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Sex and theSeminary:Preparing Ministers forSexual Health and Justice

Sex and theSeminary:Preparing Ministers forSexual Health and JusticeKate M. Ott, Ph.D., Study Director 2009Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and HealingUnion Theological Seminary in the City of New YorkISBN10: 1-893-270-49-1ISBN13: 978-1-893270-49-7

page2ContentsAcknowledgements4Executive Summary6Sexuality Education and Ministerial Formation12Criteria for a Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminary14182225Seminary SurveySexuality Education in the CurriculumInstitutional Commitment to Sexuality-Related IssuesAdvocacy and Support for Sexuality-Related Issues26272729Model Seminary PracticesLeading InstitutionsCentersFaculty and Courses36Institutional Assessment40Opportunities and Recommendations for Action45Closing Words46References Cited48ResourcesList of Tablespage16Table 1Institutional Size16Table 2Denominational Affiliation19Table 3Full-Semester Course Offerings21Table 4Introductory Courses—Topical Coverage22Table 5Learning Opportunities—Workshops and Courses22Table 6Anti-discrimination Policies23Table 7Full Inclusion Policies23Table 8Sexual Harassment Policies23Table 9Worship Services24Table 10Institutional Leadership25Table 11Small Group/Student Organizations28Table 12Criteria for a Model Seminary32Table 13Comparative Course Content—LGBT/Queer and Sexuality Issues33Table 14LGBT/Queer Studies Course Content33Table 15Sexuality Issues for Religious Professionals Course Content

AAcknowledgementsThe Sexuality Education for the Formation of ReligiousMembers include: Dr. Sarah C. (Sally) Conklin, AssociateProfessionals and Clergy project is the result of a collab-Professor, Coordinator of Public Health and Health Edu-orative partnership between Union Theological Seminarycation Programs at Northern Illinois University; Rev. Dr.and the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice,Larry Greenfield, Executive Minister of American Baptistand Healing.Churches of Metro Chicago, former President of ColgateRochester Seminary; Rev. Dr. Horace L. Griffin, InterimThe project and report would not be possible withoutDirector of Field Education at General Theological Semi-the assistance of Rev. Debra W. Haffner, Director of thenary; Rev. Debra W. Haffner, Director of the ReligiousReligious Institute, who served as the project consultant.Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing; Dr. Amy-Her past work on the criteria for a sexually healthy reli-Jill Levine, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor ofgious professional and a sexually healthy congregationNew Testament Studies at the Divinity School and Graduateare the building blocks of our study. Her careful attentionDepartment of Religion, Vanderbilt University; Rev. Dr. Jayto the survey, evaluation of complex factors, and abilityE. Johnson, Assistant Professor of Theology, Pacific Schoolto articulate recommendations has been invaluable.of Religion; Rabbi Mychal B. Springer, Associate Dean andDirector of Field Education of the Rabbinical School at theReligious Institute staff member Tim Palmer, consultantJewish Theological Seminary, where she holds the HelenBarbara Jay, and Holly Sprunger of Christian CommunityFried Kirshblum Goldstein Chair in Professional and Pas-provided editing. The report reflects nuance and claritytoral Skills; and Dr. Su Yon Pak, Vice President for Institu-thanks to their skill and careful attention.tional Advancement at Union Theological Seminary.Early on, Rev. Dr. Joseph C. Hough, Jr., former UnionIn addition to the advisory committee, administrators ofTheological Seminary President, committed Union to thetheological schools, advocacy organizations, and facultyproject and Rev. Cathlin Baker, former Senior Assistantwhose efforts represent a significant contribution to sex-to the President, devoted time and energy to seeing theuality education of seminary students provided feedbackproject through its first stage. The project continuesand recommendations on the findings. Their questions,with the leadership of Dr. Su Yon Pak, Vice President forcomments, and practical experience brought depth andInstitutional Advancement and Rev. Dr. L. Serene Jones,clarity to the findings.Union’s current President.The following additional professionals donated their timeIn the first phase of the project, an advisory committeeto this project: Dr. Ellen T. Armour, E. Rhodes and Leonadeveloped the institutional survey, advised on seminaryB. Carpenter Chair in Feminist Theology and Director ofselection, and reviewed the initial survey results. The com-the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexual-mittee, willing volunteers and wise practitioners in theity at Vanderbilit Divinity School; Rev. Dr. Mariah A. Brit-fields of seminary education and sexuality, offered guid-ton, CEO and Founder of Moriah Institute; Rev. Dr. Jamesance with institutional selection and survey frame design.M. Childs, Jr., Edward C. Fendt Professor of Systematic2Acknowledgements

