Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Seminaries Failing to Prepare Clergy on Sexuality Issues

I'm in Chicago at the Society for Christian Ethics annual meeting.

Later this evening, the Religious Institute will release its two year survey of 36 leading seminaries in the U.S. and how they address sexuality issues.

Our bottom line conclusion: even the most progressive seminaries are failing to prepare future clergy adequately on sexuality issues.

Here are some of the key findings:

• More than 90% of the seminaries surveyed do not require full‐semester, sexuality‐based courses for graduation.

• Two‐thirds of the seminaries do not offer a course in sexuality issues for religious professionals.
Three quarters do not offer a course in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) studies.

• Seminaries offer three times as many courses in women’s and feminist studies as they do in LGBT studies or other sexuality‐related issues.

• The next generation of scholars is not addressing sexuality issues. Sexuality‐based courses are taught by senior professors or adjunct faculty, not by upcoming faculty seeking tenured positions.

The study also noted a “stained glass ceiling” in seminaries and a lack of policies on full inclusion of women and gay, lesbian and transgender persons. Two-thirds of the seminaries surveyed have fewer than 40% women serving in faculty, senior administrative and trustee positions, in contrast to student populations that are frequently more than 50% women.

To read the full report, the press release, and the executive summary, go to our web site, and click on the link for the Sex in the Seminary study.


Robin Edgar said...

If I am to believe former U*U seminarian Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons' online testimony on Rev. Scott Wells' Boy In The Bands blog post titled 'UU clergy sexual misconduct roll call' U*U seminaries are failing to prepare U*U clergy on clergy sexual misconduct issues. . .

Joseph Santos-Lyons said:

there is little required of us in seminary, Rev. Deborah Pope Lance offers a week intensive at Andover Newton in Boston that some attend, with a bit of scholarship from the UUA…otherwise, it is really what you glean from CPE, ministerial internship and maybe a class on pastoral care that addresses boundaries. should really, really be more (as should anti-racism IMHO)

Robin Edgar said...

Thanks for posting that and another recent comment I submitted that many other U*U ministers would have suppressed Rev. Haffner. You are a very good sport and I genuinely appreciate it. It is your choice to consider this comment a private personal message or post it publicly on your "less than perfect" but otherwise quite excellent U*U blog. ;-)

Have I wished you a Happy New Year yet?

Best Regards,

Robin Edgar

Revvy Rev said...

Very timely and relevant clarion call for a critical issue. This post really inspired me.