San Francisco Theological Seminary

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San Francisco Theological Seminary
San Francisco Theological Seminary School Logo.png
Established 1871
Type Private Divinity School
Religious affiliation Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
President James L. McDonald
Location San Anselmo & Berkeley, California, United States
37°58′11″N 122°33′56″W / 37.96972°N 122.56556°W / 37.96972; -122.56556[1]Coordinates: 37°58′11″N 122°33′56″W / 37.96972°N 122.56556°W / 37.96972; -122.56556[1]
Campus Suburban, 14 acres
Affiliations Graduate Theological Union University of California, Berkeley
Website www.sfts.edu

San Francisco Theological Seminary is a graduate school affiliated with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) located in San Anselmo, California. SFTS was the founding member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, the largest consortium of graduate schools and seminaries in the United States.

As an affiliate of the University of California, Berkeley, the GTU has allowed students from these member schools to explore diverse religious views and traditions and to engage in academic research in university departmental setting.

History[edit]

San Francisco Theological Seminary

San Francisco pastor William Anderson Scott opened two Presbyterian schools in his churches in the mid-19th century, the second of which became San Francisco Theological Seminary.

In 1871, SFTS began with four professors and four students meeting for instruction at the Presbyterian City College located in what now is Union Square. Six years later, the Seminary moved to its own building next to the City College building on Haight Street.

The seminary moved in 1890 to a 14-acre (57,000 m2) hilltop site in Marin County about 15 miles (24 km) north of the Golden Gate Bridge. A new charter issued in 1900 gave the Seminary power to grant degrees, and jurisdiction over the Seminary was transferred from the Synod to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1913.

In the post World War II era under President Jesse Hays Baird, SFTS enjoyed unprecedented expansion, with enrollment increasing to more than 300 and new buildings rising all over the San Anselmo campus.

SFTS joined in 1962 with neighboring graduate schools and academic centers in founding the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. The GTU developed joint M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in cooperation with the graduate school at the University of California Berkeley.

In 1990, SFTS opened its second campus in Pasadena, which was housed in the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. Unfortunately, due to seminary budget cuts, the board of trustees voted to close the Pasadena campus in February 2011. However, despite the announced closer, the seminary is considering alternative opportunities to expand their programs in Southern California.

Today, the San Anselmo campus has more than 350 master’s and doctoral level students, with about 115 full-time.

President[edit]

Dr. James L. McDonald A.B. in Public Policy, Princeton University Ph.D. in International Relation American University at Washington DC

Rev. Dr. James McDonald is the 11th president in San Francisco Theological Seminary’s (SFTS) history. For the past 13 years, McDonald, an ordained Presbyterian minister, worked for Bread for the World, a faith-based advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., that urges national legislators to end hunger. McDonald managed day-to-day operations, spearheaded fund-raising, and focused on advocacy and strategic efforts to build a broad movement against hunger and poverty. With a PhD in international relations from American University, McDonald led efforts to secure debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. After receiving Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary in New York, respectively, McDonald worked in pastoral ministry for 15 years. He was associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Ind., and then served Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia from 1980-90. Throughout his career, McDonald has shown a deep passion for education that makes a difference. He was an adjunct faculty member at American and George Washington universities for nearly a decade, teaching courses on world politics, foreign policy and Latin America.

Faculty[edit]

Jana Childers, Ph.D. Graduate Theological Union-Berkeley Professor of Professor of Homiletics and Speech Communication

Polly Coote, Ph.D. Harvard University Professor of Greek, and a former Professor in Slavic Language at the University of California, Berkeley

Robert Coote Ph.D. Harvard University Senior Research Professor of Hebrew Exegesis and Old Testament

Laurie Garrett-Cobbina Th.M. Princeton Shaw Family Chair for Clinical Pastoral Education

Liebert, Elizabeth Ph.D. Vanderbilt University Professor of Spiritual Life

Gregory Love Ph.D. Princeton Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

