Jul 28, 2011
| An interview with Katherine Willis Pershey
"People need to hear the good news," says Katherine Willis Pershey of First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois. "If the church doesn't take on this
mission, I'm afraid—well, that's where that sentence can end. I'm afraid."
Reenvisioning Theological Education: Exploring a Missional Alternative to Current Models, by Robert Banks
Toward the end of this critique of the theory and practice of theological education Robert Banks provides his readers with an extended quotation from Karl Barth. In a speech, Barth said this of theological institutions:
At the end of my first year at General Theological Seminary, in New York City, I spent eight weeks in clinical pastoral education at Bellevue Hospital. In case I thought that seminary was simply about mastering theology, General had arranged a summer’s worth of practical education in pastoral care.
"I want my seminary experience to form me as a person of prayer.” We had never heard a student state this desire so eloquently and succinctly. We sensed in this comment something much more than a first-year student’s desire for greater piety in the school environment. This student had done extremely well at a college with a strong undergraduate program.
The changing profile of seminary students has been much remarked upon. Whereas 50 years ago almost all seminarians in North America were white men who had recently graduated from college, today women are a major presence in seminary classrooms, as are (to varying degrees) ethnic and minority groups. Today’s students are also substantially older by the time they get to seminary.