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At Pittsburgh Seminary we know that preparation for ministry requires understanding the context of ministry—and that such understanding comes not only through theory and analysis, but also through experience and engagement. A central piece of our strategic plan is the expansion of experiential learning through the Metro-Urban Institute and increased collaboration with partners in Pittsburgh. And beyond Pittsburgh, learning through experience and engagement is at the heart of the World Mission Initiative—part of our vision is to be engaged "in the complex realities of this world that God loves, from our neighborhood to the ends of the earth."


I invite you to join us in praying, learning, and acting for the welfare of the cities of the world that God loves so much.
David Esterline
President and Professor of Cross-Cultural Theological Education

Ministry and Context - An Online Class: Grow your skill set and knowledge at a convenient pace! Dear Ministry Colleagues, Ministry always happens in a specific time and place, and learning how to read context is crucial for the practice of effective ministry. Drawing on resources from sociology and theology, participants will learn basic skills for reading context and discerning the impact ministry and communities can have on each other. This class will address context for lay and ordained community leaders in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Instructor: R. Drew Smith, Professor of Urban Ministry, PTS. The class will be self-paced and available for participants to engage with the instruction at their own convenience, i.e., offered asynchronously. Co-sponsored with the Metro-Urban Institute, PTS. Questions? E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 412-924-1345.

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Reconciliation. By the time this newsletter appears in your inbox, we will have ended our Lenten disciplines and entered headlong into Holy Week—a time when we revisit the story of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. This time of year marks the apex of our liturgical life as Christians and provides the ground for our identity and theology. Recently Pittsburgh made national news headlines when a police officer was exonerated after killing an unarmed black boy. Once again, a mother grieves her son, a community’s divisions are thrown into high relief, and we realize anew how deep the schisms are in our communities, making the promise of the Beloved Community even more distant. As Christians, we are called to have a different imagination, a different way of engaging each other, rooted in the love of God incarnated in Christ —the same Christ who was crucified. We are called to wrestle in the space between the world saved and reconciled and the "not yet" of God’s reign. And this isn’t an abstract theological concept. This requires us to take head on the work of dismantling the sinful structures, like systemic institutional racism, that are utterly wrong and contrary to the flourishing God desires for all God’s children. Different imagination means confronting the ways in which even the Church itself is implicated in the sin of racism.


Late April, May, and June are filled with Continuing Education events to help us tackle this hard work. 

Seminary Celebrates 223rd Commencement. Pittsburgh Seminary will celebrate its 223rd commencement May 31 at 7:00 p.m. at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. Dr. Molly T. Marshall, president and professor of theology and spiritual formation at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, will present the commencement address. Additionally, the community will observe the Service of Thanksgiving May 7 at 5:15 p.m. at Eastminster Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dr. Mark Jefferson will preach. Can’t make it to commencement? Join us for the live broadcast. Learn more online.


Henderson Summer Leadership Conference Addresses “Between the Altar and the World: Interpreting Life Liturgically.” From June 2-5, the Seminary will present the annual Henderson Summer Leadership Conference. During this year’s conference, based on the theme “Between the Altar and the World: Interpreting Life Liturgically,” participants will discover how liturgy comes to life beyond the altar; gather for worship, plenary sessions, and lectures; and meet in workshops to investigate the variety of ways liturgy can be offered and embraced by diverse groups. Workshop topics include the church and the neighborhood; cross-cultural ministry and liturgy; disability and liturgy; worship and ministry in small and rural churches; preaching that matters; worship and creation; and youth, children, and worship.


In addition to the full conference, on June 3 at 7:00 p.m., keynoter Cláudio Carvalhaes will present the free, public Henderson Lecture. Carvalhaes is a native Brazilian, theologian, liturgist, and artist who also serves as associate professor of worship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He has published several books, the most recent of which is titled What Has Worship Got To Do With It? Interpreting Life, Church and the World Liturgically (Cascade Books, 2018).
Learn more online.