GA-1933

GA-1933

COUNCIL ON THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION
JOINT REPORT 

Submitted by
Kelly Thompson and Jon Berquist,
Chairs of Councils

Download PDF

Council of Colleges and Universities

Disciples related colleges and universities represent a broad range of opportunities for students to experience the richness of a liberal arts education steeped in the Disciples tradition of faith, reason, and wholeness. There are fifteen colleges and universities that are in covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) across the United States. While they are diverse in their settings and academic offerings, all have a commitment to academic excellence, a passion for social justice, and provide an inclusive community that respects all people and cultures.

The covenantally affiliated schools are:

  • Barton College
  • Bethany College
  • Chapman University
  • Columbia College
  • Culver-Stockton College
  • Drury University
  • Eureka College
  • Hiram College
  • Jarvis Christian College
  • University of Lynchburg
  • Midway University
  • Texas Christian University
  • Tougaloo College
  • Transylvania University
  • William Woods University

Disciples schools focus on character, service, and leadership; providing ample opportunities for student to get involved in the community, explore faith and values, and connect to new ideas and perspectives. All institutions offer Disciples scholarships and financial aid to help make higher education affordable. Each offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree opportunities with a unique scope of majors and programs of study.

Established in connection with the church, through Higher Education and Leadership Ministries, the primary purpose of the Council of Colleges and Universities is to provide an avenue for discussion of common concerns and issues, generally institutional in character, and for the sharing of its members’ expertise.  The Council also exists as a forum at which the institutions may discuss strategies for denominational understanding and for the development of denominational fiscal support.  The Council also provides advice and recommendations to HELM and is a means by which institutions can explore appropriate ways of working with HELM and the wider church.  In addition to providing a forum, the Council is a means for fellowship of the chief executive officers of the institutions holding membership in the Council.

Highlights of work of the council include:

Over the past two years, nearly all of the Disciples colleges and universities have experienced increases in undergraduate admissions applications. Several schools have also seen significant increases in enrollment. The council continues to work with HELM to recruit Disciples students to attend Disciples colleges and universities

HELM has held info sessions at churches, regional assemblies, and racial ethnic constituency gatherings, to share information with high school students and with their parents. These info sessions have generated excitement and interest in Disciples colleges and universities and have contributed to increased number of students seeking enrollment at Disciples schools.

HELM staff and representatives from other Disciples general ministry have promoted ministry programs for young adults by working with Disciples chaplains and campus ministers. This continues to encourage Disciples college students participating in the NBA XPLOR program, DOM Global Mission Intern Program, DHM Disciples Peach Fellows, and many others

During 2018, HELM worked closely with Tougaloo College to achieve the school’s goal of moving toward full covenantal affiliation with the church. The proposal was well received and approved by all relevant councils and boards of the church. It became official during the 2019 General Board meeting.

Council on Theological Education

All of us are called to serve God with our lives. Some, however, feel called to serve in specific vocational ministries. For those who are discerning this calling, considering the possibility of theological education and where that might take place is crucial. Throughout the history the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and throughout the entirety of the Stone-Campbell movement, Disciples have been committed to the education and training of those serving in ministry. And while the context in which ministry takes place today is very different than in previous generations, the commitment to excellence in education continues.

Today there are seven seminaries and divinity houses that are in covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) across the United States. Each of them offers various degrees, certificates, and programs, as well as varying approaches in journeying with students. Some offer a traditional, residence-based experience, others have on-line classes with short on-campus intensives throughout the year, and still others offer a blending of on-site and distance learning. However, while they may differ in the format of classes as well as specific degrees and programs offered, all have a commitment to journeying with students in discerning their calling, equipping them with the knowledge and experience to serve God in the wider church and world.

