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Commencement 2015

Five newly credentialed by Bexley Seabury—three graduates earning a Master of Divinity degree and two earning a Diploma in Anglican Studies

MAY 23, 2015, COLUMBUS, Ohio—Continuing its historic service to the church of equipping entrepreneurial leaders, and carrying forward the traditions of its predecessor bodies (Bexley Hall, founded 1824 and Seabury-Western, dating to 1858) spanning three centuries, Bexley Seabury graduated five students today, conferring three degrees and awarding two diplomas.

At ceremonies in Columbus Bexley Seabury President Roger Ferlo and Academic Dean Thomas Ferguson presented the degree of Master of Divinity (MDiv) to three students who successfully completed a three-year program of study. They are: Robert Samuel Hill of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, Ky.; Whitney Bousman Smith, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis; and Gene Alan Stack Jr., Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. Bexley Seabury’s MDiv program is offered in Columbus, in collaboration with Trinity Lutheran Seminary, reflecting Bexley Seabury’s dedication to learning from and working with other belief communities.

Two additional graduates, Nancy Louise Woodworth-Hill of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis and Maureen Nicole Elliott of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, were each awarded a Diploma in Anglican Studies, a course of study primarily intended for lay and clergy leaders studying in local programs of formation or at non-Episcopal seminaries.

“Today we celebrate the achievements not only of our five graduates, but also those of Trinity Lutheran graduates while renewing our shared commitment to theological rigor, generosity, and unity as believers,” said President Ferlo. “Modeling ecumenism and creative collaborations for our Anglican Studies, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Ministry students and graduates, and the church at large is an important Bexley Seabury value.”

“We come together with Trinity Lutheran Seminary in a joint commencement ceremony,” said Dean Ferguson. “This is a tangible living out of The Episcopal Church–ELCA partnership, and reflects our commitment to an ecumenical community of formation, essential to addressing the needs of an increasingly pluralistic world.”

Bexley Seabury is an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship offering theological education in a generous spiritual and intellectual tradition. Our mission is to equip lay and clergy leaders for bold inquiry in service of the Gospel and active engagement in congregational and community life. Learn more at bexleyseabury.edu.

Historic Prayer Books on Display April 29

ChicagoConvo2015 outreach
Open viewing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bexley Seabury, an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship will sponsor an exhibit of historic prayer books and Bibles from the Michael Morgan Collection as part of its April 29 Chicago Convocation 2015 at St. James Commons, 65 East Huron, Chicago. The public is welcome to view the exhibit from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Exhibit: Historic Prayer Books & Bibles, 1526–1903

This exhibit represents a rare opportunity to view a fascinating selection of prayer books, Bibles, and devotional volumes from the collection of Michael Morgan, church musician, psalm scholar, and author.

“The Whole Boke of Psalmes, Collected into English Metre…Very Mete to be Used by All Sorts of People…Laying Apart All Ungodly Songs and Ballades, which Tend Onely to the Nourishing of Vice and Corrupting of Youth”

–1562 First Complete Metrical Psalter in English

 

The exhibit spans nearly four centuries of church history and worship practices. Among the volumes on display will be the 1562 First Complete Metrical Psalter in English (quoted above), multiple examples of the 1611 Authorized “King James” Bible, and 1797 Book of Common Prayer with elocution instructions by Shakespearean actor David Garrick. Individuals with an interest in history, book design, theology, Christian liturgy and literature are encouraged to visit.

PLEASE RESERVE TO PARTICIPATE further

The April 29 Convocation is one of two days of prayer, study, and fellowship that Bexley Seabury hosts each year, one in Chicago and one in Columbus, for alumni, supporters, and friends.

In addition to the exhibit of historic prayer books and Bibles, the program includes:

  • 2 p.m. WORKSHOP led by collector Michael Morgan to help participants further appreciate the books on display.
  • 3 p.m. WORKSHOP led by Bexley Seabury President Roger Ferlo on current issues in Christian mission and theological education.
  • 4 p.m. KEYNOTE ADDRESS, "From Sinai to Cupertino: Technology, Social Media, and Evangelism," presented by Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement.
  • 5:30 p.m. EVENSONG at St. James Cathedral followed by a closing RECEPTION at St. James Commons.

Anyone interested in participating in either or both workshops or the keynote address is asked to reserve in advance by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Additional information is available online, including public transportation and parking options.

