Every University has its issues and struggles. During 2018, the Seminary campus was abuzz regarding women’s ordination issues while the University campus continued its work to deal with issues resulting from its rich racial and ethnic diversity.
With this as its context the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the Women’s Clergy Network (WCN) invited professor Christina Cleveland, Duke Divinity School, November 1-2, 2018 to speak on the issues of female clergy, race, and diversity. Dr. Christina Cleveland is a fifth-generation African-American minister and an award-winning author. Not disappointing, she pulled deeply from her well of experience and expertise to share with students and faculty alike during the Diversity & Reconciliation Conference.
The conference included an evening dinner and dialogue with theology/religion undergrads and Seminary women pursuing professional ministry. Dr. Cleveland was candid with attendees, sharing with them some of the challenges she has faced in her personal and professional journey. Nicole Harvey-Williams, seminarian and local WCN president recalls, “Dr. Cleveland encouraged us to prepare ourselves for the double challenge of being female and minority in the theological world. She shared, for example, that as a black single woman preacher she was viewed by the white churches she ministered to as potentially promiscuous. While that was uncomfortable to hear as a black female clergy, I took solace in the fact that God sees all of His daughters as precious jewels!”
Full of tips and cautionary tales, Cleveland advised the young women present to, “stay true to who God called you to be no matter what others may say and have a great support network of other women.” The importance of self-care and truth-telling were also stressed. Nicole recalls being reminded that, “the first person with whom we are to be honest is ourselves. We were warned not to engage in the dishonest practice of painting rosy pictures of life in ministry.”
Attendees found the sessions empowering and affirming. Sarah Cadet, seminarian, settled on the fact that, “it is important to take time and acknowledge the traumas you have gone through as a woman in a male dominated society and not pretend as if injustices have not occurred.” She was also sobered by the reality of “the biases that come with being a single female pastor and how that kind of status isn’t always appealing to conferences.“
The Diversity & Reconciliation Conference was not only for students, but was for faculty as well. An impactful segment of the faculty meeting was Dr. Cleveland’s analysis of The Culture Cycle developed by Markus & Conner (2014). With this presentation, Dr. Willie Hucks says, “it became clearer to me that institutions are governed by ideas, and those institutions often and unwittingly influence individuals through their interactions—sometimes adversely.”
The goal of the conference was to engage the campus community in dialog and thought regarding intentionally seeking and implementing significant means of engaging in healing, restoration and reconciliation: factors which are vital for the stability of the wonderfully diverse community that is Andrews University.
For more information about the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, contact Michael Nixon, VP Office of Diversity and Inclusion
by Esther Green, Graduate Assistant, Seminary Deans' Office
In 2016 the Seminary launched a new MDiv chaplaincy concentration which provides the student with all the components needed for chaplaincy endorsement by the Adventist Church and several other Chaplaincy organizations. The former chair of the Christian Ministry department reflects on the value and purpose of this new chaplaincy opportunity.
The gospel commission empowers us through the authority of Jesus Christ to preach, baptize, teach and make disciples among all the peoples of the earth. This forms the foundation of the mission of the church and every member under the banner of Christ. Pastors are called of God, recognized by the body of Christ, and commissioned to lead the redeemed in pursuit of this mission. The Holy Spirit empowers with diverse spiritual gifts that form an interdependent system of ministry designed to meet and satisfy the equally diverse needs of those within and outside the body. In addition, the Spirit prunes and prepares each of God’s children for the miracle of the fruit of transformation that manifests itself in the loving and joy-giving character of our Savior.
The result is an almost irresistible combination of character and spiritual competency that facilitates missional ministry. The character qualifications are universal while the competency qualifications are vastly diverse. This diversity is revealed in the unique gifts that enable individuals within the faith community to serve in markedly different ways while collectively ministering to a broad spectrum of candidates for Christ’s kingdom. So also, it is with pastoral ministry. Even though the primary calling in Matthew 28:18-19 is preaching, baptizing, discipling and teaching, the pattern of Jesus’ service also embraced practical ministry: “…to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to break every yoke?” (Isa 58:6). The variety of needs requires a diversity of calling and giftedness.
In 2014 our beloved chaplain, James North, retired after a career that included 25 years as the Seminary chaplaincy professor. His departure sparked the creativity of our Seminary community regarding the need to focus our chaplaincy course offerings. In the middle of 2015 the Christian Ministry Department with the help of Chaplain Keith Wakefield approved a draft proposal of a Chaplaincy Concentration to the Dean’s office and the Master of Divinity Program. The proposed Concentration consisted of five courses totaling 15 semester hour credits to be merged with the traditional Master of Divinity program. Within 90 days of submitting the proposal, the concept of a Chaplaincy Concentration was processed and approved under the able direction of Dean Moskala.
