San Francisco Theological Seminary continues to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of living faithfully in the 21st century. Our academic year 2015-2016 was one of building a strong foundation for the launch of a new set of programs and initiatives aimed at broadening and expanding the individuals and communities SFTS serves.
We welcomed two new faculty. Wendy Farley, Professor of Christian Spirituality, and Yolanda Norton, Assistant Professor of Old Testament are bringing contemporary perspectives to ancient wisdom. Each is grounded in the tradition while offering exciting new ways of thinking about and appropriating Biblical and theological insights for the world we live in today. These two outstanding professors join an already distinguished, diverse, and intellectually rigorous core faculty that includes Annette Weissenrieder (New Testament), Eugene Eung-Chun Park (New Testament), Christopher Ocker (History), Greg Love (Systematic Theology), Laurie Garrett-Cobbina (Clinical Pastoral Education and Pastoral Care), Elizabeth Liebert (Christian Spirituality), Teresa Chavez-Sauceda (Ministry), David Ezekiel (Evangelism and Congregational Leadership), Jon Berquist (Old Testament), and Jana Childers (Worship and Preaching).
When the Board of Trustees updated our strategic plan in May 2016, it noted that it was important for SFTS to continue one of its finest traditions—reaching out to nontraditional students and engaging new constituencies in theological education. Yes, of course, we are still actively recruiting students who want to serve the church in congregational ministries and planning to double our enrollment by 2020. They are an important focus of theological education. At the same time, we are also designing fresh initiatives that can draw in new people who want to deepen their faith and its application in a wide-range of vocational and ministerial settings. Under the dynamic leadership of Rev. Floyd Thompkins, the Center for Innovation in Ministry unleashed a number of creative initiatives that encourage hopeful, constructive conversations and collaboration among groups seeking to address the wicked problems that perplex our communities.
The 2016 update of the Strategic Plan also emphasized the importance of our marketing and communication efforts. If we are going to expand our constituencies, we have to expand our efforts and communications vehicles to reach them as well. This past year has seen some dramatic changes in this area. Have you been to our website lately (www.sfts.edu)? Have you discovered the new website for the Center for Innovation in Ministry (innovation.sfts.edu)? Have you seen our Facebook page? The following pages also highlight the 2015-2016 formation of what is now our new lectionary project (www.livinglectionary.org). These are just several of the ways we are innovating in this vital area.
We are now poised for an exciting new era for SFTS, one that will resemble the efforts of previous eras, but with a distinctly 21st century cast. I hope you find this annual report engaging and hopeful.
Grace and peace,
Rev. James L. McDonald, Ph.D.
President and Professor of Faith & Public Life