Graduate Theological & Religious Programs | Hartford Seminary

EXPLORING DIFFERENCES, DEEPENING FAITH

Hartford Seminary draws Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other students from around the world. Explore our website to learn more. International Peacemaking students visiting the United Nations

The Leader in Graduate Interfaith Education

With roots that go back to 1834, Hartford Seminary is a non-denominational graduate school for religious and theological studies. What makes us unique is our multi-faith environment and our proven ability to prepare leaders for the complex world that surrounds us.

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Alec Baldwin Interviews the Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper for Podcast
The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Faculty Associate in Religious Leadership, was featured on the Aug. 20 episode of Alec Baldwin's podcast, "Here's the Thing," a production of WNYC Studios. The 40-minute episode is titled, "Donna Schaper, Radical Reverend." In it, Baldwin calls the Rev. Dr. Schaper "one of the most prominent members of the so-called religious left." She talks about her own abusive upbringing, how she left the Lutheran Church, and how she found her way to Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, where she is the senior minister. Baldwin then talks about his own faith journey. To hear the entire podcast, click on this link.
President Joel N. Lohr Receives Interfaith Harmony Award
The Pakistani American Association of Connecticut honored President Joel N. Lohr with its Interfaith Harmony Award at a ceremony held on August 14 at the State Capitol in Hartford. The organization gave out a number of awards while also recognizing the 73rd Pakistan Independence Day. Sohair Omar, who served as master of ceremonies, said it was a chance to celebrate the contributions of Pakistani immigrants to America as well as to recognize those who work with the Pakistani community for the common good. In addition to several hundred members of the Pakistani American community, the ceremony was attended by Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Attorney General William Tong, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Consul General of Pakistan Ayesha Ali, and State Sen. Saud Anwar, along with a number of other legislators, mayors, town officials, and dignitaries. A citation read before President Lohr received the Interfaith Harmony Award recognized Hartford Seminary as a place that "draws Christian, Muslim and Jewish students from around the world" and was "the first seminary in America to admit female students, the first to have an accredited Islamic Chaplaincy Program, and the first to start a center for the study of Christian-Muslim Relations." Upon accepting the award, President Lohr expressed his thanks and said he joined with the Pakistani-American community to celebrate Pakistan's Independence Day. "We are blessed to live in a country that has enshrined freedom in its foundational documents, and is one where — when we are our best — welcomes the beautiful diversity that comes from people around the world through immigration." He also spoke about how Hartford Seminary approaches its interfaith work. "Sometimes people ask me, 'What is the best way to do interfaith work?' Or, they might ask, 'How do we really help different people come to know, respect, and love one another?' The more I do this work, the more I think the answer is found not in platitudes, or grandiose programs, but instead through small and simple acts of listening to our neighbors, taking our neighbors seriously. I’ve learned it’s best always to assume that the person across from me is someone from whom I can learn." President Lohr recognized State Sen. Anwar, a Hartford Seminary corporator, Naseem Shaikh, a Hartford Seminary Trustee, and his wife Ramla, and PAACT's president Zaheer Sharaf. "You have blessed my life, and shown me kindness as if I am part of your family. Thank you." Congratulations to President Lohr! [caption id="attachment_19196" align="alignleft" width="1024"] President Lohr shakes the hand of Attorney General William Tong as he accepts the Interfaith Harmony Award. Hartford Seminary Trustee Naseem Shaikh is at right. At left is Ayesha Ali, Consul General of Pakistan. [/caption]    
Hartford Seminary Is a Resource for Article on Church Consulting
The Hartford Business Journal this week features a Hartford Seminary student and quotes Professor Scott Thumma in an article about churches using business consultants to boost attendance and support. The article, As Churches Struggle, Parishes Embrace Business Consulting Firm to Find New Path, leads with the story of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, which used a West Hartford consultancy to improve attendance and to update the way it welcomes newcomers. The church's senior minister, Erica Thompson, is a student in Hartford Seminary's Doctor of Ministry program. The article also quotes Professor Scott Thumma on the trend toward faith communities using secular advisers. “Churches really need someone who can help them think about what colors go well together or how to convey their brand,’’ he told the journal. “You’re taught in seminary how to communicate with people in the pews. But you’re not taught modern approaches to reach out to others."    
Dr. Bilal Ansari and Dr. Colleen Keyes to Provide Training for Greater Hartford Legal Aid
Dr. Bilal Ansari, '11, Co-Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and Faculty Associate in Muslim Pastoral Theology, will conduct two training sessions for the staff of Greater Hartford Legal Aid in understanding Islamic terminology. Dr. Ansari's wife, Dr. Colleen Keyes, MA '04, International Ph.D. '15, will co-lead the training and conversation. The training sessions on Aug. 5 and Sept. 23 will focus on terms related to Shari'a and Fiqh, which will help the Legal Aid staff better serve their Muslim clients. Greater Hartford Legal Aid provides free civil legal services to low-income people and seniors in the Hartford area.
Dr. Bilal Ansari Is Guest Educator at Jerusalem Peacebuilders’ Leadership Institute
On Friday, July 19, 2019, Bilal Ansari, Co-Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and Faculty Associate of Muslim Pastoral Theology, served as a guest educator at Jerusalem Peacebuilders’ Leadership Institute. Dr. Ansari provided youth with three workshops exploring topics of restorative justice, peacebuilding, intercultural communication, ethics, religious pluralism, and democracy. Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) is a registered 501(c) 3 organization and a recognized provider of peace education. Since 2011, Dr. Ansari has assisted JPB with its interfaith summer youth programs in Vermont and Connecticut that serve young adults from Israel, Palestine, and the United States seeking to become the next generation of successful leaders and peacebuilders.  
John Philip Newell Shares Celtic Vision of the Sacred
John Philip Newell, one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world, spoke to a packed house at Hartford Seminary on July 18 at a free event is co-sponsored by First Church of West Hartford and Saint John’s Episcopal Church of West Hartford. Dr. Newell spoke about Celtic Spirituality, which celebrates the essential sacredness of all things. It remembers John the Beloved as leaning against Jesus at the Last Supper. It was said of John in the Celtic world that he, therefore, heard the heartbeat of God and became a symbol of the practice of listening deep within ourselves, deep within one another, and deep within the Earth. In his address, Dr. Newell explored the implications of listening for the Sacred at the heart of each moment. Watch the entire presentation below. [caption id="attachment_19145" align="alignleft" width="485"] John Philip Newell, left, with Hartford Seminary President Joel N. Lohr[/caption]
