University of Dubuque

UD Headline News
UD News Search
  View Archived News Articles:
Select A Year
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
January 18, 2005
UD Seminary Receives $100,000 Grant for Native American Lay Pastors Program

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary has recently received a four-year grant of $100,000 from The Henry Luce Foundation to start a pilot program for Native American commissioned lay pastors (CLP).

"This gift will enable us to address the need for leadership in Native American and Native Alaskan Presbyterian churches," Bradley Longfield, vice president and dean of the seminary, said after receiving notification of the award."For over three decades UDTS has taken a leadership role in the Native American Theological Education. This grant is a strong affirmation of our efforts to strengthen Native American ministry for the church."

The goal of the pilot program is to nurture Native American church leadership by offering a top-quality online and intensive residential theological education to Native Americans called by their local presbyteries to become commissioned lay pastors in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Because Presbyterian churches that serve Native American communities often have difficulty calling full-time, seminary-educated pastors, CLPs serve an important role in these churches. Inasmuch as lay pastors are certified by their presbyteries, not the seminary, the program will work closely with local presbyteries.

The context-specific approach of the Native American CLP Training Program will combine distance- and residential-education components in order to ensure effective learning. During the academic year, students will take courses online, work with a mentor appointed by their home presbytery, and converse with faculty and fellow students regularly. The residential component will bring together these Native American lay pastor candidates for one week each of four consecutive summers for orientation, community building, worship, review of online course content, and discussion of topics specific to Native American communities.

The Henry Luce Foundation, providing this grant, was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc. Today it has assets of about $700 million, and has been a long time supporter of post-graduate theological education through American seminaries and divinity schools. Other interests include the interdisciplinary initiatives in higher education; increased understanding between Asia and the United States; opportunities for women in science and engineering; and environmental and public policy programs.

With the awarding of this grant, the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary will foster its mission to "advance the ministry and mission of the church of Jesus Christ by preparing women and men for faithful, compassionate, and effective pastoral and lay ministry to congregations, with special attention to rural and Native American constituencies."