Celebrate Theological Education Sunday in September

August 31, 2020 by Lee Hinson-Hasty

Rev. Dr. Mindy Douglas had her heart set on studying biology, followed by a career as a geneticist when she entered college. But, as she says, “God did a little God thing,” and she was called into ministry.

She switched gears and went straight to Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., following college. “It became clear that this is what God was calling me to do in a full-time way: to teach, to preach, to care for other people, to be a part of this community that grows and supports one another as we journey in our faith together,” Douglas says.

Douglas is one of five pastors featured this year on bulletin inserts – and for the first time, accompanying PowerPoint slides – for Theological Education Sunday in the PC(USA), which is celebrated on Sept. 20 (or whatever date your congregation prefers).

Community, she says, is crucial to her ministry and in her church ­— both when church members reach out into their city as well as the ways church members connect and support each other.

“My calling to ministry is in the parish,” she says. “The parish is where you are with families and people of every age. You are with them from the celebration of birth to the sadness of death, and you are in these life moments throughout their lives. Even during this pandemic, we are walking together, as best we are able, learning to hold each other close in different ways. I am grateful for the ways my seminary education fostered creativity, imagination and love in me to serve very differently in 2020.”

Indeed – shifts are needed all across the PC(USA) – and beyond. This year, due to the pandemic and fewer churches meeting in person, we are providing PowerPoint slides that can be used during online worship or by congregations that like to use projected images during services. The slides feature pastors trained at PC(USA) seminaries who are serving Presbyterian churches. You can find those here.

All resources, which can be found on the Presbyterian Foundation website, are downloadable. You may print them from the PDF files. If you’re using these items on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, please use the hashtag #GrowTheoEd when posting so we can find your post and thank you for sharing it.

Lectionary-based Resource

Liturgy, written by Rev. Dr. Derrick McQueen, pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in New York and an adjunct professor at Union Theological Seminary, includes suggested themes, hymns, litanies, and prayers, as well as ideas for a children’s sermon. You can find the liturgy here.

Bulletin inserts

Choose from five bulletin inserts this year, each featuring a story of a PC(USA) seminary educated pastor, the Rev. Dr. Mindy Douglas, Rev. Dr. K. Nicholas Yoda, the Rev. Elizabeth Kanerva, the Rev. Kaci Clark-Porter, and the Rev. Dr. Jerry Cannon.

  • Mindy Douglas, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC.
  • Nicholas Yoda, pastor of Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, credits his home church and seminary for preparing him for ministry as a “spiritual docent in a house full of wonder and a valley full of pain.”

Lee Hinson-Hasty is senior director for Theological Education Funds Development for the Committee on Theological Education (COTE) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Foundation. You can reach Lee at Lee.Hinson-Hasty@PresbyterianFoundation.org or his office phone number, (502) 569-5357.