From campuses in Columbus and Chicago, Bexley Seabury equips lay and clergy leaders for bold inquiry in service of the Gospel and active engagement in congregational and community life. Visit us at bexleyseabury.edu and follow us on Twitter, @bexleyseabury, and on Facebook.

Episcopal Church in Minnesota, Bexley Seabury Forge Partnership

ECMN, seminary plans include collaboration on formation and management training

November 19, 2014—The Episcopal Church in Minnesota (ECMN) and the Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary Federation today announced a partnership that will bring the resources and expertise of the seminary to bear on Christian formation and leadership development ministries in numerous ECMN communities.

Through the partnership, Bexley Seabury will collaborate with ECMN’s formation and leadership development initiatives among the Ojibwe and Dakota communities, and provide several scholarships to ECMN participants in the well-respected Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute, a three-day summer program offered in conjunction with the Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The seminary will also collaborate with ECMN on an "incubator initiative" that will gather young adults and other stakeholders to visit emergent congregations in the Episcopal Church and bring back the best wisdom from those faith communities, to Minnesota.

“ECMN is committed to assisting every faith community to acquire the resources they need to engage God's mission in their context," said the Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Bishop of Minnesota. “This emerging partnership with Bexley Seabury has the potential of offering significant faith formation opportunities.”

The Rev. Roger Ferlo, president of Bexley Seabury, said ECMN and the seminary federation are well matched. “Episcopalians in Minnesota have understood since the days of Bishop Henry Whipple in the mid-19th century that it is essential to root theological education in the context and culture of local communities of faith,” he said. “Bexley Seabury shares this historic willingness to work collaboratively, to try new approaches, and to find ways to ensure that the best in Christian formation and training are available to people and communities that are sometimes overlooked.

“My hope is that this joint commitment to excellence in contextual formation will become a model for the church at a time when such models are keenly needed.”

ECMN and Bexley Seabury share some history relevant to their new partnership. Seabury Divinity School, one of the forerunners of Bexley Seabury, was founded by Whipple in Faribault, Minnesota in 1858. Enmegahbowh, the first Native American ordained to the Episcopal priesthood, was closely associated with Seabury from the start. The new partnership between ECMN and Bexley Seabury will be made possible by income from an endowment, known as Bishop Seabury Mission Fund, begun in 1933 when Seabury Divinity School and Western Theological Seminary merged.

The Rev. Susan Daughtry, ECMN Missioner for Formation, said she hopes that “the development of a strong relationship between ECMN and Bexley Seabury will allow the experiments and learning that blossom from the partnership to be a gift to the wider church.”

She added, “As the Episcopal Church leans back toward local formation and innovative networks, this partnership can be an icon of good news -- that seminaries can work in partnership with the specific needs of local communities, and that the wisdom of those local communities can shape and inspire our seminaries."

The Episcopal Church in Minnesota is a network of faith communities called to spiritual transformation by engaging in God's Mission.

As an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship at the crossroads of the nation, the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Seminary Federation forms lay and clergy leaders to proclaim God’s mission in the world, creating new networks of Christian formation, entrepreneurial leadership and bold inquiry in the service of the Gospel. Learn more at bexleyseabury.edu.

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2015 Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute

The fifth annual Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute at the Kellogg School is a three-day program tailored to meet the distinctive needs of lay and clergy leaders across the church. Join us June 15-17, 2015 for lectures, interactive exercises and dialogue with faculty at the Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

At the Leadership Institute, you'll:

  • build your skills for effective church leadership
  • gain a deeper understanding of complex cultural change
  • learn strategies to make your congregation more vital

When:  Monday, June 15-Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Where:  Wieboldt Hall, 340 East Superior St., Northwestern University’s Chicago Campus

Cost:  $1450 (This reduced cost made possible by support from Bexley Seabury endowments.)

How to apply:  Complete an online application 

From June 15-17, limited accommodations are available at the Nicholas Center, located in the Diocese of Chicago’s St. James Commons, a few blocks away from Wieboldt Hall. Learn more at nicholascenter.org and reserve a space with Peggy Pearson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Questions?  Please call 800-275-8235 or email the Rev. Canon Suzann Holding at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Course Topics  

Leading Change

Creativity and Innovation

Leading with Vision, Values and Purpose

Leadership and Organizational Communications

Team Building

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

What Leaders Say

The Bexley Seabury Kellogg Leadership Institute was a profoundly stimulating offering. The faculty were engaging leaders who brought years of experience to bear, and it was clear that they were also passionate about sharing their knowledge with church leaders because they have personal commitments to serve Christ and his Church. The chance to meet new colleagues enriched the experience further. I’m hoping to be able to attend again, since the program changes each year.

