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Hartford Seminary

Seminary Receives Grant to Educate Clergy in Multifaith Studies

The Association of Theological Schools has awarded Hartford Seminary a $5,000 grant to develop courses and a curriculum to educate parish clergy for a multi-faith world, through its Christian Hospitality and Pastoral Practices in a Multifaith Society (CHAPP) program.

Hartford Seminary is one of 18 schools to receive a grant.

David Roozen, Professor of Religion and Society and Director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at the Seminary, will direct the one-year grant.

The project will include research and faculty planning to produce three components:

  • A five-day non-degree continuing education program focusing on multifaith situations and issues for congregational leaders
  • An introductory course for Master of Divinity students on the knowledge and capacities clergy need for dealing with multifaith situations and issues
  • Development of a track in the Seminary?s Doctor of Ministry program that addresses multifaith situations and issues centered in congregations

The project will start with four focus groups with parish clergy and then engage the Seminary?s faculty through collegial sharing luncheons and a half-day session at a faculty retreat to discuss specific curriculum proposals.

?Given that the vast majority of congregational clergy today completed their formal pastoral education without any attention to multifaith leadership, this initiative is critically needed to help clergy better adapt to the intensifying multifaith character of American society,? Roozen said.

In June, the Seminary offered a five-day course titled ?Religious Leadership in an Interfaith World,? attended mainly by professionals working in multifaith situations. The course was not oriented toward pastoral practices, Roozen pointed out. A new five-day intensive, non-degree program for dealing with multifaith situations and issues for congregational leaders is a natural extension of the Seminary?s continuing education curriculum, he said.

He said that the non-degree program, in particular, has the most immediate value, ?introducing already practicing clergy to the knowledge, capacities and attitudes they and their parishioners need for dealing with the multifaith situations and issues they already face.?

For Hartford Seminary faculty, the grant will allow them to engage in discussion about what a multifaith world means for parish clergy, enabling them to envision and formulate a curriculum in multifaith leadership for clergy.

The seminary?s strategic planning process calls for expanding the Doctor of Ministry program by reaching new constituencies. The proposed outlining of a Doctor of Ministry curriculum for parish leadership in a multifaith world, therefore, is in line with the planning process, Roozen said.

Roozen has studied innovation in theological education for more than 30 years. His two most recent pieces on theological education both deal with multifaith leadership. They include: Changing The Way Seminaries Teach: Pedagogies for Interfaith Dialogue, edited with Seminary President Heidi Hadsell (2009) and Educating Religious Leaders for a Multi-Religious World: Outcomes and Learning from the 2009 Parliament of the World?s Religions (forthcoming).

ATS, in seeking grant proposals under the Christian Hospitality and Pastoral Practices in a Multifaith Society (CHAPP) program, said:

?Christian leaders in the United States and Canada are increasingly called upon to exercise their pastoral practices in contexts that require understanding of faith traditions other than their own.

Situations call for both understanding of the faith traditions of others as well as in-depth knowledge of their own faith community?s teaching and practice in relation to those other religious traditions. ATS adopted multifaith dimensions of theological education as a new area of work to help schools in this area.?

It is expected that the focus groups and faculty discussions will take place over the next year, with a final report outlining the course, continuing education program and curriculum completed by September 2012.

For further information, please contact David Barrett, Director of Public and Institutional Affairs, at dbarrett@hartsem.edu or 860.509.9519.

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