Chicago Theological Seminary
|Motto||"Leaders for the Next"|
|Affiliation||United Church of Christ|
|President||Stephen G. Ray Jr.|
1407 E. 60th Street,
|Campus||urban 78,000 gross square foot, 4-story seminary with full basement located in the center of the University of Chicago campus|
|Affiliations||University of Chicago |
Association of Chicago Theological Schools
The Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) is a Christian ecumenical American seminary located in Chicago, Illinois, and is one of several seminaries historically affiliated with the United Church of Christ. It is the oldest institution of higher education in Chicago, originally established in 1855 under the direction of the abolitionist Stephen Peet and the Congregational Church (now the United Church of Christ) by charter of the Illinois legislature. In addition to being a seminary of the United Church of Christ, CTS offers students coursework necessary to be ordained by both the United Methodist Church and the Metropolitan Community Church denominations.
In the 19th century, the Chicago Theological Seminary led the Christian Abolitionism movement, while during the 20th century, the seminary stood as a bastion of Social Gospel Christianity. The seminary's preeminent religious activists and theologians among its faculty and alumni include Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Graham Taylor, Howard Schomer, G. Campbell Morgan, John W. de Gruchy, and Otis Moss III among others.
Chicago Theological enrolls a diverse student population representing more than 40 different faith traditions, perspectives and denominations, and houses the Center for the Study of Black Faith and Life (CSBFL), the Center for Jewish, Christian, & Islamic Studies (JCIS), the Center for the Study of Korean Christianity (CSKC), and the LGBTQ Religious Studies Center. CTS students hold academic reciprocity with the University of Chicago, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and with member schools of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools consortium.
The first in many fields, CTS remains the first theological school to introduce the field education experience into a seminary curriculum, the first to create a distinct Department of Christian Sociology in an American theological school, the first seminary to award a degree in divinity to a woman in the US (Florence Fensham, 1902), the first seminary in the US to award the Martin Luther King Jr. an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for his activism in the Civil Rights movement, the first to elect an African American to lead a predominantly white theological school (C. Shelby Rooks, 1974 to 1984), and the first free-standing Protestant seminary to endow a chair in Jewish Studies.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Academics
- 4 Notable people
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Chicago Theological Seminary is the oldest institution of higher education in Chicago, having been established in 1855. Unintimidated by controversy, the seminary had a distinguished century-long record of setting trends in church life and leadership.
The very first CTS curriculum in 1855 provided for the scattering of students among congregations and missions across the Midwest. Students were encouraged to learn first hand the facts of community life and church needs in a restless, experimental culture. Although such a practice was unknown at that time, this curriculum was the beginning of the first field education component ever introduced into seminary education. Field education is now a part of every accredited professional theological degree program.
Because of a deeply held conviction that training for ministry needed to combine the study of Christian faith and the world of secular knowledge and action, during President Ozora Davis' tenure in 1900s, CTS moved to the vicinity of the University of Chicago. Under his leadership the magnificent buildings of the seminary were financed and constructed, and the relationship with the University firmly established.
After Florence Fensham earned the first seminary degree awarded to a woman, the Congregational Training School for Women was founded at the Chicago Theological Seminary in 1909 as an opportunity to provide Congregational women with advanced educational training. The school continued its mission until it was subsumed into the Chicago Theological Seminary in 1926. CTS alum Florence Fensham was the first dean, succeeded by Agnes M. Taylor and Margaret M. Taylor, when Dean Fensham died unexpectedly in 1912. The Chicago Theological Seminary decided to allow full acceptance of women to its programs in 1926, thereby eliminating the need for a separate institution for women.
Graham Taylor established at CTS the first distinct Department of Christian Sociology in an American theological school. Working closely with Jane Addams in Chicago, Taylor established the Chicago Commons settlement house and a graduate school of social work which later became the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration Social Service Administration. While a faculty member at CTS, Anton Boisen worked with a group of CTS students in order that they might become competent in ministering to the physically, mentally, and emotionally ill, and from that experience helped to found the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Boisen's ashes are interred in the CTS cloisters.
