Columbia Seminary Declares "Community Day of Learning, Reflection and Action"
The Columbia Theological Seminary Faculty, supported by the Student Coordinating Council, voted unanimously to set aside Ash Wednesday, March 5 from 9 am to 3 pm for a mandatory “Day of Learning, reflection, and action toward becoming the beloved community of Christ.” All students, faculty, staff, and administration are required to be a part of this time, and spouses, trustees, and others are also invited.
"Working on the kind of unity to which God calls us in the midst of our diversity requires special effort. It doesn’t just happen on any level whether we are thinking about a family, a congregation, a city, or a nation," said president Steve Hayner. "As a seminary, we are committed to becoming more fully formed followers of Christ and better prepared to contribute in wise, healthy, and imaginative ways to the community that God is building throughout the Church. This is so important, that sometimes we have to lean into this work in a special way. It's really a leadership issue for the Church."
The day will be coordinated by the Committee on Community Life/Discrimination & Inclusiveness, with presentations and facilitation by a team of outside leaders, followed by small group conversations, a community lunch, and a closing worship time. Offices will be closed except for essential services, and all classes will be suspended the entire day, so that everyone may participate.
"We believe diversity is a gift from God and we celebrate that Columbia is growing in greater and deeper expressions of that gift than ever before," said Anna Carter Florence, the Peter Marshall Associate Professor of Preaching. "We know that growth can be difficult and painful work. We will, and indeed have, hurt one another, and we will, and indeed must, confess that hurt when we are the cause of it, so that as individuals, we can ask for one another’s forgiveness, and as a community, seek God’s redemption.”
The day will be guided by a team from Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training, a nearly 40 year-old faith-based organization headquartered in Chicago with trainers throughout the United States. The mission of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training is to dismantle systemic racism and build antiracist multicultural diversity within institutions and communities. In addition to providing leadership for the day, the Crossroads team will work with a select group of students, staff, and faculty to design an ongoing plan for Columbia Theological Seminary.
Columbia Theological Seminary shares a commitment of "educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world." As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers seven graduate degree programs and dozens of lifelong learning courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people.
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