Auburn Seminary’s relationship with Union Seminary in New York affords students chance to take in plethora of diversity
When the Rev. Greg Horn was deciding on a seminary to attend more than 20 years ago, it was important for him to find a place that provided a rich, multicultural experience.
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Auburn Seminary at a Glance
A theological school in covenant with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
New York, NY 10027
Each year, several thousand persons, both clergy and laity, participate in nondegree educational programs linking faith and daily life.
Certificate for Presbyterian students graduating from Union Theological Seminary, New York, Certificates of Completion awarded for certain programs, Continuing education units available
Program for Presbyterians at Union, Research on Theological Education, Clergy Couching, Media Training for Religious Leaders, Multi-faith Education
Auburn Seminary educates leaders to meet the challenges of religious and public life. Religious communities seeking to reconcile all people to each other and to God require leaders of great wisdom and skill. To prepare people for these challenges, Auburn sponsors programs on complex issues in religious traditions and contemporary life, gathers critical intelligence about religion and education in our society and encourages thoughtful conversation across the often divisive boundaries of faith, race, class and gender. Auburn also contributes to and cooperates with the work of other institutions, including congregations, seminaries, colleges and religious and social agencies.
History and Location
Auburn Seminary was founded in 1818 in Auburn, New York, to fill a need for ministers hardy enough for frontier life. Its founders were progressive Presbyterians who believed passionately in the value of education.
Auburn was one of the first institutions to train women and missionaries for service in Asia.
By the second half of the 1930s, Auburn, like many other seminaries in nonurban settings, faced steadily declining enrollments and financial hardship. In 1939, after several attempts to associate with other institutions, Auburn accepted the offer of President Henry Sloane Coffin to share Union Seminary's campus in New York City, moved to Union and built Auburn Hall for the use of both seminaries in 1950. These two independent institutions have enjoyed a cooperative partnership ever since.
What programs does Auburn Theological Seminary offer?
Auburn pursues its mission in three ways:
- Lifelong learning for lay leaders and clergy through innovative educational programs.
- Research that advances theological education through Auburn's Center for the Study of Theological Education.
- Education for emerging leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in partnership with Union Seminary.
Auburn's present and future are linked to a new frontier — the changing landscape of religious life in America. Auburn's educational programs address the pressing issues for people of faith in a changing world: the dynamics of congregational life, the interplay of personal faith and the professions and the pursuit of justice in a global context. In addition to its ecumenical and multifaith programs for a broad audience, Auburn offers courses, financial aid and counseling for Presbyterian students in Union Seminary's degree programs.
Established in 1991, Auburn's Center for the Study of Theological Education is the only research institute in the nation focusing specifically and comprehensively on theological education. It identifies key challenges, explores them in depth and shares the results with theological schools, religious communities and other educational institutions.
Meet an Auburn student: Kellie Anderson-Picallo
“My faith and love of Jesus Christ are at the center of all I do,” says Kellie Anderson-Picallo.
The television producer and writer, wife and mother of two says the past few years have been a time of tremendous change and spiritual awakening as ministry and theology became her passions.
“New York is where I’m supposed to be,” says the third-generation Presbyterian and candidate for ordination under care of the Presbytery of New York City. “I value the partnership of Presbyterian support through Auburn Theological Seminary with the ecumenical emphasis and academic excellence of Union Theological Seminary.
“Seminary isn’t easy. To battle, deconstruct and challenge the very faith foundation that holds you together is exhausting. I’ve had to walk away from everything I believe — the cross, Jesus and even the sacraments — to have them all come back.”
Two things have helped Kellie build a more solid faith foundation: an advanced seminar on John Calvin, which included reading Institutes of the Christian Religion, and the Auburn staff, who assist Presbyterian students in navigating the PC(USA) ordination process and in understanding key issues facing our denomination.
When she graduates, Kellie sees herself as a pastor with close ties to a parish. She’d also like to continue to explore media and ministry.
“There’s a dearth of responsible voices in the religious media. Often what we hear is narrow and doesn’t speak for all Christians. Hopefully, my skills as a producer and respect for multifaith issues can widen this voice and offer a more balanced perspective.”