Centers and Institutes

The Stead Center for Ethics and Values Launches New Website and New Venture

Stead Center Homepage
New Stead Center Website Homepage

The Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values (Stead Center) at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has launched a new website, steadcenter.com, a first step in developing a new model for implementing the center’s mission. The website serves as a hub for promoting discourse, events, online education, and more in the areas of religion, theology, and ethics.

Central to the new website is the section titled “InStead.” The name, InStead, is more than a pun. Its purpose is to promote different ways of thinking and civil discourse along a wide range of issues and topics. The articles and essays are written by authors reflecting a spectrum of political, ethical, and religious perspectives. Their opinions are stated clearly and directly, but also respectfully, designed to prompt further reflection.

Dr. Brent Waters, director of the Stead Center and the Jerre and Mary Joy Stead professor of Christian social ethics at Garrett-Evangelical, sees his role as a curator for the website. “Our purpose is not to tell the reader what to think,” said Waters. “Instead, we intend on providing resources that help develop one’s own thinking. Ethics is both a complex and beguiling discipline, but well worth one’s time to ponder in a purposeful and leisurely manner. The website will seek to foster a conversation, one that is thoughtful and respectful.”

Currently on the site you will find articles in political, theological, and bio ethics. Dr. Sondra Wheeler at Wesley Theological Seminary decries the current state of vitriolic political rhetoric. Dr. Gilbert Meilaender, Valparaiso University, offers a thoughtful piece on the necessity of ethical thought and action to move forward rather than backward. Dr. Steve Long, Southern Methodist University, tackles the provocative question of what theology adds to ethics. Finally, Dr. Devan Stahl at Baylor University, exposes the uneven medical care patients with disabilities are receiving during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the months ahead, one or two articles will be added to the website weekly. Book reviews, featured series, and interviews will be posted, along with audio and video resources, creating a searchable archive for a wide variety of audiences.

Looking to the center’s future, the principal objective is to position the Stead Center as a semi-autonomous venture that will serve academic, professional, and ecclesial constituencies in new and innovative ways. “Simply stated, the goal of this venture is to take the Stead Center to the people,” Waters said. “Launching the website is the first step of many.”

Proposed steps include the sponsorship of research colloquia, public lectures, and conferences. Programming for religious, lay, business, and corporate leaders are also being considered. Information on sponsorships, events, and programming will be housed at steadcenter.com, with an emphasis on delivering an online and on-demand experience.

An endowed center, the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values (Stead Center) draws together seminary resources, graduate professional schools, area pastors, and laity to address the compelling ethical issues facing contemporary society, e.g., technological interventions at the beginning and ending of life; war and religion; the plight of children in the cities; the environment; and human experimentation. It seeks to bring a theological perspective to these issues of ecumenical and international scope.

To learn more, go to steadcenter.com.

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.