In 1965 CTS launched a Doctorate of Religion program, one of the first professional doctorates in ministry. As standards for the professional doctorate were established by the Association of Theological Schools, the Seminary became one of the initial group of six schools to have fully accredited programs of study for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
Among schools of theological education, the Chicago Theological Seminary is especially welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex concerns and is listed as an officially "Open and Affirming" institution of the United Church of Christ by the UCC Coalition for GLBT Concerns. The seminary has many openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, staff and faculty; several of its faculty members have published books and articles regarding religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The institution offers an annual Gilberto Castaneda scholarship award for outstanding GLBT students. It is home to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Religious Archives Network. Students are invited to participate in the social activities of the Heyward Boswell Society. In 2006 CTS launched the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) Religious Studies Center (Queer Center), a grant-funded research program.
Founded in 2009, the Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies is the only American program of its kind based in a free-standing theological seminary. Students in the Theology, Ethics and Human Sciences concentration enjoy resources appropriate to experientially and theoretically integrate theology with the human sciences.
- CTS is the oldest institution of higher education in Chicago.
- CTS faculty and students participated in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad prior to the Civil War.
- First seminary to introduce field education into a seminary curriculum in the US.
- First to create a distinct Department of Christian Sociology in an American theological school.
- First seminary to award a degree in divinity to a woman in the US. (Florence Fensham, 1902)
- Faculty and students instrumental in founding the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) in 1930.
- First seminary in the US to award Martin Luther King Jr. an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for his activism in the Civil Rights Movement.
- First African American to lead a predominantly white theological school (C. Shelby Rooks, 1974 to 1984).
- First free-standing Protestant seminary to endow a chair in Jewish Studies, advancing interfaith engagement and multi-faith education.
The original buildings were designed by Herbert Riddle and built between 1923 and 1928. Riddle was the architect for Mather Tower in the Loop, as well as many buildings in New York. The original CTS building complex was a harmonious, organic, integrated work of art, including stained glass windows, medieval style groin vaulting, furniture, lighting fixtures, ceramic ornament and tile work, architectural relics – all of the highest quality of its day.
The seminary, which was for decades located at 5757 South University Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, adjacent to the University of Chicago, during the 2011/2012 academic year moved to 1407 East 60th Street, also in Hyde Park. The building designed by Riddle that had served as a seminary for decades became home to the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago and the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics.
Construction of the new $30,000,000 CTS facility is a partnership between the University of Chicago and the Chicago Theological Seminary. In May 2008, the University of Chicago Board of Trustees Executive Committee authorized the purchase of two CTS buildings and an adjacent parking lot. Additionally, the University of Chicago agreed to construct a new seminary building at 60th Street and Dorchester Avenue. The seminary's new building, designed by Nagle Hartray Architecture with staunch commitments to environmental sustainability, is located at 1407 E. 60th Street, is LEED Gold-certified and fully ADA accessible. As of 2013, the building project has acquired numerous private and public funds.
Lapp Learning Commons Library
The Robinson & Janet Lapp Learning Commons, centrally located on the third floor of CTS's new building, is a working theological collection of over 45,000 volumes. The library also receives over 700 periodicals and subscribes to multiple databases. The collection is strong in the theological subject areas of Bible, Church history and theology. Special holdings include the Boisen Collection in psychology and personality science, and the Campbell Morgan Collection named for G. Campbell Morgan. The collection contains his sermons, writings, books, newspaper clips, lecture notes, photographs, and other archival materials. Particular fields of note also include African American religion and spirituality, women's studies, LGBT/queer studies, and Jewish and Christian studies.
CTS students also have access to the University of Chicago Library system, the 11th largest library collection in the United States. Through special arrangement, CTS students and faculty can utilize this resource in person.
Accreditation and ordination
The seminary is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and by the North Central Association. Further it is one of the 11 seminaries that form the Association of Chicago Theological Schools consortium.
- Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
- Masters of Arts in Religious Studies (M.A.)
- Masters of Arts in Religious Leadership (M.A.R.L.)
- Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)
- Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
- Franklin Fisk (1888-1901), one of the most widely known theologians and educators of the West, according to The New York Times, Yale University alumni and valedictorian, and first president of Chicago Theological Seminary.
