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Students are indoctrinated in Womanist Theology, Liberation Theology, and Queer Theology

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
August 11, 2022

A new school year is starting. Some public schools have reopened their doors for a new academic year. Colleges are set to gear up in a couple of weeks, and theological seminaries are slated to commence their new fall terms at the tail end of August or the beginning of September, including the Episcopal seminaries which dot the landscape from New York to California.

The ten seminaries which cater to and cooperate with The Episcopal Church are: Berkeley Divinity School at Yale (Connecticut); Bexley Seabury-Western Theological Foundation (Illinois); Episcopal Divinity School at Union (New York); Church Divinity School of the Pacific (California); General Theological Seminary (New York); Nashotah House Theological Seminary (Wisconsin); Sewanee School of Theology at The University of the South (Tennessee); Seminary of the Southwest (Texas); Trinity School for Ministry (Pennsylvania); and Virginia Theological Seminary (Virginia).

These 10 seminaries and divinity schools are helping to theologically form the Episcopal priesthood of the future. It is from the priests who are being formed today that the bishops of tomorrow will be chosen.

Looking at the various seminary course catalogs reveal some interesting classes, some of which border on indoctrination rather than education. In fact, looking at some of the seminary courses offered at these "divinity schools", it seems that seminarian students are being radicalized before they leave their seminary and are ordained into the Episcopal priesthood.

That is particularly true of the seminaries which do not have an historic link to The Episcopal Church, such as Union Theological Seminary and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University.

Historic seminaries which were founded by the Episcopal Church such as General Theological Seminary and Nashotah House have a more traditional understanding of Anglican theology and a biblical grounding which is the backbone of the courses they offer.

For the most part the seminaries teach, to one degree or another, the theological basics: Old and New Testament, the Gospels, the Life of Christ, the Pauline epistles, moral and systematic theology, historical church history, Anglican history, Reformation history, Episcopal Church history, the Book of Common Prayer, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Creeds, church music, Anglican liturgy ...

The core courses are pretty standard. It's the elective courses in which there is wide latitude to veer off center.

Each seminary has its own list of unique course offerings.


Berkeley Divinity School affiliated with Yale Divinity School in 1971, making it the only Episcopal seminary to be fully associated with a major Ivy League school such as Yale University. However, Berkeley retains its distinctive Anglican identity through an independent board of trustees and separate administration.

To graduate, Berkeley seminarians must take one course in non-Christian religions; one course that focuses on gender/sexuality; race/ethnicity; global/cultural diversity; or disabilities; and three courses in comparative and cultural studies.

Some of the course offerings include:
+Worship, Culture, & Technology
+Asian-American Theology
+Theologies of Religious Pluralism
+Black Feminist Theology & Black Women's Ethics
+Slavery and Obedience
+The Christian Eros
+Women in African Christianity
+Black Religion & Radical Education
+Pastoral Wisdom Inside Prison
+Violence and Peace in Christian Ethics
+Religion, Political Economy, & the Black Community
+Global Ethics, Religious Ethics, Climate Change
+Queer Theology


Bexley Hall was founded in 1824 by Bishop Philander Chase (I Ohio). The theological school eventually federated with Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 2013. Seabury-Western itself was originally formed in 1933 through an earlier merger of Western Theological Seminary founded in 1883 and Seabury Divinity School founded in 1858.

Bexley's mission is "to engage in intentional formation of ecclesial personhood in a community of prayer."

Some of the course offerings include:
+Atheism 101
+The Death of the Beautiful Young Man: the +Erotics of Redemption
+Nostalgia Versus the Reign of God: Sunday Morning Smack-down
+Diversity & Context
+Creation & the New Creation
+Ecumenism and Ethics
+The Structures of Community: City, Neighborhood, & the New Urbanness for Church
+Community-based Wellness Ministries
Making Mission Possible Through Tough Times
+Conflict as Ministry
+Reimagining Congregations in Mission
Community Development for the New Age
+Liturgical Arts & Architecture


Church Divinity School is the only Episcopal seminary in California and the furthest west of all Episcopal seminaries. The California seminary was established in 1893 in San Mateo, California, by Bishop William Nichols (II California).

In 1911, the school was relocated to the grounds of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco after sustaining substantial damage during the 1906 earthquake.

The Church Divinity School of the Pacific embraces diversity as a "gift of the Holy Spirit," and embraces social justice as a core expression of the Gospel and trains its students to fulfill the widest possible variety of effective lay and ordained ministries. The seminary calls on the church to re-imagine its mission and ministry in light of conflicting cultural values.

