President's Message

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year to you! My well wishes for your 2013 are quite sincere, yet I also feel somewhat out of kilter when I think of this month as beginning a new year. At Pittsburgh Seminary, we are in the middle of our year—our academic year. In fact, we're even in the middle of a term. So although much of the world around us marks its new beginning on Jan. 1, as a community we are recommencing what we began in the fall of 2012.

What does that recommencing include? Besides the obvious for our students and professors—lecture preparation, classes, field education assignments, chapel programs, sermons, study, research and publication—a variety of campus programs and administrative activities will extend the vitality of our campus life this month.

For example, 2010 Summer Youth Institute scholars will gather here from Jan. 3-5 for their first reunion. During this time they will not only revisit their learning experiences in the SYI program but also exchange stories of how God has directed their lives through it, including how their participation in ministry has taken shape for the present and their future.

Two weeks later, on Jan. 20, the annual Kelso Lecture in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. will feature John C. Brittain, professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia. A former dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston and veteran law professor of the University of Connecticut School of Law, Dr. Brittain also served as chief counsel and senior deputy director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a public interest organization enlisting private lawyers to take pro bono cases in civil rights.

Together these events encapsulate the idea of a "new year" at Pittsburgh Seminary—a year of both beginning and continuation. The reunion youth of SYI are starting their ministries as young adults—followers of Christ called to serve in the Church as both pastors and lay leaders. Our campus community is invigorated by their energy and enthusiasm. Dr. Brittain carries on a call discerned long ago to work for justice consistent with the gospel. We are inspired and challenged by his faithfulness and perseverance over his many years of service.

I invite you to join us, on campus and in spirit, as we celebrate 2013 with renewed commitment to our own calls in the power of Christ's resurrection—indeed, calls to new life!

Sincere wishes for a blessed 2013,

The Rev. Dr. William J. Carl III
President and Professor of Homiletics

Miller SYI Reunion Held in January
Participants and interns from the Rev. Dr. Roy F. Miller, Ph.D., and Mrs. Florence Lantz Miller Summer Youth Institute held in 2010 will meet on campus this month to reconnect after nearly two and a half years since first visiting PTS. The weekend is ideal for reuniting, catching up with faculty, digging more into theology, and learning about what comes after college. Recommend a student for the next SYI held July 6-20, 2013. Learn more.

Seminary Offers Spiritual Formation Elective
The Seminary’s Continuing Education Office will present the spiritual formation elective, “Exploring Christian Healing for Ourselves and for Our Ministries” Jan. 6-11. Betty Voigt, spiritual director, retreat leader, and PCUSA pastor, will lead the event. Participants will ask “How are we to be vessels of healing and wholeness when we are so wounded and broken ourselves?” in the context of an experiential retreat, sharing together in healing liturgies, forgiveness work, and deep listening. Learn more.

Online CE Classes Explore Images in Sermons and Surprises of a First Call
Erin Cox-Holmes, executive presbyter of Donegal Presbytery, will teach the online class “Beyond Bullet Points”. This course will discuss the visual culture in which we live and how that affects preaching. It will cover the technical basics that anyone with a computer can do in order to use images with sermons. "Why" and "How" questions will be answered. This course is the first of two on this theme. Additionally, Wayne Yost, general presbyter of the Presbytery of Kiskiminetas, will lead "Unexpected Surprises in Your First Congregation." In the first call (and sometimes in later ones!), issues and problems are likely to arise that were not in textbooks or class notes. In this class, participants will have the opportunity not only to consider the kinds of major issues and problems that appear most frequently but also to discuss participant-directed topics. Courses run online  Jan. 7-March 1. Learn more.

Seminary Hosts Visit Event Jan. 10
Know someone interested in ministry? Invite them to join us for our coming visit event! The day includes a faculty-led workshop on vocations. Additionally, participants will attend a class, join the Seminary community in worship, have lunch with current students, tour the campus, and learn more about the degree programs, financial aid, and the admissions process. For those traveling from a distance, overnight housing will be provided. There is no fee for this event. Spouses, parents, or family members are welcome to attend. Reserve a place at this visit event. Contact us at or 1-800-451-4194.

MLK Lecture Held Jan. 20
Join PTS and the East End Cooperative Ministry Sun., Jan. 20, for the 2013 Kelso Lecture in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. John Brittan, professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, will present “Racism, Materialism, and Militarism: Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Famous Quote.” The service begins at 3:30 p.m. and will be held at East Liberty Presbyterian Church (116 S. Highland Ave.). Learn more.

DMin Program Begins First Cohort in Charleston
The Doctor of Ministry Program will begin its first Parish Focus cohort in Charleston, S.C. this month. Classes will be held in Charleston, Pittsburgh, and online. God continues to call women and men to ministry. The “what,” “how,” “when,” and “why” questions will guide the shared work of both students and faculty. Learn more about the Parish Focus in Charleston.

Donation Helps Mission Partners in Africa
During the Advent Lessons and Carols service, the Seminary community gathered an offering of more than $1,300 to contribute to famine relief at Zomba Theological College, one of World Mission Initiative’s mission partners in Malawi. Those funds will feed more than 50 families for a month! Pittsburgh Presbytery raised more than $40,000 for the Synod of Blantyre in Malawi. Thanks be to God for the generous contributions and for the gift of mission partners like Zomba!