Theology at Trinity Lutheran Seminary; Dr. Robert C. Dyk-Professor of African American Religion and Theology andstra, Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theologi-Academic Dean at Yale University Divinity School; Michaelcal Seminary; Rev. Dr. Marvin M. Ellison, Bass Professor ofUnderhill, Director of the LGBTQ Religious Studies Cen-Christian Ethics at Bangor Theological Seminary; Rev. Dr.ter at Chicago Theological Seminary; and, Rev. Dr. TraciMarie Fortune, Founder and Senior Analyst of FaithTrustWest, Associate Professor of Ethics and African Ameri-Institute; Rev. Matthew Davis Westfox at the Religiouscan Studies at Drew University.Coalition for Reproductive Choice; Dr. Sharon Groves,Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Cam-Finally, no research project would be possible withoutpaign; Dr. Lori Lefkovitz, Sadie Gottesman and Arlenethe commitment of those gathering the data. A word ofGottesman Reff Professor of Gender and Judaism andappreciation is due to the 36 on-site coordinators whoDirector, Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gen-added the 120-question survey to their “to-do” list. Com-der Studies at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College;pleting the survey required contacting multiple facultyTisa Lewis, Director of Accreditation and Institutionalmembers, students, and administrators for bits of infor-Evaluation at the Association of Theological Schools; Dr.mation that ultimately provided a portrait of sexualityPamela Lightsey, Dean of Students at Garret-Evangelicaleducation in seminaries. These efforts were diligentlyTheological Seminary; Dr. Deborah F. Mullen, Dean ofsupported by Religious Institute student interns: DianaMaster’s Programs, Associate Professor of Ministry andBell, Delfin Bautista, and Katey Zeh.Historical Studies, and Director of the Center for AfricanAmerican Ministry and Black Church Studies at McCor-The initial research, subsequent feedback, and ongoingmick Theological Seminary; Dr. William Stayton at More-outreach would not be possible without the generoushouse School of Medicine and the Center for Sexualitysupport of an anonymous funder to whom we are deeplyand Religion; Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes, Andrew W. Mellongrateful, as well as the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.Kate M. Ott, PhDStudy DirectorAssociate Director, Religious InstituteSex and the Seminary3

EExecutive SummaryReligious leaders have the potential to change society’sAmong the survey’s key findings:understanding of sexuality through the power of the pulpit, pastoral care of individuals and families, and theirFuture clergy and other religious professionals canpresence in the media, politics, and civil society. At agraduate without taking a sexuality course. More thantime when many denominations and faith communitiesnine in ten of the seminaries surveyed do not require full-are embroiled in sexuality issues, there is an urgent needsemester sexuality and LGBT courses for graduation.for leaders who understand the connections betweenOnly one seminary requires a course in sexuality issuesreligion and sexuality.for religious professionals, and only two require an LGBT/queer studies course.Seminaries are not providing future religious leaders withsufficient opportunities for study, self-assessment, andCourses focusing on sexuality-related issues are oftenministerial formation in sexuality. They are also not provid-absent from the curriculum. Most of the seminaries ining seminarians with the skills they will need to ministerthe survey do not offer full-semester sexuality-relatedto their congregants and communities, or to become ef-courses. Two-thirds do not have a course in sexualityfective advocates where sexuality issues are concerned.issues for religious professionals. Three-quarters do nothave an LGBT/queer studies course. Where coursesSex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexualexist, fewer than one in ten of the seminaries offer themHealth and Justice summarizes the findings of a surveyevery semester or every year. Only one in six seminariesby the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, andrequires a sexual ethics course.Healing and Union Theological Seminary. Thirty-six U.S.seminaries, representing a range of religious affiliations,Women and feminist studies courses are covered muchinstitutional structures, geographic locations, and stu-more often than any other sexuality area. The seminariesdent populations, participated in this investigation of thesurveyed are teaching three times as many full-semestersexuality education of religious professionals and in women/feminist studies as they are in sexuality issues for religious professionals or LGBT/queerThe survey measured participating seminaries accordingstudies. They offer almost three times as many majors,to the Criteria for a Sexually Healthy and Responsibleminors, and certificates in women and feminist stud-Seminary, which was developed by a multifaith group ofies as in sexuality or LGBT/queer studies. Introductoryseminary educators, administrators, and sexuality edu-courses cover gender and women in religion two to fourcators. The survey explored how sexuality is addressedtimes more often than sexuality or LGBT/queer the curriculum, policy, demographics, and advocacy ofeach seminary. None of the 36 institutions in this surveyThe coming generation of scholars is not teaching sex-met 100% of the criteria; only ten met a majority of them.uality-related courses. Curricular offerings in sexualityOverall, the results point to an overwhelming need forare faculty driven—that is, the availability of coursesimprovement in the sexuality education provided to semi-depends on faculty members being willing to offer them.narians and the overall sexual health of the seminary.Most (94%) full-semester sexuality-related courses are4Executive Summary

