Committee for Diversity and Reconciliation
Originally founded by Dean Emeritus William Stafford as the Committee for a New Day, this committee initially focused on historic issues of race and racism. The Committee for Diversity and Reconciliation continues to lead the community in discussions around these issues, but has expanded its engagement of faculty and students in broadening its scope of work to include a range of critical social issues, such as discrimination based on gender, age, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability. Listening sessions during the Advent semester will determine the direction of the committee's work in the coming year.
This is a standing committee of the School of Theology and it is charged with deepening the education and conversation of this community concerning the sins of prejudice and discrimination of all kinds. In the context of God’s creation and reconciliation of humankind, it seeks to:
- develop and implement ways to foster a change of mind and heart in and beyond this community
- widen the presence and participation of under-represented groups throughout The School of Theology
- promote changes to our structures and culture so that we may be a more adequate sign and instrument of God’s reign.”
Ministry formation is in itself an exercise in diversity training, one that lies at the heart of the residential theological experience in Sewanee. Living in close community with a varied student population prepares priests and church leaders for full engagement with the diversity of today’s Church and the modern world.
This committee plans, coordinates, and executes service events through which members of the seminary community can witness to and live out their call to proclaim the Good News and to share their resources of time, money, and talent with persons in need. Projects are in response to local, national, and international communities.
The recently established Community Engagement Fellows program gives students an opportunity to develop a ministry that seeks to more fully integrate community service, social justice, advocacy and faith, in order to deepen the engagement of the School with the broader community. Fellows in this program extend the reach of the School that include working with local agencies to help raise awareness of hunger, collecting food and supplies, training individuals in life skills who are victims of domestic violence, and mentoring prison inmates. The goal of all of the initiatives that are led by the fellows is the establishment of a network of community volunteer opportunities for seminary students, faculty, and staff.
Beginning in 2014, the School of Theology has been named annually as one of the “Seminaries That Change The World,” a consortium of seminaries and divinity schools that work together to transform the culture of theological education through the integration of community service, justice ministry, and advocacy throughout curricular and extracurricular life.
Pastoral Care Committee
The Pastoral Care Committee supports the life of the seminary through a multi-leveled approach that is holistic by addressing the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the community. This committee unites the community through common prayer requests of students, faculty, and staff that brings awareness of the concerns of the community while offering the emotional support. These prayer requests are published weekly and are prayed for personally in homes and corporately in chapel services. This committee recognizes the connection between physical wellbeing and spiritual health and encourages student-lead initiatives that attend to the overall health of the entire seminary community. The Pastoral Care Committee is actively engaged in both traditional and innovative methods for addressing the pastoral needs of the entire seminary community.