Current News


When the 2015-2016 academic year launched at Earlham School of Religion, two students began their journey toward graduate degrees as part of a brand-new program that will cover the entire cost of their tuition as students here. These students, one a Bonner Scholar from Carson-Newman University and the other a graduate of the Quaker Voluntary Service program, were among the first recipients of ESR’s new Leadership and Service Scholarship.

We have tried arguments for environmental concern, doctrines, and of course moralizing and guilt-trips. None seem to transform human action. Join us as we welcome Philip Clayton to tackle this issue through the lens of eco-spirituality as the keynote speaker for the 2016 Spirituality Gathering on Saturday, February 27th.

ESR is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2015-16 Mullen Ministry of Writing Fellowship, Kristin Herrmann. Kristin lives in Indianapolis and has a BA from Franklin College of Indiana and a JD from IU School of Law - Bloomington.  Her writing project is Path to Prison, A Memoir, by Cindy White with Kristin Herrmann.

ESR will host the 6th annual Quaker Leadership Conference, Transformational Leadership & the Prophetic Witness, August 14-16, 2015. The conference will feature keynote presentations from ESR Dean Jay Marshall and leadership consultant Joyce Schroeder.

ESR is pleased to announce the appointment of Grace Ji-Sun Kim as Associate Professor of Theology.

Grace is currently a visiting researcher at Georgetown University, and prior to that served as Director of the MATS program and was Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology at Moravian Theological Seminary. She has a PhD in Systematic Theology from the University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, and a Master of Divinity in Theology/Christian Education from Knox College, University of Toronto.

A centering and meditative time of worship, prepared and led by students from the class on Spiritual Formation and Public Ministry, opened the 2015 ESR Spirituality Gathering. Prayer, scripture readings interspersed with silence, reflective songs, and a closing responsive reading which began "Always present God, we ask for the breath of Your Spirit to fill us" drew attenders into the meaning and focus for the day. 

ESR is honored to be included in the 2015 class of Seminaries that Change the World. Twenty-six institutions are included in this year's class, announced by The Center for Faith and Service, including neighboring partner Bethany Theological Seminary. This is the second consecutive year that ESR has been included. 

Join us for the 2015 Willson Lectures as we explore "Finding The Spirit of God in The Spirit of The World" with keynote speaker Diana Butler Bass.

ESR will be leading a contextual education trip to Colombia, partnering with the Christian Peacemakers team, during the May 2015 Intensive. 

The most recent issue of ESR Reports is now available, and if you haven't received a copy in the mail. you can also read it on our website.

On Thursday, August 28th, ESR and Bethany Theological Seminary shared their opening convocation in Bethany's Nicarry Chapel. Students, faculty and staff joined together to worship and listen to the message presented by ESR Ministry of Writing Professor Ben Brazil. A recording of the convocation can be found here.

Earlham School of Religion recently joined FAITH³’s 2014 Class of Seminaries That Change the World. According to FAITH³ Director Wayne Meisel, an important qualification for this distinction is that the school evidence a “commitment to faithfully engage in the world” and to assist students in their pursuit of “a lifetime of service.”

ESR will again participate in the Seminary and Theological Grad School Virtual Fair on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

ESR is offering practical help to students, alumni/ae and area pastors in the form of financial seminars thanks to a Lilly Endowment grant. These free seminars, which will take place this fall, will cover basic money concepts, investment and debt, issues related to income tax and ministry, estate planning, insurance options and strategies, and investments concepts.

ESR will host their 5th annual Quaker Leadership ConferenceLeading as Servants in the Manner of Friends, on August 15-17, 2014, featuring keynote presentations from Alan Kolp and Ann Riggs. 

ESR will host Dale and Sylvia Graves as our Spring 2014 Friends in Residence during the week of April 14th. The Graves are active in Friends United Meeting (FUM) and in Friends ministry. Dale is currently serving as the presiding clerk for Western Yearly Meeting, and Sylvia is clerk for West Newton Friends. During their time at ESR, they will be presenting the program for Common Meal, bringing the message for programmed worship, and leading a workshop.

