Rev. Dr. Serene Jones and Union Theological Seminar are Jones Pilots Today’s World of Religious Scholars

Rev. Dr. Serene Jones was interviewed for the March edition of Women in Higher Education. See below or CLICK HERE to see the full magazine. The interview featuring Dr. Jones is on page 6.

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EPISCOPAL DIVINITY SCHOOL TO PURSUE AFFILIATION WITH UNION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cambridge, MA – February 24, 2017 – The Board of Trustees of the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) today voted to pursue an affiliation with Union Theological Seminary that would create an EDS entity to provide Episcopal theological education and other programs at Union’s campus in New York.
The Board of Trustees of Union Theological Seminary has voted enthusiastically to support Union’s leadership in bringing negotiations with EDS to a successful conclusion.
“We are excited to begin negotiations toward an agreement that will allow EDS to achieve the three goals we set for ourselves when we began the process of assuring the seminary’s future,” said the Rev. Dr. Gary Hall, ’76, chair of the board. “EDS will continue to provide theological education within an accredited and degree-granting program, we will carry out our historic mission to place gospel-centered justice at the center of that education, and we will provide financial strength and stability for EDS’s future.”
“We are thrilled that EDS’s trustees have made this momentous decision and we are excited about all it portends for the future,” said the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, president of the faculty and Johnston Family Professor for Religion and Democracy at Union. “The mission alignment between our two institutions is clear and strong. You can’t miss it! This alignment assures that the deepest commitments of both institutions will be honored and strengthened in the years ahead.”
The two seminaries will begin negotiations immediately in the hope that both boards can vote on an agreement when they meet in May, before

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FAITH IN AMERICA: RELIGION & FAITH IN THE TIME OF TRUMP

New York, NY, (February 13, 2017) On Thursday, February 23rd, Faith in America—a monthly series of public discussions presented and hosted by Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York—welcomes Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for a lecture and panel discussion titled, Religion & Faith in the Time of Trump.

This compelling and timely program will explore how civil liberties advocates and the broader faith community are aligning their values in opposition to a Trump Administration that seeks to demonize immigrants and refugees, and calls for massive deportations and bans based on religion. Mr. Romero will be joined by a distinguished cross-section of the Union community, including:
Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary
Dr. Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, Union & Professor of Religion, Columbia University
Dr. Jerusha T. Lamptey, Assistant Professor of Islam and Ministry & Islam, Social Justice & Interreligious Engagement Program Advisor, Union
Wesley Morris, Community Organizer and Master of Divinity Candidate, Union
In December 2015, when then Republican Presidential front-runner Donald J. Trump stated that the United States should close its borders to all Muslims—Protestant clergy, prominent evangelicals, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops—all lambasted him. Thirteen months later, Mr. Trump is President, and his immoral calls to ban Muslims may indeed become law. The terrible fallout from the recent Executive Order banning travelers, immigrants, and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries has been heartbreaking and chaotic—and immediately felt by refugees of all religious backgrounds.
Under the leadership of Mr.

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STATEMENT ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S IMMIGRATION BAN

STATEMENT BY UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK CONDEMNING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S IMMIGRATION BAN
(New York, NY, January 30, 2017) Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York issued the following public statement condemning President Trump’s Executive Order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries and suspending temporarily the admission of refugees into the United States.
It was with anger, fear, and a sense of fierce resolve that Union Theological Seminary received news on Saturday of President Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim countries. As a proudly Christian-founded and now multi-religious seminary, we are a community of scholars and students devoted to studying the religious and humanist values that have, for centuries, nurtured and guided the peace and well-being human persons and communities. This Executive Order makes a mockery of these values. It should appall and disturb all people of good conscience and faith and must be resisted at every turn.
The ban is, at its heart, deeply un-democratic. Its aim is to shatter dreams and destroy lives, not to encourage broad-based human flourishing. In this, it repudiates what is perhaps most noble about our country, the fact that immigrants are invited to come, thrive, and contribute to our American Dream, in all its vibrancy, hopes, and flaws. Democracy affirms respect and concern for human beings; democracy insists that human beings can never be objects.
This ban is an insult to all who have worked to build our country, and to those who have given their lives to assure and expand these freedoms.

https://utsnyc.edu/statement-on-trump-administrations-immigration-ban/

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Trailblazers

Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York celebrates Union’s Black Alumni/ae Trailblazers

