Why Serve at Bexley Seabury

During the week of June 11, Bexley Seabury hosted 37 particpants in “Why Serve,” a conference sponsored by the Episcopal Church Department of Ethnic Ministries. The conference is dedicated to people of color looking at ministry in the Episcopal Church. Ethnic Missioners of the Episcopal Church were in attendance, including Bradley Hauff, Indigenous; Angela Ifill, Black; Winfred Vergara, Asian American. and Anthony Guillén,Hispanic/Latino.

The main focus of the conference was to create a space where people of color could share their experience of service in the Episcopal Church, and to create a network of support for their ministries moving forward. The conference also demonstrated to them that they are not alone in the church in ministering to people of color in their midst.

The conference included an opportunity for the ethnic missioners to highlight and invite people to take part of their initiatives, as well as time to caucus by ethnicity, highlighting their own challenges and opportunities.

Other topics included leadership in a Multicultural church, Involvement in the public square, vocation and the values of the Jesus Movement. Bexley Seabury’s Recruiter, Jaime Briceno, was the point person and did all the pre-conference arranging and participated daily in conference activities


Seminary Donates Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection to the Newberry Library

Seminary Donates Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection to the Newberry Library

Bexley Seabury’s July 2016 consolidation from two campuses to one, in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park/Woodlawn district, presented an opportunity to steward the seminary’s historic collection of early Bibles, Books of Common Prayer and other volumes. What better home for precious works on religion and culture that constitute the Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection than Chicago’s Newberry Library?

Among the rare finds in the Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection is this book of oral history in Arabic, with interlinear explanations in Persian (ca. 1680).
Among the rare finds in the Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection is this book of oral history in Arabic, with interlinear explanations in Persian (ca. 1680).

“As one of Chicago’s richest centers for scholarship and culture, the Newberry is the ideal home for the Bexley Hall collection,” said Bexley Seabury President Roger A. Ferlo. “We are delighted to enhance the already impressive archive on the history of religions at the Newberry Library, and share our resources with the community.”

Bexley Seabury President Roger Ferlo and Academic Dean Therese DeLisio view an Irish translation of the Bible (1681).
Newberry President and Roger Ferlo
Newberry President David Spadafora and President Roger Ferlo view a volume by Erasmus, Apologia ad Jacobum Fabrum Stapulensen (1518).

Early Bibles and works by Erasmus, and other rarities

The Bexley Hall Rare Book Collection consists of over 325 titles and over 120 bound volumes containing approximately 1,200 nineteenth-century pamphlets. Among the books in the collection are early Bibles and Books of Common Prayer, early printings of works by Erasmus, and works of theology, philosophy, and travel.
“Bexley Seabury has stewarded this remarkable rare-book collection with great care and expertise,” said Newberry President David Spadafora. “We look forward to building on their excellent work and welcoming the collection’s current users into our community of learning and scholarship.”

Some volumes solicited by Bishops Chase and McIlvaine

For years after Bexley Hall Seminary was founded in 1824 by Philander Chase, first Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, many books came from England. Bexley Hall acquired these books in response to requests by Chase and Charles Pettit McIlvaine, who succeeded Chase as second Bishop of Ohio and president of Kenyon College. Bishop McIlvaine was instrumental in assembling the extraordinary collection of nineteenth-century pamphlets that form the core of the Bexley Seabury gift to the Newberry.

Other religious works at the Newberry

The Newberry has long been a pre-eminent repository for works on the history of religions. Rare early Bibles and illuminated Books of Hours were among the works that the Newberry acquired with the Henry Probasco Collection in 1889; the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing includes many theological titles. In the last decades, a number of seminaries have transferred their libraries to the Newberry, among them Mundelein College, Catholic Theological Union, Concordia University, Dominican Friars of the Province of Saint Albert the Great, and McCormick Theological Seminary.
Titles in the Bexley Hall Collection will be available at the Newberry as they are catalogued by staff.
Fall 2017 exhibit will showcase some titles

The gift of the Bexley Hall Collection coincides with a major Newberry project titled “Religious Change, 1450-1700.” With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Newberry is modeling an institutionally integrative approach to produce an exhibition and accompanying digital resources and programming for the fall of 2017.

