Category: Ecumenical Institute News

Ecumenical Prayer Service Well Attended

Unity-lector-1 The January 20 Service of Prayer for Christian Unity was attended by a diverse group—seminarians from the School of Theology and Ecumenical Institute students, along with faculty members from both divisions. Pastors from several Roland Park churches vested and joined in the processional. With President-Rector, Rev. Thomas Hurst, P.S.S., presiding, seminarians and students read Scripture and offered prayer. The sermon, “A bucket, a mountain, a table, and … the savior of the world” (John 4:1-42), was preached by Rev. Dr. Brent Laytham, Dean of the Ecumenical Institute, who brought fresh insight to the surprising encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. The St. Mary’s Schola, forming a small circle in the center of the Chapel, offered the Russian Orthodox chant of St. Symeon’s Prayer. With assistance from Dean Laytham, Rev. Daniel Grigassy, OFM, Associate Professor of Liturgical Theology, planned the service, which beautifully reflected the call that is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

EI Recognizes Coleman of Divine Hearts

Pamela Coleman of Divine Hearts, Inc., with Wanda Duckett The Ecumenical Institute recently gave its “Making a Difference Award” to Pamela Coleman, the founder and President of Divine Hearts, Inc., The Rev. Dr. Wanda Duckett, chair of Advancement, presented Coleman with the award and a gift basket. Divine Hearts is a grassroots organization meant to uplift, inspire, and encourage women and children to achieve greatness. Coleman believes that everyone deserves a chance to obtain the best in life. Divine Hearts sponsors Back to School Drives, self esteem workshops, Thanksgiving and Christmas Events, Stepping Stones to Employment/Financial Rejuvenation Seminars, and opportunities to volunteer at local shelters. The Ecumenical Institute gives “Making a Difference Awards” to twelve individuals and organizations in the Baltimore area who serve the most needy among us.

EI Honors Hartnett of Food for Thought

Sister Mary Ann Hartnett, SSND of Food for Thought, Inc., with students The Ecumenical Institute recently gave a “Making a Difference Award” to Sister Mary Ann Hartnett, SSND, director of Food For Thought, Inc., which provides after-school programs and tutoring to inner city children. Now in its 24th year, the program is located at Archbishop Borders School in Baltimore, and its participants are largely Latino. Fr. Bob Leavitt says that Sr. Mary Ann, a graduate of the Ecumenical Institute, is “tireless in her service to the poor.” The “Making a Difference Awards” are given to twelve individuals and organizations in the Baltimore area who serve the most needy among us.   

EI Awards Viva House for Making a Difference

Brendan Walsh of Viva House The Ecumenical Institute is giving “Making a Difference Awards” to twelve individuals and organizations in the Baltimore area who serve the most needy among us. Nominated by faithful supporters of the Ecumenical Institute, recipients are selected by the Advancement Committee, which delivers a gift basket along with the award. Meet recipient Brendan Walsh, director of Baltimore’s Viva House, a Catholic Worker House established in the late 1960s and located on Mount Street in the middle of West Baltimore’s drug ghetto. He and his wife Willa Bickham live there and serve lunch twice a week to as many as 210 homeless men and women. Walsh is said to be full of Christ’s compassion for the weak as well as moral outrage against what he perceives as a heartless culture.

EI Receives $100,000 Endowment Gift

EI-Hedeman_Toole_ Laytham The EI is pleased to announce its receipt of $100,000 to endow The Rev. Dr. George Gray Toole Course in Christian Worship. The generous gift was given by Mrs. Betsy Hedeman to honor the memory of her husband, William Heller Hedeman, by honoring the legacy of pastor-scholar, Rev. Dr. George Gray Toole who had been their pastor during his 26-year pastorate at Towson Presbyterian Church. A member of the EI faculty for close to three decades, Dr. Toole teaches worship and preaching. The gift will endow one course in worship each year.

Dr. Stanley Hauerwas to Lecture October 2nd

Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, will be on campus Thursday, October 2 and will deliver a 7 pm public lecture, “Suffering Presence.” In 1986, Hauerwas published a landmark critique of Christian bioethics titled Suffering Presence: Theological Reflections on Medicine, the Mentally Handicapped, and the Church. Now looking back over the quarter century since, his lecture will focus on how Christians should care for one another through the office of medicine. Dr. Hauerwas was named “America’s Best Theologian” by Time Magazine in 2001. The lecture, free and open to the public, will take place at 7 pm in Laubacher Hall and will also serve as the kickoff for  the Ecumenical Institute’s new program, CONNECT: Faith, Health & Medicine. Following the lecture, CONNECT students will gather with Dr. Hauerwas for their first class. Neither tickets nor reservations are required. For more information: 410/864-4200,

E.I. Launching CONNECT: Faith, Health & Medicine

connect banner On October 2, the Ecumenical Institute will launch CONNECT: Faith, Health & Medicine, a new program for health care professionals, ministry professionals, and interested lay persons. CONNECT will focus on the integration of faith traditions and medical practices into a holistic understanding of healthy persons, congregations, communities, and institutions. This 8-month program leads to 9 graduate credits or various professional credits, depending on student need. The program will kick off on October 2 at 7 pm with a public lecture by Dr. Stanley Hauerwas. See the program overview for details. For more information or to register, contact program director Dr. Pat Fosarelli (410/864-4204).

Rowan Williams Delivers 2014 Dunning Lecture

2014_Williams On Thursday, April 3, Bishop Rowan Williams (the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury) delivered the 2014 Dunning Lecture, titled “Theology as a Way of Life,” to a record audience. Approximately 600 people gathered in Laubacher Hall and two simulcast areas to hear Williams’ winsome invitation to “theological behavior” that is unafraid of self-scrutiny, patient with life’s deepest mysteries, and hospitable to conversation. Inviting hearers to reflect on moments of new possibility and on practices of prayer and contemplation, Williams concluded that “what it all adds up to is joy.”

James D. G. Dunn Delivers the Dunning Lecture

James D. G. Dunn Delivers the Dunning Lecture St. Mary’s Laubacher Hall was close to full on November 20, when Dr. James D. G. Dunn delivered the Ecumenical Institute’s annual Dunning Lecture to over 250 eager listeners. The lecture, “Jesus as Remembered by John,” was followed by a lively period of Q&A and discussion. Hearts and Minds Books of Dallastown, PA sold copies of his many books, and Dunn graciously signed for all who cued up.