Established in connection with the church, through Higher Education and Leadership Ministries, the Council on Theological Education is and organized means of communication and cooperation both among its member institutions and between its membership and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Council includes up to two voting representatives selected by each theological education institution affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) [Current Members: Brite Divinity School; Christian Theological Seminary; Lexington Theological Seminary; Phillips Theological Seminary; Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago; Disciples Divinity House at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and Disciples Seminary Foundation

The last two annual meetings of the Council of Theological education took place in Indianapolis and were hosted by Higher Education and Leadership Ministries at Disciples Center. Highlights of the meetings include:

  • Presentation from and conversation with General Minister and President Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens. The conversation focused on the goals and priority of the Office of the General Minister and President, as well at the church’s commitment to strong theological education institutions.
  • Presentations from and engagement with leaders of the Association of Theological Schools where data was presented on enrollment trends at schools across North America, with a focus on Disciples schools and the numbers of Disciples students enrolled in ATS schools. The members of CTE committed to engaging in continued intentional conversations around increasing enrollment of Disciples students at Disciples theological education institutions.
  • The Council also met with leadership from the Pension Fund and the National Benevolent Association as part of their ongoing effort to strengthen connections with Disciples of Christ general ministry partners.

 

 

 

GA-1911

GA-1911

HIGHER EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP MINISTRIES
REPORT TO THE GENERAL BOARD OF
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)
Submitted by
Bernard “Chris” Dorsey, President
January 2, 2019

Download PDF

INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Higher Education and Leadership Ministries works with wider church and higher education partners to develop and nurture Christian leaders who are transforming church, society and world.

Higher Education and Leadership Ministries continues to promote Disciples higher education institutions and provide cutting edge leadership development programming throughout the church. This is accomplished most effectively by working closely with Disciples colleges, universities, theological institutions, congregations, regions, and general ministries of the church.

Colleges and Universities

HELM has continued to work closely with the leadership of Disciples Colleges and Universities to strengthen the relationship between Disciples schools and the church. Here are a few highlights:

  • Over the past two years, nearly all of the Disciples colleges and universities have experienced dramatic increases in undergraduate applications. Several schools have also seen significant increases in enrollment.
  • HELM has held info sessions at churches, regional assemblies, and racial ethnic constituency gatherings, to share information with high school students and with their parents.
  • HELM staff has promoted other Disciples ministry programs for young adults by working with Disciples chaplains and campus ministers. This has led to Disciples college students participating in the NBA XPLOR program, DOM Global Mission Intern Program, and DHM Disciples Peace Fellows.
  • During 2018, HELM worked closely with Tougaloo College to bring the school into full covenantal affiliation with the church. The final step in the process will be a vote by the Administrative Committee at the February 2019 meeting.

Theological Education

  • HELM hosted the Council of Theological education in April and featured presentations on student enrollment data across ATS north American schools and Disciples schools in particular. The leaders of the schools committed to engaging in intentional conversations around increasing enrollment of Disciples students at Disciples theological education institutions.
  • A number of our Disciples theological institutions is experiencing a transition of leadership. Gary Peluso Verdend stepped down from his role as president of Phillips Theological Seminary to return to teaching and to lead up other initiatives at the seminary, Matt Bolton ended his tenure as president of Christian Theological Seminary, and Mark Miller McLemore retired from his position as Dean of the Disciples Divinity House of Vanderbilt Divinity School.
  • Lexington Theological Seminary received a $1,000,000 thriving in ministry grant from the Lilly Fund and will continue the cutting edge work they are doing in helping build mentoring relationships between experienced clergy and emerging clergy.

Leadership Programs

  • HELM’s Leadership Fellows program welcomed 8 new students into the program and held the annual Leadership Fellows program for 28 new and returning fellows in New York City. Union Theological Seminary hosted the retreat and President Serene Jones was a featured plenary speaker.
  • The third year Leadership Fellows who are focusing on the theme of global awareness, were able to participate in a delegation to Morocco, thanks to support from Global Ministries
  • Four fellows became the first group of students to graduate having been through all four years of the new format of the program.
  • Next year’s leadership fellows retreat will take place in California and the global awareness international trip will be to Colombia, where students will learn about how our partners have been involved with the peace process there.
  • Along with the Office of the General Minister and President, HELM convened a group of leaders to discuss the role of the seminarians conference in the life of the church. Plans are underway to develop and new strategy for how to nurture and form emerging clergy leaders.