- Joseph H. George (1901-1906)
- Graham Taylor, interim (1906-1908)
- Ozora Stearns Davis (1909–1929), prominent Congregational minister, hymn writer, long-time president of CTS, and biographer of his close friend journalist Victor Freemont Lawson.
- Carl S. Patton, interim (1928-1930)
- Albert W. Palmer (1930–1946)— Social Gospel reformer, peace activist, pastor
- Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Jr. (1946–1959), instructor, Fulbright scholar, professor, and church historian
- Howard Schomer (1959–1966), conscientious objector, United Nations Commission on Human Rights aide, Civil Rights activist, scholar, drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and editor-at-large for Christian Century.
- Edward Manthei (1967-1971) 
- Thomas Campbell (1971-1973)Member of the National Inter-religious Task Force on Soviet Jewry, The American Jewish Committee
- Victor Obenhaus, interim (1973-1974) Union Theological Seminary (Manhattan) alumni, author, professor of Christian ethics, National Council of Churches leader, prison reform advocate.
- C. Shelby Rooks (1974–1984)—Scholar, lecturer, administrator, and UCC leader.
- Betty Reneker, interim (1984)Philanthropist, president of Children's Home and Aid Society of Illinois, and president of the National Fellowship of Congregational Christian Women.
- Kenneth B. Smith, Sr. (1984–1998)—pastor, founder of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago school board member, community leader
- Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite (1998–2008)—Author, columnist, ordained minister, activist, theologian, translator of the Bible
- Alice Hunt (2008–2018)—minister, biblical scholar, Hubble Space Telescope computer programmer, and former Associate Dean of Vanderbilt University Divinity School
- Donald C. Clark, Jr. (2017-2018)—counselor at law, entrepreneur, retired general counsel for the United Church of Christ, and past CTS board chair, served as Acting President while Hunt was on sabbatical.
- Stephen G. Ray, Jr. (2018-)—Professor, theologian, author, writer, ordained minister, activist, former Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Professor of Systematic Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Notable former faculty
- Samuel Ives Curtiss—Prolific Old Testament scholar and protege of Friedrich Delitzsch, great-grandson of Jesse Ives, and intercity missionary
- Clarence Beckwith—Author, minister, and professor at CTS
- Anton Boisen—leading figure in the hospital chaplaincy and clinical pastoral education movements.
- Clara E. Powell—first female professor at CTS, and English teacher.
- G. Campbell Morgan—British evangelist, preacher and a leading Bible scholar (D.D., 1902)
- Graham Taylor—Minister, Social Reformer, Educator and Founder of Chicago Commons Settlement House which later became the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration.
- Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Jr.—Instructor, Fulbright scholar, professor, and church historian
- Arthur E. Holt—Author, professor, founder of the Merom Institute (renamed the Merom Conference Center), Chairman of the department of social ethics in the University of Chicago Divinity School, regional consultant for the India, Burma, and Ceylon foreign work survey of the YMCA and YWCA, visiting professor at the Tata School of Social Service, India 1936-1937.
- Fred Eastman—ACPE pioneer and colleague of Anton Boisen, Union Theological Seminary (Manhattan) alumni, and professor of Biography, Literature, and Drama.
- Victor Obenhaus—Union Theological Seminary (Manhattan) alumni, author, professor of Christian ethics, National Council of Churches leader, prison reform advocate.
- André LaCocque— Founder of the Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies at CTS, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Chicago Theological Seminary, colleague of and co-author with Paul Ricœur, winner of the Gordon J. Laing Award, prolific author. 
- W. Widick Schroeder—Political and Process Theologian, professor of religion and society Emeritus at CTS
- Rabbi Herman Schaalman—Activist, rabbi, scholar, son of Dachau concentration camp survivor, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Emanuel, past president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, honoree of the Herman Schaalman Chair of Jewish Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary.
