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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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President Lohr to Give Interfaith Lecture for Chautauqua Institute
President Joel N. Lohr will give an online lecture at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, as part of the Chautauqua Institute's Interfaith Lecture series. The lecture series has different themes each week. President Lohr is speaking to the theme: How might the “nones” unite with the mainstream to shape a better future? His lecture is titled, "Finding Myself in the Other: Learning from Those Outside My Faith." The lecture will be followed by a live Q&A session. To learn more about access to this event and others at Chautauqua, visit this link.  
Trustee Jean Amos Lys '12 Featured in 'Fatherhood Manologues' Project
Trustee Jean Amos Lys, who earned an MA from Hartford Seminary in 2012 and graduated from its Black Ministries Program in 2008, is one of nine featured participants in "Fatherhood Manologues," a project of The Manhood Tree initiative that's getting widespread attention. The "Fatherhood Manologues" project is part of an effort to "highlight the importance, value and contributions of African American fathers through their involvement and presence in their children’s lives." Click here to view the videos on The Manhood Tree website. You'll see our own alum and Trustee telling a moving story about his children and his own father filmed in front of Hartford Seminary. The "Fatherhood Manologues” was developed by Abdul-Rahmaan Muhammad, executive director of My People Clinical Services in Hartford. “I’m all about changing narratives, like I want people to be able to see Black men fully, not only when we die, not only when we’re mad, not only when we are in handcuffs, but when we are being our genuine true selves, when we are talking about the love of our lives, like our children," he told WNPR. The "manologues" were developed through weekly practice sessions and then filmed and edited. Storytelling coach and “Moth Champion” Christopher Rivas and theater director Godfrey Simmons coached the men through their performances. A live performance was held at the University of Saint Joseph in February. Since then, participants have been featured on WNPR, The Hartford Courant, and during Hartford Stage's Scene and Heard program. The initiative is now part of a yearlong project at the University of Saint Joseph. Thank you for sharing your story, Amos!  
Emeritus Professor Yahya Michot Has New Book on Ibn Taymiyya
Yahya Michot, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Thought and Christian-Muslim Relations, has a new book out, Études taymiyyennes – Taymiyyan Studies, from Albouraq in Paris. "It is a collection of 20 studies about Ibn Taymiyya which I published in English and French between 1988 and 2016," Dr. Michot said. Dr. Michot is an internationally known scholar who taught at Hartford Seminary for 10 years, retiring in 2018. He still teaches occasional courses and gives lectures at the Seminary. He is the author of numerous articles and monographs, best known for his research on the Persian polymath Avincenna (d. 1037) and the Syrian theologian Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328). Congratulations, Dr. Michot!
Hartford Seminary Commits to Systemic Work on Racial Justice
Over the past several weeks, the Hartford Seminary community has worked to address issues of racial justice and inclusion in a variety of ways—from webinars, to participation in rallies, marches, and fasting initiatives. But what’s also clear is that we need to do more. To that end, Hartford Seminary President Joel N. Lohr recently wrote faculty and staff encouraging the Seminary community to work with him and senior leaders to address how we as an organization—systemically—will deliver on our commitment to support racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. “Questions of racial justice and the inclusion of all people in society and at Hartford Seminary, especially those most at risk, historically less privileged, or oppressed, go to the very core of our mission and identity,” President Lohr said. The Seminary will also be asking questions about how we message our commitment, both online and in physical spaces. “Let me be unequivocal. Hartford Seminary is committed to Black Lives Matter as an institution,” President Lohr said. “But how do we communicate that effectively? And what does that really mean?” The Seminary’s senior leadership team, led by Academic Dean David D. Grafton and Chief Operating Officer Ann Crawford, has been tasked with leading an exploration of these questions and to make community based recommendations rooted in action—a deep, foundational educational commitment that goes to the Seminary’s core and informs everything we do.   Doing so will require bringing in and engaging with multiple partners as co-leaders—including students, faculty, staff, alumni, Trustees, and community members—white individuals and people of color, with the impetus for change resting particularly on those who are white. As a starting point, President Lohr has charged senior leaders with submitting a rough, initial draft of a plan by July 6. From there additional input will be sought and work done to enact meaningful change. Please send your thoughts or suggestions to input@hartsem.edu.      
Professor Shanell T. Smith Featured in Womanist Dialogue
Shanell T. Smith, Associate Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, was a featured speaker in a June 18 womanist dialogue via Zoom hosted by Dr. Mitzi J. Smith, the J. Davison Philips Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. The topic was "The Book of Revelation/Apocalypse: A Critical Reflection in Light of CoVid19 and BLM." In the dialogue, Dr. Shanell T. Smith talks about her book The Woman Babylon and the Marks of Empire: Reading Revelation with a Postcolonial Womanist Hermeneutics of Ambiveilence and about her personal experiences living in a pandemic within a pandemic. Other panelists were Drs. Jacqueline Hidalgo, Sheila Winborne, Tina Pippin, Raj Nadella, and Thomas Slater. The dialogue can be viewed at this link.    
