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Thanksgiving 2020; Counting Our Blessings

Dear Friends of ETS,

The Ecumenical Theological Seminary has held our annual Thanksgiving Day Breakfast fundraiser for the past nineteen years. Each year, hundreds of ETS friends and supporters have attended this event during the Thanksgiving Parade. It has been a time of fellowship, celebration and breaking of bread over one of the finest breakfast menus in Detroit. It is one of the highlights of the year for the seminary. The event has contributed important supplemental financial support for our programs and students.

ETS remains the only fully-accredited theological seminary of the Protestant tradition located within the City of Detroit.  Our mission is to train and equip servant leaders for the church and society. Our gifted and dedicated Faculty, Staff and Board are committed to our outstanding students who come from every racial, ethnic, economic, gender, age and ecumenical demographic. We are true to our name – Ecumenical.  Ours is a task that requires substantial resources, especially in light of the fact we are an independent, free-standing institution with no official support from any ecclesial or public organization.

Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, this year’s annual breakfast has been cancelled. Our work to train and equip servant leaders, however, continues.  We are currently working primarily from home, and all classes continue to be online. In addition to normal facility maintenance and utilities, the Covid-19 world introduces new cleaning and sanitation protocols. Associated costs for these new protocols add new lines to our overall budget. Professional deep cleaning, more intense everyday practice, classroom protective shields and more efficient ways to wash and dry hands have become the new normal. We are making every effort to keep our Students, Faculty, Staff and Board safe when we return onsite.

In the midst of these challenging times, I am happy to report that our Fall enrollment saw an increase over Fall 2019.  We have retained a marketing consultant who is giving us guidance on recruitment and fund-raising strategies that target and filter new prospects.  We are on an upward trajectory, and we are doing our best to maintain our progress.  We can’t accomplish these objectives without friends and supporters like you. We are, therefore, asking you to consider a Thanksgiving gift to help us.

If you were a sponsor last year, you can consider repeating that support this year. Sponsorship levels are as follows:

Bronze ($1,500 to 4,999)

Silver ($5,000 to 9,999)

Gold ($10,000 and up)

All gifts are welcome. If you purchased breakfast tickets last year, that support was significant.  Tickets were $40.00 each, and many of you purchased tickets for your family and/or friends. Please consider giving a similar amount this year. Every gift is deeply appreciated.

Despite the loss of my wife, Ruthie, in April and my own battle with Covid-19, I am THANKFUL for the blessings and favor of the Lord.  I also am thankful for my daughters, both seminary graduates and ministers of the gospel. I continue to be grateful for my divine assignment to serve as President of ETS at such an important time in the life of the seminary. 

My prayer is that you will prayerfully partner with us in doing this good work during these challenging times. You can send your gift by check or make an online donation. A link is provided below.

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Harris

President and Professor of Biblical Studies

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