Eden Seminary at the United Church of Christ General SynodJune 30 – July 4, 2023  IndianapolisConnect with UsEden Sponsored Lunch – Saturday, July 1st noonDidn’t order your Eden lunch ticket when you registered for Synod? No worries! Purchase your ticket here through June 14th.

Eden Seminary alumni, friends and church network – See yourselves in the Network Model of Theological Education emerging at Eden. Reflect on this vision with President Deborah Krause. Catch up with long-time friends and connect with new colleagues.

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Exhibit Hall with Bookstore#EdenLeadin’ – Celebrating Alumni Impact #WeAreEden Everywhere we are – Expanding Capacity, Access and Demand for theological education#WhyEdenNow?  -See yourself or someone you know in the Eden community of learning & faith

Authors events at the Eden BookstoreSunday, July 2nd  11:00 am – Christopher GrundyMonday, July 3rd  2:00 pm – Molly Baskette & Sarah Griffith Lund

IKC Festival Sunday, July 2nd  4:30 – 7:30 pm
IKC Festival – United Church of Christ General Synod 34  UCC History & Polity Class at Synod Information here.
Polity Class – United Church of Christ General Synod 34 
Enroll Now.  Complete this form.
https://form.jotform.com/230876492599172

Connect with Eden at Events around the Country

June 1-3: Indiana-Kentucky Conference UCC Annual Meeting (Indianapolis, IN)

June 1-4: Webster Art Fair (Webster Groves, MO)

June 5-9: Hampton Ministers Conference (Hampton, VA)

June 8-10: Wisconson Conference UCC Annual Meeting (Greenlake, WI)

June 17: Southern New England Conference UCC (Worchester, MA)

June 17: Harris-Stowe State University (St. Louis, MO)

June 24-25: St. Louis Pride (St. Louis, MO)
Eden will share a booth with Gateway Open and Affirming

June 25-27: National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (Milwaukee, WI)

June 29-July 4: UCC General Synod (Indianapolis, IN)

July 5-9: The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (Atlanta, GA)

July 10-12: E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference (Dallas, TX)

July 29-Aug. 1: Disciples of Christ Assembly (Louisville, KY)

Recruiter, Rev. Dr. Justin Shamell meets Eden alumni and faculty

Rev. Dr. Raquel Lettsome appointed as Professor of New Testament and Womanist Biblical Interpretation at Eden Theological Seminary

By unanimous vote of the Tenured Faculty and Action of the Board of Trustees, Eden Theological Seminary has appointed Rev. Dr. Raquel Lettsome as Professor of New Testament and Womanist Biblical Interpretation with tenure. A graduate of Yale University (B.A.), and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div., Ph.D.), Dr. Lettsome has taught for three years as a Visiting Scholar and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Eden, and with this call joins the Seminary faculty as a full-time colleague with tenure. Dr. Lettsome’s scholarship and teaching are at the forefront  New Testament studies and Womanist Biblical Interpretation. She brings a depth of experience in church leadership, having served several congregations in the AME and Baptist churches. In addition to her academic and ecclesial expertise, Professor Lettsome is an educational innovator committed to the formation of leaders for the church via her RSL Ministries platform (www.RSLministries.com).

In this appointment, Dr. Lettsome joins the faculty as Eden’s first primarily digitally present professor. Expanding on the Seminary’s approach to building a blended community of learning and faith among physically and digitally present people, Dr. Lettsome will occasionally travel to the Seminary for events and meetings and empower the Seminary with her depth of experience as an online theological educator and builder of community fully participating in the faculty’s committee work, student advising, and Eden’s worship and common life.

An ordained Itinerant Elder in the AME Church, Professor Lettsome lives with her family, Rev. Dr. Lydell Lettsome, MD (a Board Certified surgeon who leads VanBert Health Equity Project and is ordained within the Baptist Church), and their children Tiffany and Luke Lettsome in Clayton, Delaware.

Eden Seminary is in the midst of saying farewell and best wishes to Professor Laurel Koepf, Hebrew Bible and Religious Education. Dr. Koepf has accepted a position with McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago to direct their Doctor of Ministry program and teach as Administrative Faculty in the area of Hebrew Bible. She concludes with Eden at the end of May 2023.

 Over the past dozen years, Professor Koepf has been a leading progressive scholar in the areas of the Bible and Childhood Studies, as well as Gender, Sexuality, and Race. She has brought administrative strength to Eden’s faculty in developing rubrics of assessment and improvement for the Doctor of Ministry degree  as well as with  Eden’s masters degrees. She served for a period as Associate Academic Dean and as chair of several faculty committees. She has been the faculty liaison to Common Ground, the LGBTQIA student cabinet group. In recent years, Dr. Koepf has drawn on her work as a Christian Educator (prior to joining the Eden Faculty) and added teaching in the area of Religious Education to her portfolio to support the Eden Faculty in resourcing the curriculum. As an ordained minister in the UCC, Dr. Koepf has represented the school well as a curricular leader in the UCC’s Our Whole Lives (OWL) Human Sexuality Educational curriculum for all ages. 

