Category: Ecumenical Institute News

Ecumenical Institute Partners for New DMin Program

Laytham and Bevere 4.27.16-contrast600x406St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute has announced a partnership with Ashland Theological Seminary offering access to a Doctor of Ministry program, that combines the Ecumenical Institute’s strengths with an existing program’s advantages. Dr. Matthew Bevere, Ashland’s Associate Dean for the Doctor of Ministry, was here on campus April 27-29. He and Dr. Brent Laytham, Dean of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, offered an introduction to the new program, and individuals interested in applying were able to meet with Dr. Bevere.

Students in the new DMin program will complete 40 percent of their coursework with the EI’s exceptional faculty teams, ecumenical student body, and accessible class schedule, then continue the remaining 60 percent of their courses and their final Doctor of Ministry project through Ashland. The degree will be conferred by Ashland Theological Seminary. DMin courses will be offered on the St. Mary’s campus beginning fall 2016.

For more information, contact Patty Rath (410.864.4203).



Annual Dinner Celebrates Class of 2016

On Saturday, April 30, the class of 2016 and their guests gathered, along with members of the administration, faculty and staff, for the EI Annual Dinner. Always a highlight of the graduation season, this event not only celebrates the soon-to-be graduates but also announces the outstanding achievement awards, which this year went to:

Gary Staszak – The Maryland Bible Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biblical Studies
Paula Waite – The Deans’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theological Studies
Alaina Jenkins & Kimberlee Piper – The Deans’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Study & Practice of Ministry

Dr. Drew Strait was named the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer for the year. Dr. Laytham also announced the retirement of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Culbertson and thanked him for 28 excellent years on the EI faculty and Board committees.


Holocaust Remembrance

Holocaust Remembrance_159

From the first blast of the shofar to its final, haunting note, St. Mary’s annual Yom HaShoah service was a moving and memorable interfaith prayer service. Planned and led by members of the Richman-Linehan Course in Jewish-Christian studies, it featured an address by Holocaust survivor Mr. Herbert Hane, prayer from the Psalms, Yom Kippur, and Taize, and an original litany. This was St. Mary’s Seminary & University’s 32nd annual Holocaust Remembrance service.

Between the lighting of the fifth and sixth candle on the Holocaust Menorah, the words “Forgiveness is a seed for Peace” were proclaimed in eight different languages, suggesting the amazing diversity of this class. St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute professors Dr. Rebecca Hancock and Rabbi Dr. Avram Reisner have been co-teaching the “Ten Commandments” with twenty-two students, including a typically diverse group of EI students, seven seminarians, and two visiting students from Towson University’s Jewish Studies program. The integrity and power of the service bore witness to the great collegiality the classmates have developed for one another, as well as their deep care for the occasion.



Festival of Preaching April 15-16


Three notable preachers will keynote St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute’s second Festival of Preaching, April 15-16. The festival’s focus is “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – The Preacher as Public Theologian.”

The festival begins at 7 pm with Dr. Arthur Sutherland’s talk, “Where Have All the Prophets Gone?: The Theological Role of the Preacher in the Public Square,” followed by the preaching of Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington.  The evening concludes by considering “After Ferguson, Charleston and Sandtown: Preaching and Public Theology Today.”

Saturday, Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary of Douglas Memorial Church will preach at 9, followed by discussion of “Half Truths and Little Lies: Partisan Politics and Preaching Today.”

The morning concludes with Dr. C. Anthony Hunt’s address, “I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Prophetic Preaching” and a discussion of “Prophetic Preaching and Public Theology for Today and Tomorrow” by Dr. Reginald Thomas (moderator) Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane, Dr. Lisa Weah, Dr. C. Anthony Hunt.

Lunch is provided in the refectory, followed by 7 exciting workshop choices:

  • Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway – “Crying in the Wilderness: Developing Community Partnerships”
  • Rev. Rodney Hudson – “Dry Bones Can Live: Preaching for Community Change”
  • Rev. Dr. Ruby Gilliam – “Prophetic Church Leadership for Women”
  • Rev. Michael Parker– “Preaching a New Song: Engaging a New Generation”
  • Rev. Dr. Christopher Dreisbach – “Just Policing: Developing Community-Police Partnerships”
  • Rev. Dr. Reginald Thomas – “Preaching for Church Growth”
  • Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt – “Foundations of Prophetic Preaching”

Our final preacher is Bishop Walter Scott Thomas of New Psalmist Baptist Church, with the day concluding at 3:30.