--The Rev. David Hedges, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Sycamore, Ill.

As religious institutions face rapid change and leaders strain to find perceptive and creative mentoring, Bexley Seabury’s Leadership Institute at the Kellogg School offers “water for parched throats,” to borrow from the psalmist. What new word is there about the give-and-take of effective collegial leadership? Where better to hear it than from experienced business professors and leaders who care about best practices for religious institutions and agencies? This seminar will make you want to drink more deeply.

--The Rev. Dr. Carol A. Tate, Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian Church, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Academic Credit

Qualified participants for MDiv or DMin academic credit can extend the Leadership Institute with additional sessions on June 18 and 19. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Professor Wondra Elected to World Council of Churches Commission

Bexley Seabury research professor of theology and ethics
to serve until 2022

CHICAGO, September 25, 2014—The Rev. Dr. Ellen K. Wondra, research professor of theology and ethics at the Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary Federation, has been elected to the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order for a term that will last until 2022.

The Standing Commission on Faith and Order, described by the World Council of Churches as “a community of ecumenical leaders and theologians who for more than a century have laboured for the visible unity of Christ’s Church through concentrated theological dialogue,” comprises nearly 50 theologians and consultants and meets for one week every two years. Wondra’s first meeting will be in June 2015.

“Ellen’s passion for ecumenical dialogue has enlivened her career and the seminary she serves,” said the Rev. Dr. Roger. A. Ferlo, president of Bexley Seabury. “Her service on the Standing Commission on Faith and Order will be a boon to Bexley Seabury, the Episcopal Church, and our ecumenical partners across the globe.”

Wondra served on the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations of the Episcopal Church from 2001-2006 and on the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S.A.  (ARCUSA) from 1992 - 2010. She was the co-coordinator of that group’s project on authority from 1996-2008.

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, a 1972 alumnus of Seabury and current Federation board member, served with Wondra on ARCUSA. He is the retired bishop of Iowa and is currently assisting bishop in Chicago.

“Dr. Wondra is one of the leading ecumenists in The Episcopal Church,” said Epting. “I cannot imagine what I would have done, during my years as the Presiding Bishop's Deputy for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Relations, without her wise counsel and rich experience. I am thrilled that she will now represent us on the WCC's venerable Commission on Faith and Order.”

Wondra, who holds an MDiv from Church Divinity School of the Pacific and a PhD in Christian theology from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, became professor at Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary in 1989 and professor of theology and ethics at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 2004. From 2008-2014, she served as Seabury’s academic dean, and from 2006 through December 2013, she served as editor of the Anglican Theological Review.

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Columbus Convocation on September 24

Bexley Seabury alumni, supporters, and friends are invited to gather in Columbus on Wednesday, September 24 for Columbus Convocation 2014. The event will include:

10 am:  Eucharist with the Bexley Seabury and Trinity Lutheran communities in Gloria Dei Chapel at Trinity Lutheran Seminary

3 pm:  Open discussion on the future of ordained ministry in a changing church with President Roger Ferlo in Schenk Chapel at Trinity Lutheran Seminary

5 pm: Reception at The Alumni House at Capital University

No RSVP is necessary. Questions can be directed to Shirla Langknecht at 614-231-2095 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bexley Seabury's annual Columbus Convocation is held in conjunction with Trinity Days at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. This year, on Thursday, September 25, Dr. Amos Yong, professor of theology and mission at Fuller Theological Seminary, will speak on "Pentecostalism, Theology, and Missiology in the 21st Century." Learn more on the Trinity Lutheran Seminary website.

A Bexley Seabury Chicago Convocation will be held in 2015 on a date to be determined.

 

New Academic Leadership: May 2014 Board of Directors Meeting

The Bexley Seabury Federation’s board of directors met on May 15 and 16 in Chicago.

At the meeting, the board approved a new academic leadership. Beginning July 1, the Rev. Dr. Tom Ferguson, will be the Federation’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of Bexley Hall. Ferguson has been dean of Bexley since 2011. The Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra, who has been academic dean at Seabury since 2009, will become research professor of theology and ethics.