Join us as we celebrate Union’s Black Alumni/ae Trailblazers who have come before us.
Incorporating the Rev. Dr. Henry H. Mitchell ’44
Thursday, February 2, 7:00 p.m.: “Black Worship as Resistance,” worship service organized by the Black Women’s Caucus, Black Caucus, and Fierce/Black Queer Caucus
From the call of the iman, to the rock of the ringshout, the grit of salt to the sweet wash of water, Black worship has long been a foundation on which resistance is built. Join us for a celebration of Black resilience through praise, imagination, and Divine collaboration.
Wednesday, February 15, 6:30 p.m.:  “Black Joy in Times of Crisis,” 6:30 p.m. panel and reception
Panelists include:
Michael W. Elam ’07, Lecturer and educator on SGL Theology
Rev. Dr. Renee Hill ’90 & ’96, Columbia University Community Scholar Researching Religion in Harlem
Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Holmes, Former President of United Theological Seminary of Twin Cities and author of “Joy UnSpeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church”
Jamall Calloway ’14, Union Ph.D. Candidate
Monday, February 27, 12 noon:  Trailblazers worship service, led by the Union Alumni/ae Council’s Trailblazers working group; Rev. Kymberly McNair ’08, ’09 preaching
All events will be held in James Memorial Chaple
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway (at 121st Street)
New York, New York 10027
All events are free, but you must RSVP below. 

https://utsnyc.edu/trailblazers2017/

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Tommy Ross, M.A. ’02

What do you do? 
I am the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security Cooperation. I lead an office responsible for overseeing the Department’s policy and strategy relating to U.S. defense engagements with partner nation militaries and defense ministries around the world.
What do you like best about what you do?
I’m fortunate that my office was established within the Department as a change agent. I have an opportunity every day to trouble-shoot, problem-solve, and ultimately help our government work better. Moreover, to the degree our work is successful, we’re contributing to addressing global security challenges that threaten the lives of millions of global citizens. So having a chance to contribute to the solutions to problems with such tremendous impact on our world is what I find most fulfilling about this position.
How did Union prepare you for this?
In this position, as well as in previous jobs on Capitol Hill, I’ve been consistently confronted with dilemmas that could serve as case studies in each of my Ethics courses at Union. Union exposed me to intellectual frameworks that help illuminate difficult ethical questions, guide ethical responses, remind that there are no easy answers, and enable thoughtful action that embraces—rather than being paralyzed by—tensions between foundational principles or policies. This ethical perspective has been immeasurably valuable to me throughout my career and forms the core of my approach to decision-making.
How do you stay connected to Union?
Not closely enough, unfortunately. Working within government for the last 15 years, I have been surprised by how limited the faith community’s

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Tinka Harvard, M.Div. ’01

What do you do? 
I teach at retreats and workshops combining theology, philosophy, and the arts in an effort to inspire. I’m also a writer, and this spring for the first time I had a short story published by a literary journal. I’ve just completed my first novel and am searching for an agent and publisher.
What do you like best about what you do?
I enjoy sharing the knowledge I gained at Union, and through workshops and writing I can adapt complicated subject matter for a wider nonacademic audience.
How did Union prepare you for this?
Union gave me the analytical tools necessary for teaching and writing. At Union I learned to question and reason, and I share these tools, along with lessons in theology, with others to help them arrive at what’s true for themselves.
How have you stayed connected to Union?
For a long time I was not connected. Anyone who knew me when I was a student at Union may know that I was painfully shy. I had a special talent in the art of invisibility. Less shy now and learning the value of staying connected to our gifts in life, I am immensely proud to be a connected member of the Union community once again.
What would you say to someone considering going to Union?
At Union almost everything that comprises who you are will be challenged—in the best ways. Union students undergo a transformation as substantial as the change a lump of coal undergoes on the journey to becoming a

