COVID-19 ADVISORIES AND RESOURCES FOR BODY AND SPIRIT

“…a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” -Eccl. 3:5b

This page is a compendium of advisories and resources for the physical and spiritual wellness of the Columbia family, the Church and the world, during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 


SEMINARY OPERATIONAL ALERTS

This section will continue to be updated with important information about coronavirus and its impact on the Columbia Theological Seminary community and its operations, as further decisions are announced.

 

Click to watch Charles Wiley’s short interview with Dr. Van Dyk on how Columbia is living its mission in such a time as this. 
For more Charles is Curious videos, scroll down page.

 

May 5, 2020

Dear Columbia Community, 

I am happy to greet you all from Columbia Seminary, even though we are all in very unusual circumstances right now. Like you, our students, faculty and staff have adjusted in dramatic ways to daily life. We have developed new patterns of teaching and learning, new ways to stay connected with each other, and new opportunities for worship. Yet we remain committed to our ongoing mission to serve the church and the world. That commitment is not new at all! 

These new ways of connecting are working well–in some ways brilliantly! While many challenges remain, I am truly encouraged. Because you are a part of Columbia’s family, I hope you are encouraged, too. 

Please expand below to read Dr. Van Dyk’s entire letter:

Dear Columbia Community, 

I am happy to greet you all from Columbia Seminary, even though we are all in very unusual circumstances right now. Like you, our students, faculty and staff have adjusted in dramatic ways to daily life. We have developed new patterns of teaching and learning, new ways to stay connected with each other, and new opportunities for worship. Yet we remain committed to our ongoing mission to serve the church and the world. That commitment is not new at all! 

These new ways of connecting are working well–in some ways brilliantly! While many challenges remain, I am truly encouraged. Because you are a part of Columbia’s family, I hope you are encouraged, too. Here are a few examples: 

  • Online instruction: all our semester classes are “in session” through online teaching and learning. It was truly inspiring to see how our professors turned around their course formats from in-person to online, virtually overnight! Lucas Jones, a graduating M.Div. student commented, “I am grateful the efforts of the professors and administration to keep seminary moving by adapting to teach and engage… creatively online.” 
  • Community Life: twice a day, our Student Life team hosts “Cafe@CTS” – a virtual “coffee hour” where students can connect with each other and share joys and concerns. I join regularly and enjoy the shared laughter, prayers, and community spirit of the students.   
  • Worship: during Holy Week, when we could not worship together in person, our Dean of Worship Life organized online worship and prayer. It’s a practice that continues weekly. We know that the Holy Spirit unites us even though we are physically apart. 
  • Recruitment: ordinarily, our admissions staff is traveling widely during the spring to talk to future seminarians. Now, that work continues through brand new initiatives. In lieu of inviting prospective students visit and sit in on classes, we started the “First Friday Faculty Lectures” on Facebook. Dr. Brennan Breed gave a live – and lively! – lecture on the book of Ecclesiastes for our first event on April 3, which attracted more than a hundred attendees. 
  • Lifelong Learning: Dr. Israel Galindo and his team have succeeded in moving continuing education events online. The Leadership in Ministry program scheduled virtual coaching sessions for the participants, a move that gained attention by the Association of Theological Schools.  
  • Serving pastors, congregations, and other ministry settings: Our faculty are innovating in order to support and encourage ministry. For example, Dr. Bill Brown wrote a blog post before Easter which helpfully framed our unusual Easter of empty sanctuaries with the very first unusual Easter of the empty tomb. We’ve had feedback from countless pastors on how this guided their own Easter messages. Other faculty are leading Bible studies and adult education events from their computer screen.  

Now–especially now–we are called to be steadfast in relying on God’s call and the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As proud and encouraged as I am to share these “early wins,” as I write this letter, we are looking beyond this present situation, to how we will be living into Columbia’s mission this summer and fall. God has called us at Columbia Seminary to do the work of educating and forming leaders for the sake of the church and the world. In a world that is so uncertain and anxious, this call is more compelling to us than ever before. In that sure confidence, Columbia Seminary is looking ahead and making plans. Some of the ways we envision innovating include:  

We will be holding our Commencement ceremony online on Saturday morning, May 16. Our new graduates deserve to be celebrated! 

We are making plans for our summer classes to be held online so that our students can continue in their progress toward graduation and ministry.  

Planning for the Fall semester is continuing with contingencies attentive to a number of scenarios. We are preparing by creating several options so that when we know, we will be ready to go! 

