Vocation and Faith in the Professions By infusing occupations with a sense of calling, professions contribute to the wider civic order… The professions are important because they stand for, and in part actualize, the spirit of vocation. —William M. Sullivan, Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America Can a profession be a vocation? How do professionals express their faith through their work? How can congregations help people connect professional identity and practice with their relationship with God? The Seminar on Vocation and Faith in the Professions brought together theologians, ministers, and experts on the professions to explore how a religious calling is related to one’s identity and practice as a professional. The goal of the Seminar was to develop a renewed theological interpretation of professions and to create resources for graduate professional schools, seminaries and congregations on Christian faith and identity in relation to professional work. Seminar Members Rev. Cathy H. George Episcopal priest and author of You Are Already Praying: Stories of God at Work (Morehouse Publishing, 2013) Read an interview with Cathy about her book and ministry on work and calling. Rev. Dr. John Lewis Director of The WorkShop, San Antonio, Texas Read an interview with John about how The WorkShop helps people integrate faith and daily life (Part 1 and Part 2). William Sullivan Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, University of Denver Co-Author of Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (Jossey-Bass, 2007) Douglas Schuurman Professor of Religion, St. Olaf College Author of Vocation: Discerning Our Callings in Life (Eerdmans, 2003) Martha Stortz Bernhard M. Christensen Chair in Religion and Vocation, Augsburg College Author of A World According to God: Practices for Putting Faith at the Center of Your Life (Jossey-Bass, 2004) Kathleen A. Cahalan Project Director, Collegeville Institute Seminars Professor of Theology, Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary Laura Kelly Fanucci Research Associate, Collegeville Institute What We Studyed From 2011-2016, the Seminar on Vocation and Faith in the Professions met twice yearly to explore the intersections of vocation and profession. Vocation: How can the concept of vocation provide a moral framework for work in diverse cultural and socioeconomic contexts? How can professional employment be a faithful response to a sense of calling throughout a lifetime of work? See one professional’s response to this question » Profession: How does the definition of a professional—who professes a body of knowledge and engages in competent practice with colleagues on behalf of others to serve the common good—connect with vocation? What moral formation can professional schools provide to help professionals sustain a sense of calling throughout their career? Learn about well-being at work in an interview with a Seminar member: Part 1 and Part 2. Language: What metaphors—beyond vocation as a “call”—can help translate the meaning of vocation to a wide audience? How can churches remain faithful to the rich theological roots of vocation while also helping to develop a public language that speaks to people more broadly? Read a reflection on “what to call a calling.” Practices: What spiritual practices or religious traditions support professionals at work? How can congregations provide the time, space, and resources that professionals need to deepen their understanding of calling? Click here for congregational resources celebrating work. Common good: In our individualized culture, how can the concept of vocation build up the common good by promoting the flourishing of others? What values of the professions connect to the religious roots of calling? Learn more about the connections between vocation and profession in this article.