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David Cowell, M.Div. ’94

What do you do? 
Arguably, bi-vocational ministry is on the leading edge of what ministry looks like now. I am deep in it. I serve as the Manager of Spiritual Care Services at Pathways Home Health and Hospice, the second largest home health and hospice agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am also the called pastor of First Congregational Church of San
Francisco, United Church of Christ. Both of these calls are complex and demanding, and serving both well has necessitated a set of skills beyond the requirements of the vocations themselves. At Pathways, I supervise a staff of chaplains who serve patients who reflect the stark income inequality that one finds in an area that reaches from the Silicon Valley to Oakland, from San Jose to San Francisco. One aspect of my work is to support resilience and carry the mission of care within our agency in the face of a stressful and dysfunctional healthcare environment. I’ve also kept a small caseload, primarily our pediatric hospice service. Doing “the work” of hospice grounds my practice and is essential in sustaining my faith journey. When I started at First Congregational Church of San Francisco four years ago, it wasn’t clear to any of us what God was calling this congregation to do. Before I arrived, the congregation had sold its historic building to relocate, but they had not decided where they would go. Eventually, they found a place on the edge of the Tenderloin district where they would build. I

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Cedric H. Jaggard, M.Div. ’41

What do you do? 
Technically I’m retired, but am nearing the close of several years’ research for my book entitled Claiming Different Forms of the Good News: Road to a Larger Gospel; Overlooked Bible Foundations for Growing in the Faith. (I would be pleased to hear of any faculty member or other person associated with Union who is interested in this subject. I would also welcome suggestions for an appropriate publisher.) I just realized that this year marks the 75th anniversary of my graduation from Union. I would be interested to know if there are other members of the Class of ’41 still living. [editor’s note: Mr. Jaggard is one of five surviving members of the Class of 1941.] On November 25, 2015, I reached my 100th birthday. I was glad to have my beloved wife of 72 ½ years, Jean Dale McGiffert Jaggard, celebrate with me. Only a month later, at the age of 95 ½, she took her farewell for now. (Arthur Cushman McGiffert, president of Union a little before my days there, was part of her extended family.)
What’s the best thing about your job?
I’ve been retired for twenty-five years, but, prior to retirement, I pursued active ministries of half a dozen different types until age 75, including pastoral, preaching, social ministry, academic, college Bible teaching, Army Reserve Chaplaincy, and two short-term, month-long team ministries to Novosibirsk, Siberia.
How did Union prepare you for this?
Prior to my time at Union, I did work under Karl Barth in Basel,

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Evangelicals and other Faith Leaders to Express Support for a Pro-LGBTQ Policy for Trump White House and Congress

UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY TO HOLD “UNION ON THE HILL”
PUBLIC FORUM FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2016 AT NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, WASHINGTON, D.C.
New York, NY – December 6, 2016 – Rev. Fred Davie, Executive Vice President at Union Theological Seminary in New York, announced that the Seminary will convene a press conference with Evangelical and other faith leaders from around the country to promote a pro-LGBTQ public policy agenda for the Trump Administration and new Congress at 9:30 am, the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Conference rooms Murrow/White/Lisgor, Washington, DC on Friday, December 9, 2016. (Breakfast at 8:30 am.)
Presenters at the event will highlight why they support the LGBTQ community because of their faith, and not in spite of it. The policy agenda will focus on five key areas proposed by faith leaders: LGBTQ basic rights, LGBTQ homeless youth, LGBTQ senior citizens, the transgender community, and global antidiscrimination.
Over the past 12 months, Union has worked with a wide array of religious leaders from around the country to express support from the faith community for LGBTQ rights and equality. Many evangelical leaders have joined this effort, including Rev. Adam Phillips, Pastor, Christ Church Portland; Rev. Amy Butler, Senior Minister, The Riverside Church; Brandan Robertson, Founder and Executive Director, NOMAD Partnerships; Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church; Alan Manning Chambers, Co-Founder of Speak. Love. and former President of Exodus International; Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs, Union Theological Seminary; Kathy Baldock, Board of Directors, The Reformation Project;

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Dr. Gary Dorrien Wins the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Religion

New York, NY (December 4, 2016) Union Theological Seminary is proud to announce that Gary Dorrien was named the recipient of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his book, The New Abolition: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel. Dr. Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union and a Professor of Religion at Columbia University. An Episcopal priest and lifelong athlete, he is a recent past president of the American Theological Society and the author of seventeen books.

