Graduate Theological & Religious Programs | Hartford Seminary

EXPLORING DIFFERENCES, DEEPENING FAITH

EXPLORING DIFFERENCES, DEEPENING FAITH

EXPLORING DIFFERENCES, DEEPENING FAITH

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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Dr. Najib George Awad Has Two New Books Published
Najib George Awad, Professor of Christian Theology & Eastern Christian Thought, has two new books out this fall, one in Arabic and one in English. The Arabic language book is a monograph titled The Archaeologies of Understanding, the Historiologies of Meaning: Studies on Culture, Religion and Politics. It is published by the Arab Institute for Research and Publication in Amman/Beirut. The second book, to be released in November, is After-Mission, Beyond Evangelicalism: The Indigenous ‘Injīliyyūn’ in the Arab-Muslim Context of Syria-Lebanon. Published by Brill, the monograph considers three main questions: The first question is about self-perception and identity-formation strategies, and the various views that we have on the Protestants’ relation to their Arab Muslim Middle Eastern context. The second question, about the theological dimension, asks what kind of a theological discourse do the Protestants need to develop, and how do they need to re-form their own theological heritage, in such a manner that will allow them to heal the historical enmity and suspicion towards them from the Eastern Orthodox Christian community in the region? The third question touches on the Protestants’ future in the Arab Muslim Middle East by viewing this inquiry from a broader perspective that is related to all the Middle Eastern Christian communities’ presence and role in the Muslim-majority context. Congratulations, Najib!
Dr. Lucinda Mosher Featured in Video on Building Bridges Seminar
Lucinda Mosher, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Studies, is interviewed in the video below that talks about the 18-year history of the Building Bridges Seminar, which brings together Christian and Muslim scholars for intensive study each year. Dr. Mosher followed the seminar from its beginning in 2002 "lecturing about it, writing about it, using the materials the resources it generates in my teaching." In 2011, she was invited to become a participant, and in 2012, she was hired as its rapporteur, a job she has held since. "It is such an honor and joy to be involved with this initiative. I think that this new mini-documentary, just released, does a good job of conveying why I find it so special." Participation in the seminar, which is hosted by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, is by invitation only. Dr. Najib George Awad, Professor of Christian Theology & Eastern Christian Thought, has also participated several times. Great job, Lucinda!  
Dr. Bilal Ansari Writes Chapter for Postcolonial Critique of Spiritual Care
Bilal Ansari, Faculty Associate in Muslim Pastoral Theology, has written a chapter for an anthology described as a "postcolonial critique of spiritual care." Postcolonial Images of Spiritual Care: Challenges of Care in a Neoliberal Age, published by Pickwick Publications, is about "caring for all persons as a part of the revolutionary struggle against colonialism in its many forms." Dr. Ansari describes his chapter on Muslim Pastoral Theology as "a brief introduction to my scholarship and social justice work." The book overall looks are the ways "in which different forms of oppression, injustice, and violence in the world today are traceable to the legacy and continuing effects of colonialism." Authors of diverse ethnic identities, faiths, cultural traditions, gender, and sexual orientations are represented. As such, it "highlights the plurality of voices and concerns that have been overlooked or obscured because of the politics of race, religion, sexuality, nationalism, and other structures of power that have shaped what discursive spiritual care entails today." An editorial review by Phillis Isabella Sheppard, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion, says: "Postcolonial Images of Spiritual Care is a volume sorely needed. Spiritual care in the last twenty years has more often than not been commodified as part of the capitalist project. As such, the liberation of humans from systemic suffering has been, at best, peripheral. Postcolonial Images of Spiritual Care redefines the practice of spiritual care by exposing the legacy of colonial aims and offering images of spiritual care wherein person, systems, and communities are inextricably linked and, therefore, the heart of postcolonial care." Congratulations, Bilal!  
Hartford Seminary to Collaborate with Judson Memorial on $1 Million-Funded Program
A $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment's Thriving Congregations Initiative has been awarded to Bricks and Mortals, a Judson Memorial Church-based organization devoted to proposing sustainable solutions for congregational buildings, along with collaborators Hartford Seminary and Partners for Sacred Places. The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Hartford Seminary's Faculty Associate in Religious Leadership, is the founder of Bricks and Mortals and Senior Minister at Judson Memorial in New York City. The grant will fund a five-year program called Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites, which will "demonstrate adaptive, revenue producing, and sustainable uses for sacred sites." As collaborators, Drs. Scott Thumma and Allison Norton of the Seminary's Hartford Institute for Religion Research (HIRR) will be primary and secondary consultants, respectively, as well as liaisons with HIRR. Dr. Thumma will manage Hartford Seminary's participation in the partnership, providing strategic guidance and outreach for the program, as well as creating coursework. Dr. Norton will play a support role and participate on the advisory committee. According to the grant, the program "will show that congregations can do even more with their real estate than they currently imagine." "The results of the program will include 25 congregation success stories and replicable studies on adaptive reuse of sacred sites. There will be 25 teams of congregational leaders; coursework for long-term capacity building for clergy; a congregational Toolkit on Adaptive Reuse suitable to a wide array of needs; a website and consciousness-raising in the American Christian community on adaptive reuse. Congregations will learn how to use and leverage their property as mission-central assets rather than debilitating burdens." The Lilly Endowment's Thriving Congregations Initiative aims to help Christian congregations "gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs," according to a press release. The grant process was highly competitive, with 93 grants funded out of 816 proposals received. Great work, Donna, Scott, and Allison!    
