March 2015 | In This Issue
A Gospel Built to Last...President Ferlo on Reconciliation
Be Not Afraid!
Seeking MDiv Candidates
Is 2015 or 2016 Your DMin Year?
June Week-Long Intensives in Chicago
Learning Opportunities
Setting Ministry in Motion
Don't Miss Out: Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute
Let us Welcome You April 29
Community News
Update Your Email Address
A Gospel Built to Last
President Ferlo on reconciliation


As I write this, I am preparing for a week at Kanuga (the Episcopal conference center in western North Carolina) to spend time with six Old Catholic bishops from Europe who are visiting the U.S. as guests of the Episcopal House of Bishops. Although I suspect that very few Episcopalians are aware of it, the Episcopal Church has enjoyed a long friendship with the Old Catholic churches in Europe -- progressive congregations whose disapproval of the pope's declaration of infallibility in 1870 moved them to break away from the Roman church, adopting a polity of dispersed authority similar to our own.


What is on the minds of the Old Catholic bishops during this visit is what is on many minds here in the States -- the diminishing role of the Christian church as an arbiter of values in an increasingly secular culture. We live in a paradoxical time. European culture especially is beset by a postmodern mistrust of any religious "meta-narrative" (to use a favorite post-modern phrase) that claims universal acceptance. At the same time, in France, in Denmark, in the Netherlands, there is a resurgence of a new and violent meta-narrative spreading among disaffected young Muslim men -- the jihadist dream of a universal caliphate, better known as the nightmare of ISIS. This resurgent Islamist meta-narrative breeds, no doubt by intention, a troubling xenophobic and racist reaction among people who should know better.  Read the entire reflection  

Be Not Afraid!
Bexley Seabury Strategic Plan


Be Not Afraid! That is the title adopted by the Bexley Seabury Board of Directors at its February meeting for the working draft of the 2015-2017 Bexley Seabury Strategic Plan. Slated for final approval at the board's May meeting, the new plan commits us to four key goals:

  • Increase access to theological education in both the Episcopal Church and beyond.
  • Expand our stakeholder communities.
  • Ensure institutional and financial equilibrium.
  • Increase and nurture connections with the larger church and with other faith communities, both domestically and internationally.

Our strategic planning efforts coincided with the preparation of a thorough self-study of our seminary programs. The result of several months of research and writing by a team comprised of faculty, alumni, students, and board members, and headed by Dean Tom Ferguson, the work was completed in time for meetings with the visiting team from the Association of Theological Schools, our accrediting agency, February 22-25.


The accrediting team has now shared their recommendations with us. The recommendations are confidential until acted on by the entire Commission on Accreditation at its June meeting. But we can tell you that their report was gratifyingly positive. We are pleased with what they had to say, and we look forward to sharing the recommendations, once they are official, with the wider Bexley Seabury community. Along with the strategic planning process, the results and recommendations of the ATS accreditation visit are essential parts of visioning for Bexley Seabury's future.


More to come!

Seeking MDiv Candidates
Help us connect with the next generation of priests

Bexley Seabury MDiv class of 2014
Do you know someone who is considering a call to the priesthood ... entering the discernment process ... or actively considering options for seminary? Bexley Seabury is seeking current and future candidates for our residential MDiv. program based in Columbus.

Offered in partnership with Trinity Lutheran Seminary, our MDiv. program combines in-depth academic studies in a close-knit ecumenical community with bold inquiry and nuanced spiritual and pastoral formation.

To refer a potential student or for more information, contact Tom Ferguson.   
Is 2015 or 2016 your DMin Year?

April 1 deadline for Congregational Development studies
Looking for a DMin program that works around your professional and personal responsibilities? Bexley Seabury offers two highly regarded DMin programs, both of which combine independent study, online work with student colleagues and faculty, and intensive coursework during summer residencies in Chicago.  
Apply by April 1 to start June 2015 
DMin students in Eric Law's Diversity and Context course offered at the Chicago campus earlier this year
Our flexible, short-residence DMin in Congregational Development program is among the finest available. The program stands apart for the
quality of the Bexley Seabury faculty, all learned and experienced practitioners, and the contextual approach and bold inquiry that underlies the curriculum. In addition, the schedule is designed for students' professional responsibilities, and we work hard to accommodate individual needs, including those of students transferring between programs.    