Staff from across the institution, and external scholar-advisors, have drawn on materials from all parts of the Newberry collection to tell the story of how new religious ideas, disseminated through print, challenged traditional authorities and thrust the medieval world into the modern age.

The Bexley Hall Collection will contribute important works to the study of this topic as well as deepen the Newberry collection of early nineteenth-century American imprints from small towns where presses were often set up to print sermons and religious tracts.

Bexley Seabury St. Marina Scholarship


Contact: Sharon Johnson, (312) 255-1923, johnson@ipovcreative.com

Bexley Seabury St. Marina Scholarships Will Support LGBTQ Students’ Master of Divinity Studies


CHICAGO, February 16, 2017—Bexley Seabury, one of 10 accredited seminaries
of the Episcopal Church, today announced receipt of a $279,000 grant to fund three three-year Bexley Seabury St. Marina Scholarships for entering Master of Divinity students from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. The grant, established by two anonymous donors through the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), stipulates that the scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, books, travel, and other expenses for all three years of Bexley Seabury’s Master of Divinity curriculum, leaving students free to concentrate on their studies.

Bexley Seabury St. Marina Scholars will be members of the LGBTQ community who are committed to justice ministry in the Episcopal Church and who fulfill other Bexley Seabury Scholars Program requirements. One scholarship will be awarded each of three academic years, 2017–2018 through 2019–2020. Bexley Seabury St. Marina Scholars are named for St. Marina, an eighth-century woman ascetic who assumed a masculine identity as Brother Marinus in order to join an abbey. Her sex was discovered upon her death, and she was later canonized as St. Marina, venerated by Syrian, Albanian, Coptic, and Maronite Christians.

“Bexley Seabury is deeply grateful for this generous grant,” said Board of Directors President W. Michie Klusmeyer, Bishop of West Virginia. “We share the donors’ commitment to make a difference in the Episcopal Church, and create new possibilities for LGBTQ leaders ready to work for a more just society.”

For more information about Bexley Seabury’s Master of Divinity program and how to apply, visit https://www.bexleyseabury.edu/master-of-divinity-mdiv/. All Bexley Seabury programs are low-residency, combining classroom sessions at the seminary’s Hyde Park/Woodlawn campus with online learning. All students are eligible and are encouraged to apply for scholarship support.

Central Indiana Community Foundation is dedicated to changing the world for the better by awarding grants to nonprofits doing good work in our community; by helping donors change the world through highly effective charitable giving; and by providing leadership in finding new ways to make Central Indiana a better place. The foundation’s history stretches back to 1916 and today stewards more than $725 million in charitable assets, connecting donors with causes they care about, serving as a catalyst for community change. Learn more at cicf.org.

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 ordained leaders for bold inquiry in service of the Gospel and active engagement in congregational and community life. Learn more about our degree, diploma, and lifelong learning programs and our ecumenical teaching-learning environment at bexleyseabury.edu.

Bexley Seabury Spring Online Open House

Wondering what God is asking of you? Feel called to lead?

Bexley Seabury is a diverse and welcoming Episcopal community for learning and discipleship. We offer multiple study programs—for lay and ordained leaders and seekers—who want to deepen their faith and be more actively engaged in congregational and community life.

Join us March 15, online, 6:30–7:30 p.m. CST

Learn about our historic commitment to serving the Gospel and what it’s like to study at Bexley Seabury today, through our Online Open House. You’ll hear from our leadership, faculty and student body, and be able to ask questions from the comfort of your couch or wherever you prefer to connect via the Internet. You’ll hear multiple perspectives on the Bexley Seabury experience, how our course design creates new possibilities, and ways we create community.

  • Our tradition, vision and culture
  • Our “new possibilities” course design
  • Student perspectives
  • Q&A

We look forward to welcoming you March 15.


2017 Convocation April 26, 2017

Save the Date: 2017 Chicago Convocation April 26, 2017

Accepting the Challenge of “Bending Toward Justice”

JOIN US Wednesday, April 26, when the Bexley Seabury community will assemble to recommit to praying and acting for justice. Our 2017 Chicago Convocation, “Bending Toward Justice,” will gather students, alums, supporters, faculty, and staff for worship, teaching-learning, and fellowship at St. James Commons, 65 E. Huron, Chicago, home to the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. REGISTER HERE

We are pleased to welcome three compelling guest faculty members who promise to challenge and inspire us.

