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A Legacy of Leadership

During the 2019 annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature FTE celebrated another year of scholarship and honored the work of Matthew Wesley Williams. After 15 years of service at FTE, Matthew pursued a call to serve as the interim president at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta. FTE’s online communications manager Diva Morgan Hicks sat down with Matthew to capture some of his proudest memories and hopes for the future.

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By: Diva Morgan Hicks November 25, 2019


Discernment and Disability

As a disabled woman, the decision to attend graduate school was not an easy one for me to make. My undergraduate academic experience was rocky, to say the least; my then-misunderstood disability complicated my ability to be fully present to my academic work, and by the time I scraped together the academic credits I needed to graduate, I promised myself that I would never put myself through school again.

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By: Allison Connelly August 21, 2019


Seven Tips for Writing a Solid Grant Application

As FTE’s program manager for grant initiatives, I’m always excited to hear from folks who are interested in proposing grant projects to work with young adults as they discern who and where God is calling them to be in their lives and in their vocations. I often get asked, “Does FTE have a formula or set way of doing an internship or mentoring project?” The answer is NO.

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By: Heather B.P. Wallace August 01, 2019


What we see and hear on Sunday morning

We are all too familiar with Sunday morning small talk.

“How are you doing Beverly?,” asks the pastor. Beverly is a long-time parishioner who volunteers for the flower guild and teaches Sunday School.

I’m fine pastor,” said Beverly. “Thank you for asking!”

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By: Alexis Chase May 30, 2019


Navigating My Doctoral Journey: What’s Theological Education For Anyway?

At a recent academic conference I attended, a keynote speaker presented research on the faith journeys of young adults in their twenties and thirties. According to the speaker’s findings, a substantial number of participants reported leaving the Christian faith after struggling with the exclusionary implications of their church’s theologies. For many, the departure from the communities that formed them so deeply at one point in their lives was a complete break from Christianity itself. Listening to the stories these young adults shared touched a raw place in my heart.

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By: Easten Law May 13, 2019


Future of Theological Education

In FTE’s video celebrating 50 years of doctoral fellowships, Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Ellison II, reminds us of the importance of the work of scholars of color. He states that in 1968, “we needed scholars of color to live boldly in that moment.” The images in the video remind us of the many events of that year: the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Juan Carlos and Tommie Smith lifting their black-gloved fists at the Olympics in Mexico, and César Chávez leading the UFW and his first spiritual fast. During that same year, we remember there were only 18 doctoral students of color in religion.

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By: Patrick B. Reyes April 02, 2019


Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon - In Her Own Words

The loss of a life well lived can give rise to good grief. Over the past week, while pained and saddened by the passing of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, the FTE community has paused to reflect with deep gratitude on the tremendous legacy she leaves. In both seemingly small gestures and grand strides Dr. Cannon’s teaching, mentoring, and ministry helped us remember how to be human, how to be the family of God. Sometimes good grief sends us into the picture albums, shoeboxes, and scrapbooks that enable us to tell ourselves the story of the love that will endure beyond the grave.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams August 17, 2018


Callings

This past year has been a roller coaster of questions, reflection, doubts, and fears. After spending my whole life thinking I knew what I wanted to be in this world, I decided I had been wrong. I was not called to a life of practicing medicine. When I made that decision, I voiced it aloud to various groups I belong to, including my campus ministry, which voiced affirmations and support, making me feel secure in my decision.

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By: Zoie Sheets July 27, 2018


FTE Remembers Rev. Dr. James H. Cone

Today we grieve the loss of Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, a Bill & Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary. He was a friend and mentor to many in the FTE community and will be missed dearly. On behalf of FTE, I offer our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Cone’s family, friends, and colleagues.

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By: Matthew Wesley Williams May 07, 2018


Notes from further down the path: Checking in with the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis

With her vibrant congregation, new Doctor of Ministry project, successful social media presence, and network news experience, the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis is a living inspiration to which many Ph.D. candidates might aspire. But Lewis’ vocational trajectory has twists and even obstacles that many on a doctoral journey might find familiar.

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By: Erica Ramirez April 17, 2018


Oh the places we will go…to write

Literary great Virginia Woolf once described her desire for a room of her own, a place to write and think in peace. I agree with her wholeheartedly. Having the time and space to write are so important. However, writing time seems to be the first to be eliminated from any busy academic’s schedule. More often than not, we must be intentional about protecting both. We have to make time to write and have a physical space for writing. Carving out time and better yet, reclaiming our writing time is crucial.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra March 23, 2018


Five Influential People You Meet in Grad School

It has been said that we are a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. I grew up with a dicho or saying in Spanish that goes: “Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.” Translation: “Tell me who you walk with and I will tell you who you are.” Who we surround ourselves with speaks volumes about our character. I find this to be especially true in academia because academia often fosters competition over collaboration. For this reason, discernment and learning to identify who has your best interest at heart is important.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra January 26, 2018


A Risk I Am Willing To Take

A short time ago if you had told me that I would be moving states for a church, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I had been deeply wounded by a church in the past and finally found a safe place. Yet as unexpected as it was, that is exactly what my husband Will and I did! It all started like this:

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By: Ashley Easter January 18, 2018


Letting Leaders Lead

The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia spurred a lot of subsequent activity, not only in the United States but also up in Canada. In Vancouver several groups organized an anti-immigration rally at our city hall. This rally elicited the organization of a counter-protest on the same day, in the same place. Upwards of 4,000 people quickly signed up to attend.

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By: Roger Revell January 12, 2018


Peace

A poem on peace written by Christina Schmitt, a 2015 Regional Discernment Retreat participant.

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By: Christina Schmitt November 06, 2017


Dissertation in a Nutshell: From Topic to Defense

To reach candidacy or become “ABD” is an exciting milestone in the doctoral journey. You’ve officially made it through years of coursework and passed your comprehensive exams. Now, in my opinion, you are moving into the last and perhaps most challenging stage of your formation as a scholar: the dissertation.

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By: Lauren Frances Guerra October 19, 2017


Where are the Mentors?

“Where are the mentors?” This question is my constant companion as I navigate the unchartered waters of the next great emergence in the Christian church.

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By: Kathleen Braafladt August 15, 2017


Two Pastors, a Chaplain and a Bar

“Now that my kids are adults, they aren’t interested in going to church anymore, even if I am the pastor,” the woman lamented, looking down at her plate. The other women sharing our small lunch table—a college chaplain and another pastor—frowned in sympathy.

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By: Linda Kay Klein July 24, 2017


Finding Hope

I never knew what question I was seeking the answer to until June 1, 2017. After worship one night during the Christian Leadership Forum dinner I busted into deep, flowing tears…

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By: Queen Frye June 23, 2017


Rest for the Journey Ahead

Eleven days after my seminary graduation, I boarded a plane to Atlanta for the Forum for Theological Exploration’s 2017 Christian Leadership Forum. While I was already excited to join my cohort and meet scholars whose work I admire, I walked away from the Forum feeling thankful for an additional gift: FTE’s hospitality that demonstrated that I was welcomed, honored and affirmed as a member of this community of Christian leaders.

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By: Jasmin Figueroa June 22, 2017

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