The School of Theology at the University of the South launched a new concentration in its Master of Arts program for the fall of 2012 — the M.A. in Religion and Environment. "This concentration was created to allow for foundational work in theology and the broad aspects of environmental studies," stated the Rev. Dr. James Turrell, associate dean of academic affairs for The School of Theology.
Drawing on the distinctive strengths of The School of Theology, The Center for Religion and the Environment, and the Environmental Studies Program and affiliated departments of the College of Arts and Sciences, this new M.A. is a flexible program that utilizes Sewanee’s unique ability to contribute to an internationally-recognized and vibrant field of interdisciplinary inquiry. After a basic grounding in the tools of biblical studies, theology, and ethics, distribution requirements guide students so they are exposed to a variety of perspectives on environmental issues, ranging from the "hard sciences" to policy studies. Complete course requirements may be viewed here.
"The School of Theology is uniquely placed for such a program," explained Dr. Cynthia Crysdale, the School's professor of Christian ethics and theology. "We sit on a mountain with 13,000 acres of woodlands around us and we are part of a university that specializes in geology, forestry, and environmental science. Add to that our Episcopal heritage and you have a very special setting for this important program."
The Master of Arts (M.A.) program of The School of Theology is designed as a general academic degree for people who wish to begin advanced study of theological disciplines in a church-related setting. It involves a two-year course of study, following either a general program or pursuing a concentration in a particular discipline.
"I am so very pleased to see that The School of Theology in Sewanee is offering a M.A. with a concentration in Religion and the Environment,"stated Jerry Cappel, Province IV Environmental Network Coordinator for
The Episcopal Church. "There is a growing awareness among Episcopal churches that environmental ministry plays a role in both social justice and Christian life. The environmental crisis is pointing us to a related crisis of faith and spirit, and helping clergy make these connections between faith and the environment will serve not only issues of justice in the environment, but also issues of faith and church vitality. May this program contribute to renewal not only in our ethics, but also in our prayer, worship and shared life together in Christ."