Book Talk: 'Weathering the Storm' with the Rev. Dr. Tracy Mehr-Muska '17
Please join us to celebrate the publication of the Rev. Dr. Tracy Mehr-Muska's book, Weathering the Storm: Simple Strategies for Being Peaceful and Prepared. This book emerged from the Rev. Dr. Mehr-Muska's doctoral research in Hartford Seminary's Doctor of Ministry program, from which she graduated in 2017. According to the book summary: "This book offers simple and proven strategies to develop resilience that will be of enormous benefit to anyone who is yearning to feel more peaceful and prepared. ... Weathering the Storm also poses insightful questions for reflection and offers concrete strategies for implementation that can be used individually or in group contexts such as faith communities, families, and therapeutic relationships. Just as we practice fire drills before a fire happens, this book will help us be better equipped for the eventual storms of life so we can live with greater peace and preparedness."     About the Author The Rev. Tracy Mehr-Muska, DMin, is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  She is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and has served as an interfaith chaplain in a psychiatric hospital, men’s prison, trauma hospital, and hospice. She currently serves as a University Chaplain at Wesleyan University, where she provides one-on-one spiritual and emotional support to students of any or no faith background and develops programs and events to help students grow spiritually, emotionally, and psychosocially.  As part of her doctoral research at Hartford Seminary, Rev. Mehr-Muska developed a curriculum for building resilience designed for interfaith audiences and currently leads interfaith retreats and workshops. Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event. Before entering Princeton Theological Seminary to pursue her call to ministry, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine and Environmental Sciences, served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, and worked as a marine scientist in the private sector.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, sewing, jogging, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Boundless: A Celtic Vision of the Sacred in All Things with John Philip Newell
Please join us for this special opportunity to hear from John Philip Newell, internationally acclaimed Celtic teacher from Edinburgh and the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, as well as founder of the School of Celtic Consciousness. Celtic Spirituality celebrates the essential sacredness of all things. It remembers John the Beloved as leaning against Jesus at the Last Supper. It was said of him in the Celtic world that he, therefore, heard the heartbeat of God. He became a symbol of the practice of listening, listening deep within ourselves, deep within one another, and deep within the Earth and every creature and life form. We will explore the implications of listening for the Sacred at the heart of each moment. John Philip Newell is one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world and has authored over 15 books, including Christ of the Celts, Praying with the Earth, A New Harmony, and his most recent visionary title The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings.  This free event is co-sponsored by First Church of West Hartford and Saint John's Episcopal Church of West Hartford.         Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.
Divine Words, Female Voices with Dr. Jerusha T. Rhodes
Our biennial Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture will be given by Dr. Jerusha T. Rhodes, Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Rhodes will discuss her new book – Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018) – which argues that interreligious feminist engagement is both a theologically valid endeavor and a vital resource for Muslim women scholars. She will discuss how comparative feminist theology leads to new, constructive Muslima and Islamic feminist positions on topics including revelation, scripture, feminist exemplars, theological anthropology, and ritual practice. The Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture is named after the first director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. It brings a distinguished scholar to campus for a public presentation on Islam or Christian-Muslim relations to promote interreligious understanding and mutual respect in the local, national and world communities. Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event. About the Speaker Jerusha T. Rhodes is Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Her research focuses on theologies of religious pluralism, comparative theology, and Muslima theology. She also serves at the Director of Union’s Islam, Social Justice, and Interreligious Engagement (ISJIE) Program. Dr. Rhodes earned a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies with a focus on Religious Pluralism at Georgetown University in 2011. She also received an M.A. in Islamic Sciences at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, and an M.A. in Theological and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. Before joining the Union faculty in July of 2012, she was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University. Dr. Rhodes’ first book, Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism (Oxford University Press, March 2014), explores the Qur’anic discourse on religious ‘otherness’. In this book, she draws upon feminist theology and semantic methodology to re-interpret the Qur’anic discourse and challenge notions of clear and static religious boundaries by distinguishing between and illuminating the complexity of multiple forms of religious difference. Her second book, Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018), uses the approach of comparative feminist theology to engage diverse Muslim and Christian feminist, womanist, and mujerista voices. It argues for the value of comparative feminist theological engagement and proposes constructive Muslima insights relating to Divine revelation; textual hermeneutics of the hadith and Bible; Prophet Muhammad and Mary as feminist exemplars; theological anthropology; and ritual prayer, tradition, and change.  
DID YOU KNOW...
Hartford Seminary became the first seminary in America to open its doors to women, in 1889.
In 1902, Hartford Seminary was a founding member of the American Association of Schools of Religious Education.
The first American center for the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations opened at Hartford Seminary in 1973.
In 1990, Hartford Seminary became the first nondenominational theological institution in North America to name a female president.
Naming a Muslim to the core faculty was a first for nondenominational theological institutions in North America in 1991.
Hartford Seminary established the first Islamic Chaplaincy Program in America in 2001.
The first chair of Shi’i Studies in North America launched at Hartford Seminary in 2015.

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