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When Paul was writing his letters, he was putting forth a blueprint for firming/sustaining the Christian church. He gave directives on what church should look like. From my time at Andover Newton, I know you have ideas about how having trained leaders who have vision and flexibility is what the church needs now as it’s future shape is still cloudy. Now, with the pandemic, there are even more questions of how church will look and function. Will we go back to communities without a dedicated sacred space? Will members be loyal to one community, or will they surf to a…


“Is science becoming the new theology, especially in the past year?” — Kathryn W. Windsor, theological educator and Episcopal lay leader

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In 2014, Andover Newton, the seminary I serve, received a grant from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to create educational programs that connect science with the core theological curriculum. Many seminaries offer elective courses at the margins on science and theology, but AAAS was most concerned about students who might not choose to take those courses going on to purvey anti-science points of view from the pulpit after graduation. …


How can a White woman lead a historically predominately White institution to become anti-racist? This essay caps off a series of three topics (although it was the one she suggested first) from the Very Rev. Amy E. McCreath

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Installment 4

February 26 will be the second anniversary of the death of my father. On that day in 2021, I will participate in a day-long conference online at the historically Black University, Virginia Union, honoring Black History Month. During the noon hour of that conference, I’ll sit on a panel with other heads of American Baptist colleges and seminaries where we’ll discuss our…


Another topic from the Very Rev. Amy McCreath: deciding what not to do when everyone is exhausted by the world. What can we let go of?

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Installment 3

We usually hear the word “institutionalized” in reference to a person who has been hospitalized against their will due to a mental health crisis, ideally with their best interests in mind. Institutionalizing practices that we have adopted during Covid-19 represents a different use of the term. Or does it?

During the pandemic, we have taken on a number of new practices that have opened our eyes to possibilities. …


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What follows is the first installment in a new direction for this blog, where you will choose that about which I write. Please send your suggested topics to sarah.drummond@yale.edu, and thank you for reading.

So, how are pastors going lead in ways that will overcome or at least balance out the influence of a talk radio and media system that seem in these times to have greater influence over how people make meaning in their lives than the church, especially when considering that these sources have 24/7 platforms while a church experience is once a week for an hour or two? What is a church leader’s level of responsibility to push back? Is the axiom “I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only get them to ask questions” perhaps the best approach? If the…


[Sarah Drummond shared this message at Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School’s student-led Epiphany worship and prayer service January 6, 2021, hours after the storming of the US Capitol]

John 1:1–5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. …


Dear Mr. President-Elect (Joe, if I may),

Every time I hear you speak about how you want to bring our deeply divided country together, I get goosebumps. I’m writing to you on this first day of a new year to share some thoughts about the “how.”

I never knew before this election cycle that I’m a centrist. I thought I was just a normal, bleeding-heart, yellow-dog democrat like my father and mother before me. I learned, however, that there are liberals who believe that the only way to restore some semblance of social justice in our society is to blow…


The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t just in-your-face; it’s on your face.

Of all the many ways in which the past nine months have seemed the stuff of dystopic fiction, the whole population wearing masks when they get together is the strangest. Last February, before the pandemic began, I hosted a going-away party for a colleague leaving for a new job. One guest had a cold and chose to wear an N-95 mask to keep others safe, and my first thought was, “Why did he even come?” I’ve now moved to the opposite extreme. …


Public health experts do not look forward to Christmas this year. Those who practice Christianity are no doubt filled with dread as the Advent wreath grows brighter each week. “Hope! Peace! Joy! Love!” turns into, “No, don’t go to grandma’s house! Please!” Why the anxiety? Because the Covid-19 pandemic is getting much worse before it’s having the chance to get better through new vaccines. If we thought people ignored the advice not to gather for Thanksgiving, Christmas is bound to be even scarier when it comes to community spread.

From a critical distance, one has to wonder why. As a…

Sarah B. Drummond

Sarah Birmingham Drummond is Founding Dean of Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School and teaches and writes on the topic of ministerial leadership.

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