In his new position, Ferguson will be responsible for academic affairs and faculty at the Federation’s programs in both Columbus and Chicago. Wondra will return to research and teaching, most immediately with a weekend intensive course in global Anglicanism during the spring semester in 2015. 

“I am grateful to Ellen and Tom for their joint service during the federation’s formation, and I am delighted that Ellen can now complete several writing projects and return to full-time teaching.” said Federation President Roger Ferlo. “I look forward to working closely with Tom in his new position as we continue to expand our seminary ‘beyond walls.’”

The board thanked ten outgoing members:  Mrs. Eleanor Chabraja, the Rev. Canon Carlson Gerdau, Mr. James H. Hawk, Ms. Katharine R. Koeze, the Rev. Wendy Lane, the Rev. Eugene Y. Lowe, Jr., Mr. Roger Lumpp, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth Price, the Rev. Jeffrey Queen and the Rev. Dr. Gwynne Wright, welcomed six new members, and elected its officers for 2014-2015. The Rt. Rev. Mike Klusmeyer will continue as president, while the Rev. John Denson (Seabury DMin 2009) will be vice chair, replacing the Rev. Alan Gates who was elected bishop of Massachusetts on April 5. The Rev. Charlotte Reed (Seabury ‘97) will serve as secretary and Michael Galvin will be treasurer.

The directors voted to establish the position of trustee emeriti in order to gain the counsel of longtime leaders of both Seabury-Western and Bexley Hall. Vice President for Advancement and Church Relations Conrad Selnick will oversee the recruitment of the new group, which will be named in the fall of 2014.

The board’s next meeting will be a strategic planning retreat in October in Indianapolis.

Bexley Seabury Sponsors Free Online Class with New York Times Bestselling Author Albert Cutie

Bexley Seabury Sponsors Free Online Class with New York Times Bestselling Author Albert Cutie

“Living a Spirit-Filled Life" Open Online Class and Discussion; June 8-15

DETROIT, May 26, 2014 – This Pentecost, join thousands of students around the world to learn how to live a Spirit-filled life. Students can begin registering today to take the course for free anytime between June 8 - 15. Click here to register and learn more.

Father Albert Cutie, New York Times bestselling author, talk show host, and Episcopal priest in Southeast Florida, will teach “The Big Class,” a program of ChurchNext Online Christian Learning. The course will expand on Fr. Cutie’s books and sermons that focus on how we bring God into our everyday lives. This course follows the tremendous success of Bishop Michael Curry's January class, “How to Be a Crazy Christian” for which 3,000 students from 30 countries registered.

Fr. Cutie will also moderate the course and answer online questions during the week of The Big Class. Participants can take the class anytime during the week of June 8-15 at churchnext.tv. The course takes about 45 minutes to complete and need not be taken in one sitting. No special software is required. Click here for organizational materials for congregations who wish to take the class together.  Click here for a preview clip of the course on YouTube.

Throughout Living a Spirit-Filled Life, students are encouraged to think about and to experience the Holy Spirit and its meaning for their lives. “We are living in one of the most anxious times in history,” writes Fr. Cutie. “Dramatic changes are everywhere – technology, communications, relationships – and the pace of this change has many of us reeling in anxiety.  This means many of us find it difficult to find God, even though we know God is there. A Spirit-filled life is the life in which we can let go and let God.” The Big Class will help Christians deepen their commitment to follow the Spirit and proclaim the love of God in their lives and communities.

The Big Class is a worldwide initiative in open online learning for all who want to go further in their walk with Christ and is free to everyone, everywhere, thanks to the support of Bexley Seabury, The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, Logos Bible Software, and Forward Movement.

ChurchNext creates online Christian learning experiences to invigorate lives and congregations. Along with our partners we are devoted to helping people grow in their Christian faith, improve their lives, and better the world. Learn more at http://www.churchnext.tv.

Living A Spirit-Filled Life: Free Online Course with the Rev. Albert Cutie

DETROIT, May 19, 2014 - This Pentecost, anyone with Internet access and a computer or tablet can get free instruction on how to live a Spirit-filled life, in a free class that invites online learners to “listen in” on an open conversation about how the Holy Spirit meets us today.  Registration is free and open worldwide beginning Memorial Day, May 26; the class will run from June 8-15.

