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Suzann Holding Joins Bexley Seabury April 1

Holding with kidsA couple of years ago, in the middle of a meeting, the Rev. Canon Suzann Holding had a vision that put her on a journey from the idyllic weather of San Diego back to a city that has been known this winter as Chi-beria, where she will become the Bexley Seabury Seminary Federation’s director of lifelong learning and the doctor of ministry program on April 1.

“I saw an old stone ruin with crumbling bricks,” says Holding, “and I knew my heart wasn’t in repairing that wall. I wanted to go beyond the old, broken walls that too often keep the church in and hold us back.”

It’s not surprising that Holding, who received her MDiv from Seabury in 1999, was intrigued when she learned about the opportunity to return to her alma mater, which now describes itself as a “seminary beyond walls.”

“I commend Bexley Seabury for being courageous and thinking creatively about its mission,” she says. “Leaders in the church can’t keep doing business as usual. We have to break down the traditional paradigms and delivery systems for theological education in ways that make the Gospel message meaningful to people’s lives. The opportunity to do that at a new venture guided by Roger Ferlo is very exciting.”

Ferlo, Bexley Seabury’s president, is enthusiastic about Holding’s arrival. “Suzi is an expert in training leaders and an experienced parish priest,” he said. Ferlo led the search that chose Holding from a strong pool of applicants. “Our DMin and lifelong learning programs will benefit greatly from her deep practical experience in ministry, her experience in the business world, and her understanding of today’s church. And, as a native of Cincinnati and a long-time resident of Chicagoland, she has a heart for the Midwest regions where Bexley Seabury makes its homes. We’re very fortunate to have found her.”

Holding, who lives in Glen Ellyn, Ill., recently finished a four-year stint as canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of San Diego, where she led congregational and leadership development programs in addition to handling the position’s typical administrative responsibilities. Before that, she was rector of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Elmhurst and associate rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Wheaton, both in the Diocese of Chicago. Prior to seminary, she spent nearly two decades working in corporate sales, marketing and operations.

She is also practicing what she’s about to preach. This fall, Holding will complete her own DMin program at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, writing a thesis about creativity as a leadership tool.

“In our world today, there are a lot of messages about what it means to be Christian, and some of them are really not helpful,” she says. “We need the whole horizon of possibilities to support people in their spiritual journey and feed their spiritual curiosity. To be effective in reaching people who are hungry, we need to be creative.”

Holding hopes to use some of her own creative leadership to attract fellow Seabury alums to be a part of the new Bexley Seabury despite the pain of letting go of the Evanston campus.

“We all grieve the loss of places we have had to say goodbye to, like our childhood homes or church buildings where we baptized our children or married and buried our soulmates,” says Holding. “The memories that we form stay with us even when the physical places go away, and the substance of them will always be part of us. People of faith are a journeying people. If we claim that identity, then we recognize that Seabury was a place on the journey, but not a stagnant one. The faithful response is to acknowledge it as a painful loss and move on.”

For Holding, moving on has recently meant returning from four years in San Diego to the Glen Ellyn house that she shared with her husband, who died seven years ago, and their two children. Now she lives with with Lucy, a 45-pound shepherd and spaniel mix, and welcomes frequent visits from her daughter, Mallory, a former employee of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations now finishing a master’s degree in international development policy at Georgetown University, and her son, Michael, an aspiring actor in Chicago.

“My journey has brought me home again, but it’s a different place,” she says, both of her life in Glen Ellyn and her new role at Bexley Seabury. “Things have changed and so have I. God is leading us all beyond the old walls.”

Board Expresses Gratitude to Harlow

At its meeting in February, the Bexley Seabury board passed a resolution of gratitude for the ministry of the Rev. M. Susan Harlow, who will conclude her time at Bexley Seabury with a sabbatical beginning March 1:

I saw the throng, so deeply separate, fed at one only board -

The devout people, moved, intent, elate, and the devoted Lord.

~ Alice Meynell

"The Bexley Hall - Seabury Western Federation Board of Directors expresses its deepest gratitude to God for the faithful service of the Reverend Dr. Susan Harlow in the development and administration of Seabury’s Doctor of Ministry Programs.

"The throng so deeply separate... The Rev. Susan Harlow, having commenced her service to this institution in a time of extraordinary change and unsettledness, surrounded by a throng of deeply separate views, did manifest a calm and steady hand in the midst of transition.  In this half decade she advanced the mission of the school by reviving and redesigning the D.Min. in Congregational Development, teaching key courses, and acting as advisor and supporter for all D.Min. students.

"Fed at one only board... Susan’s vision has been singular in its focus on the health, vitality, and mission of local congregations, and on the equipping of leaders for service in such Christian communities.  Fed at the board of Christ’s table, she has sought to empower others to serve at that table.