being taught either by faculty at the senior professor Three out of four schools report that members oflevel or by adjunct professors and lecturers. Junior-levelfaculty or senior administrative staff have publishedprofessors seeking tenure-track positions are generallyon or been featured in the media addressing a sex-not teaching sexuality-related courses.ual justice issue. LGBT issues were the most likelyconcerns addressed.There is a stained glass ceiling in seminaries. Twothirds of the seminaries surveyed have fewer than Students are creating their own opportunities for sex-40% women faculty, administrative leaders, or boarduality-related non-curricular experiences. Studentsof trustees positions.were able to participate in events on sexual andreproductive justice at two-thirds of the seminaries,There is a need for full inclusion policies. More than half ofand many of the seminaries offer sexuality-relatedthe seminaries (66%) do not have policies for full inclusionworship and student advocacy or support groups.of women. Half do not have policies for full inclusion of gayWorship opportunities and student advocacy groupsand lesbian persons (50%). Almost two-thirds do not haveare the only categories where LGBT/queer issuesfull inclusion policies for transgender persons (61%).are addressed equally to women and feminist studies topics.Despite these shortfalls, the survey also reveals areaswhere progress has been made: Sexuality issues are often addressed within a framework of intersecting social justice issues, such as Eight in ten of the institutions surveyed offer learn-economics, environmental issues, racial/ethnic di-ing opportunities (such as classes or workshops) inversity, and disability issues. The majority of facultysexual harassment prevention. More than two-thirdsteaching sexuality issues for religious professionalsrequire instruction in sexual harassment preventionor LGBT/queer studies courses and all of the sexu-for all ministry students, and more than one-thirdality-related centers address sexuality from racial,require it of all students. More than nine in ten haveethnic, and cross-cultural perspectives.sexual harassment policies for faculty, staff, andstudent relationships.Institutional profiles were developed for each seminarybased on how they met the criteria for a sexually healthy Twenty-five percent of seminaries have free-stand-and responsible seminary. The profiles suggest that evening centers or programs dedicated to a sexuality-the most committed seminaries could be doing more torelated issue. The existence of the centers resultsprepare their students and promote the sexual well-beingin increased course offerings, workshops, and learn-of their opportunities in sexuality-related topics; facultypositions with a specialization in sexuality-relatedresearch; and often greater advocacy on sexualityrelated issues.Sex and the Seminary5

SSexuality Education andMinisterial FormationSexuality is a sacred part of life. Clergy and other religiousshe had her husband arrested for hitting her—again.professionals have a unique opportunity, and responsibil- A social action committee conducts a letter-writingity, to guide congregations and communities through anycampaign to raise funding for family planning services.number of sexuality-related concerns. Consider the vari- Two youth members of the congregation seekety of commonplace experiences that demonstrate howadvice from their rabbi because the young womanclergy encounter sexuality issues in congregational life:is pregnant. An infertile couple seeks counseling about use of The education committee begins drafting a sexualabuse prevention policy. During pastoral counseling, a congregant tells theminister that he is no longer sexually attracted toin vitro fertilization. Two elderly members of the congregation who havebeen dating ask the pastor for advice in tellingtheir adult children about their relationship.his wife. A study group explores the ramifications of a newdenominational report on sexuality.clergy as a source of counseling and guidance when it A 15-year-old girl in the church youth group askscomes to questions of sexuality. Many perceive religiousher pastor or youth minister for advice on tellingprofessionals and clergy, regardless of training or lackher parents she is a lesbian.thereof, as capable of dealing with marital counseling A congregant calls in the middle of the night to say1Clearly, congregants and others in the community rely onand sexual dysfunction,1 teen sexual development andConklin, S. (2000). “Six Billion and Counting Compel Sexuality Study in Churches.” The Clergy Journal 76(6), 3-5.6Sexuality Education and Ministerial Formation

