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News from the Hill April 21, 2011 | back to index

NEWS UPDATE: The Vision for multi-faith theological education takes shape

Some experiments are working, others are not. Hebrew College is moving forward, Meadville Lombard isn’t.

In a complex and quickly-changing world, competent ministerial leadership hinges upon both groundedness in one’s own faith tradition and a capacity for crossing the borders that separate believers, communities and even nations from one another. This dual premise led Andover Newton Theological School to envision a multifaith future that includes theological schools from different faith traditions while embodying, by the institution’s very design, a careful blend of individual integrity and mutual hospitality.

This multifaith future is beginning to take shape as, in the summer of 2012, the Hill will become a campus not just for Andover Newton, but for Hebrew College and Rabbinical School as well. For nearly ten years Hebrew College has been our neighbor; now they are moving directly on to our campus! As they move their many rich, thriving academic programs to Andover Newton’s facilities, exciting options for both formal and casual interactions between students and faculty will emerge. We will share classrooms, the library, food service (yes, Kosher food will be available!), and perhaps office services, yet we will maintain our distinct faith identities and curricula. Look for updates over the next year as plans (and renovations!) unfold.

Until this week, the hope was that Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, would participate in the first phase of this new direction for Andover Newton. Year long negotiations toward a partnership between Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton, however, came to a close this week due to institutional complexities that rendered partnership infeasible at this time.

The direction – that of blending multifaith education with deep commitment to particular faith traditions – remains unchanged. We welcome you to accompany us on this journey, which we believe is not just the key to religious leadership for the future but will promote a more peaceful and loving world.

We celebrate that our recent gala at the Top of the Hub – Skywalk in Boston was a huge success. We raised more than $250,000 toward this new vision and more than 60 individuals signed on as “founders” of our new efforts. Their support was a resounding affirmation of our vision and direction.