Guthrie Scholars Program

The Guthrie Scholars Program invites participants to the seminary campus for five days of independent study to pursue a topic of their choice that engages a pressing theological issue of the church from a Reformed perspective.

The intention is that plans and resources will evolve from this program that will enhance each participant’s setting for ministry. The Guthrie Scholars Program is a theological learning opportunity offered each fall on an application basis.

Who should apply

The program is open to clergy serving in congregations and other settings of ministry, Christian educators, lay pastors, judicatory staff, and in some cases other leaders fully involved in the life of the church.

Program Structure

While on campus, selected participants will pursue their research projects, in consultation with a faculty member if desired. They will also meet with the other Guthrie Scholars to discuss their projects and what they are learning, thereby creating a collegial context in which to think about their areas of concern.

The Center for Lifelong Learning staff arranges for applicants to meet with a faculty member whose areas of expertise coincides with their interests or that of the larger group.  The week  includes opportunities to worship on campus as well as time for personal reflection and recreation.

Dates and Costs

The Guthrie Scholars program covers the cost of a single room and meals at the  campus dining facility for up to five nights. Travel to and from the campus, and other incidentals, are the responsibility of each participant.

Beginning in 2020, a flexible schedule option is available. Applicants who prefer an alternative week during the fall semester (September – November) may list up to three options for consideration during the application process.

Guthrie Scholars 2021 is scheduled for September 20-24, 2021. The individuals selected as 2020 Scholars will attend in 2021 instead due to the closure of campus in the fall of 2020. 

Application Process

Applications are submitted electronically; the 2022 application will be posted by late fall 2021. Applications are reviewed as received, and enrollment closed when available spaces are filled. Participants are selected on the basis of their applications, the focus of their projects and the potential application of each project to the applicants life and ministry.

About Shirley Guthrie

In 1958, Shirley Guthrie – a young pastor from Texas with a doctorate from the University of Basel in Switzerland – came to teach at Columbia Theological Seminary. Generations of students, ministers, and others learned Christian theology from Guthrie, across five decades of teaching.

A master of explanation, Guthrie imparted a theology that was Christian, with distinctive Reformed emphases. Students and readers of his books encountered a powerful, providential God, who – in Guthrie’s memorable phrase – “isn’t out to get anybody.”

Guthrie’s leading themes in teaching, as in life, were Christian unity amidst human diversity, God’s love and justice, and the need for sinful human beings to learn forgiveness after the example of Jesus Christ.

The Guthrie Scholarship, named in his honor, offers the opportunity to spend concentrated time engaging the question: What does it mean to be the Church, and embody the Gospel?

For more information, contact Sarah Erickson via email, or call 404-687-4526.