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Center for Swedenborgian Studies Becomes the GTU's Newest Center of Distinction

The Graduate Theological Union is pleased to welcome the Center for Swedenborgian Studies (CSS) as its newest Center of Distinction. The Center for Swedenborgian Studies offers theological education to men and women seeking to minister within the Swedenborgian Church, serves as a hub for scholarship regarding the Swedenborgian tradition, and provides Swedenborgian theological resources for the wider church and community.

CSS joins the Graduate Theological Union after fifteen successful and productive years as a House of Studies within Pacific School of Religion, one of the eight member schools of the GTU. The offices of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies, as well as its extensive library collection, will remain on the PSR campus for the immediate future, but will be relocated as soon as is feasible.

GTU President Riess Potterveld celebrated the establishment of the new center at the GTU: “We are delighted to welcome the Center for Swedenborgian Studies into an even closer and more vital relationship with the Graduate Theological Union as a Center of Distinction. The multi-religious mix of the scholarly community at the GTU is enhanced and broadened as more and more traditions take their places at the table.”

The Center for Swedenborgian Studies is the official seminary of the Swedenborgian Church of North America, one of the 37 member communions of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. The Swedenborgian Church is an open-minded Christian denomination that bases its faith in the Bible as illuminated by the spiritual teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

Dr. Jim Lawrence, Dean of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies, believes the new relationship with the GTU will greatly enhance Swedenborgian scholarship. “Interest in Emanuel Swedenborg, his writings, and his influence continues to rise, and the opportunities for important Swedenborgian outreach in religious scholarship are as strong as ever. We believe that our emphasis on both ministry and academic outreach will be empowered through the new institutional visibility and freedom of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies at the GTU.”

The Center for Swedenborgian Studies builds on a 149-year history dating back to the founding of New Church Theological School in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1866. The school operated as a stand-alone seminary in the Boston area for 135 years before moving to Berkeley in 2001 to affiliate with Pacific School of Religion.

The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley is the largest consortium of theological schools and institutes in North America, bringing together more than twenty member schools, academic centers, and affiliates representing the breadth of the world’s religious traditions.