FTE Blog


Social Justice as an Extension of Faith

This past year as I applied to Lutheran Volunteer Corps, one of my mentors asked me why I had chosen a faith-based organization focusing on social justice, rather than a secular organization. This question caught me completely off guard—I had never considered that my passion for social justice could come from anything but my faith. So many of the Scripture passages that speak to me most deeply are those that call for an end to oppression and injustice, that call for us to care for those who are in need, for those who are rejected and for those who are forgotten. From Jesus to Martin Luther King, Jr. my models of social justice are strongly tied to faith.

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By: Kasey Shultz April 28, 2017


Introducing the Leaders for Tomorrow’s Institutions

In 1968, Executive Director of the Fund for Theological Education (FTE), C. Shelby Rooks looked at the landscape of theological education. There were only 18 African American Ph.D. students in religion in the US and only 40 African American professors held Ph.D.s in the field. Building on the legacy of the Rockefeller Brothers Doctoral Fellowship, FTE began awarding the Special Opportunity for Doctoral Study of Religion for African Americans. In 1976, while looking at similar data for the Latinx community, FTE begins offering the Special Opportunity for Doctoral Study of Religion for Hispanic Americans

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By: Patrick B. Reyes April 20, 2017


Vocation is Finding Me

I had arrived weary. Tired of trite messages about God’s sovereignty, about God. Tired from fears of rejection, of misjudgment, of criticism. Tired of the Church. All I had was a little flame inside that gasped for oxygen. And I prayed, God, fuel that flame.

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By: Sophia Har April 07, 2017


Women Ministers: A Diverse and Mighty Throng

Though the battle for women’s equality and acceptance into leadership in the church is still being fought on many fronts, there is a generation of female leaders rising within the ranks of ministry.

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By: Ashley Easter April 05, 2017


Mindful Mentoring

I recently had the opportunity to participate as an observer at the High School Youth Theology Initiative (HSYTI) initial gathering in Indianapolis. I loved the diversity and creativity of the leaders and programs from colleges from coast to coast.

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By: Maria Teresa Gaston February 16, 2017


“We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations …”

As we planned to host over 170 leaders from the High School Youth Theology Institutes (HSYTI) initiative, I imagined they might share helpful stories with each other. As it turned out, they did. But something even more inspiring emerged than what I had imagined.

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By: Jodi L. Porter February 09, 2017


What is our next most faithful step?

Members of our staff gathered on Thursday morning after the election to check in with each other. Our collective experience during this presidential election cycle and the shocking results this week were deeply upsetting for many. After allowing space to acknowledge our feelings, fears, and facts, we turned to think together about what this moment means for our shared work.

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By: Stephen Lewis November 11, 2016


Survival in the Lily Fields: FTE Doctoral Fellowships

A flower farmer went out to his lily fields to see how they were growing. He looked over his acreage and saw the lilies swaying in the wind. He thought to himself, “What a beautiful field of lilies.” He saw out in the corner of his fields a small rose rising just above the rest of the lilies. He marched over to pull the colorful rose from the ground.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes October 04, 2016


Our Students Will Lead Us

At a recent FTE Community Forum in Chicago, I was struck with the observation made by a presenter that our next generation of pastors are now in prison. I was reminded of a related thought expressed last year at a gathering in Ferguson, MO on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death—that the leaders of church, whatever it will become in the future, are in the streets today fighting for justice.

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By: Stephen Ray June 07, 2016


Pentecost: A Time for Change

When was the last time you changed something that has had a lasting impact on the larger community? In light of the circumstances we find in our country and communities, how does real change, sustainable change happen?

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By: Stephen Lewis May 23, 2016


Can the Church Help End Violence & Injustice in Our Communities? Seven Themes We Heard in Chicago.

Does the church play a role in changing the ongoing story of violence and injustice in the marginalized neighborhoods beneath glimmering skylines across the US? We asked that question in the heart of North Lawndale, a neighborhood with one of the highest rates of violent crime in Chicago to wonder together how God may be rallying new kinds of leaders and new ways of being church.

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By: Dori Baker May 17, 2016


“Go, set the world on fire!” But don’t burn it down.

I was privileged to attend the FTE Discernment Retreat in Burlingame, CA where young Church leaders were eager to set the world on fire with the love of Jesus Christ.

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By: Sam McGrath May 03, 2016


Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Culture, Queerness, and Faith

As a Filipino-Vietnamese woman, my culture claims God first, family second, and everything else after. It was straightforward. Until it wasn’t. Like many young people, I took a break from the church during college, seeking to acquire spiritual fulfillment in other ways.

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By: Ann Marie Do April 28, 2016


Refreshed Through Discernement

The Regional Discernment Retreat I attended is designed to offer an opportunity for young adults like me to explore deep questions about their purpose and passion. Over four days I participated in conversations surrounding the discernment of our gifts and talents, what ministry can look like in different contexts, the challenges of the church to meet relevant needs of our communities, and how each of us might take action and practice our call to ministry.

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By: Krista Rittenhouse April 18, 2016


Set the Prisoners Free

God has been breaking my heart over our country’s prison system. It just doesn’t seem right that the “land of liberty” has more people locked up than any other nation. So when my friend invited me into a maximum security prison to join a class he teaches on prison literature I readily accepted.

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By: Shawn Casselberry February 11, 2016


Sacred Work

One gray afternoon surrounded by rows of lettuce fields, I ventured onto one of the main streets in my neighborhood in Salinas, California. A car pulled up next to me on the curb. Slowly the rear passenger window rolled down. A young man showed his face. He pointed, what I would later call “God’s judgment,” a .45 in my direction and yelled “WHAT DO YOU CLAIM?”

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By: Patrick B. Reyes February 03, 2016


It Takes a Village

Yesterday FTE announced the appointment of Dr. Patrick Reyes to the position, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives. He carries forward this sacred work, and its legacy within theological education to a new moment both rife with possibilities and fraught with increasingly complex challenges.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams February 02, 2016


The Hope of Now

When we look at the world around us, between us and in us being strangled by loss and violence, it’s easy for our hearts to be shattered pieces on the ground of despair. It’s easier to fill our mouths with empty words of faith, hope and irrelevant idealism.

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By: Stephen Lewis December 23, 2015


More Questions Than Answers

I sat in a fluorescent lit conference room in Peachtree City, GA. Wade in the Water echoed in the room from the morning’s worship and the floor was open for those contemplating vocation and seeking advice to share with the group. There was a space of silence as the room prepared for the next person to offer their discernments.

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By: Christina Schmitt November 09, 2015


Theological Education, Diversity, and a Transformative Future

In July, I made a brief case for placing questions of difference and diversity at the center of theological education. In my mind, the case is getting stronger by the day not because of the article’s persuasive powers (!) but because God is moving in our midst.

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By: Eric D. Barreto October 08, 2015

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