Auburn Theological Seminary
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
hideThis article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (January 2016)
The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. (January 2016)
Auburn Theological Seminary
Auburn Theological Seminary logo.gif
Founded August 16, 1818; 201 years ago
Type 501(c)(3) charitable organization
Tax ID no.
Focus Religious education and activism
475 Riverside Drive,
New York, New York 10115,
Coordinates 40.810789°N 73.963749°WCoordinates: 40.810789°N 73.963749°W
Method Education, advocacy
John Vaughn, Macky Alston, and Isaac Luria
Founding Director, Groundswell
Expenses (2017) $7,288,129
Endowment $19,638,323 (2017)
Auburn Theological Seminary, located in New York City, trains leaders who are working on progressive social issues. Auburn Theological Seminary offers workshops, provides consulting, and conducts research on faith leadership development.
The seminary was established in Auburn, New York, in 1818 to prepare young ministers for the frontier. Weakened by the Great Depression, Auburn Theological Seminary relocated in 1939 to Union Theological Seminary's campus in New York City, although it maintained its independence from Union Theological Seminary. In 2014, it designed and moved to a new leadership development lab in the Interchurch Center in Morningside Heights.
Auburn Theological Seminary houses the only research center in the U.S. focused on the study of seminaries, divinity schools, and the preparation of faith leaders working for social justice.
Auburn Theological Seminary was one of the first seminaries in the country to admit African Americans (Moses Hopkins, 1877), Japanese (Naoomi Tamura, 1882) and later, female seminarians (Ida Thorne Parker, 1917).
2 Presidents of Auburn Theological Seminary
3 Notable alumni
4 Notable faculty
Auburn Theological Seminary was established in Auburn, New York, by action of the Presbyterian Synod of Geneva on 16 August 1818. It obtained a charter from the New York State legislature on 14 April 1820 as a post-baccalaureate theological seminary, and it matriculated its first students in 1821. From its inception, Auburn Seminary drew support from beyond the Presbyterian Church. Its charter stipulated that "no student of any Christian denomination shall be excluded," and the first class of eleven students represented eight denominations. The Roman Catholic bishop from Boston, Bishop Chevereux, donated books for the school's library.
Dirck Cornelius Lansing, Founder and Professor, 1821–1826
The school's founders and early faculty (Dirck Lansing, Matthew Perrine, and Henry Mills) rejected sterner forms of Calvinism and advocated for flexible church governance within the Presbyterian Church. These beliefs became known as the Auburn Declaration of 1937.
Under the presidency of George Black Stewart (1899–1926), the school grew to 105 students and eleven faculty. A Summer School of Theology for clergy and laity was established in 1911, and a School of Religious Education in 1921.
Auburn Theological Seminary's faculty, led by Robert Hastings Nichols, professor of church history, played a key role in what became known as the Auburn Affirmation, adopted in 1924, which defended theological freedom and prevented a fundamentalist takeover of the Presbyterian Church.
The Great Depression left Auburn Seminary with a diminished student body and strained resources. The faculty and President Paul Silas Heath (1936–1939) began conversations with several seminaries about possibly relocating. In 1939, it closed its Auburn campus and at the invitation of President Henry Sloan Coffin, moved to the campus of Union Seminary in New York City, although it maintained its board of trustees and endowment.
With the move to Union Theological Seminary, Auburn Theological Seminary ceased granting degrees, instead developing new initiatives: a Program of Training for Rural Ministry in 1944, which continued its emphasis on preparing individuals for the practice of ministry, not for theological specialization; in 1964 the Center for Continuing Education was established as well as the Experimental Program for the Practice of Christian Ministry; in 1968 Auburn Studies in Theological Education was begun; in 1971 the Susquehanna Valley Project to support local ministers started; in 1985 interreligious programs for faith leaders were developed and in 1991 The Center for the Study of Theological Education was established.
In 2009, Katharine Rhodes Henderson was inaugurated as president, shifting the institution's focus toward training and supporting faith leaders who work in progressive justice organizations and movements. Auburn's signature programs include: media training, Auburn Senior Fellows, Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle, digital organizing, coaching for faith leaders, and entrepreneurial ministry. Auburn Research explores the needs of theological institutions, their leaders and students, and the ways in which leaders of faith and moral courage are affecting positive social change in society.