Encouragement and counsel came from the General Conference and the North American Division Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries departments as well as from the Adventist Health System. Revisions and curricular adjustments were made with the help of Chaplain Johnathan Ward who came to us from Atlanta Children’s Hospital where he had served as staff chaplain for over a decade. Chaplain Ward welcomed over 30 students into the Chaplaincy Concentration during the first year it was offered. This response was a source of joy and gratitude for God’s blessings on the united efforts of all who had captured the vision of chaplaincy education at a time when the market for chaplaincy professions was high. Today Dr. Anna Galeniece, formerly Associate Professor of Applied Theology and Director of the Master of Chaplaincy program at the Adventist University of Africa, directs the chaplaincy program. To God be the glory.
The philosophy upon which the new Concentration was structured included a commitment to the diversity model of interdependent professional specialization. Chaplaincy is a specialized ministry and falls under the overall umbrella of Pastoral Ministry. The Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and Andrews University as an institution hold that chaplaincy is a noble and necessary ministry calling that deserves an equal seat at the table of ministry. Chaplains serve a broad spectrum of organizations including hospitals, correctional institutions, armed forces units, corporations, law enforcement and a variety of other entities who recognize that the people they serve and the employees they retain must be ministered to spiritually in order to maintain a healthy working environment.
Chaplains carry the Seventh-day Adventist worldview into the market place every day. They reflect Adventist values to peers and clients in practical ways that honor the spiritual diversity by respecting the values and beliefs of those they serve. In many cases, the chaplain is not free to openly proselytize and thus faces a delicate line between honoring the call to share faith while maintaining respect for the person served and the policies of the institution. Careful professional education is required to hone the skills necessary to communicate and lift Jesus Christ in these restricted contexts. The Seminary Chaplaincy program offers such skill development along with advanced training in crisis and trauma, death and dying, ethics and philosophy in chaplaincy, and clinical pastoral care. These collectively prepare the Master of Divinity student to enter chaplaincy with skills beyond most of their entry level peers.
We are proud of our chaplaincy program and grateful to those who led and encouraged the process of its development. The vision we have for chaplaincy includes a Clinical Pastoral Care (CPE) center as well as a program for training CPE supervisors which are in short supply in the varied chaplaincy markets. We are excited about the future and solicit your prayers and support as we continue to develop our dreams into ministry reality.
by Stanley E. Patterson, PhD, professor of Christian Ministry
For decades, colleges and universities have worked to achieve diversity. The belief exists that a heterogeneous mix of students matriculating through the halls of academia, sharing living space, eating in dining halls, and socializing in various venues creates an environment that leads to expanding one’s horizons.
According to the U.S. News and World Report’s Campus Ethnic Diversity rankings for 2019, Andrews University ranks third in the nation behind #2 University of Nevada-Las Vegas and #1 Rutgers University i. A casual perusal of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary—the largest of the six schools that comprise Andrews University—reveals that same diversity, as students can be seen who come from every continent on the globe.
This snapshot, in isolation, paints a rosy picture of life on this beautiful campus nestled in the center of Berrien County. No one, however, could rightly claim that more progress cannot be achieved, whether for and by the university as a whole or the seminary in particular. Diversity should be manifested in administrative posts, faculty appointments, and support staff. Such diversity produces specific outcomes that lead to the betterment of the academy, church, and society. Diversity for its own sake produces a self-congratulatory climate that turns a blind eye toward pressing issues that impact the ability of many to chart a course for life.
The Seminary’s Ethnocentrism, Racism, and Social Justice Committee has been tasked with leading the way in terms of realizing an effective diversity. But what does such diversity look like? What becomes the rubric, the measuring stick, for evaluating progress? How will we know we have achieved the overall goal of diversity? We must root the responses to the aforementioned in the context of a biblical worldview.
We first need to define the term ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism connotes seeing individuals and/or people-groups only through one’s own lenses—which have been shaped through one’s culture, upbringing, experiences, and external influences.
