be Next

Consider these lessons from Eugene Peterson’s ordeal.

First, there is nowhere to hide. Every pastor, every Christian leader, every author — even every believer — will have to answer the question. The question cannot simply be about same-sex marriage. The question is about whether or not the believer is willing to declare and defend God’s revealed plan for human sexuality and gender as clearly revealed in the Bible.

Second, you had better have your answer ready. Evasive, wandering, and inconclusive answers will be seen for what they are. Those who have fled for security to the house of evasion must know that the structure has crumbled. It always does.

Third, if you will stand for the Bible’s clear teachings on sexuality and gender, you had better be ready to answer the same way over and over and over again. The question will come back again and again, in hopes that you have finally decided to “get on the right side of history.” Faithfulness requires consistency — that “long obedience in the same direction.”
That is what it means to be a disciple of Christ, as Eugene Peterson has now taught us. In more ways than one.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Theology of Soup from Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson

A Wilkinson Theology of Soup from Regent College on Vimeo.

Posted in Canada, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Seminary / Theological Education

Sharp increase in numbers training to be priests in the Church of England

A 14% increase in numbers training for the priesthood has been welcomed by the Church of England. An anticipated total of 543 men and women will begin studies this Autumn at colleges across England.

Welcoming the increase the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson, said:

“I am delighted at both the number and the range of those whom God has been calling into ordained ministry over the course of the past year. Here are men and women who are choosing to put their faith on the line, so as to bring hope and spiritual nourishment to individuals and communities alike. In an increasingly uncertain world, nothing could be a greater privilege than walking alongside people in their joys and sorrows, from birth to grave.”

An increase of 17% in women coming forward for ordination was welcomed by Catherine Nancekievill, Head of Vocation for the Church of England….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Rowell RIP

The Bishop of Chichester today (Trinity Sunday) asked parishes in his Diocese to remember the soul of Bishop Geoffrey, who died earlier today.

Bishop Geoffrey was an assistant bishop in the Diocese and Bishop Martin had been able to spend some time with him in recent days.

+Geoffrey was previously Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe in the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe from 2001.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, Seminary / Theological Education