 While this transition is a loss to Eden’s community of learning and faith, we celebrate with Dr. Koepf a move that will contribute to the life she is building with her family in Chicago. 

View the full Eden Seminary commencement ceremony  via Facebook  at facebook.com/EdenTheologicalSeminary/

Hear President Deb Kruase’s charge to the graduates

Celebrate Eden’s graduates!

Be inspired by Commencement speaker, Rev. Muriel L. Johnson. Rev. Johnson is CEO of Bishops INK, LLC. She is retired from 20 years as Executive Regional Associate Minister for the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region. View her full commeencement address here.

Congratulations to Honorary Degree recipients! View full video below.
Doctor of Divinity: Rev. Muriel L. Johnson and Rabbi Howard Kaplansky
Doctor of Humane Letters: Mrs. Norma Klemme
Samuel D. Press Service Award: Rev. Dr. Veronica Richardson (posthumously)

2023 Spring Convocation April 13 – 14
Presentations, Reunions, Small Groups, Meals and More! “From the Ground Up: Food Security, Food-to-Table Partnerships and Pastoral Care”

Videos:

 

 

 

Eden Theological Seminary, in partnership with the United Church of Christ Justice & Local Church Ministries announces the establishment of the Center for Lived Faith and Organizing. 

The Center, with the support of a generous grant from the Fetzer Institute, will support people of faith engaged deeply in transforming the world through community and cultural organizing grounded in theology and faith.

The Center exists to educate, train, and connect communities with local and regional partners for long-term and sustainable ministry in organizing and justice work. Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker, Assistant Professor of Community Engagement and Contextual Education, Director of Contextual Education, will serve as the founding faculty director. Rev. Dr. Justin Marshall Shamell will serve as the new Relationship Manager and Recruiter of Congregations.  

Bolstering Eden’s mission as a school of the church, the Center for Lived Faith and Organizing is part of Eden’s Certificate and Community Learning programs and intends to support congregations, justice seeking community members, clergy, and students.

If you are interested in learning more about the Center for Lived Faith and Organizing, please contact Dr. Wise Baker at [email protected] or fill out this form if you have questions!

Read the UCC article about the launch of the Center for Lived Faith and Organizing here.

Read the UCC article about the first-ever courses from the Center for Lived Faith and Organizing.

(Annual Bracke Public Lecture on Leadership)

The Future of Co-Vocational Ministry!
Join us to get an update on the latest trends from The Hartford Institute of Religious Research, about the state of the church, and what ministry jobs will look like in the future.

Listen to the presentation here

Speakers:

Dr. Allison Norton is the Faculty Associate in Migration Studies and Congregational Life at Hartford International University, where she directs the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England. She teaches courses in sociology of religion, immigration, and multicultural and inter-generational ministry. Her research and publications explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. congregations, the rise of megachurches in West Africa, the transnational dimension of African Pentecostalism, the role of migration on the worldwide expansion of the Christian faith, and the religious identities of the “new” second generation.

The Rev. Aaron Rogers is a passionate preacher, teacher, and nonprofit leader based in St. Louis, MO. He received his B.S. from Bradley University and his M. Div from Eden Theological Seminary. In his 10+ years of nonprofit leadership, he has served nonprofits, churches, and foundations. Most notably, Aaron served as the Associate Minister of Stewardship and Development at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem NY and as the Associate to the Rector for Trinity Episcopal Church in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. He serves as chair of the board for East Side Aligned, a collective impact organization for children and youth in East Saint Louis and for Faith for Justice, a coalition of Christian activists in the St. Louis area. Currently, Aaron is a candidate for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church and is completing a Diploma of Anglican Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary. He is passionate about racial equity, social justice, and creating thriving organizations.

Affectionately known as “Rev. Raquel,” the Reverend Raquel S. Lettsome, Ph.D.  informs and inspires congregants and classes through her preaching, teaching, writing, and online course and webinar experiences. To this end, she founded Raquel S. Lettsome, LLC. (www.raquelslettsome.com) to use these gifts in the service of churches and educational institutions to help them advance their missions. She is also the Founder & President of the not-for-profit corporation, RSL Ministries, Inc., (www.rslministries.com) where she works with faith leaders and lay people to interpret Scripture more effectively for preaching, teaching, and living. Dr. Lettsome is currently the Distinguished Visiting Scholar of the New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary (St. Louis, MO) and has been an invited lecturer and instructor for classes at Princeton Theological, Payne Theological, United Lutheran seminaries as well as national conferences, and denominational meetings. Dr. Lettsome is also a published author in the fields of homiletics, biblical studies, womanist biblical interpretation and theology, and Christian spirituality. Her latest publication, Breakthrough You! 30 Daily Devotions to Move You Forward, was a #1 New Release in Religion & Spirituality Short Reads on Amazon.com. Dr. Lettsome holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (Yale University), a Master of Divinity (Princeton Theological Seminary) and is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary (2005).