"Devout people, moved, intent, elate... Susan identified and recruited the highest quality faculty, thus keeping the program at the cutting edge. She nurtured fruitful partnerships with CDSP, the Kellogg School, Living Stones, and wherever she found devout partners in formation. She worked with the Deans and other faculty to build firm foundations for the Federation academic programs of the future.

"The devoted Lord... We hereby offer thanks to God for Susan’s service in this time of change, and ask God’s blessings on her in her continuing service to the Church and the Reign of God."

The Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo, President

The Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer, Board Chair

More than 1,200 Enroll in “Big Class” with Bishop Michael Curry

More than 1,200 people in 18 countries have registered for “The Big Class: How to be a Crazy Christian with Bishop Michael Curry”, a free course being offered online by Church Next TV.  The 45-minute class will be available beginning on January 26 at 9 a. m. and registration remains open.

“I am thrilled by this terrific response,” said the Rev. Chris Yaw, founder of Church Next, which offers a robust array of online courses to congregational subscribers and interested individuals.  “We have wonderful teachers in every corner of our church, and online, video-based presentations are an excellent way of making the richness of their offerings available to all.”

Yaw, rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Southfield, Michigan, has also prepared a guide to using The Big Class in congregations.

To enhance the experience of those who take the course online, moderators, including Bishop Curry, who leads the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, and others, will be online to interact with participants on weekday evenings January 26-31. Participants in the class can type questions to which the moderators will respond online.

“I am looking forward to interacting with people, answering their questions and exploring the ways they want to grow deeper in their faith,” said the Rev. Roger Ferlo, president of the Bexley Seabury Theological Seminary Federation, who will moderate the discussion on Tuesday evening. “I believe that there will be lively give and take in our virtual classroom.”

Bexley Seabury is one of Church Next’s four partners in The Big Class. The others are Church Publishing Incorporated, the Diocese of North Carolina and Forward Movement.

The moderating schedule is Bishop Curry, Monday 6-9 p. m.; the Rev. Ferlo, Tuesday, 7-9 p. m.; Bishop Curry, Wednesday 7-9 p. m.; the Rev. Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement, Thursday, 7-9 p. m. and Sharon Ely Pearson, Christian formation specialist with Church Publishing Incorporated, Friday, 7-9 p. m.  All times are Eastern Standard.

The class in based on Bishop Curry’s book Crazy Christians, which is published by Church Publishing.


Bexley Seabury, ChurchNext Present Video Series Exploring Book of Common Prayer

January 21, 2014--Bexley Seabury and ChurchNext are teaming up to present an eight-part series on the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer that will be easily available to anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone and an Internet connection.

Led by President Roger Ferlo of Bexley Seabury, the series will be available by the end of June at

“I am delighted to be involved in our first partnership with a seminary and our first offering of academic level content,” said the Rev. Chris Yaw, founder of ChurchNext, which promotes Christian formation through online classes with leading thinkers and practitioners. 

“This series is perfect for Christian education classes, but people can also participate on their own time and at their own pace because all of the presentations will be available for viewing online at any time,” he said. Each of the eight courses will take an average learner about 45 minutes to complete.

Ferlo said the series will help participants develop “an easy familiarity with the Prayer Book” and equip them to cultivate “a personal ‘rule of life’ centered in Prayer Book practices such as praying the Daily Office and observing the church calendar.” 

“People who take this course will emerge with a firm understanding of how important the sacrament of baptism is to the Episcopal tradition. We hope they will develop a deeper commitment to the ministry of all believers in advancing God’s mission of justice, mercy, and reconciliation in the world,” he said.

The course will be taught by Ferlo, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson, dean of Bexley Hall; and Bexley Seabury faculty including the Rev. Dr. John Dallythe Rev. Dr. Jason Fout, Professor Milner Seifert and the Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra

The course will be available to congregations that subscribe to ChurchNext for free and to individuals for $10 per course, or for an unlimited, $15/month individual membership. “This is an extremely convenient, cost effective, and professional way to provide first-rate Christian formation materials to people around the world,” Yaw said.

 “This is an exciting venture for Bexley Seabury,” Ferlo said. “ChurchNext is an excellent partner for us as we continue to develop new ways to bring high level theological education to ever-broader audiences.”


Learning from London: Mission and Evangelism in the 21st Century

Learning from London: Mission and Evangelism in the 21st Century

We have all heard the news and analysis: the Episcopal Church in the US has shrunk by 24% over the last decade, and prospects for much of the church look dim. Many reasons for this decline are offered: growing secularity, the rise of the “nones”, changing attitudes towards religion and religious observance, the encounter with other religions. But inevitable decline is not the only story to be told for Anglicanism in the developed world.

