“Understanding Theological Education” Colloquy Looks at Ministerial Formation in a Zoom World
The core definition of “seminary” has nothing to do with theological education; it is, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “an environment in which something originates and from which it is propagated.” Indeed, the word once referred to many kinds of secondary and finishing schools, usually where young women or men went off to live a rather cloistered existence while being “formed.” In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, theological seminaries expected students to spend most if not all their lives there for the time in which they were pursuing their education, which often did not involve a degree. Yet, in the present day, no one lives on the NBTS campus, and students are raising families, working in other jobs, even pastoring churches while students. During the recent COVID pandemic, no classes met on campus at all, and all classes are planned to be hybrid and online for the 2021-22 academic year.
Given this change, what does it mean to be a “seminary,” and just how does “formation” take place? This is the question that will be explored in our third Understanding Theological Education in the RCA colloquy on Wednesday, December 1, 12 noon to 1:00 pm. We will be led in this discussion by Faye Taylor and Daniel Meeter. After their opening presentation, everyone will have an opportunity to join in with questions and discussion.
Faye Banks Taylor is a native of Virginia, with degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, NBTS, and Drew University. A minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, she serves NBTS as Director of the New York program and Director of Field Education.
Daniel James Meeter is a minister of the Reformed Church in America, with degrees from Calvin College, NBTS, and Drew University—when at NBTS, he and his wife, Melody, also a minister, lived in married student housing on campus. In addition to his pastoral work in New Jersey, Ontario, Michigan, and New York, he has served as adjunct faculty at NBTS and has published extensively. He currently enjoys retirement with his wife, Melody, an RCA minister and chaplain, in New Patltz, New York.