We continue to reach out to alumni who are living into the challenges of ministry in this time of physical distancing with encouragement and resources. We have been inspired by the resilience of our alumni! 

Our mission here at Columbia Seminary is vital in the faith walk of our students and the ministries they serve when they graduate. One of our graduates, Rev. Lauren Patrus-Betzel (2017) wrote to us an email that expresses her gratitude for her training at Columbia Seminary:  

I am really… grateful for all that emphasis on imagination and resilience that always made me groan and roll my eyes in the moment. I’m grateful that we were taught that church and theology and interpretation of scripture are always contextual. Now that my context can’t manage to stay the same from one day to the next, I feel prepared to weather those shifts. I am grateful for the innovative ways our faculty are reaching out to us and thinking with us how to be church here and now…. Maybe today is filled with tasks “they didn’t teach me in seminary.” But Columbia Seminary did teach me that seminary was not about being equipped for tasks but being equipped for relational ministry in the reformed and always being reformed church of the living God. And for all of that, tired as I am today, I am so grateful for Columbia Theological Seminary. 

Lauren’s words remind us how high the stakes are, and they reinforce Columbia’s high calling. We are working hard to continue to nurture and shape pastoral leaders for a future that looks so uncertain right now. We cannot do this alone. We sincerely ask for your prayers for us. We also seek your words and acts of encouragement in these highly unusual times. Thank you for being a part of the wide and diverse Columbia Seminary family. We wish you health and safety for you and your families. We wish you God’s grace and peace as you seek to live faithfully in this and every day.  

Blessings,
Dr. Leanne Van Dyk

President 

 

 

Report and Disclosure

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting

Columbia Theological Seminary

Final Report and Disclosure

Grant: P25E202713

August 31, 2020

 

Columbia Theological Seminary acknowledges it signed and returned to the U.S. of Education the Certification and Agreement on April 20,2020, and gives assurance that the Seminary has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. All students who were eligible in round one was granted equal amounts of funds. In round two, continuing students were given the opportunity to apply for additional funds to supplement their needs which were derived from COVID-19 issues.

1. The total amount of funds allocated to Columbia Theological Seminary from the U.S. Department of Education for disbursement to students is: $34,349.00.

2. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of August 31, 2020 is $34,349.00.

3. The total number of students at Columbia Theological Seminary eligible to participate in (Round Two) programs under section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is 42.

4. The total number of students who applied for funds and have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) as of August 31, 2020 is 92.

5. The method(s) used by Columbia Theological Seminary to determine which students could receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive:

• Our methodology was to provide emergency grants to all eligible students in Round One to ensure that funds are distributed as widely as possible. (Since all our students suffered some form of need due to either relocation or curtailed services)

• All current degree seeking graduate students for term of disbursement.

• Eligible for funding under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 who filed a FAFSA for the 2019-20 academic year.

• Maximum total award per student $300 (Round One).

• Maximum total award per student $379.94 (Round Two).

• In Round Two, 42 students were sent applications for additional funds and given a deadline to return the application.

6. The instructions, directions or guidance provided by Columbia Theological Seminary to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants were sent via Seminary email and published on the Seminary website.

 

3rd Quarter 2020 Budget & Expenditures Report

Dear Columbia Students, Staff, and Faculty:

Greetings from the other side of a magnificent Commencement celebration courtesy of a dynamic team of faculty and staff, led by the Enrollment and Student Affairs Division and highlighted by the special blessings from the entire CTS faculty (see 1:46:42 at the link above). Could it be that years from now people will ask “What was the origin of the CTS faculty blessing ritual?,” and we will tell them it was birthed out of our deep resolve that the blessings of community would penetrate and reverberate even in digital space.

Today I am writing with news about the upcoming fall term. We have attended to public health experts, monitored local decisions, and assessed the availability of the testing, contact tracing, and quarantining resources and protocols needed to protect the safety of the whole community, including the vulnerable among us. All this dictates that we must continue to avoid the close living quarters of normal campus life. Hence, all teaching and learning will occur in an online format for the Fall 2020 semester, including Center for Lifelong Learning activities, current Campbell Library services, and community worship from the Office of Worship Life. The situation for fall semester supervised ministry (SM) assignments and CPEs relative to the Contextual Education and International Partnerships (CEIP) office is still complicated. We are encouraging students to develop digital FA-2020 SM internships and urging them to work closely with our interim CEIP Director, Rev. Lingenfelter, in engaging prospective supervisors in this vein.

