By: Stephen Lewis
December 23, 2014
The church knows something about working toward a hope-filled future because at the core of what it means to be the church is a community shaping insight.
Sixty years ago, FTE emerged during a segregated era. Twenty days later the United States Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools and universities unconstitutional, provoking civil unrest throughout the country. In the midst of the turmoil, the advent of FTE’s mission—to cultivate diverse and talented leaders for the church and academy—took flight, resulting in more than half of a century of diversifying theological schools’ student bodies and faculty, and church leadership across the country.
This year, during FTE’s 60th anniversary, other court decisions have captured the country’s attention. As a result, diverse groups of citizens are protesting in city streets, schools and communities across the U.S. and abroad. Lamenting the disproportionate number of unarmed African American citizens killed by those called to protect and serve, protesters have begun to shut down city blocks, occupy local municipalities, organize die-ins, and mobilize the masses in hope of a better future.
The church knows something about working toward a hope-filled future because at the core of what it means to be the church is a community shaping insight. In classical Greek, the word “church” also means a group of citizens called out to shape their communities through “politics,” which comes from the Greek word politika, meaning the affairs of the city.
This is why FTE’s historical conviction—that the church and her academy can be important resource for the wellbeing and flourishing of people—matters for communities and societies around the world. Why talented, diverse leaders in each generation must be inspired and committed to lead the church and help shape a hopeful future for everyone. And it’s why FTE continues to work between the world as it is and the advent of what it can become.
During this advent season, I pray for the day when all of God’s people have the right to breath, live, and experience the promise of life more abundantly. Until that day, let us continue to work and inspire leaders who are committed to shaping such a future on behalf of God’s peace and goodwill for us all.
Photo by Beverley Goodwin