Vision: Cultivating Prospective Pastoral Imagination

Union Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that we have received a five-year $500,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment through their Early Career Pastoral Development Initiative 2013. Union’s program, Vision: Cultivating Prospective Pastoral Imagination, will invite two consecutive cohorts of 10-15 early, mid-career pastors to work with mentors at Union and beyond for a two-year curriculum. Utilizing the particular strengths of Union Seminary, participants will spend a semester each concentrating on new media, religious pluralism, and new economic models. The grant will enable an annual retreat, monthly meetings, and ongoing consultation with program mentors. Through Vision, pastors are able to develop projects that integrate the theological insights of the program in their congregations and local communities, as well as to Union students, the next generation of ecclesial prospectors. The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President and Johnston Family Professor of Religion and Democracy, will direct Vision, and the Rev. Dr. Troy Messenger, Director and Visiting Assistant Professor [...]

Vision: Cultivating Prospective Pastoral Imagination2014-09-18T16:51:16-04:00

My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative by President Obama

Statement from Serene Jones: "As the president of a seminary dedicated to social justice, I rejoice at today's announcement of the 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative by President Obama. At Union we recognize our responsibility to unlock the potential of all citizens, especially those, such as Black and Latino men and boys, who continue to struggle, for a variety of reasons, to achieve full participation in our society. The 'My Brother's Keeper' initiative embodies both this promise and this reality, and I am proud to support it." Learn More>>

My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative by President Obama2014-09-18T16:52:47-04:00

Papyrus on Jesus’ Wife: Statement from Hal Taussig and Serene Jones

NEW YORK — Newspapers across the country are reporting today that experts have confirmed the fragment of papyrus mentioning Jesus’ wife is more than likely an authentic ancient document and not a modern forgery. Union Theological Seminary New Testament professor Hal Taussig has worked closely with Harvard’s Karen King for the last 18 months on this fragment, known as “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” Taussig is an expert on non-canonical ancient Christian documents and author of the recent A New New Testament, which contains ten ancient “lost scriptures” that helped shape early Christian communities. “The authentication of this fragment should help us get to the important questions of what it meant for the ancient world and what it means now,” said Taussig. “It is clear that Mary Magdalene was very important to early Christians, but Da Vinci Code fantasies of her being Jesus' wife tend to underplay her significance as a real leader in one of [...]

Papyrus on Jesus’ Wife: Statement from Hal Taussig and Serene Jones2014-09-18T16:53:25-04:00

Union Divests

6/11/2014 At Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, we have a particular call to live out our values in the world. In accordance with that call, our Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday, June 10, to begin divesting fossil fuels from the school’s entire $108.4 million endowment. We are the first seminary in the world to take this dramatic step in the fight against global climate change. News of Union's bold move has been featured in outlets like the New York Times and by For more information about this important decision, please read our press release at: This is an incredible moment in the history of our seminary, and we are overjoyed to share it with you!

Union Divests2014-09-18T16:53:55-04:00


UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK VOTES UNANIMOUSLY TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS Read Union President Serene Jones’ full statement at TIME Magazine’s website: NEW YORK, NY — June 10, 2014 — The trustees of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York today voted unanimously to begin divesting fossil fuels from the school’s entire $108.4 million endowment, becoming the world’s first seminary to take this dramatic step in the fight against global climate change. “Scripture tells us that all of the world is God’s precious creation, and our place within it is to care for and respect the health of the whole,” said Union President Serene Jones. “As a seminary dedicated to social justice, we have a critical call to live out our values in the world. Climate change poses a catastrophic threat, and as stewards of God’s creation we simply must act.” With the United Nation’s Climate Summit just a [...]


Unequal Treatment of 2 Protesters in Eric Garner Case, One White and One Black

by JONATHAN DWYER | New York Times | December 9, 2014 It is a misdemeanor in New York to abandon animals or deprive them of food, water or “a sufficient supply of good and wholesome air,” and so far this year, more than 100 arrests have been made in the city for such neglect or worse. One couple was sentenced to community service and had to pay $2,000 in restitution after leaving their dog behind when they were evicted from an apartment on Staten Island. Two of those were Shawn Torres, 23, and Benjamin Perry, 24, both graduate students at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan. They took part in rolling demonstrations Friday night, as a cold, soaking rain swept across the city. At the end of the evening, they briefly blockaded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive near Delancey Street and both were arrested, as they expected to be….