I am grateful to the faculty for undertaking the herculean task of launching distance education with only days of notice this spring. Some of you noted how shifting to online learning quickly this spring presented challenges to you as a student. Please be assured, this early decision about online course formats will allow us to design creative, high quality, and engaging online courses using the best pedagogies in distance education, rather than those devised in the urgency of a sudden global health crisis. Mr. Rollin Guyden, our Director of Instructional Design with over 20 years of experience in distance education, is already working closely with faculty to facilitate this design process for Summer and Fall 2020 courses. We will enter this semester with well-designed asynchronous courses that may utilize supplemental synchronous Zoom sessions. Because this design will allow students and faculty the flexibility to plan for and attend to all of the changes in their lives, we will resume normal grading processes.

Academic Affairs will continue to monitor local, regional, and national conditions and resources in case there is an opportunity to return to face-to-face instruction. Students should continue to craft their course schedules to avoid meeting time conflicts per the originally published fall schedule to preserve the possibility of moving from online to face-to-face formats in some classes when it is safe to do so. At this time we are still projecting a face-to-face spring semester.

Please consult the attached updated fall course schedule which assumes all online courses, noting the following changes:

  • B501 Essentials of Greek (Nadella) has been cancelled for FA-2020. Students interested in this course should register for the summer version of B501 instead (Robinson).
  • A second Greek exegesis course has been added: B566 Greek Exegesis: Luke-Acts (Nadella).
  • The P530 Preaching and Proclamation hybrid (Florence) has been replaced by two new 1.5 credit courses offered by the same instructor (see the attached updated course schedule for reserved meeting times):
    • P632C Preaching in Times of Disaster and Crisis
    • P632F From Sanctuary to Screen: Adapting to Online Preaching and Worship Leadership
  • P640P (Worship Planning Practicum) and P641P (Worship and the Arts Practicum: Words and Images for Worship) are both cancelled.

Friends, I am fully persuaded of the power of online instruction. I have firsthand experience with the transformational potential in well-designed distance learning experiences that are as effective as any face-to-face encounter in promoting justice and manifesting grace, and this is what is already happening in the semester-long online courses offered at Columbia. Nevertheless it is also true that most students and faculty – including me! – prefer face-to-face teaching and learning. But absent a vaccine or effective treatments that mitigate the severity of this highly contagious virus, the close living quarters of campus life will result in an outbreak. Later today Dean Maxwell will be releasing additional information about changes to campus operations and housing for students. As you read this email and Dean Maxwell’s email to follow, remember this: the moment in which we find ourselves demands a communal ethos that forswears wishful thinking and instead aligns with the values that seek a common good rooted in the neighbor-love that is the heart of the gospel. We cannot let the pressures of finances or the egoism of peer pressure lure us into making decisions that put the most vulnerable among us at risk. While we are far from a perfect community, we are one committed to living out these values even when we find that the world is not arranged to our liking. Resilience demands adaptation in the face of adversity and not an abandonment of the arena of trouble. We have pledged to live out these values in this moment and in all of our work. We invite you into this commitment as well.

Sincerely,
Love L. Sechrest, PhD
Dean of Faculty and
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of New Testament

April 27, 2020

Dear Columbia Community,

On Friday of last week I notified the faculty that today, Monday, we would announce that all Summer 2020 courses would be convened online. This decision was made after careful consideration of the best public health advice.

What this means is that Academic Affairs at Columbia Seminary will begin or continue to employ social distancing techniques through the end of summer classes, including Center for Lifelong Learning activities, Campbell Library services, supervised ministry internships, and community worship. For example, the Center for Lifelong Learning will continue to offer online courses for clergy and other church leaders, and the J B. Campbell Library will continue to offer services as they have been in recent weeks. The situation for summer supervised ministry assignments and CPEs relative to the Contextual Education and International Partnerships office is a bit more complicated. We are advising students to work closely with Rev. Lingenfelter to develop plans that involve safe social distancing protocols appropriate for the geographical location in question. The Office of Worship Life will begin to convene virtual worship opportunities this summer, while our faculty will have the opportunity to design high quality asynchronous online courses, that may utilize supplemental synchronous Zoom sessions. We will return to normal grading policies for all summer courses.

For your information, we do not plan to make or announce a decision regarding fall 2020 courses until sometime this June, with the hope that by then as a society we will be well on the way towards harnessing American ingenuity and production capacities that can facilitate safe face-to-face education.

Stay safe!