Some of the course offerings include:
+Body, Desire, & Transformation
+Christian Ethics: Radical Love Embodied
+Contemporary Anglican Theologians: Sarah Coakley, Kelly Brown Douglas, Jay Emerson Johnson, William Stringfellow, Kathryn Tanner, Keith ward, & Rowan Williams
+Contemporary Theologies of Church
+Gospel of the Masses: Seeing God Through the Eyes of the Marginalized
+Mission in Latino Context
+New Voices in Anglicanism: Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific
+Post-Colonial Communion
+Reading Isaiah with Hope & Peace
+The Public Square: Engaging Emerging Opportunities
+Theology, Justice & Intersectionality
+Navigating Conflict: Speaking the Truth in Love
+The Sensual Gospel of John: Experiencing the Fourth Gospel through the Five Senses
Introduction to Liberation Theology


Union is probably the most liberal of the theological schools which cater to Episcopal seminarians.

The Episcopal Divinity School at Union includes six ingrained core values.
FAITH: EDS at Union's Anglican Studies Program is grounded in the gospel call to partner with God in mending the earth.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: EDS at Union is committed in all of its interactions to bring faith and theological scholarship together in the service of social justice.
VISION: EDS at Union is committed to being a responsible visionary of its material and non--material resources so as to be accountable to its future and to building a just earth.
INCLUSIVENESS: EDS at Union's circle of interactions will represent a culturally, ethnically, religiously and nongendered array of voices along with those who are suffering on the underside of injustice.
RESPECT: EDS at Union will value the sacred dignity of all persons in all of our interactions and conversations.
INTEGRITY: EDS at Union will demonstrate strong moral principles and maintain values even when it's unpopular.

There is a heavy emphasis on feminism, the Black experience, and liberation theology in the courses offered at Union.

Some of the course offerings include:
+Anglican Mission & Social Justice
+The United States Latino Experience
+Religious Movements from the Margins: the Prosperity Gospel
+Inventing & Discovering Popular Religions
+Gender Sexualities of Early Christians
+African-American Religious History
+Church, State, Empire: Anglicanism in Britain & America
+The Song of Songs an Interreligious +Perspective African Religions in the Americas
+Mysticism & Revolutionary Social Change
+Comparative Feminist Theology
+RISE Together: Mentorship for Women of Color
+Moral Response to the Crisis of Homelessness
+Disability & Theology
+Sacraments, Hospitality & Globalization
+Preaching & Protest
+Proclamation at a Distance: Virtual Preaching & Beyond
+Liturgies from Below: Prayers in Defiance of Empire
+Proclamation and Black Experience
+Learning from the Earth: Eco-Rituals & Earth Liturgies
+Addictions & Spiritual Care
+Interpreting and Teaching the Bible in Local Communities
+Studies in Jewish Christian Relations
+Contextual Perspectives on Culture & Race
+African Religions in America
+Urban Life in Religion
+Encounters Between Critical Theories & Religions
+Liberation Theologies in Pentecostalism
+Theology & the Natural World
+Moral Traditions and Social Ethics
+American Theological Liberation from 1805 to 1930
+Artificial Intelligence Implementation for +Ethics & Religion
+The Prophetic Black Church in the 21st Century
+Sexual Ethics in New York City
+Social Ethics in the Making
+Women & the Black Freedom Movement
+Womanist Theology
+Modern Anglican Religious Thought: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Frederick Denison Maurice, Vida Scudder, William Temple, Michael Ramsey, John Macquarie, Desmond Tutu, Kwok Pui-Lan, Sarah Coakley, Rowan Williams, & Kelly Brown Douglas
+Critical Perspectives in Modern Theology
+Comparative Feminist Theology
+Contextual Perspectives on Cultural & Race
+Building a Moral Revolution to End Poverty
+Humanist Life Passage Ceremonies
+Women in Prisons at a Time of COVID & BLM
+Jubilee Justice: a Vision of Freedom & +Liberation From the Poor
+Black Theology & Black Power
+Rituals of Birth to Death


General was established by the 1817 General Convention when The Episcopal Church realized there needed to be a way to educate its own clergy.

Generally, General's faculty reflects the moderate-to-liberal views on moral and theological issues held by The Episcopal Church today.

Some of the course offerings include:
+Wondering for the Love of God: An Exploration of Early Medieval Spirituality
+Icons & Saints: Byzantine Spirituality
+Theological Reflection as a Spiritual Discipline
+Spiritual Companionship & Digital Media
+The World of Early Christians
+Prayer Book Revision as Historical Theology
+Theological Ethics & Social Practice
+Prison Ministry
+Church Architecture in the City of New York
+Liturgical Spanish
+American Religiosity
+Church Beyond the Walls
+Engaging Other Christians & Other Religions
+Trends in Contemporary Theology
+Feminism & Mysticism
+A Theological Perspective on Alcoholism
+Eastern Religions
+Ignatian Spirituality
+The Major Reformers, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin & Their Relevance for the Church of the 21st Century
+Theology in the Hymns of the Church
+South African Travel Seminar: The Ongoing Spirituality & Theology of Archbishop Tutu


Nashotah is the second oldest TEC seminary and is the Anglo-Catholic jewel among Episcopal seminaries.