relationships,2 and family planning decisions.3 Unfortunately, these perceptions do not always square with thereality of seminary education. And no one understandsthis better than clergy and seminarians themselves.Silence and SexualityIdeally, clergy and other religious professionals will haveformal, graduate-level training that will enable themto become “sexually healthy.” As described by DebraHaffner in 2001, sexually healthy religious professionalsare “comfortable with their own sexuality, have skills toprovide pastoral care and worship on sexuality issues,and are committed to sexual justice in their congregation and society at large.”4 The box [right] provides moreinformation on these ministerial competencies.According to the Pan American Health Organization,professionals who address sexuality issues should havecertain basic training. This includes “basic knowledgeof human sexuality, awareness of personal attitudestowards one’s own and other people’s sexuality whichshould include a respectful attitude towards personswith different sexual orientations and sexual practices,and basic skills in identifying, and if necessary, referring to the appropriate professional, problems of sexualhealth.”5 Other professions, such as the medical andcounseling fields, instituted required training in preventative and proactive sexuality education after researchSexually Healthy ReligiousProfessionals Are: Knowledgeable about human sexuality; Familiar with their tradition’s sacred textson sexuality; Able to engage in theological reflection abouthow best to integrate sexuality and spirituality; Able to examine the impact of racism, sexism,heterosexism and homophobia in ministry; Trained in pastoral counseling approachesthat facilitate resolution of conflict, specificallywhen dealing with sexual matters, forindividuals, families and groups; Able to serve as role models, discussingsexual issues with ease and comfort; Knowledgeable about their denomination’spolicies on sexuality; Able to speak out for sexual justice within theirdenomination and in the larger community; Skilled in preaching about sexuality-relatedissues; Able to recognize their own personallimitations and boundaries when it comes tohandling sexuality issues; Able to deal appropriately with sexual feelingsthat may rise for congregants, and vice-versa.demonstrated a clear need for and lack of training.6Debra W. Haffner, A Time to Build: Creating SexuallyHealthy Faith Communities.Over the last two decades, a series of studies hasreported that seminarians and clergy feel unpreparedClapp, S., et al. (2002). Faith Matters. Fort Wayne, IN: Christian Community/LifeQuest.Ellison, C.G. & Goodson, P. (1997). “Conservative Protestantism and Attitudes Toward Family Planning in a Sample of Seminarians.” Journal for the ScientificStudy of Religion 36(4), 512–529.4Haffner, Debra W. (2001). A Time to Build: Creating Sexually Healthy Faith Communities. Westport, CT: Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, andHealing, 14.5Pan American Health Organization (2001). Promotion of Sexual Health. Recommendations for Action (Washington, DC: PAHO), 6. See also, Haffner, Debra W.(2001). A Time to Build: Creating Sexually Healthy Faith Communities, Westport, CT: Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, 14.6See Schmidt, Karen (2002) “Moving Beyond Fear,” Yale Medicine, Winter 2002. Yale University School of Medicine; Weiderman, M.W. & Sansone, R.A. (1999)“Sexuality Training for Professional Psychologists: A National Survey of Training Directors in Doctoral Programs and Predoctoral Internships,” ProfessionalPsychology Research and Practice, 30, 312-317; and, Pope, K.S., Sonne, J.L., & Holroyd, J. (1993) Sexual Feelings in Psychotherapy: Explorations of Therapistsand Therapists-in-training. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.23Sex and the Seminary7