Beyond the Pandemic: How Shall We Live?
Internationally acclaimed Celtic teacher John Philip Newell will lead a one-hour livestreamed session on accessing wisdom in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, how shall we choose to live after the pandemic? Dr. Newell will draw on teachers of the past, asking, "If they were with us now, what might they say to us?" The presentation will be followed by a shared online meditation as well as the opportunity to submit questions and comments to the moderator of our livestream gathering, some of which John Philip will be able to respond to during the one-hour session. This webinar is hosted by Hartford Seminary in collaboration with Mercy By The Sea and the New England School of Celtic Consciousness. Registration, limited to 500, is $25 per person. There is an option to add $5 for the Connecticut Food Bank as well. The link for the Zoom webinar will be sent to registrants before the event.     About John Philip Newell John Philip Newell, the celebrated author of Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality, is one of the most prominent Christian teachers of spirituality in the Western world. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he divides his time between Edinburgh, where he does most of his writing, and teaching in the United States and Canada, as well as leading international pilgrimage weeks on Iona. In 2016 John Philip founded the School of Celtic Consciousness (SCC) in the belief that we need to access our Celtic Christian inheritance for this moment in time, urgently. John Philip's much anticipated forthcoming publication is Sacred: Reawakening to Earth & Soul (with Celtic Prophets from St Brigid to John Muir). It will be published in 2021 by Harper One.  Learn more at his website. A complementary session, In the Pandemic - How Shall We Live?, will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on Wednesday, July 8. Registration is limited. Click here to register for that session.        
Organizational Changes at Hartford Seminary
As Hartford Seminary defines new strategic directions, we are also evolving organizationally, making changes to better focus our energies on the future. We are happy to announce the appointment of two talented and committed members of our community to new roles at the Seminary. Appointment of Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton as Academic Dean (Chief Academic Officer) Dr. Grafton holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, University of Birmingham, England. He also holds an MDiv from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a BA from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio. Prior to his appointment at the Hartford Seminary Dr. Grafton served as Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian Muslim Relations at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and Director of Graduate Studies (2008-2016), the Coordinator of Graduate Studies and Director of the Center for Middle East Christianity at the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary in Cairo (2003-2008), and adjunct lecturer in Islamic studies at the Dar Comboni Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Cairo, Egypt (2000-2008). Since coming to the Seminary, Dr. Grafton has proven himself to be an exceptional faculty member, an able administrator, a trusted colleague, and a deeply valued community member. Serving as Interim Academic Dean since July 2018, Dr. Grafton has helped the Seminary establish numerous policies and procedures to create greater equity and inclusion, including the revision of the Faculty Handbook and assisting in the development of the Seminary’s Strategic Plan. He has led the Seminary’s highly successful Luce-Hartford conferences in Christian-Muslim Relations each year since 2017, and has provided crucial leadership to the Macdonald Center as its director. While doing all of this, Dr. Grafton has continued his excellent publication record. Hartford Seminary could not be more pleased to have Dr. Grafton take up the role of Academic Dean, working closely with enrollment services, the Seminary’s faculty, President, and COO. Appointment of Ann Crawford as Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ann Crawford holds an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MEd from Harvard University, an MLS from Syracuse University, and a BA from Harvard University. Prior to her appointment at Hartford Seminary, she served as Associate University Librarian at the University of Hawaii, responsible for leading the areas of finance, facilities, technology, planning, and human resources for this large university library. For five years before that, Ms. Crawford served as Assistant Dean at the UConn School of Law, responsible for the school’s $25M budget, 10-acre-5-building campus, and human resources functions for approximately 60 employees. Earlier in her career, she led the Law School’s technology department and served at Trinity College as a systems librarian. Since coming to the Seminary, Ms. Crawford has enabled strategic change and facilitated numerous efficiencies to reduce costs and improve services. Not least of her accomplishments have been modernizing library systems and services, streamlining facilities and grounds processes, as well as overseeing campus security and safety, including the management of the COVID-19 crisis. A facilitator at heart, Ms. Crawford is known for her ability to move projects forward, foster effective communication, and build strong working relationships with an overall goal of supporting community and creating efficiencies. Hartford Seminary is delighted that Ms. Crawford will take up this newly created role to enable and facilitate the implementation of the Seminary’s promising shared future vision.
