Union Theological Seminary Student Life

Student Affairs

Ministerial Formation Workshops

Discerning Vocation, Call, and Career

Rev. Dr. Hal Taussig
October 1, 12:40 – 2pm

Seminary can be the response to a decision for a certain work path and/or a process of choosing a certain work path.  This workshop examines how to discern one's way both during and after crucial discernment about one's larger work in the world.  The time together focuses equally on practical strategies and the spiritual practice of discernment.

Overcoming Workaholism in Ministry and Societal Advocacy

Rev. Dr. Hal Taussig
October 23, 7:30-9 p.m.

Ministry, social advocacy, and activism often run aground in overwork, despair, and judgmentalism. This workshop seeks grace, presence to one's limits, and long-term renewal for those in these crucial callings. It strategizes about practical life rhythms, spiritual practice, and relationship patterns in the midst of hard work and passionate devotion to a greater good. Led by professor and pastor Hal Taussig.

Celebrating Partnership Rituals: Approaches to the Leadership of Weddings through Counseling and Design

Rev. Dr. Hal Taussig
November 12, 12:40-2 p.m.

One of the primary rituals of passages is the wedding or celebration of partnership.  This pastoral skills workshop examines how to help couples prepare and celebrate their relationship.  Neither endorsing nor rejecting the range of traditional marriage rites, this workshop examines conscientious ways of preparing for and composing weddings and similar celebrations.

SU 125: Introduction to Spiritual Formation

Offered in cooperation with the Student Life Committee on Spiritual Formation

This course allows students to experience a variety of spiritual practices and to think analytically about various dimensions of spiritual formation.

Fall 2012

Section 01: Songs of Faith, Songs of Freedom: African-American Spirituals and Freedom
Songs as a Source of Spiritual Formation
Monday 6:10-7:00 p.m.
Kim Harris

This course is an experiential exploration of the spirituality of African-American

Spirituals and freedom songs; singing, listening, reading and reflecting. Participants will consider the history of the music and explore their own connection to the songs, as well as the inspiration and challenge these songs may offer to present and future communities. Auditors and past participants are welcome.

Section 02: Discernment
Tuesday 1:10-2:00 p.m.
Hal Taussig

Drawing on the many traditions within Christianity--of call and spirit-based decision-making, this course will focus on the personal and vocational decisions facing seminarians. It will compare, contrast, and companion these traditions with the field of vocational counseling. Some attention will also be paid to training those in ministry to help others to discern issues in their lives.

Section 03: Song of the Divine “An Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita”
Thursday 1:10-2:00 p.m.
Gadadhara Pandit Dasa

The Bhagavad-Gita is known throughout the world as the jewel of the deep, profound, and practical spiritual wisdom of the Vedic/Hindu tradition of India, and is one of the most read and commented on religious texts in the history of India.

Even though the Gita was spoken in the controversial setting of a battlefield, it has influenced such empowered and inspirational figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Thomas Merton, giving them deep spiritual insights that shaped their visions and missions.

The dialogue of the Gita, consisting of 700 Sanskrit verses, moves through a series of questions and answers that covers the essential philosophy propounded by the Hindu faith. 

Spring 2013

Section 01: Covenant Group Spirituality
Tuesday 1:10-2:00 p.m.
Hal Taussig

Drawing on Anabaptist, Quaker, and monastic traditions of group life; this course will take the form of a functioning covenant group. Prayer, spiritual readings, and mutual support will be learned from these historical traditions and from real practice of Covenant Group spirituality.

Section 02: The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola
Wednesday 7:00-7:50 p.m.
Roger Haight

An adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola consisting in short daily exercises in prayer or meditation throughout the semester, ordered and guided through weekly meetings and following the logic of Ignatius's design. Weekly sessions will consist in:

      • raising up Ignatian input;
      • a brief meditation;
      • planning the week to come.

The subject matter for prayer will follow the narratives of the gospels and loosely coordinate with the liturgical cycle. Texts for the course are The Autobiography of St. Ignatius and The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Students may keep a journal. The written assignment at the end of the course is a 1000-word evaluation of the experience in objective and not merely existential terms.

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