Dr. Deena Grant Contributes Chapter to Book on Baal
Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, has contributed a chapter to Mighty Baal: Essays in Honor of Mark S. Smith, the first edited collection devoted to the study of the ancient Near Eastern god Baal. Dr. Grant's chapter is titled "Active and Reactive Bodies in the Baal Cycle." The collection of 11 essays, published by Brill, was written by scholars from around the world. "Essays in part one focus on the main collection of Ugaritic tablets describing Baal’s exploits, the Baal Cycle. Essays in part two treat Baal’s relationships to other deities. Together, the essays offer a rich portrait of Baal and his cult from a variety of methodological perspectives," according to Brill. Mark S. Smith, to whom this volume is dedicated, has been the leading historian of Baal over the last four decades. He is Helena Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary and Skirball Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. Congratulations, Deena!
President Joel N. Lohr Publishes Article on 'Textuality and Protestant Bias in U.S. Education'
President Joel N. Lohr's article "Sitting Alone with a Text: Textuality and the Protestant Bias in United States Education" has been published by Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Context. Postscripts describes itself as a journal that "takes up the question of the ongoing reception and mobilization of sacred texts (broadly understood) in areas ranging from contemporary politics, to culture, to social life, as well as historical examples that reflect this diverse usage." The abstract for President Lohr's article reads: This essay explores how frameworks of education in the United States have been shaped by particularly Protestant ideals—and, especially, how notions concerning individuals and their engagement with texts have had an outsized influence on educational practice. Following an examination of a number of historical issues related to our topic, and in particular Protestantism and the rise of the printing press, I examine the foundations of American education, including Puritan models of schooling as religious instruction. This leads to a discussion of the birth of Pluralism and Fundamentalism in the United States, which in turn leads to some reflections on the current educational milieu in this context, especially as related to religious identity in the classroom and higher education more generally. I suggest that a greater awareness of the cultural values that are embedded in our educational practices is vital if we are going to be responsive to the needs of increasingly diverse student populations. To access the full article, visit this link. Congratulations, President Lohr!
Responding to Pandemic Times with Pandemic Faith with Nelba Márquez-Greene
Please join us for the biennial Michael R. Rion Lecture featuring Nelba Márquez-Greene, founder of The Ana Grace Project.  The title of her talk is "Responding to Pandemic Times with Pandemic Faith." This endowed lecture is named for Michael R. Rion, a former Seminary president. It honors an individual who embodies a dedication to ministry in daily life and is committed to service to others. This event is free, but registration is encouraged and donations to Hartford Seminary are gratefully accepted. About the Speaker Nelba Márquez-Greene is a clinical fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and has worked in private practice, community mental health, and academic settings in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to founding The Ana Grace Project, Nelba served as the Coordinator for Klingberg Family Therapy Center’s outpatient child and adolescent psychiatric clinic and was an adjunct faculty member at Central Connecticut State University. “Love Wins” is the family slogan they adopted after Ana’s senseless murder in 2012 at Sandy Hook School. It is now a movement and is one of increasing relational connections. Nelba maintains an online community of over 100,000 followers and an Ana Grace Project community where people from all over the world learn, share, grow and witness love through grief. Behind this is the belief that not only does Love Win – it also saves lives. The Ana Grace Project has adopted classrooms in New Britain that focus on social and emotional learning. It has hosted mental health conferences and professional learning opportunities all over the country. Nelba holds a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Joseph College. Nelba was the founding member of the CTAMFT Diversity Committee and has served on the CTAMFT Board of Directors. For her efforts, she has received the 2004 Minority Fellowship Award by the AAMFT, the 2004 Distinguished Professional Service Award, and the 2013 Service to Families Award by the CTAMFT. In 2018, she was selected as one of “100 Women of Color” and as a YWCA Women’s Leadership Award recipient. She is featured in the 2019 release The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham and Chelsea Clinton and in People Magazine’s October 2019 issue as one of ten Women Changing the World. Nelba has testified and advocated at the state and federal levels on many different mental health initiatives, hosted TEDx talks, and is a sought-after speaker nationally.