Program requirements include a congregational study, thesis and seven core courses and two electives taken over a minimum of three years. Learn more and apply online

President Roger Ferlo awarding the DMin in Preaching to John Downey at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Erie, Pa.
Apply through 2015 to start June 2016  
Our ecumenical DMin in Preaching program draws on the wisdom of multiple faith traditions.  Courses are taught by faculty from Bexley Seabury and five other seminaries that are part of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). A three-week residency each summer for three years anchors continued learning through independent projects and faculty-student collaborations.  Learn more and apply online  
June Week-Long Intensives in Chicago

Register now for credit or enrichment


Spend a week with us in June and refresh your approach to living the Gospel and community life.    

Congregations in the 21st Century 

June 1-5 -- for clergy, vestry, membership and stewardship teams

Author, parish priest and assistant professor at Luther Seminary, Dwight Zscheile explores key challenges in congregational development including: analyzing congregational type and life-cycle; understanding a congregation's ethos and context; developing leadership styles for effective ministry; and discovering possibilities for redevelopment. Learn more and register  

Choosing the Kingdom: Missional Preaching for
the Household of God

June 8-12 -- for lay and ordained preachers 

John Dally will relocate "missional preaching" in its original context, the New Testament's  link between proclamation and healing. How do we preach the kingdom of God in 2015? What needs to change, in us and in our listeners, in order for the kingdom of God to be proclaimed and received?  Learn more and register

Community Organizing for Missional Living 

June 15-19 -- for lay and ordained church leaders, social justice teams, and community-minded business leaders

This course helps participants develop relational leadership skills and learn how to engage others in community change. Attention is paid to biblical grounds and practical applications for congregational renewal. Presenters are leaders from the Industrial Area Foundation, a  nonprofit agency that facilitates collaborative work among faith and community based organizations. Suzann Holding will facilitate discussions for reflection and practical application. Course meets in downtown Chicago. Learn more and register 

Non-Profit Management and Leadership

June 15-19 -- for lay and ordained church leaders and community
-minded business leaders  
Business savvy and theology dovetail in this innovative courseled by faculty from Northwestern University's Kellogg School and by Roger Ferlo and Suzann Holding. Explore values-based leadership and ways to effect positive change. Take home practical tools for team building, conflict resolution and communications. Offered in conjunction with the three-day Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute. Course meets in downtown Chicago. Learn more and register 


Learning Opportunities  

2015-2016 Course Offerings Brochure


Our new 2015-2016 Course Offerings brochure outlines the next 12 months of learning opportunities for lay and clergy leaders. Those familiar with the curriculum will notice a number of new courses. All are taught by our accomplished faculty team. 

Use the brochure to plan your own studies (for credit or for enrichment), and help us invite others to become church with us.   


As noted, Bexley Seabury is not for Episcopalians only. Our courses are open to all who want to deepen their understanding of the Christian journey, and the role they are called to play in community life. Visit our homepage to download the brochure.

Setting Ministry in Motion 

You make a world of difference

From Conrad Selnick

Vice President for Advancement and Church Relations


Before moving to Chicago, my wife and I lived in Northeast Ohio for 25 years. For a couple of weeks recently, a friend of ours from back there, Marianne, has been our house guest. Marianne is a Lutheran lay person who works within the Lutheran Church. She has a job for which she commutes every other week between Ohio and Chicago.

Earlier this month Marianne had to be in Ohio to make a preaching date at a smallish but active Episcopal Church southeast of Akron - New Life in Uniontown. Marianne told me about her visit, enthused about the congregation and the Rector. Coincidentally, I had spoken on the phone with the priest just a few days before: Beth Frank, who earned her MDiv with us in 2013.


Our core work here at Bexley Seabury is the interaction among students and faculty in classrooms, chapels, casual conversations, and other settings on or near campus. But our effect on the Church and the world is diffuse and indirect. We touch the world through our graduates, through their ministries.


Beth's ministry is being noticed and appreciated. Marianne, a Lutheran lay person, traveling out of state, is excited about the gospel community which is New Life, Uniontown. And she sees how Beth is leading that community.


If you are an alumnae/i, know that we cherish your ministry. It is how we make our biggest impact. If you are a financial supporter of Bexley Seabury, the aggregate ministry of our graduates, the lay and ordained leaders we help educate and form, is what you are supporting. It is our bit of leaven in the world.