James Noel Ph.D. Graduate Theological Union-Berkeley H. Eugene Farlough, Jr. California Professor of American Religion

Christopher Ocker Ph.D. Princeton Professor of Church History/ Affiliated Professor at the University of California Berkeley

Eugene Park Ph.D University of Chicago Dana and Dave Dornsife Professor of New Testament

Carol Robb Ph.D. Boston University Margaret Dollar Professor of Christian Social Ethics, and a former Lectuer at Harvard University Divinity School

Annette Schellenberg Ph.D. University of Zurich Professor of Old Testament and associated faculty in the Jewish Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley

Scott Sullender Ph.D. Claremont Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling

Annette Weissenrieder Ph.D. University of Heidelberg Professor of New Testament, and associated faculty in the Jewish Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley

Academic affiliations[edit]

Graduate Theological Union Berkeley

Through GTU schools and centers, SFTS students can relate to wider communities within Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism. SFTS students enjoy free and open cross-registration with all GTU member institutions.

University of California Berkeley

Through Graduate Theological Union agreements, SFTS students enjoy free cross-registration for UC Berkeley courses and the use of the university’s research and performing arts centers, its nearly 100 library collections and approximately 80 museum collections.

Academic information[edit]

Degree programs at San Francisco Theological Seminary include:
 • Master of DivinityMaster of Arts in Theological Studies
 • Doctor of Ministry

SFTS offers two graduate-level diplomas:

 • Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction
 • Diploma in Spiritual Formation Studies

In conjunction with the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California Berkeley, students can also earn the following degrees:

Master of Arts
Doctor of Theology
Doctor of Philosophy


SFTS Programs[edit]

Field Education - The Department of Field Education and Integrative Studies assists M. Div students in finding their place of ministry. From the Introduction to Ministry taught in the first year, through year-long supervised internships, students experience first-hand, practical applications of theoretical learning.

Program in Christian Spirituality – PCS offers diploma programs in spiritual direction and spiritual formation; a doctor of ministry degree in spirituality; a spirituality concentration in the master of divinity program; plus pastoral renewal opportunities.

Some SFTS Graduates[edit]

Dr. Chung, Chin-Hong, DST, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Professor of Phenomenology of Religion at Seoul National University.

Dr. Yvette Flunder, D.Min, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Founder the City of Refugee and Chair of the San Francisco Inter-religious Coalition on AIDS.

Dr. Steven Johnson, Ph.D Claremont Graduate University; M.Div, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Professor and Chair of Religion Department at Lyon College

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, Ph.D, UT Austin; D.Min, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Director of Population Program, The David And Lucile Packard Foundation

Dr. Carolyn S. Leeb, BA, MIT; M.Div, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Professor in Theology at Valparaiso University.

Dr. Herb Long, BA, Stanford; BD, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Th.D, Harvard; Former Dean of Students at Harvard Divinity School.

Dr. Clarice Martin, M.Div, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Ph.D Duke University; Jean Picker Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Colgate University

Dr. Joan Carter Olivet, Ph.D, Graduate Theological Union; M.Div, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Dean of Olivet College of Art and Design of Olivet University

Dr. Neal D. Presa, M.Div., San Francisco Theological Seminary; Moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, M.Div, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Dr. George Thompson Dir. of Faith & the City/Professor; Leadership & Ministry Practice at Interdenominational Theological Center

Notable faculty members[edit]

David Noel Freedman Gray Professor of Old Testament Exegesis at San Francisco Theological Seminary (1961–1964); Endowed Chair in Hebrew Biblical Studies at the University of California, San Diego (1986–2008).

David Alexander Professor of Old Testament and Theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and President Emeritus of Pomona College

John Dillenberger Dean of the Faculty at San Francisco Theological Seminary; Professor Emeritus, Graduate Theological Union Berkeley; Chair of the Program in History and Philosophy at Harvard University

References[edit]

SFTS Board of Trustees announces closure of its Southern California campus [1]

External links[edit]