Earlham School of Religion recently joined FAITH³’s 2014 Class of Seminaries That Change the World. According to FAITH³ Director Wayne Meisel, an important qualification for this distinction is that the school evidence a “commitment to faithfully engage in the world” and to assist students in their pursuit of “a lifetime of service.”

Have you ever felt a call to explore your gift of writing as a ministry but were not interested in a degree? Have you ever wanted to dive into the rich history of Quaker faith and practice but couldn’t make a move to Richmond, Indiana? Now both opportunities are available.

Earlham School of Religion has received a $248,948 grant as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers.  It is one of 67 theological schools across the country to receive this funding.

ESR is excited to announce the addition of a new emphasis to its M.Div. residential program. Thanks to an agreement with Earlham’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, residential M. Div. students will now have the option of selecting teaching as their ministry emphasis and utilize courses from the MAT program.

Earlham School of Religion is honored to be named one of the eighteen schools included in the 2014 class of Seminaries that Change the World. Sharing company with seminaries including Duke, Princeton and Yale, ESR has been selected because of our mission to "seek out, support, train and launch gifted and talented individuals to lead in the world with courage, grace, intellect and love."

ESR is offering an alumni travel course to Assisi, Italy May 27 - June 5, 2014. The Soul’s Journey into God: A Pilgrimage with the Franciscan Mystics will be led by Margaret Benefiel and is limited to 12 participants.

Have you ever wished for an opportunity to experience the worship practices of other faith traditions? Longed for opportunities to have deep and honest conversations with individuals whose perspectives are just as sincere as yours, but significantly different? If you want to strengthen your own commitment to your faith without the need to dismiss the faith of others, ESR has an excellent opportunity for you. And, if you wish to spend a few days in the Big Apple, it may never get easier than this.

“Religious experience at its core is not an experience of anything,” according to Peter Rollins. “It’s what transforms your experience of everything.” Rollins shared this during his opening lecture as part of the 2013 ESR Willson Lectures. A widely sought after writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker originally from Belfast, Ireland, Rollins delivered a series of lectures on the ESR and Earlham campus and participated in worship and group discussions as part of this year’s Willson Lectures on April 8-9th.

ESR is pleased to announce special scholarship recipients for the 2013-14 academic year. Both the Nancy Kortepeter Mullen Scholarship and the Thomas J. Mullen Scholarship provide each student with full tuition for 27-30 credits.

ESR Professor of Peace and Justice Studies Lonnie Valentine has been awarded the Elton Trueblood Chair of Christian Thought. The Chair was established in 1967 and rotates every five years between Earlham College and the School of Religion. 

ESR is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Brazil as the new Assistant Professor and Director of the Ministry of Writing Program.

On Friday, March 1, Earlham School of Religion hosted prospective students at an Open House on campus.

ESR is excited to welcome Thom Jeavons to campus as Scholar-in-Residence. Thom is a 1978 alumnus of ESR (M.A.) and holds a Ph.D. from Union Institute.

Join us this spring for exciting Ministry of Writing courses, taught by our visiting adjunct writing professor, Amy Lyles Wilson.

“I’m the kind of person who started writing at eight years old, and from that moment on always wanted to be a writer,” began Sharman Apt Russell, keynote speaker for the 2012 ESR Ministry of Writing Colloquium. Russell, a nature and science writer from New Mexico, shared her message, The Scripture of Snail and Fern, with a full audience in the ESR Center gathering area on November 3rd.

On Friday, November 2, Earlham School of Religion hosted prospective students at an Open House on campus.

Earlham School of Religion will welcome Bernabé Sanchez the week of October 1, 2012 as Friend in Residence. Sanchez is a graduate of the George Fox Biblical Institute, and has served as a pastor for churches in Honduras, Tambla and San Pedro Sula. His ministry also includes periods of service as the Director of the George Fox Institute, and as superintendent of the Friends Churches in Honduras. ESR’s connection with Bernabé began in 2006 when he helped introduce the faculty to Friends in Honduras.