Don't Miss Out: Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute 

Apply now, meet in downtown Chicago June 15-17


Whatever one's role in the church, in the community, or in business, success depends on being the best leader you can be. Learn how in dialogue with clergy and lay students and faculty of Bexley Seabury and the Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Key topics include: 

  • Leading Change
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Values-based Leadership and Organizational Communications
  • Team Building
  • Conflict Resolution and Negotiation
DIOCESE OF CHICAGO APPLICANTS...Clergy and lay leaders accepted are eligible for scholarship support provided by the Shoemaker Fund, administered by the Bishop of Chicago. Scholarships cover all costs except a non-refundable $250 deposit. Up to 10 Shoemaker Fellows will be named April 15, 2015. 

Let Us Welcome You April 29
Chicago Convocation 2015 -- prayer, study and fellowship 

JOIN US -- alumni/alumnae, supporters, and friends -- for Chicago Convocation 2015  on Wednesday, April 29 at St. James Commons, 65 East Huron, Chicago.

We have an exciting day planned, including:


10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m...A remarkable exhibit of historic prayer books and Bibles dated 1526-1904 from the Michael Morgan Collection. Among the volumes on display will be the 1795 Samuel Seabury Psalter and 1562 Metrical Psalter intended "to be Used of All Sorts of People...Laying Apart All Ungodly Songs and Ballades, which Tend Onely to the Nourishing of Vice and Corrupting of Youth."       




2:00 to 2:45 p.m... Church musician, psalm scholar, and collector Michael Morgan will offer his views on "The Beauty of Holiness: Word and Worship in the English Church."





3:00 to 3:45 p.m... Participate in a spirited discussion and exchange of ideas, "Speaking of Faith: Worship, Mission, and Theological Education Today," led by Roger Ferlo, president of Bexley Seabury.






4:00 to 5:00 p.m... Join us for what promises to be an enlightening and timely keynote address: "From Sinai to Cupertino: Technology, Social Media and Evangelism" presented by Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement.




5:30 p.m... We'll conclude the day with Evensong at St. James Cathedral followed by a Reception at St. James Commons. 


Spend the day with us -- or drop in for the segments of greatest interest to you.


PLEASE RESERVE with Lynn Bowers by April 15 to help us
plan hospitality -- THANK YOU.

Learn more about Chicago Convocation 2015, including transit and parking options, and feel free to contact Conrad Selnick with any questions.

Community News

Students and Alumni 

MDiv middler Kevin Beesely

Bexley Seabury MDiv student Kevin Beesely was featured in the March 6 issue of the Society for the Increase of Ministry (SIM) quarterly email letter. Kevin and fellow middler Paul Castelli are 2014-2015 SIM grant recipients.



Ben Garren after celebrating his first Eucharist in the Marian Chapel of St. Michael and All Angels 

Benjamin Garren (Bexley Seabury 2014) was ordained to the sacred order of priests by the Rt. Rev. Kirk Stevan Smith, Bishop of Arizona, on February 15, 2015. 









 Fully Alive

by Jason Fout has been released by Bloomsbury Publishing. As described at, Jason "builds a case for seeing divine glory as intrinsically relational, creating a
sociality which allows for a human agency transfigured by God's glory." Congratulations, Jason!




Host Diocese Episcopal Diocese of CHicago logo

Fierce Conversations training will be offered in the Diocese of Chicago, April 13-16 at The Nicholas Center. Skills learned will be immediately applicable to one's personal and professional life. Limited to 14 participants. Learn more and register 

Church at Large
Bexley Seabury participated in the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes 2015 conference three ways: as a sponsor, as a breakfast host, and on the program. Jason Fout's Feb. 27 breakout session, "Growing Churches in the 21st Century," drew a standing-room-only crowd.

Jason shared his research on growing and dynamic churches in the Diocese of London, UK, where Jason Fout Breakout Session there has been substantial growth in recent years. Contributing factors include:

  • a bold vision to become more "confident, compassionate and creative" in proclaiming and living out the Gospel;
  • a clear sense of mission based on the understanding that congregations are called to connect with and serve local communities;
  • creative efforts to reach the unchurched and connect with those outside the church; and
  • recruiting ordinands who see themselves as entrepreneurs and pioneers.

See for yourself by taking Bexley Seabury's "Learning from London" travel course in January 2016. Email Jason for details.

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