Library News and Events

Digitization Project: Pacific Coast Theological Society 

As part of an ongoing project, many of the Pacific Coast Theological Society (PCTS) papers from 1939 through 1976 have been posted online by Special Collections and Archives at the Graduate Theological Union.

The Pacific Coast Theological Society (then Group) was established by John Bennett and supported by the Hazen Foundation in 1939. Inspired by a similar organization on the East coast,  the group continues to meet twice a year, in the Spring and Fall for two days (Friday and Saturday) to discuss critical theological and societal issues. Members and speakers have always been among the best regarded theologians on the West coast. The organization is based in Berkeley, California, and associated with the Graduate Theological Union.

This project documents the ongoing tradition of religious dialoque in the Bay Area. The plan is to continue posting PCTS papers through the 2000's. Hardcopies of the papers are available at the Flora Lamsom Hewlett Library in rare, call number BT10 .P32, organized by year (see this list for more recent papers). For current information on PCTS, please visit their website .

 Topics and papers from 1939-1976

Date Topic
October 20-22, 1939 What is essential in the Christian religion?
April 12-13, 1940 The Christian ethic - its basis and relevance
November 8-9, 1940 The Church
May 2-3, 1941 The Doctrine of God
November 7-8, 1941 The Doctrine of man
April 17-18, 1942 Religious epistemology
October 30-31, 1942 The Incarnation
April 30-May 1, 1943 Christianity and reconstruction
November 5-6, 1943 New problems for Christian apologetics
April 28-29, 1944 Theological evaluation of education
November 10-11, 1944 Doctrine of grace
April 20-21, 1945 Perfectionism
1945-1946 The church and organized movements, Papers used for the second book in the Interseminary Series.: BV600.M52 1946
November 1946 Authority and religion
May 1947 Discipline and culture of spiritual life
November 7-8, 1947 Psychology of religion
April 1948 Christian union
November 1948 Neo-orthodoxy. its nature and relevance (no papers survive)
May 1949 Church and state
November 4-5, 1949 The authority of scripture
April 21-22, 1950 Philosophies of history
November 3-4, 1950 Mysticism and ethics
April 1951 Toward a Christian understanding of modern man
November 1951 The relevance of eschatology to the modern scene
May 1952 Jesus Christ: the hope of the world and of the church (no papers survived)
November 7-8, 1952 The theological significance of biblical criticism
April 17-18, 1953 The Holy Spirit
November 6-7, 1953 The Christian-theological synthesis of freedom and security
April 23-24, 1954 Unity in Christ. division in the church
November 12-13, 1954 The freedom of the Christian man – 1954
April 1955 The Christian church confronts the religions
November 4-5, 1955 Religion and higher education
April 13-14, 1956 Unity in faith and order: The Sacraments
October 26-27,1956 The promise and peril for the church in the current revival religion
April 26-27, 1957 Paul Tillich
November 1-2, 1957 Theological perspectives in contemporary literature
April 11-12, 1958 Augustine
October 23-24, 1958 Revelation and communication
May 1-2, 1959 What has become of the Christian ethic?
October 23-24, 1959 Immortality
April 29-30, 1960 Sex and population
November 4-5, 1960 Creation and eschatology
April 21-22, 1961 The Bible as norm
November 3-4, 1961 A re-evaluation of medieval theology
April 13-14, 1962 A new quest of the historical Jesus
November 2-3, 1962 A personal Christology
March 15-16, 1963 Religious and theological language
November 22-23, 1963 The new hermeneutic paper (believe cancelled due to Kennedy assassination)
April 1964 New directions in American theology
October 23-24, 1964 A theology of the laity
March 26-27, 1965 The problem of transcendence
November 5-6, 1965 Homosexuality
April 29-30, 1966 Teilhard de Chardin
November 4-5, 1966 Christianity as a religion
March 31-April 1, 1967 New directions for interpreting the sacraments
November 17-18,1967 Current ferment in communication
April 19-20,1968 Hope
November 15-16, 1968 Christian theology and world religions: new perspectives
April 25-26, 1969 Dimensions of contemporary dialogue
November 21-22,1969 Theology and violence, non-violence, social change
May 1-2, 1970 The religious dimensions of revolutio
November 20-21, 1970 The resurrection of Jesus Christ as the center of Christian thought and experience
May 7-8, 1971 Death
November 5-6,, 1971 Homo faber, Homo agens, Homo loquens
April 21-22, 1972 meeting From Theology to Ethics
November 10-11, 1972 Issues in Contemporary Dialogue of Christianity with other Religions
April 13-14, 1973 Reinhold Niebuhr
May 10-11, 1974 A Theology of Liberation
November 22-23, 1974 Religious Language
May 21-22,1975 The Heritage of H. Richard Niebuhr
November 21-22,1975 American Theology
March 19-20, 1976 American Bicentenniel: A Theological Perspective


David Stiver
Special Collections Librarian


Resistance: Theological Responses to Discrimination

The fourth forum in The Transforming Spiritual Landscape of Peripheral Faith Communities series, discussing “Resistance: Theological Responses to Discrimination,” was held  in the Community Room, Japan Center, East Building, San Francisco Japantown, on March 2, 2019,

Ben Kobashigawa, retired  professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, welcomed the attendees. The speakers were Fumitaka Masuoka, Robert Gordon Sproul Professor of Theology Emeritus at Pacific School of Religion; Archie Smith, retired James and Clarice Foster Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Pacific School of Religion; and Edmund Yee, former director of Theological Education for Emerging Ministries program at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. Ron Y. Nakasone, member of the GTU Core Doctoral Faculty,  served as moderator.

