An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Ecumenical Theological Seminary

An association of schools, religious denominations, and other educational institutions. In the early 1950s, the Rev. Dr. Reuel Howe concluded from his years of teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary that clergy were not fully prepared in seminary for ministry. Using the new idea of continuing education for professionals, Howe founded the Institute for Advanced Pastoral Studies in 1957, located at Cranbrook House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The institute was the first ecumenical facility for the continuing education of clergy in the United States. In 1973 the Rev. John Biersdorf succeeded Howe as director of the institute. Biersdorf stressed the life of prayer as the basis and foundation for ministry. The institute focused on the integration of social action with the life of prayer. The institute's mission was expressed in the motto, “Inner Growth and Outer Change.” In 1978 a pilot project was begun for developing a Doctor of Ministry program. It was decided that instead of building a new school, they would initiate cooperation among the resources already existing in the area. This resulted in the establishment in 1980 of the Ecumenical Theological Center. The institute and the center relocated to the Convent at St. Bede's Roman Catholic Church in Southfield, Michigan. Following another relocation to the Marygrove College campus in Detroit, the institute and the center merged into a new organization in 1986, also called the Ecumenical Theological Center. Beginning in 1988, a number of seminaries entered into cooperative affiliation with the center. It offered the Master of Divinity degree. One of the schools which joined the center was Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. In June, 1990, the Association of Theological Schools accredited the cooperative Master of Divinity program. In Sept., 1992, the center moved to First Presbyterian Church in Detroit. In 1994 the name was changed from the Ecumenical Theological Center to the Ecumenical Theological Seminary. The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan is an institutional member of the seminary.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.