Earlham School of Religion will host their annual Pastors Conference on Monday, October 1, 2012 in the ESR Center. Keynote speaker Debora Jackson will deliver three plenary sessions on the topic The 7 R's of Sanctuary. Rev. Jackson, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Needham, PA, is also an independent consultant with Executive Soul and published author.

The Earlham School of Religion is currently accepting applications from those interested in the Tom Mullen Ministry of Writing Fellowship for the 2012-2013 Academic Year. Application Deadline: October 12, 2012

This past weekend ESR celebrated the graduation of 20 students from the class of 2012. A group of 14 students received their Master of Divinity, three received an M.A., and another three will be December 2012 graduates.

Earlham School of Religion will be hosting the 20th Annual Ministry of Writing Colloquium November 4th and 5th on their Richmond campus.  Poet and author Scott Cairns will present the keynote topic: The Poem in Progress: a Way of Knowing, which will describe the poetic text as not being a means of expressing what is already known, but as a way of knowing, of seeing, of glimpsing what is not yet known. His workshop session, The Poem: A Dialogic Endeavor, will continue that conversation.

ESR recently upgraded the website which houses the Digital Quaker Collection (DQC). Built about 8 years ago, the DQC gives ESR Access students a connection to the same quality information as our residential students have on campus at Earlham's Lilly Library.

The end of the year celebrations at Earlham School of Religion this past weekend provided the community with a variety of opportunities to share with our graduates the joy of marking the end of one time in their lives and the beginning of new opportunities for ministry and service.

Joerg Rieger was the 2011 Willson Lecturer at the Earlham School of Religion on April 4-5. He presented three lectures on the Richmond, Indiana campus addressing the theme: Empire, Economics, and Christ: Does Christianity Still Make a Difference?

“I’m here today because I’ve realized that our economy not only fails to provide for the basic needs of humankind, it also refuses to regard the limits of the Earth -- our home and life support system. Progress has upped the anty, and now our bulging bubbling economy is leaving a heavy footprint,” shared Tevyn East, as she began her keynote performance for the 2011 ESR Spirituality Gathering.

Earlham School of Religion is excited to announce the launch of our official blog, Learning and Leading. In recent years, ESR has been actively involved on various social networks, and some individual faculty members and students have maintained personal blogs. With the launch of Learning and Leading, our hope is to continue to foster the ongoing online conversation that in recent years has been burgeoning throughout the Quaker community.

ESR was recently the recipient of the historic Lauramoore Friends Home, a beautifully preserved 14-room Victorian home, located on 1.3 acres, and less than a mile from the ESR campus. Formerly a private residence, and most recently incorporated as a non-profit organization, administered by Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting the home was gifted to ESR by their Board of Directors.

Carrie Newcomer delivered a keynote address filled with inspiration, humor and song at the Ministry of Writing Colloquium on October 15-16 at ESR. Over 100 attendees filled the ESR Center to hear Newcomer, who has been called a poet and folk singer, a warm spirit and prairie mystic. She spoke on "Spirituality and the Arts," which explored ways the artistic practice can be seen as a spiritual one as well. 

The 2010 Conference of the Indiana College English Association was held Friday, October 22, at Indiana State University.  ESR students Robin Anderson and Jason Jolley shared first place honors in the creative readings category. Robin read several poems covering a range of topics from Job to a response to Mary Oliver's "Gethsemane" and Jason read a short story about a homeless child living in a Mexican garbage dump.

Diane Randall will be visiting ESR as Friend in Residence for the week of October 25th-29th. Diane is a member of the ESR Board of Advisors and currently serves as the Executive Director of Partnership for Strong Communities, a Connecticut non-profit organization that "engages civic and political support to solve homelessness, create affordable housing and develop strong, vibrant communities.”

Theologian and biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan gave a series of lectures on Jesus and Paul at the Earlham School of Religion. Crossan's appearance was one of a series of events celebrating ESR's 50th anniversary as a Quaker seminary.