A Conversation with Beverly Daniel Tatum: Where Do We Go from Here?
Join us to hear the Rt. Rev. Dr. Benjamin Watts, Faculty Associate in Religion and Community Life, in conversation with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, MA '00, author of the bestselling classic on racism, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race. This conversation is a continuation of Hartford Seminary's examination of the question: Where do we go from here? Part One took place on Friday, June 5, with the Rev. Dr. Watts and a panel of faith leaders discussing how we move forward in addressing foundational racism and injustice in the United States. That webinar can be accessed at this link. Dr. Tatum is best known at the author of a seminal book on race relations and the President Emerita of Spelman College. She earned one of her two master's degree at Hartford Seminary in 2000 and spoke about the importance of her time at the Seminary in a talk she gave in 2017 during a tour to promote the 20th anniversary edition of the book. “The book is the product of my Hartford Seminary education,” she said during her lecture. The book is now on Amazon's bestseller list, and Dr. Tatum is in high demand as a speaker about race and racism in our society. The Zoom link for this webinar will be sent when you register.     About Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, is the author of the best-selling book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race, now in its 20th anniversary edition. A thought-leader in higher education, she was the 2013 recipient of the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award and the 2014 recipient of the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology. Dr. Tatum holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Wesleyan University, a M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of Michigan, and a M.A. in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. For more about Dr. Tatum, please visit her website. About the Rt. Rev. Dr. Benjamin Watts The Rt. Rev. Dr. Benjamin K. Watts  is a 1995 graduate of Hartford Seminary where he received the Doctor of Ministry degree with distinction upon submission of the project entitled, “Understanding & Using Africentrism in Strengthening & Revitalizing the Mission of the Black Church: Analysis & Models.” Dr. Watts is a 1986 graduate of Yale University Divinity School where he received his Master of Divinity degree. Dr.  Watts completed his undergraduate work at Selma University in Selma, Alabama and Alabama A & M, receiving a BA in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. Dr. Watts is Director of the Black Ministries Program and a Faculty Associate in Religion and Community Life. He has worked to understand the relevance of race and culture in marginalized communities beyond their religious hegemony. Dr. Watts is also the Senior Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church of New London, Connecticut, where he has served for more than 26 years. He was elevated and consecrated to the sacred office of Bishop by the International Bishops Conference in 2008. He is a member of the Churches Covered and Connected in Covenant (CCCC). Dr. Watts offers courses in the following areas: The Essential Writings of Howard Thurman, Black Theology, Pastoral Counseling, Ministry in a Muticultural World (team taught with Dr. M.T. Winter) and the Art of Preaching.
Where Do We Go from Here? A Conversation for Faith Leaders
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Benjamin Watts, Faculty Associate in Religion and Community Life and Director of our Black Ministries Program, will lead a conversation on racial justice for leaders of all faiths with help from faculty, alumni, and other members of the Hartford Seminary community. Where Do We Go from Here references a book by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. published in 1967. It asks many of the essential questions being asked today about America's future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. Is this conversation happening in your faith community? If not, how can you approach it? Join us for an important opportunity to listen, learn, and ask questions. A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent out on Friday morning to all who register.     Biography The Rt. Rev. Dr. Benjamin K. Watts  is a 1995 graduate of Hartford Seminary where he received the Doctor of Ministry degree with distinction upon submission of the project entitled, “Understanding & Using Africentrism in Strengthening & Revitalizing the Mission of the Black Church: Analysis & Models.” Dr. Watts is a 1986 graduate of Yale University Divinity School where he received his Master of Divinity degree. Dr.  Watts completed his undergraduate work at Selma University in Selma, Alabama and Alabama A & M, receiving a BA in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. Dr. Watts is Director of the Black Ministries Program and a Faculty Associate in Religion and Community Life.  Dr. Watts believes in the notion of living one’s liturgy in an applied context. His commitment to research includes spirituality and public life…living faith in the public square. He has worked to understand the relevance of race and culture in marginalized communities beyond their religious hegemony.  Dr. Watts is committed to interfaith dialogue, interrelatedness and the notion of the interconnectedness of all living things.  This theology transcends the parochialism of the Christian context in which he serves. Dr. Watts is the Senior Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church of New London, Connecticut, where he has served for more than 26 years. He was elevated and consecrated to the sacred office of Bishop by the International Bishops Conference in 2008. He is a member of the Churches Covered and Connected in Covenant (CCCC). Dr. Watts offers courses in the following areas: The Essential Writings of Howard Thurman, Black Theology, Pastoral Counseling, Ministry in a Muticultural World (team taught with Dr. M.T. Winter) and the Art of Preaching.
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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