and ill-equipped to deal with a range of sexuality-relatedIn 2001, the Seminary Sexuality Education Survey, con-issues.7 A study of Protestant clergy, conducted in theducted by Sally Conklin with the support of the Centerlate 1980s and released in 1991 as Sex in the Parish,for Sexuality and Religion, investigated how seminaryfound that clergy are “not clear about roles, rules, possi-training prepared clergy to address the sexuality-relatedbilities, and limits in the sexual arena.”8 They reported be-needs of congregants. She found that 85% of seminariesing uncomfortable discussing sexual matters, even withembedded sexuality content within other seminary cours-married couples. The goal of the study was to develop aes. Of those, less than half offered stand-alone coursesframework for professional sexual ethics, but also helpedon any sexuality-related topic. Twenty-five percent of theto articulate the broader implications of sexuality as itrespondents said their school has not attempted to offerrelates to ministry. Lebacqz and Barton made connec-sexuality-related experiences due to low priority of topic,tions between theological education and the practice oflack of expertise or interest among the faculty, and aministerial sexual ethics:sense that the content was covered in other venues.11The survey concluded that “those preparing for ministryWhat we think is acceptable sexual conduct de-were not helped to understand their own sexual values orpends in part on how we define sexuality, and thisbehaviors, and where there were courses in sexuality, theyin turn depends on how we understand God andwere not required or connected to the core curriculum.”12God’s creation. Although clergy are trained theologically and spend much of their lives reflectingIn 2004, a survey of graduates between 1992 and 2002on the theological meaning of human life in all itsat five evangelical seminaries reported that minimaldimensions, this does not guarantee that they willattention was given to understanding and maintaining sex-have a clear theological perspective on sexuality.9ual health or in managing feelings of sexual attraction inprofessional contexts. The graduates felt most preparedThey concluded that a single framework was not suf-to deal with “liability issues” such as abuse, privacy,ficient as nuances arose for particular groups such asand boundaries, but less prepared for sexually positivewomen in ministry, single pastors, and gay, lesbian,developmental/coping skills such as exploration, shar-and bisexual pastors. They recommended componentsing, understanding, acceptance, encouragement, andessential to a professional sexual ethic: “accountfrankness. Researchers concluded that incidents offor pastoral power, for sexism and its effect on bothabuse are reduced and graduates are clearer on sexualpastors and parishioners, for heterosexism and its im-misconduct, but they do not know what to do withplications, and for other social and psychological fac-expected feelings of sexual attraction to congregants.tors that set the stage for sexual behavior.” It mustGraduates did perceive their faculty members as help-also adequately deal with potential for sexual abuse, asful on an out-of-class basis, moreso than the seminarywell as sexual relations with “honorable intentions.”10structure of classes and training.137See Richards, D.E. (1992) “Issues of Religion, Sexual Adjustment, and the Role of the Pastoral Counselor” in R. M. Green (Ed.), Religion and Sexual Health:Ethical, Theological, and Critical Perspectives. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers; and, Friesen, D.H. (1988) “Sex Education in the Seminary Setting: ItsEffects on Attitudes, Knowledge, and Counseling Responses (Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Iowa, 1988). Dissertation Abstracts International, 50(07A).8Lebacqz, Karen & Barton, Ronald (1991) Sex in the Parish. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 8.9Ibid., 11.10Ibid., 16.11Conklin, S. (2001) “Seminary Sexuality Education Survey: Current Efforts, Perceived Need and Readiness in Accredited Christian Institutions,” Journal of SexEducation and Therapy, 26(4), 301–309. The survey was most often answered by Chief Academic Officer—usually Academic Dean with responses from 69 of 183Association of Theological Schools Members (30%).12The Center for Sexuality and Religion (2002) Section: The Role of Sexuality Education Within Seminaries in The Case for Comprehensive Sexuality EducationWithin the Context of Seminary Human and Theological Formation: A Report of the Ford Foundation, 8.13Meek, Katheryn Rhoads, et al. (2004) “Sexual Ethics Training in Seminary: Preparing Students to Manage Feelings of Sexual Attraction,” Pastoral Psychology,53(1), 63–79.8Sexuality Education and Ministerial Formation

