The Washington Theological Consortium announces a virtual symposium that will draw together theology and ministry leaders, faculty, and students to explore the question “Should theological schools prepare pastors, priests, and other religious leaders to serve only their religious communities or also the wider public?”
The May 26 event will spotlight four international scholars to address this timely topic. Each scholar is also a leader representing a different Christian church or denomination:
- Eastern Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos, the Ecumenical Patriarch’s representative to the World Council of Churches and co-president of the Joint Roman Catholic – Orthodox International Commission for Dialogue
- The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington of the Episcopal Church and president of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the National Cathedral
- Dr. Gregory Howard, Interim Dean of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University and Senior Pastor at Union Branch Baptist Church, Chesterfield, Va.
- Fr. Mark Morozowich, Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America and priest in the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio
They will consider how theological schools prepare pastors, priests, and other religious leaders to engage in public life through witness, ethical action, and narratives of hope, justice, and human solidarity.
Advance registrants will be able to join the online event Tuesday, May 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. EDT. There will be an opportunity to engage the presenters in Q&A as well.
“Pastors, priests, and rabbis have a long history of being formed for religious and public life. This symposium brings top church and educational leaders together to envision new ways that theological education can prepare religious leaders for deeper engagement with the public square in the context of religious pluralism,” noted Rev. Larry Golemon, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Consortium and an ordained Presbyterian minister.
The symposium is one of several events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Washington Theological Consortium. Established in the wake of the ecumenical movement of the 20th century, the Consortium is a community of theological schools and partners from diverse faith traditions.
Founded in 1971, there were seven original member schools from the Greater Washington, D.C. area, representing Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, and Historically Black Theological Schools. Since then, schools from contemporary Evangelical traditions, and partners in Islamic, Jewish, and Spirituality institutes have expanded the membership. In July 2020, the Museum of the Bible came on board as the Consortium’s first Public Educational Institutional member.
Today, the ecumenical and interfaith organization offers access to over 250 courses per semester for cross-registration among the member schools. Thousands of students among the various institutions share access to more than a dozen theological libraries in the D.C. region, and the organization provides regular opportunities for public and adult education.
“Our current national public discourse on a wide range of social issues touches every aspect of human life, and our religious leaders and local ministers need to be prepared to address those issues from a theological and religious perspective,” said Jack Figel, member of the Consortium’s Board of Trustees. “Therefore, our theological education programs must prepare students to address those challenges for the future of all spectrums of society.”
While the May 26 symposium is open to the public, online registration space is limited. Members of the media are encouraged to participate, and interviews with Dr. Golemon and the presenters are available upon request.
Registration information and biographies of the presenters can be found at washtheocon.org/symposium. Downloadable press materials are available here.