Grant will expand capstone moral leadership course
and create digital materials and resources to prepare
students to address social justice issues
Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary (EDS at Union) has officially announced that it was awarded a grant of $100,000 by Trinity Church Wall Street to expand its capstone moral leadership course and digitize materials and resources. This grant is part of Trinity Church Wall Street’s latest set of grants totaling $1.7 million dollars aimed at building leadership development for people of faith.
Under the leadership of the Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Ph.D., Dean of EDS at Union, the school aims to foster innovative and outward-focused moral leadership in a changing world. The Trinity Church Wall Street grant will provide opportunities for program growth and leadership development so that EDS at Union can continue to be at the forefront of responding theologically to a changing world.
More specifically, the grant will support the expansion of EDS at Union’s capstone course, “From Seminary to Ministerial Leadership” to more acutely focus on preparing future religious leaders to engage in difficult conversations and help people find common ground on the urgent social justice issues facing our polarized and unequal society today. The grant will also allow EDS at Union to bring in a diverse array of faith leaders, activists and community leaders who will help students gain an appreciation for finding common ground and developing strategies for speaking across difference to create positive social change. By engaging with diverse thought leaders, students are better prepared for a future of dynamic leadership.
“I am pleased and proud that EDS at Union is being recognized as a seminary that forms faith leaders who are helping to build a more just future,” said Dean Douglas. “This grant is about being called to the practice of moral witness in the public square, and learning how to energize polarized communities around God’s vision of justice.”
The Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, Priest-in-Charge at Trinity, added, “We are excited to support this work to prepare a new generation of faith leaders who can find common ground on the difficult issues facing our society. Trinity’s Leadership Development initiative will create new structures that develop faith leaders who inspire and guide vibrant Christian communities committed to God’s work of justice and healing in the world, and EDS will be an important partner in this work.”
The moral leadership education grant will also help EDS at Union produce digital materials and resources centered on conversations around social justice and leadership, allowing the school to stay abreast of innovative technologies and expand its global reach. EDS at Union will use these tools and platforms to highlight the moral issues faith leaders must address in today’s world, including the production of a digitally recorded series of conversations called “Leading Across Difference.”
The capstone course, “From Seminary to Ministerial Leadership,” is required for all Master of Divinity Anglican Studies students for their final semester. The course is co-taught by The Rev. Dr. Patrick Cheng (lead instructor), The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas and The Rt. Rev. Bill Franklin and, moving forward, will be led in partnership with the Rev. Canon Dr. Vicentia Kgabe, Rector of College of Transfiguration in Grahamstown, South Africa. Students participate in shared global classroom experiences; a leadership retreat and pilgrimage; moral case studies; and a pilgrimage on racial justice. With this grant, EDS at Union will be able to hold off-site retreats and hire a retreat leader skilled in guiding important and difficult discussions.
The curriculum at EDS at Union has been designed to uphold the EDS legacy of social justice and dismantling racism, with a focus on cross-cultural racial and ethnic literacy. Students also participate in a spiritual formation program that includes bilingual worship, peer formation groups and guided quiet days.
About Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary
Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary nurtures moral leadership, focusing on theological education, spiritual formation, and community transformation. In 2017, EDS affiliated with Union Theological Seminary, creating EDS at Union. It has grown into a program of discernment of vocation, academic rigor, spiritual formation, and exposure to diverse opportunities for ministry. Students immerse themselves in a theologically and spiritually rigorous Anglican Studies program that reflects the global diversity of the Anglican Communion and the complex history of the church’s relationship to social injustice. They participate in a program geared toward cross-cultural racial and ethnic literacy. EDS at Union is guided by the vision and leadership of The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, inaugural Dean of EDS at Union and the Bill and Judith Moyers Chair in Theology at Union.
About the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas
The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas is the Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary (EDS at Union), as well as the Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral and Theologian in Residence at Trinity Church Wall Street. Douglas is a renowned faith leader and expert on the intersection between the Black church and various social justice and moral issues from voting rights to police reform. Douglas is widely published in national and international journals and other publications. Douglas’ ground-breaking books include Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (2015), Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective (1999), The Black Christ (1994, 25th Anniversary edition 2019), and What’s Faith Got to Do with It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls (2005).