Category: Ecumenical Institute News

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute Launches Doctor of Ministry

A new Doctor of Ministry degree, to be offered in the Ecumenical Institute, was approved last week by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Earlier in the month, the degree was accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (the premier accreditor among seminaries).

The program, directed by the Rev. Dr. Jason Poling, is now receiving applications for admission. The inaugural course is Reading Scripture, taught in DMin intensives this fall by Dr. Mike Gorman, world-renowned biblical theologian and Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology.

Learn more in our DMin press release, dedicated web page, or by contacting Director of Recruitment Kaye Guidugli.

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2019 Holocaust Memorial

Since 1985, St. Mary’s Seminary & University has held a yearly Yom HaShoah service. This year’s Holocaust service focused on justice and accountability, which has been an important theme at St. Mary’s throughout this academic year. Students from both the Ecumenical Institute and the School of Theology—including Mark DeCelles, Marton Lonart, James Holman, Evan Ponton, and Patty Ruppert—planned the event.

The service was patterned around the lighting of the St. Mary’s Yom HaShoah menorah candles. The prayer service included a reading from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, several psalms of lament, prayers, and memoirs shared by seminarian Marton Lonart from an interview with his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. As the service concluded, participants were invited to light their own candles from the menorah as a sign of their commitment to never forgot and to advocate for the vulnerable among us.

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Celebrating the Life of Sister Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND

Former EI instructor Sister Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND entered eternal life on February 28, 2019. Sister Rose Mary taught on 23 different occasions at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute from 1994 to 2011 in the area of spirituality. Many, many students were the recipients of her knowledge and wisdom. Her courses included Group Spiritual Direction; Theology & Practice of Prayer; Spiritual Disciplines; Introduction to Spiritual Direction; God, Creation & the Spiritual Life (with Dr. George Fisher); Science, Creation, and Theology (with Dr. George Fisher); and Conversion (with Dr. Michael Gorman). Her evaluations were always glowing, with comments such as “I consider it a real honor to be in Sister Rose Mary’s class.” “Sister Rose Mary is a magnificent model of prayer.” “She [teaches] with wisdom and gentle humor.”  “Her honesty and openness were soothing.”  In the 2006-07 academic year, she was selected as a Dunning Distinguished Lecturer at the EI.

A Memorial Mass will be offered on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 10:30 AM at the Chapel of Villa Assumpta. Contributions in memory of Sister Rose Mary may be made to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, 6401 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21212.

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EI Staff New Staff Hires & Updates

Dean Laytham is pleased to welcome new colleagues to St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, as well as announce one change in title.

Kaye Guidugli will succeed Patty Rath (who is retiring) as Director of Recruitment and Advancement. Kaye is an EI alum (MAT 2010) who has worked for many years in higher education (University of Maryland system). Kaye’s work there focused especially on providing access and promoting success for all students. Kaye begins work January 11.

Rev. Jason Poling, DMin, will be our Director of the Doctor of Ministry program. This part-time (5 hrs/week) position has already commenced, so that Dr. Poling can help lead us through the DMin accreditation process. Dr. Poling is an EI alum (MAT 2007) and long-serving board member. He is currently Priest-in-Charge, St. Andrew’s (Pasadena) and All Saints’ (Reisterstown).

Marcia Hancock is our new part-time Billing Specialist (succeeding Teresa Guion in a modified position). She has bookkeeping skill, computer expertise, and patience. The latter has been especially handy as Marcia is learning the new position at our busiest time of the year.

Dr. Rebecca Hancock’s title has been changed to Assistant Dean of Student Services, reflecting more accurately the full scope of her administrative work with faculty, students, and directing the MDiv partnership. Doubtless all who have worked with Dr. Hancock will want to congratulate her on this accomplishment.

