“Should I ask for permission now or forgiveness later?” -J, Campus Leader

Don’t let them get wet.

Don’t expose them to sunlight.

And never, ever let them eat after midnight.

Keep them six feet apart from one another.

Require they wear masks at all times.

Except when they’re eating, which is when they can take off their masks.

But while eating, they should not breathe,

and only before, not after, midnight.

Make them wash their hands a lot.

But wait; don’t get them wet.

The “rules” above combine those from the movie “Gremlins” (Warner Brothers, 1984) and the practices recommended…


“I love talking with new people, and I’ve always thought of myself as open-minded; yet I keep finding out that I’ve offended people, and then they don’t want to talk with me anymore. I don’t know what to do.” — J, age 94

“For my summer job, I can’t wait to be somewhere people tell me my ideas are good or are crap; give it to me straight so I can learn something.” — P, age 19

Three things happened to me yesterday that got me thinking about what it means to give and take offense. The two comments above…


“We have to avoid the word ‘merger,’ or our board would never get behind a partnership between us.” — President of a US-based, independent, prosperous theological school considering a space-sharing agreement with a college

“What words did you use to define what you did in relationship with Yale? We can’t use the word ‘merger’ with our board.” — President of an overseas, independent, struggling theological school considering becoming embedded in a university as a matter of viability

Merger, merger, merger, merger, merger, merger, merger, merger, merger.

In answer to the two questions I consider in this week’s installment of “Evidently…


“How do you handle being triangulated by a supervisor whom you really trust to be wise? Someone you would normally trust to not try this kind of manipulation? What about when the triangulator gives me the whole ‘you need to do it, they’ll listen to you’ song and dance? What about when they lay guilt on you (i.e. ‘I’m just worried about him and whether he would do or say X, especially in front of others’)?” -Assistant pastor with last day on the job: June 30

“Things are coming undone all over the place on our team. The admin is…


“Will the Upper Zoom continue online in the fall, or will it be in-person?” -Pretty much everyone with whom I work at Andover Newton at Yale Divinity School

One year ago, the seminary I serve as dean moved its programs online due to the pandemic. We thought we would do so only briefly, like everyone, but we were smart enough to know that one cannot simply drag-and-drop in-person ministries into an online format.

We suspended our communal worship service, known as Emmaus (see the Gospel according to Luke, Chapter 24), in favor of a network of small spiritual support groups…


How can ministers avoid falling into the traps of perfectionism, which lure us away from God’s desires for us and toward those that are too often rooted in white supremacy, misogyny, homo- and transphobia, ableism, and economic elitism? Also, how can ministers minister in such a way that they help others be free as well? -Caryne Eskridge, Andover Newton diploma and Yale Divinity School Master of Divinity Candidate, 2021; Member-in-Discernment in the United Church of Christ

Many students with whom I work are nearing graduation and interviewing for their first ministry jobs. One of the predictable questions for which they…


One of our leadership values at Andover Newton is transparency, because when leaders are open with students about why they are doing what they are doing, we students can learn from this modeling. That being said, not everything is for everyone to know at every moment. Timing is important. How does a leader balance transparency in leadership with the reality that some information, projects, and processes need time to develop and percolate internally before being shared with the wider community? -Tara Humphries, candidate for the Andover Newton diploma, Yale Divinity School Master of Divinity, and Unitarian Universalist ministry

You design…


“When you have to disappoint people in order to take care of yourself, how do you manage their disappointment and your shame for having caused it?” -Question posed to Kirk Jones at Andover Newton’s 2021 Woodbury Leadership Workshop

Mark 8:31–38

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he…


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

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. …

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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