Welcome to our new blog, Insights. We are excited to share here what we are learning in the Collegeville Institute Seminars. Here’s a brief summary of what the Seminars have been working on for the past three years:
3: the number of interdisciplinary, ecumenical, collaborative seminars we are currently hosting: the Seminar on Vocation and Faith in the Professions, the Seminar on Vocation across the Lifespan, and the Seminar on Integration in Theological Education.
5: the number of meetings held during summer 2010 to explore vocation with a variety of audiences: theologians, pastors, scholars and ministers of young adults, professional educators, and Collegeville Institute board members. Drawing on the Collegeville Institute’s tradition of the first-person method, we began each meeting by inviting people to share stories of their own sense of calling—and the stories we heard were surprising! So many people spoke of retirement as a critical vocational moment that we decided to start a seminar on vocation through the lifespan to explore how vocation is not just a question for young adulthood, but a lifelong concern that touches everyone from children to the elderly.
2: the number of meetings held during fall 2010 on the topic of integration in theological education. From 30 seminaries and theological schools, we invited deans, administrators, field education directors and theologians from a range of disciplines to gather around the topic of integration: the different kinds of teaching and learning, curricular strategies, and resources outside the classroom that prepare graduates for more effective ministry.
20: the total number of Seminar members today, drawn from participants in these initial meetings including theologians, social scientists, pastors and ministers from a variety of Christian traditions and academic disciplines. When surveyed in 2012, the vast majority of Seminar members reported that the level of collaboration across disciplines and professions has been excellent and a unique experience in academia.
13: different states from which Seminar members travel to join us in Collegeville, Minnesota, for twice-yearly meetings hosted at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research on the campus of Saint John’s University. Participants have braved winter storms and enjoyed warm summer evenings together on the beautiful banks of Lake Watab.
21: the number of case studies and interviews on integration in theological education written by members of our Seminar. From classroom pedagogy, to border-crossing experiences, to curriculum restructures, Seminar participants are studying examples of integration from their own institutions to explore the diverse issues involved in helping seminaries form well-integrated ministers.
5: how many stages in the lifespan our Seminar is studying: childhood, youth, young adulthood, adulthood, and the elder years. Viewing vocation through the characteristics and questions of each life stage has proved to break open our theology of God’s call in challenging but important ways.
2: the number of books written on vocation and profession in the last half-century. Clearly, with only two books of first-person essays (published in 1967 and 2002) from professionals who understand their work as vocation, our Seminar participants recognize the need to expand this literature and make their own contributions.
10: the number of congregations who have participated in our Exploring Vocation in Community program. From different denominations and corners of the country, these churches are working on creative projects around vocation in their own communities—offering Called to Life as a Lenten series for small groups, using Called to Work with different groups of professionals, organizing local discernment pilgrimages, collecting vocation stories from parishioners to share during worship, even using a puppet ministry to talk to children about vocation.
3: the number of staff behind the scenes of the Seminars: Kathleen A. Cahalan, project director; Corein Brown, communications and research associate; and Laura Kelly Fanucci, research associate.
We invite you to learn more about our work through this new website and look forward to hearing your thoughts about vocation and integration!