Professors Roozen, Thumma Featured in National Publications

David Roozen, Professor of Religion and Society, has published an essayin Theological Education titled “Educating Religious Leaders for a Multireligious World: Outcomes and Learning.”

The essay documents the outcomes and learning from an action research project bringing together slightly more than 80 students from 15 theological schools in the United States for a five-day seminar at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions. The project’s orienting question was “How might seminaries foster significant learning opportunities for the development of leaders equipped to serve in today’s multicultural, multireligious world?”

Theological Education is published semiannually by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

Scott Thumma, Professor of Sociology of Religion, is quoted in a recent New York Times article titled “Building Congregations Around Art Galleries and Cafes as Spirituality Wanes.”

The article discusses a wave of experimentation around the country by evangelicals to reinvent ?church? in an increasingly secular culture. The experimentationcomes as the megachurch boom of recent decades, with stadium seating for huge crowds, Jumbotrons and smoke machines, faces strong headwinds. A national decline in church attendance, the struggling economy and the challenges of marketing to millennials have all led to the need for new approaches.

The strategy ofblending religion with everyday activities disarms people put off by traditional notions of church, Dr. Thumma says in the article.?It?s pretty low risk to wander into a bar or movie theater or hotel,? Professor Thumma said. ?It ends up delivering the message of relevance: we?re just like you, we?re struggling, we might have a beer together ? and our faith is also relevant.?

The article appeared on December 30 in the New York Times’ national news section. Full article

Dr. Roozen is Director of the Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Dr. Thumma is a member of the Institute.

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