Father Albert Cutie, New York Times bestselling author, talk show host, and Episcopal priest in Southeast Florida, will teach “The Big Class,” a program of ChurchNext Online Christian Learning. The course will expand on Fr. Cutie’s books and sermons that focus on how we bring God into our everyday lives.

Fr. Cutie will also moderate the course and answer online questions during the week of The Big Class. Participants can take the class anytime during the week at churchnext.tv. The course will take 45 minutes to complete and need not be taken in one sitting. No special software is required. Organizational materials will be available May 26 for congregations who wish to take the class together.

Throughout Living a Spirit-Filled Life, students are encouraged to think about and experience the Holy Spirit and its meaning for their lives. “We are living in one of the most anxious times in history,” writes Fr. Cutie. “Dramatic changes are everywhere – technology, communications, relationships – and the pace of this change has many of us reeling in anxiety. This means many of us find it difficult to find God, even though we know God is there. A Spirit-filled life is the life in which we can let go and let God.” The Big Class will help Christians deepen their commitment to follow the Spirit and proclaim the love of God in their lives and communities.

This course builds on the successes of previous Big Classes. In January, more than 3,000 students from 30 countries signed up to take How to Be a Crazy Christian with Bishop Michael Curry.

The Big Class is a worldwide initiative in open online learning for all who want to go further in their walk with Christ and is free to everyone, everywhere, thanks to the support of Bexley Seabury, The Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, Logos Bible Software, and Forward Movement.

ChurchNext creates online Christian learning experiences to invigorate lives and congregations. Along with our partners we are devoted to helping people grow in their Christian faith, improve their lives, and better the world. Learn more at www.churchnext.tv.

Oh Joins Bexley Seabury as Director of Field Education and Formation

Oh KJMAY 12, 2014, Columbus—Bexley Seabury Federation President Roger Ferlo announced today that the Rev. KyungJa (KJ) Oh, a Seabury MDiv alumna ('00) and current DMin student, will become the Bexley Seabury Seminary Federation's director of field education and formation. Oh is currently rector of The Episcopal Church of the Advent in Walnut Hills, Ohio in the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

“KJ bring brings a depth of wisdom and hands-on practical experience that will immeasurably strengthen our MDiv program,” said Ferlo.

Oh will join the staff on July 1 and be based at Bexley Hall in Columbus, located on the campus of Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

“I'm delighted to have KJ joining us at Bexley Seabury” said the Rev. Thomas Ferguson, dean of Bexley. “She brings a wealth of personal and professional experience in a number of different settings, from chaplaincy to parish ministry,” said Ferguson. “She will help us bring together crucial components of theological education and formation for the future church.”

As director of field education and formation, Oh will oversee a comprehensive field education program, direct the seminary’s spiritual formation program, provide worship resources for students, and serve as an academic advisor and pastoral leader.

"I am delighted to be joining the Bexley Seabury faculty to participate in forming future leaders of the Church,” Oh said. “I look forward to helping our students transition from the methodology and theology of the classroom to practical application in the mission field.

“The church of today and tomorrow requires creativity and curiosity; perhaps that really has been the case all along. Our ministry requires flexible creativity and incessant curiosity in order to appreciate where we are, who we are and how the Holy Spirit provides meaning to daily life.”

Oh has been a priest in the Diocese of Chicago and chaplain for the Oncology Department at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She has studied theology at Cambridge University in England and French literature at the Sorbonne, and holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Illinois Wesleyan University. She lives with her partner, Melissa McNeill, and has two children and two grandchildren.

Media Contact

Conrad Selnick
Vice President for Advancement and Church Relations
773-380-6787 (work)
440-667-9623 (cell)
cselnick@bexleyseabury.edu

Bexley Seabury In the News

In Trust: Coming to the Table

The New Year 2013 magazine of In Trust, an organization committed to strengthening boards and governance in North American theological schools, profiles the Seabury and Bexley federation. The story is titled "Coming to the Table: Building on a shared missionary heritage, two Episcopal seminaries carefully chart a way forward."

Read the article.


Dean Ferguson on Fasting in Christianity and Judaism

Tom Ferguson was recently featured on All Sides with Ann Fisher, a local NPR show in Columbus. Listen to a 13-minute segment to hear him talk about fasting in Christianity and Judaism.

Read more...