Ministry in Sewanee
The opportunities to do good are boundless.
Ministry doesn’t stop once you enter seminary. Opportunities for formal and informal ministry are varies, instructive, relevant to your future, and impactful to the diverse community around us.
Beyond Sewanee’s beautiful campus of higher education lies a world in need. Grundy County, neighbor to the Domain, is one of the poorest counties in the United States. Chattanooga wrestles with supporting a large Spanish speaking immigrant population. Domestic violence is prevalent and shelters to address these issues, such as Blue Monarch and Thistle Farms, both within proximity of Sewanee, are in constant need of care.
Community Engagement Fellowship
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 includes 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. All of the initiatives are led by the fellows with the goal of establishing a network of community volunteer opportunities for seminary students, faculty, and staff. Fellows may choose to work in a program that has already been established by a previous seminarian, or work to start a new initiative of their own.
Committee for Diversity and Reconciliation
The Committee for Diversity and Reconciliation leads the community (faculty and students) in discussions around a range of critical social issues such as race and racism, 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 underrepresented 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.
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-led 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.
Seminary that Changes the World
The School of Theology has been recognized as a "Seminary that Changes the World" each year since 2014, as designated by The Center for Faith and Service.
Annually, Seminaries that Change the World identifies a select group of seminaries and divinity schools offering innovative courses, programs, and opportunities for students seeking to engage in social justice and service work while in seminary. The School of Theology’s recognition as a Seminary that Changes the World reflects the ongoing work to provide innovative theological education, integrated with classical approaches for learning, while working to expand the sometimes narrow definitions of traditional ministry.
The School of Theology was recognized for its educational programs that reach beyond the classroom—programs that build bridges globally, generationally, sustainably, and transformatively. Globally, the school hosts regular study-abroad trips to Cuba and has a vigorous student exchange program with Wescott House. Seminarians interact with the undergraduate students of the University of the South by mentoring multiple social justice and service programs. Sustainability is a high priority on the Mountain as the School is situated on a 13,000-acre “living laboratory” and environmental ethics is one of the courses that fulfills the ethics requirement in the M.Div. curriculum. The School’s Missional Engagement Initiative, as part of the contextual education program, trains seminarians to effectively increase parishes' capacity for transformational lay leadership and mission development.