Welcome to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary! For over 168 years we have prepared spiritually adventurous, intellectually daring, and deeply faithful leaders for service to the Church, the academy, and diverse cultures and settings. Over the course of that long history, much has remained constant—our Christian identity and purpose, our Methodist tradition and ethos, our ecumenical spirit and commitment, and our determination to form and equip servant leaders who are ready, willing, and able to lead courageously in challenging times.
What has remained consistent through the histories of Garrett Biblical Institute, Evangelical Theological Seminary, and the Chicago Training School has been an unwavering, core commitment to the formation of Christian leaders.
These institutional histories live on in Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s core values of critical and creative reason, evangelical commitment, and prophetic participation in society.
Through our Office of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, and with generous support from a variety of grants and foundations, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary seeks to provide new initiatives and programs in response to the changing needs of theological education, the Church, and the world.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary does not discriminate, or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification prohibited by law in admissions, recruitment, financial aid, employment, housing, services, or in its educational programs or activities.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has a long history of advocating for social justice and being committed to women and the Black Church experience. Through the 1920s merger between Garrett Biblical Institute and the Chicago Training school, the scope of Garrett’s vision for training Christian leaders expanded to include leaders of church-based institutions for the betterment of social conditions and significant numbers of women.
Although Garrett Biblical Institute had African American students from as early as the 1880s, the racial and ethnic diversity of the institution increased notably from the 1950s. The service of Dr. Grant Shockley marked the inclusion of African American faculty members, and the seminary began to work deliberately to attract African American students and faculty members. In the 1970s, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience was founded at Garrett-Evangelical to empower and train persons to be prophetic “leaders of leaders” for the African American religious community and society-at-large.
In 1974, Garrett-Evangelical formally affirmed three institutional commitments:
Since that time, additional institutional commitments were created to address the changing needs of the culture and of the student body. We continue to establish centers, including the Asian/Asian American Ministries Center and the Hispanic-Latinx Center, and institutes, such as the Rueben P. Job Institute for Spiritual Formation and the Styberg Preaching Institute, to enrich seminary life; to allow students, faculty, and the church to interact in programs of mutual interest; and to bring new perspectives to the community.
In 2016, the Board of Trustees affirmed the purpose statement of Sacred Worth, a Garrett-Evangelical student LGBTQIA+ and allies group, which reads as follows:
Sacred Worth at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is a student group that seeks to advocate for the dignity, rights, and issues of the LGBTQ+ communities and their allies. It is a place of fellowship and support for all persons. We affirm that all persons are of sacred worth, created in the image of God. Every effort is made to recognize the rights of all people and to celebrate each person regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 2015, Garrett-Evangelical worked with two consultants who led Circle of Trust® conversations with faculty, staff, students, and trustees on the topic of LGBTQIA+ inclusive welcome. Our Board of Trustees affirmed the five recommendations for LGBTQIA+ inclusive welcome. In short, the five recommendations were: 1) Pursue curricular and co-curricular changes; 2) Offer coaching, mentoring and vocational counseling for students, particularly those on an UMC ordination track; 3) Commission a task force (comprised of faculty, students, trustees, and staff) to identify specific areas for policy and structural change at the Seminary, 4) Re-examine the 1997 trustees and faculty statements; and 5) Consider how the seminary would “go public” with this statement.
Based on the Board of Trustees affirmations, these action items were included in the Strategic Plan and a team of faculty, staff, students, and trustees was assembled and continues its work today.
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