Grants and Scholarships

  • HELM distributed over $100,000 in scholarships and grants to over 45 undergraduate and graduate students.

With respect to its stated priorities of financial equilibrium, program and staff efficiency, engagement with higher education, and board development and participation; HELM reports the following highlights:

FINANCIAL EQUILIBRIUM

In the past four years, HELM has continued to plan for and experience balanced budgets. These surpluses are enabling HELM to pay down loan debts that were incurred during the financial crises of 2008/2009.  HELM’s financial equilibrium continues to enable a shifting of more funding to program activities and increasing support for participants in HELM’s programs. This Disciples Education and Leadership Fund, which has been started with the investment of a $126,000 bequest into a fund with the Christian Church Foundation, continues to grow. HELM is also on target to reduce it’s effective draw from investments by ½ of a percentage point in the coming year.

BOARD DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICIPATION

HELM’s board of directors has been strong throughout the years. In 2017, the board voted to reduce the size of the board from 16 to 12 at large members. The board also voted to change the ex officio campus ministry position to a board elected position. At the end of 2018, three longtime board members ended their terms of service, having completed the maximum allowed number of terms. HELM is thankful for the faithful service of Bill Bailey, Yvonne Gilmore, and Beau Underwood. HELM elected three new board members, along with new officers. The new board members are Joan-Bell Haynes, Colton Lott, and Michelle Scott-Huffman. The new officers are Lonora Graves – Chair; Santiago Pinon – Vice Chair; and Pamela Sparks – Secretary. The Spring 2019 board meeting will be held in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area.

The board continues to be deeply engaged and involved in supporting and leading HELM.

CONCLUSION

HELM continues to discern how best to meet the needs of the church, with respect to the established mission of its ministry.

With gratefulness to God and enthusiasm for continued commitment to ministry, HELM hereby submits this report to the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Yours in Christ,

 

Bernard “Chris” Dorsey

 

 

GA-1932

GA-1932

ACKNOWLEDGING THE COVENANTAL AFFILIATION OF TOUGALOO COLLEGE AND REAFFIRMING OUR COMMITMENT TO HIGHER EDUCATION

(Sense-of-the-Assembly)

Download PDF

WHEREAS, in the history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) formal education has been a top priority going back to the early days of the Stone-Campbell movement, with over 200 colleges, universities and theological institutions having been founded throughout that history, demonstrating a strong Disciples commitment to higher education; and

WHEREAS, Southern Christian Institute of Edwards, MS, was founded in 1882 by the Home Missionary Society of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as a private boarding school for black students during the Jim Crow era, and trained several generations of African American educators, clergy and other leaders, before merging with Tougaloo College in 1954 and continuing its central mission of education, while also playing a critical role in advancing the cause of freedom and justice during the Civil Rights Movement; and

WHEREAS, Tougaloo College has continued to appreciate its affiliation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with leadership changes at the College and in the life of the Church, Tougaloo never signed the 1977 Covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but continued its relationship with the Church and recently at its October 19, 2018 Board of Trustees Meeting voted to affirm its commitment to the current Covenant between Colleges and Universities and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and officially requested to join in full affiliation with the other fourteen affiliated colleges and universities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and

WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of Higher Education and Leadership Ministries, The Council of Colleges and Universities, and the Administrative Committee of the General Board, have all subsequently voted to affirm Tougaloo’s affiliation in covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ);

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that in this historic moment, the General Assembly celebrates the history and heritage of Tougaloo College as a Disciples institution of higher education continuing in the tradition began by the Southern Christian Institute and fully living into its current mission of preparing its students to be lifelong learners who are committed to leadership and service in a global society; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly deepens its commitment to promoting and supporting higher education across the church, with special attention being given to the fifteen colleges and universities in covenantal relationship and our seven theological institutions; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that all members, congregations, ministries, organizations, and institutions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada will continue to pray for and encourage our institutions of higher education and will continue encouraging students to seek educational opportunities at all of the various Disciples related educational institutions.

Higher Education and Leadership Ministries

 

 

__________________________________________________________________

The General Board recommends that the General Assembly ADOPT GA-1932. (Discussion Time: 12 minutes)