Eden Theological Seminary stands in solidarity with those in Memphis demanding justice in policing. We pray for the Nichols family in their grief and anguish. Eden aligns with the statement (featured below) of Gamaliel’s Race and Power Institute’s Council of Presidents. Gamaliel is an educational partner of the seminary. “Gamaliel believes it is largely a national problem due to a culture of police militarization, an ingrained warrior mentality, flawed training, inadequate laws, lack of mental evaluation and support, racial discrimination, and deep-rooted impunity.”God in your mercy, hear our prayers, and move us to resist racism in all its forms.#BlackLivesMatter


From the Council of Presidents of Gamaliel’s Race and Power Institute
January 27, 2023

Once again, a senseless act of police brutality has taken the life of another black person. The murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols at the hands of five police officers (Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills, Jr.) in Memphis, Tennessee has traumatized a family and a community. This incident started as result of a simple traffic stop, but ended in a brutal murder.


All five police officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression. What happened to Mr. Nichols in Memphis reveals a mob mentality by these five police officers. Did these police officers see a person or an object? Did they see themselves, a family member, or a fellow human being? The inhumane violence against Mr. Nichols was an act of utmost savagery. Mr. Nichols was dehumanized and depersonalized. The acts of violence perpetrated against Mr. Nichols denied him of his most basic human rights.


Some of the officers involved in the beating and death of Mr. Nichols were part of Memphis police’s SCORPION Unit. This unit, whose name is an acronym meaning Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods, was created in 2021 to lower violent crime. Where was the peace connection when it came to Mr. Nichols? Who committed the violent crime? True officers of peace would have intervened. Not one of the officers stood up for the rights of Mr. Nichols. These officers participated in an immoral act against a citizen. Even the name Scorpion symbolizes death, evil, unpleasantness, and destruction. These officers lived up to the symbolism.


Brutality is intrinsic to the very core of so many police departments. Until America admits that its criminal justice system is broken, change cannot take place. Justice was denied Mr. Nichols on the streets of Memphis. Justice is now demanded toward the five police officers who brutally murdered Mr. Nichols.


Social justice groups, citizens in Memphis and people across the nation have spoken out against the horrific beating and death of Mr. Nichols. This includes: President Joe Biden, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis and Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy.
Why is police brutality so prevalent? The Criminal Legal System and the Culture of Policing in America are broken. Gamaliel believes it is largely a national problem due to a culture of police militarization, an ingrained warrior mentality, flawed training, inadequate laws, lack of mental evaluation and support, racial discrimination, and deep-rooted impunity. America’s police departments require deprograming from its historic systemic and structural composition. Only then can transformative justice take place.
Police brutality must end! Rev. Edward Lee Thompson
Chair, Gamaliel Council of Presidents

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, addressed the United States Congress on Wednesday, December 21st using language and concepts of “Just Peace.” President Zelensky’s Ten Point Peace Formula presented both to the U.S. Congress and to other world leaders at November’s G20 summit in Bali, incorporates the wholistic vision of “Just Peace” included in theologies of “Just Peace” for which Eden Seminary, our alumni, related churches and colleagues of multiple faiths are known.

The connection between “Just Peace theology” and the current conflict centered in Ukraine is  particularly strong in this season of Christmas that highlights the hope of peace – “Peace with Justice.”  One of our Eden Seminary alumni and retired minister in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Paul (Chip)Jahn, has a powerful story to tell of the efficacy of “Just Peace” and in particular how it helped broker a peace treaty in Sri Lanka between the government and Tamil Tigers and in how it impacts work against domestic abuse in the United States.

The term “Just Peace” was used first by the United Church of Christ that declared itself a “Just Peace” denomination after a group of Christian ethicists of many church traditions outlined a position of the deeper engagement needed to transform violent conflict into a sustainable just peace. Eden Seminary was at the forefront of this movement as then Professor Douglas Meeks helped write the original pronouncement voted on by the United Church of Christ General Synod in 1985.

“Just Peace” is more than a desired outcome for the conflict in the Ukraine. It is a new model many who are responsible for resolving violent conflict use to engage a series of practices developed in the early 1980s. It recognizes the old models of both pacifism and just war have been inadequate in either avoiding, limiting or resolving violent conflict.   Rev. Jahn incorporates his experiences  and more detail of a “Just Peace” model here. Read more . . . Just Peace Experiences