Greetings from the President’s Desk
Fall 2018 Update
The purpose of this communication is to inform you, our friends, supporters, of activities and news at Ecumenical Theological Seminary. Good things are happening at ETS. It is my hope these updates will affirm your support and partnership with the only fully-accredited seminary of the Protestant faith within the City of Detroit.
Despite some comments to the contrary, ETS is doing well. As is the case with the majority of seminaries and theological schools in the United States and Canada, we face – and are addressing – challenges. We are working diligently to make ETS the best it can be with the resources available. We are beginning our second year of a five-year reaccreditation. Financially, we are in the best situation in many years while we continue to strengthen financial policy and controls. Our newly formed Investment Committee recently met. We have been blessed with a strong investment team. Enrollment is steady as we seek ways to improve recruitment efforts and results.
Available For Visits – Presentations, Preaching, Informal Gatherings
September 18 marked the end of my first year as president, I will be intentional about getting out in the community to greet old and meet new friends and supporters. I have been an in-the-office president the past twelve months; it’s time to get out and visit. Please feel free to contact the seminary to schedule a time we can visit and discuss how we might work together. My contact information is: [email protected]
Mrs. Pamela Johnson, long-time employee of ETS, has resigned. Pam served as Executive Assistant to the President and had other responsibilities in past years. Most recently, she served as Registrar. We wish her well.
Mr. LaRon Moore, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management, has assumed the additional role of Registrar.
Dr. James Waddell, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Director of the Masters Programs, has assumed the role of IT liaison and Website coordinator.
ETS will soon begin a search and seek applications for the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean. Details to follow soon.
Trip to Israel
The American Jewish Committee (AJC -Project Interchange) extended an invitation to me to join seven other presidents and deans from U.S. theological schools on a trip to Israel. It was the first time the AJC hosted such a group. I agreed to attend after details of the purpose and conduct of the trip were explained. I and my fellow participants submitted surveys of areas of interest, and the trip was designed to respond to those topics. An impressive number of outstanding Jewish and Palestinian leaders assembled, giving us five days of informative inquiry and learning. This was my second trip to Israel, and the information gained will inform my preaching and teaching moving forward. Please see my letter to the editor, which appeared in the Detroit News, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/letters/2018/09/04/other-views-heroism-healthcare/1145647002/
Since the transfer of ETS’s treasured library to Wayne State University in 2016, WSU has shelved about half the ETS collection. The slow shelving situation is said to be the result of WSU staffing cuts, specifically the number of people who catalogue and label books for shelving. We were assured recently by WSU that an effort is being made to process as many books as possible. Space has already been reserved for the ETS collection in the graduate library. I have been assured WSU library staff is doing its best to finish this project with the resources available as quickly as possible. This is not the best scenario from our perspective, but we will continue to press WSU to do more to make our entire collection available to our students and theirs.
Doctor of Ministry August Emergent Week
DMin EW was held August 13-17. Dr. Constance Simon, Director of the DMin Program and Assistant Professor of Christian education led what many have called a wonderful week of learning, scholarly engagement and fellowship. Rev. Dr. Amy Greene and Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas were special theme course presenters. Dr. Greene, an ETS alumna, is Director of the Center for Spiritual Care at Cleveland Clinic, Clinical Assistant Professor of Spirituality and Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Board chair for the Association of Clinical Pastoral Educators. Dr. Thomas is the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and Director of the PhD program in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric at Christian Theological Seminary. We thank them for sharing their gifts of time and talents.
ETS has rolled out a new website. Thanks to the valuable assistance Mr. Derin Korman, husband of former ETS professor Hannah Hofheinz. He worked with a crew of dedicated ETS staff and faculty members to officially launch the website in September. It is a wonderfully useful and visually appealing upgrade. We invite you to check it out @ etseminary.edu. Please look for my piece celebrating the lives of Aretha Franklin and John McCain.
60th Year Commemorative Journal
The Journal is in its final edit stage and will soon go to press. Please reserve a copy by calling or visiting our website and help us continue the good work the Lord has assigned to our hands.
60th Year Black Tie Gala – Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle – October 25, 2018
Highlight the date! We will be looking for you to join us for a night of celebration, good food, dancing and fellowship. Information with details on ticket prices, reserving tables and more will be mailed shortly. Supporting these efforts helps us fulfill our mission of service to church and society.
Official 2018-19 Academic Year – 41st Fall Convocation
Student Orientation took place on September 4, 2018. Our 41st Fall Convocation officially opened the Academic Year on Thursday, September 6. The outgoing Director of our Doctor of Ministry Program, the Rev. Dr. Urias Beverly, was the preacher. Dr. Beverly led the DMin Program for 15 years. ETS is indebted to Dr. Beverly for his many years of faithful service. He will teach select courses in the future. We had a great time of fellowship and Dr. Beverly delivered a meaningful Convocation message.
Strategic Planning Process
ETS is currently going through a strategic planning process that involves faculty, staff, students, board and members of the community. Currently, three groups have been formed to further develop platforms in the areas of Engagement, Education and Sustainability. During this process, a new mission statement was agreed upon with the former mission statement being reframed as our identity statement. The statements are:
The Identity Statement
Ecumenical Theological Seminary provides a multi-confessional and multi-cultural Christian theological education within an urban context, while initiating interfaith engagement. Our approach creates spiritual leadership through personal transformation, social responsibility, critical reflection and academic rigor. ETS graduates are prepared to lead communities of faith while sharing the fullness of God’s love in relation to various ecumenical, interfaith, political, social, economic and cultural contexts.
The Mission Statement
Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS) provides a multi-confessional, multi-cultural Christian theological education that prepares individuals to participate and lead while sharing the fullness of God’s love and concern for justice in the communities they serve.
The Vision Statement
We fulfill mission through the following platforms;
We fulfill our mission through relationships that are established throughout the Metro Detroit community and beyond. These relationships assist the seminary in the identification of need and in the formation of partnerships with students, churches, the media, donors and other organized entities.
We fulfill our mission by developing and maintaining a variety of educational programs including, MDIV, MAPM, MA and DMIN. In addition to these degree programs ETS offers a variety of workshops and certificate programs.
We will fulfill our mission by developing and maintaining a strong financial and facilities management plan.
ETS will be looking for someone to assist the President in the area of Advancement. Currently Mauritz (Moe) Erhard, former Director of Advancement, will be assisting the President with Advancement strategies until a permanent position is established. We are very appreciative of Moe’s commitment to ETS as evidenced by his current re-engagement.
University of Michigan Credit Union
Many of you are aware of the recent purchase of our property by the University of Michigan Credit Union. UMCU is coming to midtown, and ETS has been asked to participate in future plans for the property. More later!
Stay tuned for more updates! Thank you for your support of the mission and work of Ecumenical Theological Seminary.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Harris
President, Academic Dean and
Professor of Biblical Studies
Ecumenical Theological Seminary
2930 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201