Pathways to Possibility

San Francisco Theological Seminary, University of Redlands Initiate Process Toward a Transformative Partnership

A letter from the President


Dear Friends,

I want to share with you some exciting news about San Francisco Theological Seminary. On February 12, our Board of Trustees made a courageous, faith-filled decision to enter into a transformative partnership with the highly respected University of Redlands in Southern California. On February 22, the Board of Trustees of University of Redlands approved the same momentous decision. Both institutions have adopted an Agreement in Principle that frames our mutual understanding, and in the coming months we will be working collaboratively to draw up the necessary documents that will finalize the merger.

Together, our aligned institutions will create a new Graduate School of Theology that will embed SFTS within the University of Redlands. This will allow SFTS to continue its mission, expand its reach, and carry forward its legacy as the Presbyterian Church’s seminary of the West.

In recent years, the SFTS Board has been exploring ways to create a new kind of seminary for the 21st century—one that is intentionally designed to preserve the core values of SFTS while appealing to a broader constituency and opening new pathways for hopeful, loving engagement with the world. Even as SFTS and its degree programs will remain essentially unchanged at our San Anselmo campus, this innovative partnership will enlarge our geographic and demographic reach and give us the opportunity to offer interdisciplinary degrees and certificates in creative, new combinations with University of Redlands’ academic programs and other educational resources.

As with any significant change, we understand that there are thoughtful questions that arise and need to be addressed. We invite you to peruse the FAQs below to learn more. In the coming weeks we will continue to post new information about this ground-breaking partnership, including more about the University of Redlands itself.

I want to thank our cherished SFTS community—your prayers, financial support, engagement and love have sustained the seminary over many years and brought us to this new chapter in SFTS’s history. Your continuing prayers, support, engagement and love will bolster and accelerate this thrilling expansion of the seminary’s mission. As a seminary that celebrates the diversity of God’s world while ever seeking new ways to engage that diversity, practice welcome and inclusion, and learn more fully the ways of God’s Holy Spirit, we are grateful for the opportunity to be back in Southern California and chart a new course that advances the church’s hopeful, loving engagement with the world. I look forward to sharing more details with you about this exciting partnership in the months to come.

As we looked to the future, we recognized the need and imperative to re-imagine and reset our course to meet a changing world. Our partnership with the University of Redlands accelerates our efforts to make this essential transformation. We are very excited about the opportunities this new relationship creates for students from all walks of life. We remain committed to educating persons for transformational ministries of peace, healing, and justice as we pursue these new pathways of possibility.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Dr. Jim McDonald
President and Professor of Faith & Public Life

A letter from the President


Dear Friends,

I want to share with you some exciting news about San Francisco Theological Seminary. On February 12, our Board of Trustees made a courageous, faith-filled decision to enter into a transformative partnership with the highly respected University of Redlands in Southern California. On February 22, the Board of Trustees of University of Redlands approved the same momentous decision. Both institutions have adopted an Agreement in Principle that frames our mutual understanding, and in the coming months we will be working collaboratively to draw up the necessary documents that will finalize the merger.

Together, our aligned institutions will create a new Graduate School of Theology that will embed SFTS within the University of Redlands. This will allow SFTS to continue its mission, expand its reach, and carry forward its legacy as the Presbyterian Church’s seminary of the West.

In recent years, the SFTS Board has been exploring ways to create a new kind of seminary for the 21st century—one that is intentionally designed to preserve the core values of SFTS while appealing to a broader constituency and opening new pathways for hopeful, loving engagement with the world. Even as SFTS and its degree programs will remain essentially unchanged at our San Anselmo campus, this innovative partnership will enlarge our geographic and demographic reach and give us the opportunity to offer interdisciplinary degrees and certificates in creative, new combinations with University of Redlands’ academic programs and other educational resources.

As with any significant change, we understand that there are thoughtful questions that arise and need to be addressed. We invite you to peruse the FAQs below to learn more. In the coming weeks we will continue to post new information about this ground-breaking partnership, including more about the University of Redlands itself.

I want to thank our cherished SFTS community—your prayers, financial support, engagement and love have sustained the seminary over many years and brought us to this new chapter in SFTS’s history. Your continuing prayers, support, engagement and love will bolster and accelerate this thrilling expansion of the seminary’s mission. As a seminary that celebrates the diversity of God’s world while ever seeking new ways to engage that diversity, practice welcome and inclusion, and learn more fully the ways of God’s Holy Spirit, we are grateful for the opportunity to be back in Southern California and chart a new course that advances the church’s hopeful, loving engagement with the world. I look forward to sharing more details with you about this exciting partnership in the months to come.

As we looked to the future, we recognized the need and imperative to re-imagine and reset our course to meet a changing world. Our partnership with the University of Redlands accelerates our efforts to make this essential transformation. We are very excited about the opportunities this new relationship creates for students from all walks of life. We remain committed to educating persons for transformational ministries of peace, healing, and justice as we pursue these new pathways of possibility.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Dr. Jim McDonald
President and Professor of Faith & Public Life

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The Place of a Theology School
in a University
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San Francisco Theological Seminary, University of Redlands Initiate Process Toward a Transformative Partnership
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There is great excitement at SFTS about an expanded future with the University of Redlands. Programs we have long wanted to offer, students we have been anxious to reach, and resources for innovative ministry we have been eager to develop – suddenly all these aspirations have wind beneath their wings. Faculty conversations are popping with possibilities. Thoughts of new colleagues to engage in scholarly discourse, new ways to reach out to prospective students and new degree programs to model fuel our plans. In hallway discussions and committee meetings there is a kind of zing. We are dizzy with ideas as we begin work on the program expansion this partnership will make possible. Most of all, we are grateful for the new life — for the fullness of life — this merger promises and for the way it will extend the work and the community we love well into God’s future.

Jana Childers, Ph.D
Dean of the Seminary, Vice President of Academic Affairs San Francisco Theological Seminary

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