Former Washington, D.C. police captain and now an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher-Stewart founded the Center for the Study of Faith in Justice in response to the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The center studies the intersection of faith and justice in society and provides concrete steps to help churches live into the mission of Jesus. Fisher-Stewart is associate rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Washington, DC.


Bexley Hall alumnus the Rev. Canon John Floberg is supervising priest for three Episcopal congregations at Standing Rock Sioux Nation and canon missioner for the Diocese of North Dakota. Leader of the Episcopal Church’s support to water protectors at Standing Rock, Floberg organized a national call to serve that drew more than 500 interfaith clergy and lay ministers to Standing Rock in November 2016. Floberg serves on the 21-member Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.


Kenji Kuramitsu is a writer and Master of Divinity student at Chicago’s McCormick Theological Seminary. A child of two police officers, he co-created the popular Theology of Ferguson and #StayWokeAdvent anthologies, and recently authored a booklet of “uncommon prayers” dedicated to the movement for black lives. Kenji serves on the national board of directors of the Japanese American Citizens League and the Reformation Project,which furthers LGBTQ inclusion in the church.

Please join us for the day and invite interested colleagues:

  • 2 PM President’s Forum
  • 3 PM Panel: Gayle Fisher-Stewart, John Floberg, Kenji Kuramitsu
  • 4 PM Keynote: Gayle Fisher-Stewart
  • 5:30 PM Evensong in St. James Cathedral
  • Reception with Refreshments immediately following Evensong


Ministerial Preparation and Enrichment for Deacons

Media Contact: Sharon Johnson, (312) 255-1923, johnson@ipovcreative.com

New Bexley Seabury Program Helps Dioceses Enhance Ministerial Preparation and Enrichment for Deacons

CHICAGO, January 25, 2017—Bexley Seabury, one of 10 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church, today announced its Diaconal Enrichment Program. Designed to supplement and build upon diocesan training programs, this program is for persons preparing for ordination to the permanent diaconate and for currently ordained deacons seeking to enrich their ministries. The Bexley Seabury Diaconal Enrichment Program offers a low-residency, graduate-level, five-course curriculum that focuses on developing theological understanding and ministry skills most essential to deacons serving in the Episcopal Church today.

Fundamental to the program is a course in Baptismal Ecclesiology, which is devoted to the deacon’s unique place in the ministry of all the baptized. Additional program offerings help participants refine their skills in pastoral care, cultural competency, community organizing, and preaching. All Diaconal Enrichment Program courses are offered in one of two formats—intensive week-long or hybrid week-end—that include both face-to-face and on-line learning.

Participants may earn a program certificate by completing Baptismal Ecclesiology and four additional program courses, which may include one elective. Alternatively, participants may take any individual course. Depending on the recommendation of their dioceses, participants may enroll as auditors, for continuing education credit, or for academic credit.

“The Bexley Seabury Diaconal Enrichment Program grew out of consultations that our faculty initiated with bishops in the course of revamping our Master of Divinity curriculum last spring,” said Bexley Seabury President Roger Ferlo. “We’re grateful for the bishops’ insights and for the opportunity to help them not only support their priests in training, but also their deacons who, more and more, are essential to building vibrant congregations.”

For deacons interested in more advanced theological study, academic credits earned in the Diaconal Enrichment Program may be applied to a Bexley Seabury Master of Divinity or Doctor of Ministry degree program. Bexley Seabury also offers a Diploma in Anglican Studies as well as continuing education and lifetime learning programs. All Bexley Seabury programs are low- residency, combining classroom sessions at the seminary’s Hyde Park/Woodlawn campus with online learning. All students are eligible and are encouraged to apply for scholarship support.

For more information on how to apply for the program please contact our recruiter Jaime Briceno: jbriceno@bexleyseabury.edu.

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 ordained leaders for bold inquiry in service of the Gospel and active engagement in congregational and community life. Learn more about our degree, diploma and lifelong learning programs at bexleyseabury.edu.

