Rev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt, Rueben P. Job Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation, to Retire
December 21, 2020
Rev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt, Rueben P. Job associate professor of spiritual formation, will retire on December 31, 2020, after over seven years as a faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In addition to regular teaching duties, Schmidt is director of the Rueben P. Job Institute for Spiritual Formation (Job Institute) at Garrett-Evangelical, director of the master of arts in spiritual formation and direction, and supervisor of the doctor of ministry in spiritual direction track. Upon his retirement, Schmidt will be named a Senior Scholar of Garrett-Evangelical.
“The seminary is blessed by the gifts Dr. Schmidt brought as the inaugural holder of the Rueben P. Job Chair of Spiritual Formation,” said Dr. Lallene J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical. “He has been tireless in his dedication to course development, creative collaboration on certificate programs, supervision of related specializations in two degree programs, and advising numerous students. His legacy provides a strong foundation for the Rueben P. Job Institute for Spiritual Formation and for the ministries of many generations of students to come.”
Schmidt was the first person to hold the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation – a first among Protestant seminaries in North America – when it was endowed in 2013. He oversaw the design and implementation of the master of arts in spiritual formation and direction program and the doctor of ministry in spiritual direction track, both of which also lead to a certificate in spiritual direction. The innovative nature of the degrees and his work with the DMin program, in particular, has led to the largest cohort of DMin students starting at Garrett-Evangelical in January 2021. Schmidt placed the curriculum of the seminary in spirituality on a sound footing, revising both the structure and content of the seminary’s course offerings. Schmidt also expanded the work of the Job Institute through online continuing education courses, book reviews, and curating resources on Christian spirituality, spiritual formation, and spiritual direction. “It has been privilege to build on Garrett’s commitment to the spiritual development of the seminary’s graduates as they seek to serve the church and the world,” Schmidt said.
Prior to coming to Garrett-Evangelical, Schmidt served as the director of spiritual formation and Anglican studies, as well as associate professor of Christian spirituality at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. He has also served as canon educator and director of programs in spirituality and religious education at Washington National Cathedral; as special assistant to the president and provost of La Salle University in Philadelphia; as a fellow of the American Council on Education; and as dean of St. George’s College, Jerusalem.
Schmidt is an ordained Episcopal priest and holds a bachelor’s degree from Asbury College, a master of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a doctor of philosophy from Oxford University, where his original academic work was in New Testament studies. He has published numerous articles and is the author of several books, including Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Luke (Morehouse, 2009), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper One, 2005), and The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times (Abingdon Press, 2013). He is the series editor for the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars’ Conversations with Scripture and is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Catholic Biblical Association, the Oxford Society, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and Spiritual Directors International. Schmidt’s column, “What God Wants for Your Life,” is published on Patheos (www.patheos.com) Progressive Christian portal. His work has also appeared in The Heythrop Journal, The Scottish Journal of Theology, The Journal for Preachers, Feminist Theology, Time Magazine, and United Methodist Insight (among others). Serving beyond the church and the academy, he has also served as the patient safety and ethics advisor on Institutional Review Boards and Data Safety Monitoring Boards for the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and Allergan, Inc.
Garrett-Evangelical is grateful for Schmidt and his dedication to the spiritual formation of both laity and clergy. We wish him well in retirement as he returns to sacramental ministry as vice rector at Church of the Good Shepherd in Brentwood, Tennessee. More information will be coming soon about a virtual community gathering in January 2021 to celebrate Schmidt and his ministry at Garrett-Evangelical.
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 450 students from various denominations and cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.