Bridging Religious and Cultural Divides

learning pastoral imaginationTo lead with courage and pastoral wisdom in the twenty-first century requires ministers to make a transition from simply imagining ministry to embodying pastoral imagination. The relational and embodied capacity for ministry, what Craig Dykstra first called pastoral imagination, emerges over time and remains indispensable for effective pastoral leadership in congregations and community ministries.

We find through listening to ministry leaders across the country that ministry today is less about exercising the authority of an office or role and more about embodying an authentic contextual wisdom only gained by daily practice of leadership on the long arc of learning ministry.

Yet few studies of learning over time have been conducted, leading to this unique, broadly ecumenical, and national study of learning ministry in practice.

In this five-year report, we describe the experiences of a cohort of 50 diverse ministers from across the United States, recruited from 10 theological schools ranging from Pentecostal to Eastern Orthodox and coming from many different denominational traditions.

This study deepens engagement of Auburn research on patterns of teaching and learning in theological education, offering a dynamic view into the formation of faith leaders for the twenty-first century.

Continue readingLearning Pastoral Imagination A Five-Year Report on How New Ministers Learn in Practice


Christian A.B. Scharen is Vice President of Applied Research and leads the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Theological Seminary. He is a Co-Director of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project.

Eileen R. Campbell-Reed is Coordinator for Coaching,Mentoring & Internship and Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Nashville, Tennessee. She is Co-Director of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project

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Statement on Charlottesville by Dr. Hugh Spurgin, UTS President
The Unification Theological Seminary community calls for racial and religious tolerance in the wake of another outbreak of hatred and violence in Charlottesville. We repudiate racism, white supremacy and all hate groups.

Our hope is that America will always seek love, unity and the higher ground. Let us pray for healing rather than condemnation, peaceful activity rather than violence, and love for all people rather than racial and religious conflict.


Kathy Winings 3 profile left sml

Dr. Kathy Winings, who has served as UTS Vice-President for Academic Affairs, has accepted a new position as Director of the UTS Instructional Site in Clinton Maryland. She will continue as Director of the UTS D.Min. Program and as faculty in Religious Education and Ministry. 

Dr. Winings pioneered establishment of the NY Extension Center at 4 West 43rd Street in Manhattan beginning in 2000. Now Dr. Winings will be responsible to oversee developments for UTS at the Maryland campus, reporting directly to President Hugh Spurgin. 


keisuke noda 2 profile smlDr. Keisuke Noda will assume responsibility as UTS Academic Dean and continue as faculty in Philosophy.

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