Moving Forward in the name of Christ

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President Philip KreyGrace and mercy to you, dear friends, in this season of Epiphany. It is my hope that you had a wonderful Christmas season and you were able to celebrate the gift of the incarnation in your congregations and among those you love. For the Goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared and saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4,5). 

In the season of Epiphany we celebrate the coming of the wise men by the leading of a star from afar. At this time we also celebrate the renewal of our baptisms in the Baptism of Jesus. It is a season to renew our commitment to justice and service as the body of Christ to the world as the gift of the incarnation settles deep within us. Now, we share the salvation we have received in mission as the nations have come to our shores bringing gifts. We pray that our light will shine with the radiance of all nations to the glory of God. 

Even as the season of Epiphany renews us to commit ourselves to the mission of God’s good news in Christ, so also at the Philadelphia Seminary we are rededicating ourselves to the mission of the school. We have been in a process of reinventing ourselves for the new missional context of the church’s congregations and institutions as the nation, the church, and congregations grow more diverse and complex. Consequently, the faculty has completely redesigned the seminary’s curriculum to prepare theologically and biblically well-prepared, organized, self-starting leaders. This new curriculum will be launched in fall of 2013. It is designed to be flexible, affordable, and relevant. 

Flexible: We want students from all contexts and challenges to be able to study in a variety of delivery systems and with few prerequisites so that they will be able to start at various points in the curriculum during the year, and be full-time or part-time, residential or at a distance. 

Affordable: We are committed to make seminary education for leadership in the church affordable for students who have education debt from college, part-time students who need reasonably priced courses, second-career students whose resources are limited, and current leaders who want to obtain additional degrees. In addition to our shortening the course of study and increasing the flexibility to require fewer moves and transitions, we also hope you will help us by providing scholarship aid to speed them on their way.

Relevant: Our new curriculum, which continues to be inspired by the theme of public theology, assumes that every congregation and churchly institution needs to be renewed and redeveloped in this new context for ministry. Thus we intend to prepare public leaders for the church who will have the theological grounding, organizational and administrative skills, and initiative to lead our congregations and institutions into the brightness of God’s new day. They will engage their communities and contexts knowing how to develop communities of believers in the grace of Christ and his gifts of baptism and the supper. Like the three wise men they will worship Christ the Lord and bring the gifts of their labors to the mission of the Gospel that will lead our communities like a bright shining star.

We’ve reached this point in our journey first by listening to those partners we relate to, including professional leaders, congregations and students, who are part of our audience. We’ve devoted energy and creative thinking to reflect on what we have heard, and we’ve prayed about this exciting new direction. We ask for your prayers and continuing support as we now take the bold steps I’ve described to move forward in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Philip D.W. Krey