Inside FTE’s New Name | Forum for Theological Exploration

Inside FTE’s New Name

By: Stephen Lewis
January 03, 2014

FTE’s Online Communication Manager Diva Morgan Sapp spoke with President Stephen Lewis about the new direction and name of FTE.

1. What is FTE’s new name?

Forum for Theological Exploration. Though the meaning behind the acronym has slightly changed, we will continue to go by FTE, which is the endearing term used by our friends, Fellows, partners and Alumni.

2. Why is a new name important?

The word “fund” doesn’t adequately capture the fullness of our work. We needed a name that reflects our evolving and focused work with young adults exploring theological questions and partners who are accompanying them in their own exploration and call to ministry.

3. People have come to know and love FTE as The Fund for Theological Education. What feedback have you been receiving concerning the new name?

In the fall, we had a group of colleagues visit the office. One of our guests said to me that FTE needs a new name that accurately reflects the past 60 years and the direction we are moving in. Our hope is that people will continue to affirm what our new name seeks to capture. So far, everyone has said “that’s exactly what FTE does” and “it makes sense.”

4. When did the name change go into effect?

January 6, 2014.

5. FTE has already announced changes to its Doctoral Programs. What additional shifts will FTE be making moving forward?

Moving forward we will:

  • expand our work within and beyond the Protestant mainline;
  • focus more on young adults’ vocational development by offering grants for mentoring and ministry exploration; and
  • open our events to young adults and doctoral students who are not FTE fellowship recipients.

6. What excites you about this shift in FTE’s work?

  • I look forward to FTE hosting national conversations on the importance of cultivating a new generation of leaders for the church and the academy.
  • I am also excited about our ability to create a space for young people to really explore the intersections between faith, ministry, service and their calling.
  • Lastly, we live in a period of time that values experimenting. That’s exciting given that we are working with young leaders who have inspiring ideas. We want to help these leaders see Christian institutions as inviting places where they can come to experiment and lead the church in ways that allows it to be a visible sign of hope, healing and peace in the world.

7. Is FTE’s mission changing as a result of this shift?

FTE remains committed to the mission it has had for the past 60 years.

8. Does this affect the status of current or past Fellows?

No. All of FTE’s current fellowship recipients and Alumni will not be affected.

For more information about FTE’s new name and direction, watch the video below.

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