Being a student at McCormick Theological Seminary includes much more than classes and coursework. There are conversations and events every day that provide meaningful opportunities for education, growth, spiritual fulfillment, and building relationships. Take a look at what life at McCormick looked like the week of April 13 – 18 for our students!
Monday: Global Conversation at the LRWC
Every Monday, the Learning Resource and Writing Center sponsors (free!) lunch and discussion around a hot button topic in our global community. This provides an opportunity for international and domestic students from numerous seminaries to come together over a meal, engage in deep conversation, and build meaningful relationships across race, national, and denominational boundaries. This week, Marie Sigurd Anderson presented on the politics of free speech in her native Denmark. The killings at the office of Charlie Hebdo have had a profound impact on the way that Western European nations define free speech and whose free speech is affirmed and supported. We often take our racial/ethnic diversity in the United States for granted; the fact that we have such a variety of voices and experiences has created a very different value of free speech here than there is in Western Europe.
Tuesday: Annual Theme Meeting
This year, McCormick embarked on an exciting project: programming and curriculum focusing on peacebuilding in the city, an annual theme to guide our education and conversation throughout the academic year. The Annual Theme committee is comprised of students, faculty, and staff who committed to organizing and facilitating events, discerning where God is calling our institution to serve, and connecting our community with the world outside our walls. At this last meeting of the 2014/2015 school year, the committee evaluated their work over the past year and did some dreaming/planning for the future. Next year, the committee will focus on connecting the McCormick community to training opportunities and field experiences in Restorative Justice practices, Trauma-Informed practice, and violence-prevention ministries. Stay tuned throughout the summer for more exciting news!
Wednesday: Acts 10:15 Community Worship
Acts 10:15 is McCormick Theological Seminary’s LGBTQ advocacy group, and this week the group blessed the community with an amazing, creative, Spirit-filled community worship service. Senior Jené Ashley Colvin delivered a powerful sermon on Colossians 3:5-15, proclaiming the primacy of love, celebration, and acceptance. Professor Claudio Carvalhaes presided over a rainbow table with rainbow bread. “It’s so powerful to see the bread being multi-colored; it jolts us out of complacency and reminds us that this symbol is powerful,” said student Eddie Rosa-Fuentes. The visitors to this service commented on how innovative and touching the service was, to which the students replied, “that’s McCormick!”
Thursday and Friday: World Mission Institute—Prisons: New Realities New Missions
The World Mission Institute is an annual, ecumenical event hosted by McCormick Theological Seminary, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and the Catholic Theological Union. The conference seeks to equip ministers with tools and ideas to do cutting-edge mission service work within their congregations and communities. This year, the WMI focused on ending mass incarceration, and how the Church is called to deconstruct the Prison Industrial Complex. Dr. James Logan gave the keynote address on Thursday evening, where he talked about the Theo-ethical challenges of mass incarceration for every facet of society. On Friday, attendees were able to engage ministers and social workers in panel discussions and workshops. Check out our social media discussion here.
Friday: Iron Chef 2015!
Every year, McCormick Residence Life hosts our own version of the popular cooking competition. Students, staff, and faculty compete by entering dishes made highlighting a secret ingredient at a community-wide potluck. This year was Battle Mint, and we enjoyed a feast that included curries, pork loin, vegan cupcakes, spring rolls, and chicken salad. Residence Life was on hand providing mint juleps and mojitos. It was a great kickoff to the spring season and (hopefully) the beginning of seasonal outside community gatherings.
Saturday: (In)Justice for All Film Festival—Cast the First Stone
As part of McCormick’s Annual Theme programming, we have partnered with Trinity United Church of Christ’s (In)Justice for All Film Festival. We screened the film Cast the First Stone, which documents the experience of inmates in Angola Prison as they rehearse and perform a passion play. The film challenges the audience to see inmates in a different light, as portraying the central narrative of Christianity. The audience wrestled with the image of Christ as an prisoner and saw how inmates are doing theology from the margins of incarceration. The film was followed by a panel discussion with returning citizens, reflecting on their own experiences of incarceration and release.