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Patty Rath to Retire in January 2019

With deep appreciation for her extraordinary service, Dean Laytham announces the impending retirement of Patty Rath on January 25, 2019. For fifteen years, Patty (MAT, 1999) has been the welcoming face of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, assisting hundreds of prospective students with their entrance into theological education. Patty has been an able advocate for St. Mary’s, an hospitable recruiter with prospects, and an indefatigable and generous colleague. In retirement she plans to spend more time with her grandchildren, while continuing to support and participate in the public and alumni activities of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. We thank her for her service, and wish her all God’s blessings.

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Experience the Spirituality & Hospitality of the Taizé Community

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute is pleased to welcome Brother John of Taizé in January 2019. We invite you to join us for one of several opportunities to learn about the hospitality and spirituality of the Taize community from Brother John.

Taizé Prayer Service | January 18, 7 pm
Free and open to the public

Taizé Workshop | January 19, 2:30 – 7:30 pm
Registration required ($35, includes light dinner)

Taizé: Community, Spirituality Theology | January 7-22
January Intensive Course 
Led by professors Mark Gorman, ThD, Michael Gorman, PhD, & Brother John of Taizé.

For more information, contact Rebecca Hancock (410.864.4202).

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Dr. Al Hathaway, Sr. Given William Donald Schaefer Award

Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway Sr., pastor of Union Baptist Church, was awarded the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Baltimore City on November 1, 2018. Dr. Hathaway is a graduate of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute (MA in Church Ministries, 2001) and a member of the Executive Board for the EI. He is being recognized for his decades of civic leadership, for being a strong voice for social justice and civil rights, and for nourishing and strengthening the faith of his community.

Each year the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award is presented by the Comptroller to the individuals and organizations in each county and Baltimore City best exemplifying William Donald Schaefer’s lifelong commitment to helping people. The William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award was created to honor the legacy of public service exemplified by former Governor, Comptroller, and Baltimore City Mayor William Donald Schaefer. One winner is selected from each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.

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Dr. Willie James Jennings to Give 2018 Dunning Lecture

This year’s Dunning Lecture, “Saving Christianity from the Racial State” will be given by Dr. Willie James Jennings on Thursday, November 8, 7:30 pm in Laubacher Hall. 

Dr. Willie James Jennings is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at Yale University Divinity School. Dr. Jennings is a systematic theologian who teaches in the areas of theology, black church and Africana studies, as well as post-colonial and race theory. Dr. Jennings is the author of The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, one of the most important books in theology written in the last 25 years and a standard text read in colleges, seminaries, and universities.  Dr. Jennings is also the recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his groundbreaking work on race and Christianity. Dr. Jennings recently authored a commentary on the Book of Acts, which won the Reference Book of the Year Award from The Academy of Parish Clergy.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested.

Download a flyer for the event here, or contact Rebecca Hancock (410.864.4202) for more information. 

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New Director of MDiv Partnerships

Dean Brent Laytham is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Rebecca Hancock as Director of MDiv Partnerships for St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. Dr. Hancock will add this responsibility to her current portfolio as Coordinator of Communications, Operations, and Student Services. Students in the Ecumenical Institute have long known Dr. Hancock as an engaging professor of Old Testament. After she took on student services, students have also found her to be a wise and compassionate advisor. She will bring all of her academic experience and relational gifts to bear on the work of advising all MDiv bound students, and administering partner relationships. “I’ve experienced firsthand how transformative a strong MDiv program can be,” Dr. Hancock wrote, “and welcome the opportunity to support students seeking an accessible path to an MDiv.”

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Taylor Branch to Speak at EI Academic Convocation

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the 2018-2019 academic year. The EI will begin its jubilee with an academic convocation on Wednesday, September 12, at 7 pm in our chapel. The convocation speaker is Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Parting the Waters: America in the King Years. Taylor Branch is especially well-positioned to remind us of the situation in 1968 when Cardinal Shehan and Episcopal Bishop Harry Lee Doll announced a new experiment in ecumenical theological education in founding the EI. Students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the EI are invited to join us as together we commemorate a bold beginning, celebrate a faithful history, and anticipate an engaging future.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Rebecca Hancock at rhancock@stmarys.edu or 410.864.4202.

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