Earlham School of Religion sponsored its inaugural leadership conference, Leadership Fit for Friends. on the Earlham campus, May 20-22. This conference is one new initiative to result from the faculty’s recent decision to add a leadership emphasis to its Master of Divinity curriculum. The goal of such a conference is to provide continuing education opportunities for current and aspiring leaders who seek to integrate faith and vocation in their work and ministry.

The ESR community celebrated another graduating class the weekend of May 7th and 8th. This year the number of students totaled 19, including a few who will finish their degrees this coming December.

On April 5th and 6th, Friends were treated to talks by Tom Hamm, Professor of History and Archivist at Earlham College, on "The Road to ESR: Or, the Long, Tangled, and Often Confusing Story of How Friends Came to Embrace Theological Education."

ESR is pleased to announce special scholarship recipients for the 2010-11 academic year. Both the Nancy Kortepeter Mullen Scholarship and the Thomas J. Mullen Scholarship provide each student with full tuition for 27 credits.

The month of February came to a close at ESR with an inspiring and spirit-filled day as we hosted the 10th annual Spirituality Gathering; A Spirituality of Caring in the midst of Suffering.”

ESR has completed the search for a professor of Christian Spirituality, and is excited to welcome Carole Spencer to the ESR faculty. She will join ESR at the rank of Associate Professor and begins her position in July with responsibilities on campus beginning in August.

In addition to a newly designed website earlier this fall, ESR has also added a Vocal Ministries page to its site. This page is home to articles on a variety of theological topics, with the newest category being issues related to young adult friends.

Julia Kasdorf opened the 2009 Ministry of Writing Colloquium with her keynote address Writing as Ruin, Relic, and Resurrection. “It’s Halloween,” she began. “Let me tell you a story that has been haunting and bewildering me lately—a gruesome story.” Her keynote presentation was the highlight of an inspiring day on the ESR campus, well attended by ESR friends and alumni, Earlham College students, and writers from the area and abroad.

"I have one goal for my defend and to magnify, or expand, our vision of some of the really simple things in pastoral work," stated Dave Hansen as he began his keynote presentation at the 2009 ESR Pastors Conference, The Art of Pastoring.  Hansen gave three presentations, as well as providing the Common Meal talk while he was on campus September 28th and 29th.

The Earlham School of Religion hosted their 50th Anniversary kick-off celebration on Friday, September 25th on their Richmond campus. Alumni/ae, former and current faculty and staff, and f/Friends of the school attended the day-long event.

Tom Mullen, former dean of ESR, well-known Richmond author, college professor and recorded minister in the Society of Friends, died Friday, June 19th, at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He was taken to the hospital after reportedly suffering what was believed to be a stroke earlier Friday.

At Earlham School of Religion's 16th annual Ministry of Writing Colloquium, Haven Kimmel's keynote address explored the connections between Quakerism and writing.

The Earlham School of Religion is proud to announce its first class abroad, to be taught in Mexico from January 2-14, 2008.

On Saturday, September 20th, a small but energetic group gathered for this year's Pastor's Conference, The Bible in the Air by Heart, on the ESR campus.  The day started with a wonderful breakfast and worship, followed by keynote speaker Tom Boomershine's energetic and interactive presentation. Boomershine is a well-known biblical storyteller and brought much enthusiasm to the conference.

ESR is excited to present a new publication written by ESR graduate and Director of Outreach Jennie Isbell. Jennie's book, Leading Quakers: Discipleship Leadership, A Friends Model, is a nine-chapter book designed to lead worshiping communities through a thought-provoking year of adult religious education on the topic of leadership development in the congregation.

"I don't do new," joked speaker Robert Wicks; "it's what I do with what's important, I think."

The ESR community is saddened to share the news of Wilmer Cooper's passing. Wilmer was one of the founders of ESR and the first dean of the seminary. He was 88 years old at the time of his death. His wife, Emily, (creator of the beautiful Peace quilt in the ESR Gathering area) died in 2005. Wil and Emily moved to Friends Fellowship Community in 1994. They had 4 children, Suzanne, Cathy, and Barbara, who live in Massachusetts, and Scott, who lives in Florida.

He will be dearly missed. Please hold his family and friends in God's light.