The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South

Advanced Degrees Program

June 6–24, 2016

The Advanced Degrees Program at The School of Theology is a summer program designed to increase professional knowledge in the practice of ministry for clergy. Classes build the relationship between the practice of ministry and biblical, historical, and theological studies by combining learning in community with a cycle of daily prayer and worship in the Anglican tradition. Please see the 2014-15 catalog for degree details.

  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Ministry in Preaching
  • Doctor of Ministry in Liturgy
  • Masters of Sacred Theology
  • Masters of Sacred Theology in Anglican Studies

2016 Summer Courses

Most students will register for two (2) of the following courses this summer:

Implanting the Word: Skills for Helping People Internalize Scripture’s Transformative Symbols

The Rev. Martin L. Smith

With metaphors such as “engrafting” or “implanting” the word, (Jas. 1:21) and injunctions such as “may the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16), Scripture itself supports the distinction between merely pulling ideas from the Bible and an inner appropriation of its dynamic symbols through which they become incorporated as “renewable resources” for our lifelong process of meaning-making. This course will focus on ways in which pastors can facilitate and intensify this deeper engagement with the revelatory images of Scripture through their preaching and work as counselors and spiritual guides. It will examine the religious experience of interiorization from various perspectives, looking systematically at the constellations of imagery which provide the Bible’s palette, learning from the intellectual discipline of hermeneutics how symbols work in activating insight and motivating change, and tapping the rich resources of perennial wisdom found in classic Christian traditions of scriptural meditation.

The Rev. Martin L. Smith is a priest of the Episcopal Church, well known for his books exploring contemporary spirituality, and for his roving ministry of spiritual formation as preacher, retreat leader and teacher. He brings to this course a lifelong interest in Biblical interpretation founded on his training in Theology and New Testament at Oxford, four decades of teaching people in scriptural meditation, and recent research in the philosophy of symbol and psychology of religious experience as a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Faith Development at Emory University.

The Art in Preaching: Using Fiction and Poetry in Sermons

The Rt. Rev. G. Porter Taylor

The playwright John Shea says, “We turn our pain into narrative so we can bear it; we turn our ecstasy into narrative so we can prolong it. We tell our stories to live.” As humans, we make meaning through narrative. When Jesus was asked questions, he told stories. The objectives of this course are to deepen students’ ability to analyze fiction and poetry from a theological perspective and to improve their capacity to incorporate stories and images into their sermons. The texts will include short stories from fiction writers such as Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, Louise Erdrich, Alice Munro, James Joyce, poems from poets such as Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, Ranier Maria Rilke, Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, T. S. Eliot, and one novel: Mary Gordon’s Pearl. The assignments will include creating and preaching sermons using literature, as well as journaling and short papers. 

The Rt. Rev. G. Porter Taylor was consecrated as the sixth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina Sept. 18, 2004. Before attending the School of Theology for his M.Div., he taught American Literature at Belmont College in Nashville. He earned his B.A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his M.A. in English from the University of South Carolina, and his Ph.D. degree in Theology and Literature from Emory University. He is the author of two books of sermons: To Dream as God Dreams: Sermons of Hope, Conversion, and Community, and From Anger to Zion: An Alphabet of Faith.

Introduction to Environmental Ethics

Dr. Andrew R. H. Thompson

The environmental challenges facing the world today are urgent and complex. A variety of approaches have been enacted or proposed to address these problems, ranging from practical efforts to organize for justice to conceptual attempts to shift how we view our world. All of these approaches have particular strengths and weaknesses, and all raise important questions. The purpose of this introductory course is to survey ethical to environmental problems and to examine the central moral questions such problems raise. We will cover traditional, “mainstream” environmental ethical responses as well as more recent alternatives to and criticisms of those responses. We will also consider the ethical and theological foundations for environmental ministries on a parish level, and the final essay will seek to integrate these concrete examples with particular ethical approaches.

Dr. Andrew R. H. Thompson is the postdoctoral fellow in environmental ethics at the School of Theology. Thompson earned his Ph.D. in Religion from Yale University, and his M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School. He also holds a B.A. in Music Performance from Duquesne University. His research focuses on environmental and social ethics and the work of ethicist H. Richard Niebuhr. His first book, All My Holy Mountain: A Christian Ethical Response to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining, is under contract with the University Press of Kentucky. He has also written on mission and on religion and place, and has taught ethics, philosophy, and world religions.

Contemporary Anglican Theologians

The Rev. Drs. Benjamin King and Robert MacSwain

What is the contribution of Anglicanism to theology today? This course will examine the writings of selected Anglican theologians to find out both what is distinctive in the work of David Brown, Sarah Coakley, David F. Ford, John Milbank, Mark McIntosh, Kathryn Tanner, Rowan Williams, and others, and at the same time show what these theologians have in common. That commonality is central to Anglicanism, and we hope to show that there are reasons why a tradition with its roots in Great Britain still offers virtues to be practiced across the Communion, and likewise provides help in dealing with persistent theological problems. These theologians all begin their theology with (more or less critical) readings of Scripture and ecclesial practice.  But each demonstrates that, from there, contemporary Anglican theology makes many "border crossings:" into the theology of other Christian traditions, into philosophy and sociology, into the arts and natural sciences, even into divine life. 

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin King is the associate professor of Church history and director of the Advanced Degrees Program at the School of Theology. King went to Cambridge University as an undergraduate and as a seminarian, before coming to the U.S.A. to work as a parish priest in 2000. He since attained a master's in theology at Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in theology at Durham University in the U.K. From 2005 to 2009, King was Episcopal chaplain at Harvard University, where he also taught at Harvard Divinity School.

The Rev. Dr. Robert MacSwain is the associate professor of theology at the School of Theology. A philosophy graduate of Liberty University, MacSwain studied theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Edinburgh. His M.Th. thesis, supervised by Fergus Kerr OP, was on Martin Luther and St. Thomas Aquinas as readers of the Apostle Paul. After teaching religion at Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., he entered the ordination process in the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina and completed his clinical pastoral education at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. This was followed by a year of Anglican studies at Virginia Theological Seminary, and an internship as research assistant to Archbishop George Carey at Lambeth Palace.

Details of the two liturgy courses are forthcoming.

The ADP 2016 schedule is available here.

The petition to graduate may be downloaded here.

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