Best,

Love L. Sechrest, PhD

Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs

March 25, 2020

Good morning, Columbia Seminary community,

I wish you every good blessing in these highly unusual days. I hope and pray that you are all well. Each morning we read about the deepening global health crisis that has come closer to home. But each new morning we also remain confident that God is with us. We have been stretched and challenged in these last few weeks and I have observed the quality and strength of this community. Thank you for finding ways to take care of one another and also following important safety protocols.

Those protocols must now be strengthened. Last night the mayor of Decatur, Patti Garrett, issued an Emergency Stay at Home Order effective today. Here is more:

https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/decatur-mayor-issues-stay-home-order

We will continue being operational to support the educational mission of the seminary. However, all faculty, staff, and students must stay at home to continue their work while supporting the educational mission of the seminary. Working and/or studying in seminary buildings is strictly prohibited without approval from the Vice President who oversees your division/area. Please immediately adjust your day to day life and do your work/study at home.  We will send additional information and advisement by the end of business today.

Strength and peace to you,

Leanne Van Dyk
President and Professor of Theology

Dear Columbia Community,

I know that we have all been following recent events in the world with concern and prayers. Communities around the world – in China, in Iran, in South Korea, here in this country, to name just a few – are experiencing the impact of COVID-19, an illness that results from a virus that has spread quickly and dangerously. This is a time for all of us to pull together and in mutual service to one another. It is also a time to take very clear and specific measures to protect ourselves and those we love. Because of this commitment both to community service and to personal safety, the President’s Council has made some important decisions.

The President’s Council has been following the developments of the coronavirus (COVID-19) very closely. We are grateful to each of you for your patience and concern as we have worked together to outline a plan for Columbia informed by the most recent communications from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, and the Georgia Department of Health; each of which has emphasized the importance of taking active measures to contain the spread of the virus in communities and mitigate the risk to vulnerable populations.

Each member of the President’s Council has been working on a daily basis to respond to the rapidly changing challenges that are emerging related to COVID-19. Please be aware of the following measures to be implemented effective immediately alongside the suspension of residential education.

 

Effective immediately, Columbia Theological Seminary will extend midterm and assessment week for students through Sunday, March 22, 2020, and transition to remote learning for students in all degree programs and lifelong learning programs on Monday, March 23, 2020. Residential/in-class education is suspended through the end of the spring semester. Due to the extension of midterm and assessment week, we will not have spring break the week of April 6, 2020 as originally scheduled. Instead, online learning will continue at this time.

 

Worship, Community Life, and Seminary-Sponsored Events

All chapel services, forums, communal gatherings, and on-campus events are canceled for the remainder of the semester through Wednesday, May 13, 2020. This includes all admissions, advancement, and lifelong learning events. We have not yet made a determination about commencement. However, the President’s Council will continue to monitor developments of the coronavirus and make a final determination about commencement no later than April 15, 2020.

 

Food Services and Refreshments

The refectory is closed effective immediately until further notice. Students who participate in the meal plan may continue to receive meals via a boxed meal delivery service through Aramark at Agnes Scott. Please click HERE to sign up for this boxed meal delivery service by the end of the day.

All communal coffee service has been suspended indefinitely.

 

Guidance for Columbia Faculty and Staff

At this time, the Seminary will remain open. Staff members are expected to report to work. However, due to our online learning environment, faculty and staff should be guided by their divisional leadership regarding work status and work-from-home options. As is consistent with our policies, should the Seminary have to close for a period of time due to the coronavirus, the President’s Council is fully committed to paying hourly employees and those who cannot complete their work remotely for the period of time the Seminary remains closed. We will further communicate with supervisors via phone or Skype Business on Friday, March 13 by the end of business.

Faculty and staff who have been exposed to the COVID-19 must self-isolate, stay home, and self-monitor for 14 consecutive days even if they are asymptomatic. Symptoms to watch out for include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Persons who do not experience symptoms to COVID-19 during the 14-day period may resume their normally scheduled activities in consultation with their primary care physician. Should a person experience a fever during the 14-day period, they must continue self-isolation until they are fever free for at least 48 hours.

Faculty and staff who experience symptoms similar to COVID-19 must self-isolate, stay home, and self-monitor for 14 consecutive days. Again, symptoms to watch out for include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. A person who does not experience a fever during this 14-day period may return to their normally scheduled activities. Should a person experience a fever during the 14-day period, they must continue self-isolation until they are fever free for at least 48 hours in consultation with their primary care physician.