The Grawemeyer Award, spearheaded by Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville, pays tribute to the power of creative ideas, emphasizing the impact that a single idea, as opposed to a life-long career, can have on the world. The prize was founded by H. Charles Grawemeyer and is awarded each year in the fields of music, political science, psychology, education, and religion. Previous Union Theological Seminary alumni and faculty to receive the award include ethicist Donald Shriver Jr. (2009), who served as the President of Union from 1975 to 1991, sociologist Mark Juergensmeyer (2003), and Larry L. Rasmussen (1997), who also served as the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union.
“We’re thrilled that Gary Dorrien has received the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Religion,” said Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary. “As a leading public intellectual and prolific, highly respected writer, Gary embodies the rigor of the scholarship and teaching at Union. His work and teaching exemplifies Union’s longstanding commitment to social

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In Prison And Outside, He Found His ‘Iota Of Light’: A Mentor Named Fred

Robert Sanchez first met Fred Davie in 1998, in a small, windowless room at Sing Sing Prison. Sanchez was there serving 15 years on a drug conviction; Davie was a Presbyterian minister, who was teaching there in a theology master’s program.
Read the full story here, and listen to Robert Sanches and Rev. Fred Davie share their story on NPR’s StoryCorps below.

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Union Announces Two New Chairs

Message from Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary. 

I am pleased to share two historic and joyous announcements as we approach the holidays.
The Union Board has voted to name Rev. Dr. James H. Cone as the inaugural professor holding the Bill and Judith Moyers Chair, recently established through a generous $3 million gift by Union Board member, Chang K. Park. Dr. Cone is a renowned scholar whose formidable and influential writing, teaching, and public presence honors the legacy of the public and prophetic witness of Judith and Bill Moyers.
“I consider Bill Moyers to be a prophetic voice of our generation, and I am very pleased to have his legacy perpetuated at Union. Judith Davidson Moyers, unseen by many, off camera while Bill was on, has been a critically important contributor behind his citizen-journalism, the creative spark for his truth-telling, and the business acumen that powered his prophetic voice,” said Chang Park
Through their pace-setting work in media, community advocacy, public health, and education, Bill and Judith Moyers have invigorated the moral commitments of people around the world. Between the two of them, Bill and Judith hold over 30 Emmys, a dozen Peabody Awards, and numerous honorary degrees. For over four decades, they have elevated the stories of people whose voices might otherwise have gone unheard, and posed questions of ultimate meaning in the public square. Longstanding friends of Union, they are tireless champions of journalistic integrity and creative leadership with a legacy of unwavering advocacy, all of which are

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Watch Live: Union on the Hill

EVANGELICALS AND OTHER FAITH LEADERS SUPPORT A PRO-LGBTQ POLICY AGENDA FOR WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS
Watch live on Friday, December 9th, beginning at 9:30 a.m. when Union Theological Seminary will host a convening of faith leaders at the National Press Club to discuss an LGBTQ public policy agenda for the new Administration and incoming Congress. This gathering will highlight several pro-LGBTQ public policy issues proposed by religious leaders and people of faith around the country who support the LGBTQ community because of their faith, and not in spite of it.

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UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY LAUNCHES “THE ENCORE TRANSITION PROGRAM” FOUR-MONTH SERIES DESIGNED TO PROVIDE SKILLS AND TOOLS FOR BABY BOOMERS AND ALTERNATIVE STUDENTS SEEKING TO MAKE A CAREER CHANGE BY DOING WORK IN SOCIAL JUSTICE

New York, NY (November 29, 2016) Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, announced the launch of the Encore Transition Program, a four-month series beginning in January 2017, designed to provide faith-based and spiritual guidance for people 55 and older who are looking to make a career change by doing work in social justice. The program is specifically shaped to address the country’s unusual time of discernment and to provide a dialogue and experiential learning for transitioning to an “encore” stage of life, working in a social justice setting.
The Encore Transition Program at Union embodies a social trend in the country, at a time when the aging in America can help advance both personal and social renewal. The program is modeled on a graduate seminar with an experiential learning component to introduce participants to new environments where they can put their values into action.
“Union believes that being pro-active in addressing critical issues that impact our society and creating positive social change is of the highest priority,” explained Rev. Dr. Serene Jones. “With the Encore Transition Program, we see ourselves as “fellow travelers” in this emerging new stage of adult life, and we look forward to sharing and learning from program participants.”
The Encore Transition Program combines the spiritual and theological perspective of an ecumenical seminary and the application of real-world praxis for undertaking an important life transition. The program will be facilitated by a recent M.A. graduate of Union, Ruth A. Wooden, who enrolled at Union as her “encore”

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