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Seminary Receives Grants

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Seminary Receives Grants for Events and Programs

Bethany Theological Seminary recently received a $200,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for financial support of the Seminary’s Presidential Forum. The grant will be used to establish an endowment to create perpetual funding for this event. The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations are a national philanthropic organization established through the generosity of the late American industrialist, Arthur Vining Davis, and provide grants for private higher education, religion, secondary education, health care, and public television.

Martin Marty and othersThe Presidential Forum, established by current president Ruthann Knechel Johansen at the beginning of her tenure, brings noted speakers to campus for in-depth study and discussion on current topics. Previous forums have focused on scriptures of peace from various faith traditions, the intersection of wisdom and the arts, and hospitality. More than 150 persons have attended each forum, including students, faculty, pastors, church leaders, alumni/ae, and interested persons from the Richmond community and surrounding areas.

President Johansen noted that in awarding the grant, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations board recognizes the excellent education that is carried out at Bethany and the high quality of the Forums that have already been offered. “This gift will permit Bethany Seminary to carry its witness to the church and society forward for years to come,” she said.

The Seminary also has received a $25,000 grant from Barnabas Ltd. to reactivate Bethany’s Exploring Your Call (EYC) program for high school juniors and seniors. More than fifty youth attended EYC events during the first half of the last decade, and several current Bethany students report that EYC was an important catalyst in their decisions to pursue ministry.

EYC 2003 participantsRussell Haitch, associate professor of practical theology and director of the Institute for Ministry With Youth and Young Adults, will direct and staff the program. EYC 2011 is scheduled for June 17-27. EYC participants will explore how God is calling them through discernment activities in the seminary classroom, "shadowing" local pastors and assisting in their ministries, and by forming friendships with peers.

Barnabas Ltd. is an Australian foundation, founded by the parents of current Bethany Board of Trustees member Jerry Davis. It is funded by farming operations of the Davis family, who began work there in 1962 when the Australian government invited central valley Californians to help establish a cotton industry. “Barnabas has always favored funding projects that focus on calling, encouraging, and preparing people for ministry,” says Davis. “The Barnabas Foundation was named for the Barnabas of the New Testament, who encouraged, recruited, and trained ministers while serving in ministry himself. Bethany Theological Seminary is recruiting and training individuals to serve in ministry in our day. Bethany's "Exploring Your Call" for youth is a great program that Barnabas Ltd. is happy to support.”

Kristy Shellenberger
(MA Connections)

KristyAs I enter my first year of study in the MA Connections program at Bethany, I find myself drawn to these two sets of words by Brian McLaren and Frederick Buechner. Being a woman who finds "deep gladness" in the combination of searching, struggling, and "questing" around the subject of the divine, I have found a home at Bethany: a home that provides the space and the people, the encouragement and the instruction