Nashotah draws students from ACNA, TEC, and the Anglican Continuum seeking to be trained in solid historic Anglican theology, piety and liturgical practice.

Some of the course offerings include:
+Patristic & Medieval Church History
+Patristic & Medieval Historical Theology
+Moral Theology & Contemporary Issues
+Spirituality for Ministry
+Christian Liturgy & its Development
+Practical Liturgics for the Parish Priest
+Personal Leadership & Polity and Canon Law
+Pastoral Care & Pastoral Liturgies: Building a Community, Evangelism & Outreach
+Church & Society
+Cross-Cultural Immersion
+Ethnography, Methodology, & Theological Reflection
+Ethics & Fundamental Moral Theology


Southwest is located in the Lone Star State. Texas has a 40% Hispanic population and a 1,254-mile-long border with Mexico. Southwest specializes in cross-cultural theological education; therefore, the Texas Episcopal seminary has a strong focus on Hispanic ministry.

Southwest's Core Values include: Hospitality, Conversation, Mutuality, Respect, Rootedness, and Celebration.

Some of the course offerings include:
+American Religions for Counseling & Ministry
+Theological Reflections for Care of the Soul
Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Pastoral Care
+Spirituality in the Workplace
+Women in Early Christianity
+Spirituality & the Arts
+Spanish Language Proficiency
+Latinx Studies
+Engaging Borders: Encuentro
+Encuentro: Mission in Latino Contexts
Latin American Literature & Spiritualities
+Theologies of Latina Women
+Ministry in Latinx Contents
+Latinx Theologies
+Latinx Spiritualities
+Latinx Counseling
+Critical Contexts in Latinx Ministry
+Undoing Anti-Judaism
+Entrepreneurial Ministry
+Trauma, Theology & Lived Experience
+Sin & the Act of Naming
+Theological Aesthetics for Social Transformation
+Money is a Metaphor
+Human Growth Development Across a Lifespan
+Social, Cultural Family Diversity
+Human Sexuality in the Counseling Profession
+Ministry in the Times of Crisis
+Medical Issues and Healing Presence

On July 4, 1857, delegates from ten Episcopal southern dioceses -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas -- led by Bishop Leonidas Polk (I Louisiana) founded an Episcopal denominational college in the South, designed to be free from Northern influences. This happened eight years before the start of the Civil War when politics and passions were running hot.

Eventually, the Louisiana bishop set aside his church vestments and put on the uniform of a Major General in the Confederate Army, earning him the name of "Sewanee's Fighting Bishop." He died in battle.

Now both Bishop Polk's official portrait and his bust have been removed from display at Sewanee for his ties to antibellem slavery, racism and white supremacy during the recent BLM wave of dismantling historical Southern monuments.

Some of the course offerings include:
+Healing & Wholeness in Africa
+Church & Politics in Africa
+Contemporary Anglican Theologians: David Brown, Sarah Coakley, David F. Ford, John Milbank, Mark McIntosh, Kathryn Tanner, Rowan Williams
+Anglican Conciliarity
+Debating Same-sex Relationships in the Anglican Communion
+Types of Anglican Theology
+The Shape of the Anglican Communion
C.S. Lewis: Author, Apologist, and Anglican
+Many Sides of Sustainability
+Environmental Ethics
+Religion & Ecology
+Biodiversity: Pattern and Process
+Cultural Diversity
+Safeguarding God's Children
+Exegesis From the Margins
+Food & Sustainability in the Bible
+Human Sexuality in the Bible & the Ancient Near East
+Is God (non)Violent?
+Poverty in the Bible
+Ideological Criticism from African, Asian, Latin American, & Anglican Perspectives
God's Dissidents: Apocalyptic Then and Now
+The Word Became Violent: Difficult Old Testament Texts
+People of the Land: Biblical Visions for +Justice & Ecology
+Missions and Slavery in East Africa
+The Pastor in Literature
+Contemporary Anglican Theology
+Major Thinkers of Theology
+The Glass of Vision: Scripture, Metaphysics, & Poetry
+'Jesus Died for our Sins': Problems with Atonement
+Contemporary Eco-Theology
+The Parish Priest as Public Theologian
+Religion and Environment Colloquium
+Latino Theology & Spirituality
+Opening the Book of Nature
+The Many Faces of the Qur'an
+Religion & Ecology
+The Spirit & Forms of Anglicanism
+Religion & Animals
+Creation, Evolution & God


Virginia Theological Seminary was founded in 1823. It is now the largest seminary in The Episcopal Church with enrollment inching up towards 200 students.

