Like many people, I was drawn to Hartford Seminary for a variety of reasons. Two stand out. I am a committed person of faith, and I have grown spiritually and intellectually from dialoguing about differences — religious ones but also the many others that contribute to our diversity. Hartford Seminary is a place that specializes —and excels — in both. Our tagline, which nicely sums up our larger mission, guides everything we do: Exploring Differences, Deepening Faith.
There are so many ways our contemporary culture falls short and points to our brokenness. We are polarized politically, we are often suspicious of our neighbors and do not talk to each other, and technology, despite its many promises and benefits, can exacerbate our alienation. At Hartford Seminary we are doing something different. We foster reconciliation through dialogue and hospitality, we take seriously our relationships with each other, and we seek to use technology to build, rather than break down, our connections with each other and creation.
You’ll see that at times we use the word interfaith to describe what we do. It’s true that we are committed to learning with and from each other with genuine openness, but this term does not mean we are striving for some type of blending of faiths to which all can assent. I have found that my engagements with different religious people have not only enriched my life but strengthened my Christian walk. Interreligious dialogue is not about compromise so much as seeking to learn with and from each other in a spirit of generosity.
I invite you to look around our website, viewing our course offerings and many programs. We have a distinct focus on the Abrahamic religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and fill a unique and important niche of Muslim-Christian dialogue and Islamic Studies at a historically Christian seminary. Our faculty are second to none: a brilliant, kind, and caring group of individuals who not only lead in the classroom, but are highly regarded scholars in their respective fields. We are blessed and privileged to have such a strong team. They provide transformational education that is both academic and practical, clearly evident in the lives of our dynamic students and alumni.
Hartford Seminary is a unique community, a microcosm of the world and its diversity. Some of this has to be experienced in person, but the truth is we are breaking ground with online learning degrees and courses that provide genuine and robust educational experiences not unlike those of our campus classrooms. We will continue to innovate and lead the country forward like we have in the past, being the first seminary in America to admit female students, to have an accredited Islamic Chaplaincy program, and to start a center for the study of Christian-Muslim relations. If you’re looking for a vigorous education that is different, transformational, and cutting edge, Hartford Seminary might just be the place for you.
Together we can blaze new paths forward and help heal the world.
Joel N. Lohr