- Yoshio Fukuyama—theologian and religious pioneer, father of Francis Fukuyama
- Wilhelm Pauck—German-American church historian and historical theologian in the field of Reformation studies
Notable current faculty
- Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. — Professor of Biblical and Constructive Theology
- Ken Stone — Professor of Bible, Culture and Hermeneutics
- John H. Thomas — Visiting Professor in Church Ministries
- Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite — author, former CTS president, syndicated columnist, ordained minister, activist, theologian, and translator of the Bible
- Rachel Mikva — Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, director of the Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies
- Rami Nashashibi — community organizer and American Muslim activist who co-founded and continues to serve as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)
- Florence Amanda Fensham— First woman in the US awarded a degree from a seminary (CTS), founder and dean of the Congregational Training School for Women, missionary, teacher, and activist Protestant laywoman (BD, 1902)
- G. Campbell Morgan—British evangelist, preacher and a leading Bible scholar (D.D., 1902)
- Richard A. Jensen—American theologian, author, and Carlson Professor of Homiletics Emeritus at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
- John W. de Gruchy—Anti-Apartheid leader, Karl Barth Prize award recipient, former Robert Selby Taylor Professor of Christian Studies at University of Cape Town, and an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Stellenbosch. 
- Abraham Kahikina Akaka—American clergyman (1955)
- Margaret Palmer Taylor—Pioneer in sacred dance
- Ralph Richard Keithahn—Missionary, social worker, Benedictine Oblate influenced by Gandhi (1959)
- Philo Carpenter—Illinois' first pharmacist, managing director of the Chicago Bible Society, abolitionist, school board member, board of health member, organizer of the Relief and Aid Society, and co-organizer of American Anti-Slavery Society.
- Otis Moss III—Pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (D.Min., 2012)
- Jared Maurice Arter—Former slave, Virginia school superintendent, author. (B.D.)
- Dean Drayton—Geophysicist, Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) minister and president, United Theological College lecturer, author, and aboriginal advocate. (Ph.D.)
- Daniel Day Williams—Process theologian, professor, and author. He served on the joint faculty of the University of Chicago and the Chicago Theological Seminary, and later at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. (D.D., 1966)
- Mary McDermott Shideler—Author, poet, president of the American Theological Society, president of the Society for Descriptive Psychology. (1971)
- Mercy Oduyoye—Methodist theologian known for her work in African women's theology. (2001, D.D.)
- E. L. Kornegay Jr.—Founder and director of the Baldwin~Delaney Institute, author, and theologian(S.T.M 2003, Ph.D., 2012)
- Jeremiah Wright, Jr.—Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ, and black liberation theologian. (1982, D.D.)
- Larry Pickens—United Methodist pastor, and ecumenical activist (Ph.D.)
- Jesse Jackson Sr.—American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. (M.Div., 2000)
- Adam Kotsko—American writer, theologian, religious scholar, and translator, working chiefly in the field of political theology. (M.A, 2005; Ph.D., 2009)
- Alden Ewart Matthews—Chinese: 麻安德; Pinyin: Má Āndé; Congregational missionary to China and Japan.
- James Henry Breasted—American archaeologist and historian
- Delbert Tibbs—Wrongfully convicted ex-felon, writer and anti-death penalty activist
- Wilhelm Pauck—German-American church historian and historical theologian in the field of Reformation studies
- Donald G. Bloesch—noted American evangelical theologian
- Graylan Hagler—African-American pastor and activist (MDiv, 1976)
- William Leonard Rowe—Professor emeritus of philosophy at Purdue University who specializes in the philosophy of religion
- Emily C. Hewitt—Former Judge and Chief Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims. (DMin)
- Caleb Frank Gates Sr.—Missionary, Former President of Euphrates College, in Harput, Turkey and then President of Robert College, Istanbul, Turkey. (1881)
- Gunnar Vingren—Swedish Pentecostal missionary evangelist
- Daniel Crosby Greene—First missionary of the American Board to Japan, member of the committee for the translation of the New Testament into the Japanese and Chinese languages
- Syngman Rhee (Presbyterian minister)—Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, civil rights activist, teacher
- Chuck Currie, United Church of Christ minister — "Director of the Pacific University Center for Peace and Spirituality" (D.Min., 2015)
- Daniel Patte -- "Professor of Religious Studies and of New Testament & Early Christianity at Vanderbilt University" (Th.D.,1971)
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