Category: Ecumenical Institute News

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.”


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 or 410.864.4202.


Dr. Arthur Sutherland Awarded Funding for “Prophet with a Pencil” Initiative

Dr. Arthur Sutherland was awarded funding by the University of Virginia’s Project on Lived Theology for an initiative studying the theological framework of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The initiative includes a task force of 10 scholars and practitioners who will meet in Birmingham in June for a three-day research retreat at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. After the June meeting, the task force will publish a collection of essays and host a public forum on the theological ideas and questions raised by King in 1963 that are still relevant today.

The mission of the Project on Lived Theology is to clarify the interconnection of theology and lived experience and promote academic resources in pursuit of social justice and human flourishing. The Project offers a variety of familiar and unconventional spaces where theologians, scholars, students, practitioners, and non-academics can demonstrate the importance of theological ideas in the public conversation about civic responsibility and social progress. The project was established in 2000 with a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

Find out more about the project HERE.


2018 Holocaust Memorial

This year’s Holocaust Remembrance Service was planned by students and faculty in the Richman-Linehan Course in Jewish Studies, which this year focused on Hospitality. The April 25th Service highlighted the hospitality shown to children who escaped the Nazis through the Kindertransport in the months leading up to World War II. Six stories of children were read, one for each of the candles on the Holocaust Menorah. Attendees were given a card with the name and picture of a child, and invited to participate by standing as  the name and story of the child was read.



Dr. Strait Accepts Faculty Position in Indiana

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute celebrates the appointment of Dr. Drew Strait as Assistant Professor of New Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. The AMBS announcement describes what every one of his EI students already knows: Dr. Strait is a masterful teacher, an excellent scholar, and a passionate follower of Jesus.

Arriving in 2013 as a doctoral candidate still completing his dissertation, Strait taught Greek, Orientation to Biblical Studies, and New Testament (13 classes in all), becoming Professor of New Testament (part-time) and receiving the Dunning Distinguished Lecturer award. Students have regularly penned accolades on their course evaluations such as brilliant, wonderful, excellent, fantastic, and exceptional. He will be sorely missed at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, but his legacy will remain: students, colleagues, and alums whose understanding and love of Scripture grew deeper and stronger through Dr. Strait’s teaching.


Dr. Freeman Hrabowski Gives the 2018 Carroll Lecture

On April 12, 2018, the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council, St. Mary’s Seminary & University, and St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute co-hosted Dr. Freeman Hrabowski for the 2018 Carroll lecture. This year’s lecture focused on where we are 50 years after Dr. King’s assassination. Dr. Hrabowski reflected on his participation in the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade, and the impact of his childhood experiences on his philosophy of education. The audience was challenged by Dr. Hrabowski’s provocative question “What is our society doing for the least of us?” He also reminded us to hope, as Dr. King did, that we can learn to trust one another. In an era where language is often divisive, Dr. Hrabowski’s words stand as a prophetic call to embrace speech that unites by remembering our common humanity and our vocation to the office of citizen.



Joint Service for 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

On March 11, 2018, St. Mary’s Seminary & University hosted an ecumenical prayer service for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The service in St. Mary’s chapel marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with common prayer focused on the journey from conflict to communion. Archbishop William Lori and Bishop William Gohl presided, assisted by Bishop Dennis Madden and Rev. Dr. Eric T. Campbell. Catholic participants included the St. Mary’s faculty and seminarians, and faculty from Mount St. Mary’s. Lutheran participants included seminarians from United Lutheran Seminary (both the Gettysburg and Philadelphia campuses) and Princeton, area pastors, and Dr. Kathryn Johnson, who traveled from Chicago to represent Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

You can read Archbishop Lori’s full homily from the event here.


EI Alumni Day 2018

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute will hold its 4th Annual Alumni Day on Saturday, October 6, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm.  Beginning with a prayer service and ending with lunch, the event will include a presentation by Rev. Chris Skinner, PhD. Dr. Skinner was a member of the EI faculty from 2005 through 2010 and was named the Dunning Distinguished Lecturer for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship during the 2008-2009 academic year. Many will remember him as their dynamic and engaging New Testament professor. Dr. Skinner is currently Associate Professor of Theology at Loyola University Chicago. Go HERE for details or to register.


2018 Carroll Lecture

St. Mary’s Seminary & University is pleased to announce The 2018 Carroll Lecture Thursday, April 12th, 2018 | 7:30 pm | Laubacher Hall

Speaker: Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III

President of UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992, is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He was named by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads (2011). His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.”

Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008), he also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2011), the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award (2011), and the Heinz Award (2012) for contributions to improving the “Human Condition.”

For more about Dr. Hrabowski, see

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

Co-sponsored by the
Central Maryland Ecumenical Council and St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute

For details: • 410.864.4202 • 5400 Roland Avenue • Baltimore, MD 21210

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2018 Carroll Lecturer Featured in News

Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, our 2018 Carroll Lecture lecturer, was the front page feature in the Baltimore Sun’s Monday edition. The story, “‘A powerful and frightening experience:’ UMBC’s Hrabowski recalls King’s call for the Children’s Crusade of 1963,” was timed for the official Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Dr. Hrabowski’s Carroll Lecture at St. Mary’s on April 12, 7:30 pm will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. President Hrabowski is uniquely positioned to reflect on where we are 50 years later–both in Baltimore and in our nation. The Seminary’s 2018 Carroll Lecture is an ecumenical endeavor, jointly sponsored by the Seminary, the Ecumenical Institute, and the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council .