The $50 cost includes the entire program, including lunch and beverage break. Register online at


St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute Rebrands

Rebrand Debut

On Tuesday evening, more than 100 friends of the EI gathered in Laubacher Hall to see, hear and celebrate the rebranding of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute.

After extensive consultation with constituents and consultants, the newer academic division of America’s first Catholic seminary has developed a new trademark image–a seal mirroring the traditional seal of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, but with a woven cross at the center to to picture how diverse learners are united in a common pursuit—faith seeking understanding.

Dean Brent Laytham explained that while the legal name isn’t changing, henceforth the common usage will be “St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute,” recognizing that some constituents typically say “St. Mary’s,” while others say “Ecumenical Institute.” This new nomenclature identifies where we are, who we are, and what we are attempting all in one.

Finally, Laytham said, a new tagline will be used to verbalize “the motives of our students and the energy in our classes”: Seeking wisdom. Nourishing faith. Engaging community. 




The Crucifixion According to Fleming Rutledge

Rutledge & Gorman

The Rev. Fleming Rutledge has published a major new study of the Cross—one that will rival, in its own way, John Stott’s The Cross of Christ (380 pp., 1986) and Raymond Brown’s 2-volume The Death of the Messiah (1664 pp., 1994), Rutledge’s 620-page book, released by Eerdmans September 4, is titled The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ.

On Wednesday night, December 9, the peripatetic preacher and Episcopal priest presented the message of her new book to an eager audience at St. Mary’s Seminary & University. The event was hosted by St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute.

Rutledge began to write the volume 20 years ago when she was struck by the absence of the preaching of the Cross in the churches she visited. “Our pastor says preaching the Cross is not a good tool for growing congregations,” she quoted one lay person as saying. “No, it is not a good tool,” she responded, intimating that preaching the Cross should not be a tool at all. Preaching the Cross is of the essence of Christianity.



Rev. Fleming Rutledge to Speak at the E.I.

RutledgeOn December 9, 2015 the Ecumenical Institute will host the Reverend Fleming Rutledge, who will speak about her latest book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ. Rev. Rutledge, an Episcopal priest, is widely recognized in North America and the UK as preacher, lecturer, and teacher of other preachers. Her published sermon collections have received acclaim across denominational lines. Two members of the Ecumenical Institute faculty will respond: The Rev. Dr. Amy Richter, Professor of Biblical Studies and rector of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis, and Dr. Michael J. Gorman, Raymond Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology. (Rev. Rutledge studied with Fr. Raymond Brown, S.S.)

The lecture will take place in The Forum on the St. Mary’s campus beginning at 7 pm. Doors will open at 6 pm. Rev. Rutledge’s books will be available to purchase through Hearts & Minds Books of Dallastown, PA, and a book signing will take place after the lecture.

Seating in The Forum is limited. Thus, while the lecture is free, tickets will be required. Please CLICK HERE to register and obtain tickets.


Registration Open for Conference with N.T. Wright

Wright-speaking-300x195Registration has now opened for the N.T. Wright Conference, The Royal Power of the Cross: New Priest, New Temple & the Gospel Narrative. Lunch lecture-conversations have also been set featuring Ecumenical Institute faculty:

  • Mark Gorman, organist and theologian, examines texts and tunes of some common hymns and worship songs on the crucifixion, asking “Do They Sing the Cross ‘Wright’?” and “Where and why do they differ from Wright?”
  • Rebecca Hancock explores the interplay of “The Cross, Ancient Traditions, and Theological Imagination” in the Second Temple period, discussing its impact on ancient faith communities as well as for contemporary Jewish Christian dialogue.
  • David Greiser, pastor and homiletics professor, mines some of Wright’s holy week sermons from the synoptics, seeking “A Wright View of the Work of Christ.”
  • Michael Gorman, St. Mary’s Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies & Theology, explores “Wright Thoughts on the Cross & Christian Mission”—themes in the work of Wright and others, including himself, that impact the shape of contemporary Christian mission in light of certain abuses of the cross in the past.

This one-day conference, featuring world-renowned biblical theologian N. T. Wright, is Thursday, November 19, in Laubacher Hall on the St. Mary’s campus. The day (9 am – 4:15 pm) includes three sessions with Wright: two morning and one afternoon. A catered lunch will be served at various Roland Park churches (bus transportation provided) along with a lecture-conversation that focuses on one dimension of the implications of Wright’s presentations.

Conference fee: $100 (overnight accommodations at an additional cost). 1 CEU available for persons who attend the November 18 public lecture and all conference sessions, .8 CEU’s for the conference only.

Further Details and Registration at:

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