A reflection by Newland Smith, former Librarian at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, on his participation at Standing Rock.


That Monday morning, October 31 in response to the call issued by John Floberg, I joined five Lutheran School of Theology students and a New Testament professor at that seminary in the two-day drive to Cannon Ball ND in order to be present for the solidarity event that Thursday.

There were three reasons why I made this trip.

  • First as Seabury-Western’s librarian I witnessed the agonizing and tragic experiences of many of the Native Americans who attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary between 1985 and 1991 where they were confronted with a Eurocentric curriculum and daily chapel services that failed to incorporate Native American spirituality.
  • Second, as a member of the Task Force on the Doctrine of Discovery which came into being as a result of the adoption of the resolution, “Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery,” at the 2009 General Convention, I worked with twelve members of our Church, half of whom were Native American, to prepare the curriculum, “Exposing the Doctrine of Discovery,” which I fear has yet to be used in many of our congregations.
  • Third, as part of the three-hour long Service of Lament held one evening during the 2012 General Convention in Indianapolis, I spoke as the Connecticut Yankee.
  • I also was deeply moved by Bishop Curry’s call to be in solidarity with the protectors of land and water – a call that connected the water of baptism with the living giving water of the Missouri River at Cannon Ball.

For me the most moving part of that Thursday morning gathering at the Oceti Sakowin Camp was the opening with short speeches by representatives of faith groups that have repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery and the decision by the Elders to place in the fire a copy of a fifteenth-century Papal Bull. As one speaker said the root cause of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline goes back to the Doctrine of Discovery.

I was deeply moved by the peaceful, prayerful and non-violent witness being made by members of over 200 North American tribes. The word, “sumud”, used by Palestinians to describe their steadfastness in resistance to the Israeli occupation of their land can also be used to describe the steadfastness of the Native Americans at Cannon Ball.   Solidarity with the Native Americans at Cannon Ball invites me to be steadfast in speaking out wherever I am about this injustice to an indigenous people.

Bexley Seabury President Ferlo to Retire in Fall 2017

CHICAGO, December 13, 2016—Bexley Seabury, one of 10 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church, today announced that the Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo will conclude his term as president on schedule, in Fall 2017. Ferlo will retire after 32 years of ordained ministry and five years of service as the first president of Bexley Seabury. A search is under way for the next president. Click here for the search profile and nominating information.

Since Ferlo joined Bexley Seabury in March 2012, the seminary has introduced a series of operational and curriculum changes toward fulfilling its vision “to be a 21st century seminary beyond walls—open to all who seek to deepen their Christian formation in a generous spiritual and intellectual tradition.” Changes under Ferlo’s leadership include a more diverse faculty and student body; consolidated operations in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park/Woodlawn district; a new low-residency Master of Divinity program that incorporates a new model for spiritual formation through internships in students’ local communities that are designed and supervised in collaboration with Episcopal dioceses; and increased enrollment, currently 76 degree and diploma students.

“President Ferlo has led Bexley Seabury with equal measures of imagination and pragmatism,” said Board of Directors Chair the Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer. “I believe the Ferlo era at Bexley Seabury will be remembered as a period of innovation and restoration that laid a firm foundation for the seminary’s next phase of service to the church.”

A native of Rome, N.Y., Ferlo came to Bexley Seabury from Virginia Theological Seminary where he was associate dean and director of the Institute of Christian Formation and Leadership and also served as professor of religion and culture. Earlier, Ferlo spent 19 years in parish ministry, in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New York City. He has more than 17 years of teaching experience at the university and seminary levels, including as professor of biblical interpretation and the practice of ministry at Bexley Seabury. Ferlo trained for the priesthood at General Theological Seminary after earning an A.B. (summa cum laude) degree at Colgate University, and M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees at Yale University. He was one of the first recipients of the Yale Faculty Distinguished Teaching Prize. Colgate University awarded Ferlo an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 2002. He has authored and edited three books and has published numerous essays, sermons, and reflections.

“My time at Bexley Seabury has enriched every aspect of my life,” Ferlo said. “I look forward to contributing all I can in my remaining time, and to celebrating with this exceptionally gifted community.”

Search profile and nominating information.


Sharon Johnson
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