In Numbers 12, Miriam—in an effort to maintain her sense of power and prestige, engaged in xenophobia against her sister in-law (v.1). Not only was Miriam distressed that Moses married a non-Hebrew, Ellen G. White implies that a part of Miriam’s antipathy centered on the “somewhat darker complexion” of the Cushites.ii
In Acts 10, it is clear that Peter struggled with his ethnocentric viewpoints—but was willing to reorient his worldview at God’s insistence. After hearing what Cornelius, the centurion, had to say, Peter said “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34, 35, NIV, emphasis supplied.) What is often overlooked in this account is the response of the circumcised believers who accompanied Peter, for “they were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.” (v.45) The outpouring of the Holy Spirit not only conveyed a sense of religious pride for these people, it also signified a power component that was now being distributed to those whom they saw as being unlike them (see v.46).
Scriptural correctives addressing ethnocentrism are not secondary to eternal matters of salvation. Rather, tackling the deep-seated realities of ethnocentrism within the human spirit are part and parcel of the gospel, and are critical if one is to tackle issues pertaining to diversity.
The Majority, the Minority, and Diversity
A biblical worldview necessitates shifts in current stances as they relate to the “majority” and the “minority.” This necessitates examining two more scriptural references. I find Genesis 1:26-28 serves as the linchpin for our understanding of—among other things—the nature of God, nature of humanity, soteriology, and ecclesiology. God’s original plan called for equality and mutual respect in horizontal relationships because God created us in His image and thus sees Himself in each of us. Furthermore, power was to be exercised also within the context of caring for God’s creation, and such caring would result in creation giving of itself in return to the caregivers. It was to be a mutual relationship.
Additionally, Matthew 20:25-28 defines the biblical contours of power dynamics. Zebedee’s wife, sensing the privilege her sons had in being associated with this Rabbi, sought even greater privilege—failing to recognize the equality that the Twelve possessed in the eyes of that Rabbi.[ Those who are in the majority—and by majority, I speak of those who possess resources and/or opportunities and/or privileges—must see all individuals as being equal in the sight of God and put policies, procedures, and practices in place that effect the distribution of those resources, opportunities, and privileges, thus impacting and effecting the overall goal of diversity.
This calls for assisting the minority —whom I define as the disenfranchised and overlooked—to develop resources, experience opportunities, and properly appreciate privileges. This requires mentoring by the majorityiii behalf of the minority in order to effect diversity, which then creates a broadened center of authority that speaks to larger groups and weightier issues. The mother of James and John wanted something akin to an oligarchy. Jesus wanted a group of leaders who were willing to share authority and develop other leaders. Such is needed throughout every level of church governance—from the local church to the General Conference, from the local church school through colleges and universities. More than positive statements to the church and society are at stake because our horizontal relationships with others describe our vertical relationship with God—a God who values diversity and all its benefits.
Policy Shifts and Seminary Diversity
But how can an organization with powerful stakeholders and critical stakes at risk make the policy shifts demanded by a biblical worldview concerning ethnocentrism? While it sounds like a cliché, the only way to make such policy shifts is to just do it . Make the policy shifts without primary regard to personal status or privilege. The primary consideration should center on whether we are reflecting the mind of Christ with our decisions and actions (Phil 2:5). He emptied Himself (v.7), living to serve others (v.7; John 13:14). The example of Christ demonstrates that seeing others as created in God’s image and treating others as one would wish to be treated—while it invariably leads to short-term distress, mistreatment, and abuse—produces intrinsic rewards and eternal joy. Following Christ’s example comes through commitment to Him and dedication to a cause greater than oneself.
Has the Seminary acted to “just do it”? Progress comes incrementally; but that’s not for lack of effort. As it relates to diversifying faculty by race, ethnicity, and gender, search committees run into obstacles not easily seen from the outside. The Christian Ministry Department, which I chair, is not immune to such issues. Nevertheless, we are among the seminary departments that have succeeded in increasing ethnic and gender diversity.
More, however, remains to be done. The seminary has historically diversified its practics departments (Christian Ministry, Discipleship and Religious Education, and World Missions); but has not succeeded to the same degree in other departments such as New Testament, Theology and Philosophy, and Church History—especially as it relates to African-Americans. The Old Testament department has, however, hired an African-American professor who will commence his full-time teaching in Fall 2019. As it relates to the recruitment of African-American professors, Dean Moskala, Associate Dean Teresa Reeve, and the department chairs have been working hard to increasing diversity in all the seminary departments because diversity, like flowers in a botanical garden, creates beauty that could not exist if everything were the same.
[i] For more information, including methodology, access https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities/campus-ethnic-diversity.