Eden’s Press Hall tower witnesses to the presence and mission of the Seminary.  Interfaith collegiality is central to our identity and formation of our students.At sunset on 9/15 the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins. Next week will mark the observance of Yom Kippur 9/24-25, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The ten day period between is known as the “Days of awe.”As a sign of love and gratitude to our Jewish colleagues, friends, and neighbors, Eden Seminary will light its tower in bright white light, a traditional color for these holidays, symbolizing the new year, purity, restored relationships and hope.Gmar tov, Tzom kal, and Happy Holidays!


This summer, the Eden Gleaning and Garden Project has been growing and harvesting produce for area food pantries and ministries. Over the past 4 months, we have partnered with farmers in Indiana and Illinois to glean thousands of pounds of asparagus, corn, potatoes and cabbage.

Our next gleaning trip is this Saturday Sept 2, and we would love to have you join us.

  • Departing Eden @ 7:30 am Central (Schroer Commons parking lot) and returning to Eden by 7pm.
  • Meeting in Vincennes Indiana at St John’s UCC @ 11:30 (Eastern)

The tasks for the day allow for varying levels of physical exertion: from moderate (harvesting, lifting bags, and climbing in and out of a wagon) to light (counting and bagging produce). Bring water, snacks, and a knife (for harvesting). Lunch is provided. The forecast is for temperatures in the high 80s, so dress appropriately. We will be in the fields mid-day for 2-3 hours

If you plan to join us or have questions, please contact:
Kristen Leslie (
[email protected]) 203.376.4537
Co-Director of the Eden Gleaning and Garden Project

Making a difference, while having fun. It doesn’t get better than that!

Eden’s Press Hall tower witnesses to the presence and mission of the Seminary.  Colors of the Deaconess Foundation shine from the Eden tower this week as the 2023 CDC Freedom School® concludes its final sessions of the summer.

The tower of the Press Hall at Eden Theological Seminary is a recognizable presence on the Webster Groves campus.  Local neighbors as well as alumni and the community around the world often identify Eden’s campus with the iconic tower.

Lights in the tower also now witness to the mission of Eden Seminary through occasional displays that share particular stories. In June, lights on the tower expressed solidarity with members of the LGBTQIA+ community through a celebration of PRIDE.  This week, the tower lights bear witness to partnerships that make possible a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School® for young scholars in Webster Groves.

Children and their leaders and families have filled the buildings and fields of Eden Seminary this summer with laughter, joy, curiosity, and learning. “The Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® are intergenerational, culturally competent summer programs, built on literacy, leadership and social advocacy. The curriculum is rooted in the Civil Rights Movement’s Freedom Summer.”  It is an inquiry-based, multi-cultural, hands-on curriculum that celebrates African cultural concepts of the intergenerational village and “Harambe” and enables literacy building and critical reflection. Learn More here.

Peace UCC of Webster Groves leases space on the campus of Eden Seminary for congregational life, worship and programming, including the hosting of Freedom School® for 6 weeks in the summer.  The Deaconess Foundation sponsors this network of CDF Freedom Schools® in the St. Louis area, joining Freedom Schools throughout the United States.  “CDF Freedom Schools® provide meaningful engagement opportunities for congregations by placing them in proximity to the needs of children in order to inform faith-based advocacy.”  Since 2016, Peace UCC has served as one of those St. Louis congregational hosts. Other host sites in the St. Louis area include Christ the King UCC and Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being.

With gratitude for the children and their leaders and families, for Peace UCC and for the Deaconess Foundation, the lighted tower at Eden Seminary bears witness.

Eden Seminary at the United Church of Christ General SynodEden was well represented at the United Church of Christ General Synod in Indianapolis, IN, June 30-July 4. The Eden booth and bookstore was a great success. Along with attracting many prospective students to Eden’s MDiv, DMin, MCL, and other non-degree programming, it quickly became a landing place for friends, graduates, musicians and authors to gather and share talents and stories, catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Look closely at the photos below…you may see someone you know!

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)