 

Residence Life

Students should vacate on campus housing if at all possible. We are not closing on-campus housing at this time. However, the President’s Council strongly encourages students to consider vacating their housing units by 3:00 pm on Friday, March 20, and living off-campus with friends or family members where possible for the remainder of the semester.

Graduating students who vacate their housing unit should collect all of their belongings, clean the housing unit, and return their keys to the Business Office no later than Friday, March 20, by 3:00 pm. Graduating students who vacate their housing unit will not be charged rent for the remainder of the academic year.

Non-graduating students who vacate their housing unit should collect all essential belongings and return their keys to the Business Office no later than Friday, March 20 by 3:00 pm. Non-graduating students who vacate their housing unit will not be charged rent for the remainder of the academic year. These students will be permitted to return to their housing unit after the spring semester concludes and at a time when the coronavirus has been contained.

Students who wish to remain in their on-campus housing must complete this form no later than Wednesday, March 18, at 12:00 pm to be approved to remain on campus by the Office of Student Affairs and Community Life. All other questions and concerns should be addressed to studentaffairsstaff@ctsnet.edu. Gathering in communal spaces and hosting student events (e.g., potluck) is prohibited for students who elect to remain on campus.

 

Harrington Center Guest Rooms

Harrington Center guest room services are suspended until further notice.

 

Seminary Service

Seminary Service is suspended for the remainder of the semester with no penalty to students. Students are not permitted to work or volunteer.

 

Travel

Columbia is indefinitely suspending all official and previously scheduled travel for students, faculty, and staff to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and the European continent. Given the World Health Organization’s recent categorization of COVID-19 as a pandemic and the dynamic nature of the virus, we strongly recommend that all members of the Columbia community reconsider both domestic and international travel, especially for senior members of the community and those who are particularly at risk for severe illness.

Friends, please know that the decision to migrate to online learning, as well as decisions to significantly shift the structure of our common life, have been made out of an abundance of caution and foresight. We have not made these decisions lightly. We have carefully considered multiple options to ensure that every member of our community feels safe during this time of uncertainty. We are grateful for your understanding and partnership in ensuring we end the semester strong and in good health. You can expect further communication from me and/or members of the President’s Council with additional advisement as the situation develops. You may also monitor for updates on our website at the following link: www.ctsnet.edu/coronavirus-information.

I would like to invite us all to dig deep into our shared commitments and values for each other’s safety, health, and comfort. I am confident that we will get through this and I am hopeful that it will be soon. I look forward to the time when we will have opportunity to share together what we have learned and how, even in this difficult time, we are being formed for ministry.

Blessings,

Leanne Van Dyk
President and Professor of Theology

 

Click HERE for COVID-19 Factsheet

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

On February 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted Americans to begin to prepare for the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, saying it’s not clear when it will arrive and how severe an outbreak could become. The CDC advised that disruption to everyday life could be significant and suggested that businesses, schools and families have discussions about the potential impact.

Columbia Theological Seminary is closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus across the globe, mindful of the impact it may have here on campus and for our students studying abroad. I have identified a response team, which includes Dean of Students Brandon Maxwell, to ensure the health and safety of the seminary community.  Our leadership remains in ongoing communication with local and state health departments and have been monitoring guidance from the CDC, which maintains a helpful updated summary about the virus online here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Seminary leaders are also monitoring the impact of the virus in other countries where Columbia Seminary students and faculty are studying and traveling. We will respond as appropriate to additional disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

It is important that you stay informed about the spread of the coronavirus. Columbia Seminary strongly encourages students, faculty and staff to be prudent in their travel choices. As countries respond to outbreaks, travel limitations, bans and quarantines are being put into effect, often with little or no prior warning. Please consider both your departure and your return when traveling to areas currently under watch for coronavirus.

According to the CDC, illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness. More information about the virus is available from the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html or from the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.

As with any other virus we ask that all students, faculty and staff remain vigilant in practicing precautions to prevent the spread of disease. CDC guidelines for prevention and treatment are similar to the recommendations to prevent the spread of any virus:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

We will continue to communicate with students, their families and faculty members potentially impacted by the spread of the coronavirus abroad.

If you have medical questions or concerns, you may call Emory DeKalb Medical Center at 404-501-5385. For questions about Columbia’s response to the virus, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 404-687-4522.

Dr. Leanne Van Dyk
President


COLUMBIA FAMILY AND CHURCH RESOURCES

FREE DOWNLOAD FROM JOURNAL FOR PREACHERS

Walter Brueggemann“Until the Dancing Begins Again.”
Brueggemann finds in Jeremiah insights into our ministry in the midst of the present pandemic. We are, he says, “to render the virus as penultimate, to see that even its lethal force is outflanked by the goodness of God.”