Unequal Treatment of 2 Protesters in Eric Garner Case, One White and One Black2015-02-02T18:25:00-05:00

Union Hires Derrick Harkins, Pastor & Obama Advisor

See coverage in The Washington Post. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 19, 2015 Contact: Jeff Bridges, 303-358-5551 | UNION HIRES SENIOR PASTOR AT 19TH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH AND FAITH ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA New York, NY — After seventeen years at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, Senior Pastor Derrick Harkins, former Director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic Party and advisor to President Obama, is leaving his flock and his city for a different kind of social justice ministry. In June, Harkins will become the Senior Vice President for Innovations in Public Programming at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. “Union has a long tradition of advancing the cause of justice in the church, in the academy, and in the world,” said Harkins. “I’m looking forward to bringing together my pastoral, policy, and educational experience to the task of sharing the great work at Union with an even larger public audience. Union [...]

Union Hires Derrick Harkins, Pastor & Obama Advisor2015-02-19T16:35:00-05:00

New Theological Voices at Union

Andrea White and Pamela Cooper-White Bring Crucial Perspectives to Union The faculty has recommended, the president has appointed, and the board has approved two new professors who will join the Union community in the coming academic year. Each of these women is at the very top of their respective field, and their decision to come here speaks volumes about the incredible work we do at Union and our reputation for engaged and insightful students. We look forward to welcoming them to Union. Andrea White, Associate Professor of Theology White is author of Black Women’s Bodies and God Politics: A Womanist Theology of Personhood, and The Back of God: A Theology of Otherness in Karl Barth and Paul Ricoeur, and editor of a forthcoming volume, Feminist and Womanist Theologies. White is actively engaged with numerous organizations, and is the Executive Director Elect of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, co-chair of the Black Theology Group of the American Academy of Religion, [...]

New Theological Voices at Union2015-02-24T19:27:00-05:00

Maureen Morgan, SMM ’63

Maureen Morgan, SMM ‘63 Musician, environmental advocate and educator Ossining, NY What do you do? It has been twenty years since I held a Music Director/Organist position in the church, but as other interests become dominant in my life, the influence of that experience fifty years ago has never diminished. My association with Union began when I arrived in the New York Metro area in 1958 as an organist with four years training in college but little experience as a professional, a husband, two small children, and a third on the way. It soon became apparent that if I wanted a music position in Westchester County where we had settled, I had to have a “Union Card” – an SMM from the Union Seminary School of Sacred Music, a seemingly impossible achievement at the time, but it soon became my goal. I began taking courses without matriculating, knowing I would fail the entrance exam if I [...]

Maureen Morgan, SMM ’632015-03-24T20:46:00-04:00

Kevin Kruse Live

Kevin Kruse is a professor of 20th Century American History at Princeton University. His new book, “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America” is an examination of the myth of a Christian America, and how many of the tropes invoked to “prove” that America is a Christian country were invented just in the last 80 years. Even more revealingly, the invention of a Christian America came from a coalition of businessmen and popular preachers who wanted to fight the “creeping socialism” of the New Deal. From the very beginning, the myth of a Christian America was tied to the myth of free enterprise — and so the rise of the Religious Right and of neoliberal capitalism in the 1980s are deeply intertwined.

Kevin Kruse Live2015-04-02T19:45:00-04:00

Aaron Stauffer, M.Div. ’14

Aaron Stauffer, M.Div. ’14 Executive Director, Religions for Peace USA Nashville TN and New York NY What do you do? I’m the Executive Director of Religions for Peace USA, a national interfaith nonprofit organization that works to inspire and advance multi-religious actions for peace and justice. Religions for Peace USA, the most broad-based interfaith organization in the US, works in three primary areas: Islamophobia, climate change, and immigration reform. I’m currently running an anti-Islamophobiacampaign in Nashville and examining how Islamophobia intersects with other forms of racism as well ashow it is impacted by issues such as immigration and economic justice. Much of this work is similar to community organizing, but I also run a non-profit and oversee a staff. Our main office is at the United Nations Church Center, so I return to New York every five weeks, all of which keeps me busy. What’s the best thing about your job? Being Executive Director of Religions [...]

Aaron Stauffer, M.Div. ’142015-04-24T14:21:00-04:00
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