The seminary was started by a group led by Episcopal priest, Fr. William Wilmer. Fr. Wilmer wanted to see a new group of Episcopal Church leaders be developed following the Revolutionary War as an Americanized version of Anglicanism was spreading through the former colonies in early America. Francis Scott Key was a member of that group.

VTS seeks to form and educate leaders who proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help others participate in God's mission throughout the world.

Some of the course offerings include:
+Intercultural Leadership
+Visions of Transformation
+Sexual Misconduct Prevention
+Intercultural Complacency
+Crossing Cultures Well
+Contemporary Witness of The Church
+Contemporary Expressions of Christian Spirituality
+Dynamics of Change & Conflict
+Ecumenism & Interfaith Relations
+Theological Anthropology & Human Development
+Human Emotion & Ministry
+Public Witness & Community Partnership
+Religious Diversity in Institutional Settings
+Learning While Leading
+The Rabbinic Interpretation of Midrash
+Film & the Bible
+The Old Testament in the New: New Testament Writers as the Interpreters of Scriptures
+Bad Girls of the Bible
+Biblical & Theological Reflection on Violence
+Ecumenical Dialogues of The Episcopal Church & of the Anglican Communion
+The History of the Black Church in America
Compared to Theology & a Christian Context
+Anglican Theology of Mission
+Muhammad: Man & Mission
+Exploring Islam faith and Practice
+Monastic Interfaith Encounters
+Latin American Theology: Liberation Themes
+Resistant Theologies
+Encountering the Catholic Church in Rome: Past and Present
+Myanmar Immersion
+The Prayer Book in Spanish
+The Bible in Spanish
+Contextual Ministry
+Special Needs & Christian Formation
+Being Fully Human: Becoming Spiritual & Religious
+Theological Reflection on Contemporary American Novels
+The Habit of Priesthood: An Anglican Reflection
+Camps, Conferences & Retreats: +Experiential Learning to Transform Faith & Church
+Pastoral Care Across Cultures
+Race in the African-American Experience
+The Art of Writing Theologically
+Preaching in the Public Square: the Oratory of Barack Obama Within the African-American Preaching Tradition
+Exploring Contemporary Issues with Media
+A Woman's History of Christianity


Founded in 1975 as Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, TSM is a solidly Evangelical divinity school focusing on the importance of Scripture. It caters to ACNA students and those in the Anglican Continuum, but also offers a Lutheran track and a Presbyterian track.

Some of the course offerings include:
+The Theology & Writings of Martin Luther
+Evangelicalism & Church Planting
+Global Anglicanism
+Cross Cultural Immersion
+History & Theology of the Diaconate
+Teaching the Rule of Faith: Scriptures & the Apostles' Creed
+Teaching the Rule of Hope: The Lord's Prayer and Spiritual Practice
+Teaching the Rule of Love: The Decalogue, +Holiness & Service
+World Religions
+Modern Theology
+Reformed Theology
+Christian Social Ethics
+The Anglican Way of Theology
+Listening & Trusting in an Age of Complexity
+Evangelical Theology for a Pluralistic Age
Participation: East & West
+Pauline Epistles & Nicene Trinitarian Theology
+Evangelism, Discipleship & Ministry of Caring


In addition to the traditional Episcopal seminaries, some dioceses also offer their own seminary type training for priests. These training institutios include the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry, a joint effort by the dioceses of Kansas, West Missouri, Nebraska and Western Kansas; the Iona Schools for the training bi-vocational priests in the dioceses of Texas and Pittsburgh; the Stevenson School for Ministry in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania; Bloy House which is a part of the Episcopal Theological School at Los Angeles; the School for Ministry Development in the Diocese of Southwest Florida; and the Alabama Integrative Ministry School in the Diocese of Alabama.


There are also a growing number of non-Episcopal seminaries, colleges and universities offering a wide variety of Anglican Studies tracks including: Columbia Theological Seminary (Presbyterian); Richmont Graduate School (Non-denominational); Tolbert School of Theology at Biola University (Non-denominational); Dallas Theological Seminary (Non-denominational); and Fuller Theological Seminary (Ecumenical).

Also: Iliff School of Theology (Methodist); Boston University School of Theology (Methodist); United Lutheran Seminary (ELCA Lutheran); Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (Methodist); Lancaster Theological Seminary (United Church of Christ); Northern Seminary (Baptist); Drew Theological School (Methodist); and Reformed Theological Seminary (Southern Presbyterian).

Also: Asbury Theological Seminary (Wesleyan Methodist); Duke Divinity School (United Methodist); Candler School of Theology at Emory University (Methodist); Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (Baptist); Wake Forest University School of Divinity (Baptist); Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Presbyterian); Beeson Divinity School (Evangelical); and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Evangelical).

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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