(The Brueggemann’s essay is from his book Virus as a Summons to Faith and is used with permission from Wipf and Stock. Wipf and Stock also has made a generous offer of a 40% discount on the entire volume if you use the code VIRUS at wipfandstock.com)

 

From Columbia Connections Blog:

Dr. Michael Lee Cook, Leadership in Ministry faculty, offers tips on managing stress from a Bowenian perspective

Reflections by our Leadership In Ministry faculty on clergy responses to COVID-19,  Part 1 and Part 2

Supporting good mental health during the crisis by combating automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) 

Prof. Mindy McGarrah Sharp with Moving and Mourning: A Practical Theologian’s Values Matrix for Stressful Times, Part 1 and Part 2

The Center of Lifelong Learning, on the quick pivot from a traditional to virtual experience for the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program in Imagination and resilience: Your Keys to Success in Unusual Times

A Holy Week Message from Prof. Bill Brown

A Self-Care Message for Pastors from Prof. Bill Harkins

Being Called to the Ordinary in These Extraordinary Times by Revs. Travis and Dr. Karen Webster, co-founders of Healthy Seminarians-Healthy Church Initiative

 

Back to the Text is a class at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, offered to divinity students in all degree programs. It was created and is led by Anna Carter Florence, Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia, and culminates in a student performance of a different biblical book each year. This year, the class read the books of Samuel–and with the onset of COVID-19, pivoted from a live performance to an audio performance, that could be developed and accessed online.

Please visit the Back to the Text website for the complete performance recording, background on performers and characters, and about the amazing transformation from one of Columbia’s most loved, embodied classes to an amazing online experience.

 

From the Greater Columbia Community:

God’s New Thing by Emeritus Professor Walter Breuggemann on the Church Anew Blog

Talking to Your Children About COVID-19 by  CTS Prof. Kathy Dawson on the APCE Advocate Blog

Resourcing the In-Between: Teaching and Learning Pastoral Care During Pandemic by CTS Prof. Mindy McGarrah Sharp (from the Wabash Center Blog)

There’s nothing ordinary about this year’s Ordinary Time. In Leaning Out, Letting Go, CTS Prof. Kathy Dawson (on the APCE Advocate Blog) says this is the time for clergy to examine what they do and why

CHARLES IS CURIOUS VIDEO SERIES

Office Hours: An Online Pop-up Bible Study Video Series

For the Philippians, Job, and James Series,
visit our YouTube Office Hours playlist

NOTE: Office Hours is now streaming on Sunday mornings.

Office Hours: An Online Pop-up Bible Study” is designed to meet the needs of pastors and congregations during our season of social distancing. Brennan Breed, from Columbia Theological Seminary, and Chris Holmes, from First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, are teaming up with guest professors to offer an in-depth, spontaneous and unrehearsed five-week study of the book of Ruth.

During the study, we will engage with scholars such as Marcia Y. Riggs and Kathleen O’Connor from Columbia Theological Seminary, Judy Fentress-Williams from Virginia Theological Seminary, Elaine James from Princeton Theological Seminary, and Roger Nam from Emory University.

All are welcome to the free, hour-long conversation livestreamed to Facebook every Sunday morning from 9:30AM to 10:30AM Eastern Time, from September 20th  to October 18nd at https://bit.ly/CTSofficehours. Limited spaces exist for participants to join via Zoom webinar for those without access to Facebook. All sessions will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube for later viewing. See the Office Hours Playlist.

Participants who want a deeper experience may also register to receive free access to course material, complete with syllabus, downloadable readings, and audio-video links for further study. Register for additional resources below.

Office Hours Schedule:

The Book of Ruth: Faithfulness for Troubled Times

September 20
Setting the Scene for the Book of Ruth
Guest Host: Dr. Elaine James, Princeton Theological Seminary

September 27
Ruth 1: Faithfulness across Borders
Guest Host: Dr. Kathleen O’Connor, Columbia Theological Seminary

October 4
Ruth 2: Kinship and Otherness
Guest Host: Dr. Roger Nam, Emory University

October 11
Ruth 3: A Cloaked Covenant
Guest Host: Dr. Judy-Fentress Williams, Virginia Theological Seminary

October 18
Ruth 4: Survival and Transformation
Guest Host: Dr. Marcia Y. Riggs, Columbia Theological Seminary 

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