Restructuring Ministerial EducationOver the past decade, the Association of TheologicalSchools (ATS) has renewed the focus of theological education to be attentive to aspects of ministerial formation,specifically skills training for the ministry.16 In 2003, ATSPresident Daniel O. Aleshire wrote:While our scholarly work should be done in thearts traditions, excellence in pastoral work is notdefined by excellence in the liberal arts. Our disciplines, for the most part, are clearly anchoredIn a 2008 Religious Institute survey of progressive clergy,in an appropriate intellectual style that is differ-fewer than four in ten (38%) agreed that their seminaryent from the intellectual style that the best ofadequately prepared them for dealing with sexuality issuesour graduates may use in ministerial practice.17in their congregations. In addition, only one-third (35%)agreed that their seminary adequately prepared them forStructuring ministerial education to correspond to thedealing with LGBT issues in their congregations.14needs of the professional life into which students graduate requires a renewed emphasis on experiential learningDespite 20 years of consistent findings that seminariesand on balancing the competition of educational needsare falling short, most seminaries are still not prepar-across the curriculum. As the ATS Curriculum Standardsing future religious professionals to address sexualitystate, the overarching goal of the theological curriculumissues in liturgy, counseling, education, or policy making.“is the development of theological understanding” whichThere has been a shift toward encouraging, and in someincludes “acquiring the abilities requisite to the exercisecases requiring, preventative training to reduce sexualof ministry” in an individual’s community of faith.18abuse—a change that is to be applauded.15 Yet, as suggested in both Sex in the Parish in 1991 and the surveyATS requires that all accredited schools “seek to assistof evangelical seminaries in 2004, if avoidance of abusestudents in gaining the particular knowledge, appreciation,or misconduct is the only manner in which students learnand openness needed to live and practice ministry effec-about sexuality in ministry, the focus remains on liabilitytively in changing cultural and racially diverse settings.”19and unhealthy sexual behaviors.Students acquire this “knowledge, appreciation andSurvey of Religious Progressives (2008) Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing.See Robinson, Linda Hansen (2004) “The Abuse of Power: A View of Sexual Misconduct in a Systemic Approach to Pastoral Care,” Pastoral Psychology, Vol. 52,No. 5, May 2004, 395–404; Brichard, Thaddeus (2000) “Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Frequency and Causation,” Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 15, 127–139;and, Fortune, M. M. (1991) Is Nothing Sacred? When Sex Invades the Pastoral Relationship. San Francisco: Harper.16See Aleshire, Daniel O. (2008) Earthen Vessels: Hopeful Reflections on the Work and Future of Theological Schools. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. EerdmansPublishing Company; Schuth, K. (1999) Seminaries, Theologates, and the Future of Church Ministry: An Analysis of Trends and Transitions. Collegeville, MN: TheLiturgical Press; Hough, J. C., Jr. (1995) “Future Pastors, Future Church: The Seminary Quarrels,” The Christian Century, 112(18), 564–567; King, G. B. (1995)“Trends in Seminary Education” in K. B. Bedell (Ed.), Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches 1995. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.17Aleshire, Daniel (2003) “What Matters in Good MDiv Curricula?” Presented at the Consultation on Designing MDiv Curriculum, The Association of TheologicalSchools.18The Association of Theological Schools (2006) “Degree Program Standards,” Bulletin 47, Part 1, Standard A, section A.4.1.1. Pittsburgh, PA.19Ibid., section A.2.51415Sex and the Seminary9

openness” when theological scholarship “is enhanced byrelated issues are present in each of these four areasactive engagement with the diversity and global extentand must be dealt with explicitly to best prepare reli-of [the] wider publics, and a consciousness of racial,gious professionals and clergy for ministry careers.ethnic, gender, and global diversities.”20It is importantfor students to reflect on how diverse racial and ethnicBesides accreditation standards, denominational ordina-cultures and variations in religious traditions have affect-tion requirements also shape the structure of ministe-ed their own sexualities and those of the people they willrial education. Some denominations have reviewed theirbe called to serve. Currently, ATS standards do not rec-ordination criteria and made statements regarding theognize active engagement or consciousness of diverseneed for sexuality education of their future clergy, butsexualities and gender identities, which are also presentmost have yet to implement any specific most religious settings.For example, as a result of the process in the United21Church of Christ called “Ask the Churches About FaithAccording to ATS, the primary goals of a ministry degreeand Sexuality: A Needs Assessment Survey for Programprogram “should take into account: knowledge of theDevelopment,” seven recommendations were suggested,religious heritage; understanding of the cultural context;including “equip clergy to respond to human sexuality-growth in spiritual depth and moral integrity; and capac-related needs.” The report states:ity for ministerial and public leadership.”22 Sexuality-The Association of Theological Schools (2006) “Degree Program Standards,” Bulletin 47, Part 1, Standard A, section A. Pittsburgh, PA.Palmer, Timothy, et al. (2007) A Time to Seek: Study Guide on Sexual and Gender Divers

Most of the seminaries in the survey do not offer full-semester sexuality-related courses. Two-thirds do not have a course in sexuality issues for religious professionals. Three-quarters do not have an LGBT/queer studies course. Where courses exist, fewer than one in ten of the seminaries offer them every semester or every year.

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