Monday, December 03, 2007

Seminary Education about Sexuality

Kate Ott and I taught an intensive sexuality issues course for seminarians this weekend at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

It is always such a joy to lead this course -- although condensing a three credit, full semester course into two weekends felt a little to me like "speed teaching."

Unfortunately most clergy do not take a course on sexuality during their seminary years. As clergy, we are expected to be able to counsel couples and individuals about relationships, often without any specific training or background.

In our courses, we hope to be able to at least lay a foundation for preaching, educating, and counseling on the broad range of issues congregants face. Here's what some of our students wrote at the end of the day in a quick evaluation:

"I feel excited, affirmed, and empowered."

"I feel empowered, anxious, intrigued, and challenged to stay and work more on this issue."

"I feel equipped, engaged, eager, excited, encouraged, and inspiried..and rushed."

"I feel inspired to make sexuality a central part of my ministry."

I was especially moved by the last.

At the Religious Institute, we are just completing the first phase of a research and training project on how seminaries across the U.S. address sexuality with future clergy. There is so much to do to assure that clergy receive this important foundation during their training.

We've just started a Facebook page for seminarians to address these issues. We hope you'll help us pass the word.

1 comment:

Allyson Dylan Robinson said...

I've been doing some thinking about this lately, too, Debra. It's shocking to me that so many of our seminaries don't offer a single course in sexuality and gender issues. It seems irresponsible.

I blogged a bit about it and plugged the Facebook group: Sex in Seminary @ Crossing the T.