Online Book Talk: 'In the Spirit of Jesus' with Dr. Miriam Therese Winter
Join us to hear pioneering feminist theologian Dr. Miriam Therese Winter as she talks about "a new way to understand Jesus." This event will be live-captioned. In the Spirit of Jesus was written while Dr. Winter was in quarantine. It includes prompts for personal reflection, group discussion, and prayers, as well as song lyrics and poetry. The book directly addresses the prevailing issues of 2020, including racial injustice, climate change, and the coronavirus pandemic, among others. “We are living in unprecedented times," she writes. "We need to discover unprecedented ways to live faith fully in a world that is radically different from whatever has been before. How can we change water into wine, metaphorically? When will we finally hear the cries of those who hunger for food … for justice … for a place at the table where crucial decisions are made?” Dr. Winter directs both the Women's Leadership Institute and the Master of Arts in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Hartford Seminary. This talk is free, but donations to Hartford Seminary are gratefully accepted. Information about accessing the Zoom session will be provided when you register. Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 1 week in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this online event.
Webinar - Community Prayer in a Pandemic: How Faith Leaders Are Adapting
Congregational leaders from the three Abrahamic faiths — Rabbi Tuvia Brander, Bishop Dr. Benjamin Watts, and Imam Refai Arefin — will discuss the pastoral, spiritual and logistical challenges they face, as well as the unanticipated opportunities they encounter as they guide their communities of faith in prayer during this time of crisis and social distancing.  Jews around the world are currently observing a ten-day period of intense repentance and prayer (Aseret Yimay Teshuvah) in preparation for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  It is thus, an apt time for Abrahamic siblings to learn from and support one another in their faith practices. Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, will moderate.     About the Speakers Rabbi Tuvia Brander is the Mara D'Atra (spiritual leader) of the Young Israel of West Hartford. Under his leadership, the Young Israel of West Hartford has continued to grow rapidly – welcoming new faces and families from near and far. Rabbi Brander’s warm and welcoming personality and commitment to creating multiple, diverse, halakhicly meaningful moments and spiritual opportunities have helped attract people of diverse backgrounds and ages to feel at home in the Young Israel community. Bishop Dr. Benjamin K. Watts is the Senior Pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church of New London, Connecticut, where he has served for over 30 years. Under his leadership, the church ministry has grown and serves the spiritual, cultural, and physical needs of its members and the community. Dr. Watts is also Hartford Seminary's Faculty Associate in Religion and Community Life and Director of the Black Ministries Program. Imam Refai Arefin serves as the Assistant Imam of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford.  He pursued study of Arabic and Islamic sciences abroad for over ten years at Al-Azhar University and Qortoba Institute in Cairo, Egypt, at Balqa’a University in Amman, Jordan, and under traditional tutelage in Fez, Morocco and Damascus, Syria.  He has spoken at countless mosques, churches, schools and universities throughout the State of Connecticut on Islam, its spiritual underpinnings and social manifestations. Dr. Deena Grant is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Hartford Seminary. She received her Ph.D. in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from New York University, specializing in Hebrew Bible. An observant Jewish scholar, Dr. Grant values studying and teaching the Hebrew Bible from a historical-critical perspective and also as it is interpreted and lived out by faith communities. Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at sschoenberger@hartsem.edu or 860-509-9519 at least 1 week in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.    
Greater Hartford Multifaith Prayer Breakfast Online
Bring your coffee and join us online to greet neighbors of many faiths. Our theme this year is The Role of Faith Communities in Social Justice and will feature speakers from the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted via the registration link for the Greater Hartford Multifaith Prayer Breakfast and for the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance. NOTE: THIS EVENT WILL BE LIVE-CAPTIONED FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING COMMUNITY.  Since 1997 the Greater Hartford Multifaith Prayer Breakfast has reached across religious boundaries to find and celebrate those beliefs we share, to pray for the city of Hartford, and to affirm and support caring volunteers and staff involved in life-enriching services. The Breakfast inspires us to care about Hartford. Hundreds of people attend, and we hope online access makes this year's event our biggest yet. Our multifaith planning committee is made up of volunteers, and care is taken to respect each others' traditions. The breakfast evolved from discussions held years ago at the YMCA and the ‘Y’ continues to be our administrative partner. The Breakfast is an annual opportunity to acknowledge together that our diverse communities need the prayerful support of all of our religious faiths if we are to realize a healthy urban center. It is, then, a gathering of people of faith. The focus is on what brings us together, not on what divides us. [gallery size="medium" ids="21319,21320,21321"]
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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