This forum is part of an ongoing exploration in theological education and responses within peripheral communities as experienced by Asian-American and multiple-cultural professors of religion. The recordings are part of the effort by the Graduate Theological Union Special Collections to capture and preserve the memories of significant educators in a collegial format. This event was supported by the Japanese American National Library and the Japanese American Religious Federation. 


Salma Arastu: Seeking Oneness

Salma Arastu discussed her art and influences for her Seeking Oneness exhibition at Graduate Theological Union  on October 11, 2018.

She has close to 40 solo shows to her credit, and sees her work as inspired by the spirit of the divine. Over the past thirty years she has created images with continuous, lyrical line and a variety of re-purposed materials in an effort to express joy in the universal spirit that unites humanity. For more information about her, visit her website

The Seeking Oneness exhibition in the GTU library runs through January 11, 2019.

David Stiver
Special Collections Librarian

Artists Round Table: A View from the Bench: Social Justice in Art, Law, and Religion of the Chicano Community

An Artists Round Table concluded an exhibit featuring drawings made by Cruz Reynoso on his case notes while serving on the California State Supreme Court, as well as works by other Chicano artists in the Bay Area on September 20, 2018. The exhibition was curated by Rondall Reynoso in the Graduate Theological Union library and ran from June 19 through September 21.

The artists at the round table, going right to left, in order of speaking, are Robert Chavarrin Guerrero, Xoxhitl Nevel Guerrero, Yadira Cazares, Gustavo Reynoso, Malaquías Montoya, Rondall Reynoso, Liliana Navarro, Cruz Reynoso, Abby Ginzberg, and Andres Cisneros-Galindo.

Prior to the discussion, the documentary "Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice" (2010) produced by Abbie Ginzberg, who was present, was shown.

David Stiver
Special Collections Librarian

The Transforming Spiritual Landscape of Peripheral Faith Communities Series

The Japanese American National Library, the Japanese American Religious Federation, and the Asia Project at the Graduate Theological Union presented three forums on The Transforming Spiritual Landscape of Peripheral Faith Communities beginning in October 2017.

The forums were History and Origins of Racial-Ethnic Faith Communities, October 28, 2917; Remembering the Future: Reflections on Theological Education: November 28, 2017; Remembering the Future: Reflections on Theological Education: Model Programs, Initiatives & Curricula, February 24, 2018.

These events were an ongoing exploration in theological education and responses within peripheral communities as experienced by Asian-American and multiple-cultural professors of religion. The recordings are part of the effort by the Graduate Theological Union Special Collections to capture and preserve the memories of significant educators in a collegial format. 

Ron Nakasone observes after the first forum: "it was an opportunity for members of the various faith congregations to give voice to their intense existential and institutional concerns. Indeed, a review of the video recording of the event indicates a profound anxiety among the attendees for a need to understand their transforming spiritual landscape, the future viability of their faith tradition and congregations, individually and collectively, and seminary education efforts in preparing leaders for the local congregation. In contrast, to the theoretical and academic questions raised at an earlier GTU event, the inquiries from the non-academics revolved around identity, hybrid (multi-faith) spiritual experiences, and a yearning for theological and congregational direction."

Some additional information can be found here

David Stiver
Special Collections Librarian

Digitization Project: E.T. Earl Lectures – The Fifties

Many of the E.T. Earl Lectures from the 1950s have been posted online by Special Collections and Archives at the Graduate Theological Union.

The Earl Lectures have been sponsored by Pacific School of Religion almost every year since 1902. In 1950, the lectures were first recorded on audio tape, when the event was also broadcast on the radio. Very few have heard any of these lectures since then.

These lecturers include some of the best known religious scholars and advocates of the day: Stephen Neil, Walter W. Van Kirk, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Roland Bainton, George Buttrick, James Muilenburg, Nels F.S. Ferre, Emil Brunner, Roger Shinn, Robert J. McCracken, Rajah B. Manikam, Daniel Day Williams and Norman Cousins.

The project documents Christian and religious thinking and activities in the Fifties and is a predecessor to our oral history collections on religious education in the Sixties, which is also on the GTU Digital Library site.

David Stiver
Special Collections Librarian



GTU Celebrates Publication of Encyclopedia on Spirituality and Asian American Cultures

GTU faculty members and other contributors celebrated the publication of their encyclopedia Asian American Religious Cultures on October 1, 2015.


Six years in the making, the project was spearheaded by Fumitaka Matsuoka (retired), Edmond Yee (retired), Ronald Y Nakasone, and graduate Jonathan Lee. Matsuoka, is Robert Gordon Sproul Professor of Theology Emeritus and the former Executive Director of the Institute for Leadership Development and the Study of Pacific and Asian American Religion (PANA) at Pacific School of Religion (PSR). Yee is an author, editor, translator, and professor emeritus of Asian Studies, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. Nakasone is a member of the core doctoral faculty at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and an artist. Lee is an associate professor of Asian American studies who specializes in Southeast Asian and Sino-Southeast Asian American studies at San Francisco State University.

“The project highlights GTU's role and scholarship in advancing the religious/spiritual traditions and experiences of Asian American and other peripheral communities. GTU served as an incubator and venue for early academic articulations on the Asian American and Pacific Islander aspirations." says Nakasone.

The event kicked off Theological Libraries Month, established by the American Theological Library Association for the month of October, to highlight the vital role libraries play in theological education.