Since 1990, the Diocese of London in the Church of England has grown by 70%, in terms of average weekly attendance. Since 2000, giving has increased by 50%. This has come about through a combination of dynamic local parish programs, strategic planning for planting and renewing churches, and an inspiring vision set forth by the diocese. All of this has taken place in the midst of one of the most diverse, vibrant, cosmopolitan, multi-faith and secularized urban centers in the world.

How has this come about? And what may be learned from London’s methods for our own context? Join Dr. Jason Fout for an in-depth introduction to the many facets of the mission and evangelism taking place in the Diocese of London in January of 2015. We will spend our time learning best practices from seasoned practitioners. Plan to come away energized to tell a different story about the possibilities present to the church in America!

This course will be suitable for MDiv or DMin students, as well as anyone charged with leadership in the church.


17-23 January 2015
travel dates:  16 January (or earlier), 24 January (or later)

Saturday, January 17: class begins in London
Accommodation at the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine (subject to change), London.
Afternoon meeting at the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine for introduction and overview of the week

Sunday, January 18: Morning - worship; afternoon meetings with diocesan representatives

Monday, January 19: Church planting and renewal in London: four recent examples

Tuesday, January 20: Messy Church and other Fresh Expressions of Church

Wednesday, January 21: Holy Trinity Brompton and the Alpha Course

Thursday, January 22: Catholic mission and growth in London

Friday, January 23: London’s commitment to social transformation and response to crises; final wrap-up conversations and festive farewell dinner.

For those taking the course for credit, class will begin online on December 15. Final assignments will be due February 13. Auditors may participate in all online work and final assignments as needed for their learning goals.

Cost and Registration Deadlines

Course price: $1850, including ground transportation, lodging, breakfast and dinner; exclusive of airfare. 

Registration at preferred rate: October 1, 2014, with $1000 refundable deposit. (Deposit will be refundable up to October 1)

Registration at full rate:  November 11, 2014, with $1200 nonrefundable deposit.

Students taking the course for MDiv or DMin credit:  Additional $1590 tuition for three hours of credit

All participants:

  • Final installment of $850 due in full by December 1, 2014.
  • All participants will be responsible for their own air transportation:  final flight details are to be emailed to Dr. Fout no later than December 1, 2014.

For further information, please talk with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. via email.

Read more: Learning from London: Mission and Evangelism in the 21st Century

A Pilgrimage to Sarum: August 31-September 5, 2014

Cathedrale Salisbury interieurJoin President Ferlo and Federation Board member the Rev. Gwynne Wright for a pilgrimage to the heartland of our Anglican heritage. Explore the sacred ruins of Old Sarum, the magnificence of Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals, and the humble beauty of Bemerton parish church, where the poet George Herbert shaped the Anglican cure of souls for generations to come. Meet the bishop of Salisbury, the Rt. Rev. Nicolas Holtam, whose vision for pastoral care and social justice transformed St. Martin in the Fields in London and now marks the life and ministry of this thriving community.

The schedule includes a trip to Stonehenge, readings of Herbert's poetry, presentations from Cathedral staff, and ample opportunity for worship, quiet time and exploration on your own, with gracious accommodations within the historic Cathedral Close.

pdfDownload a brochure and visit MTS Travel online to reserve a spot.

photo credit:  Bernard Gagon

Director of Field Education and Formation

The new Bexley Hall Seabury Western Seminary Federation has announced a search for a Director of Field Education and Formation. The Federation brings together the rich legacies and academic strengths of two historic Episcopal seminaries—Bexley Hall (founded 1824) and Seabury-Western (founded 1858)—and is a distinctive Episcopal center for learning, formation and discipleship in the Midwest. Bexley Seabury is called to be a 21st century seminary beyond walls – open to all who seek to deepen their Christian formation in a generous spiritual and intellectual tradition. As an Episcopal enter for learning and discipleship at the crossroads of the nation, Bexley Seabury forms lay and clergy leaders to proclaim God’s mission in the world, creating new networks of Christian formation, entrepreneurial leadership, and bold inquiry in the service of the gospel.

Our mission is to offer rigorous and innovative theological education in a variety of learning platforms, ranging from full-time residency (at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus) to intensive and hybrid courses (combining short residencies and online work) based in Columbus, in Chicago, and in parish and other institutional settings around the country. In addition to its degree and diploma programs (M.Div., D.Min, and the Diploma in Anglican Studies), the Federation is committed to offering rigorous theological education at the masters level to a broad range of participants engaged in lifelong learning, opening its courses to all qualified applicants who seek to deepen their formation in the Christian spiritual and intellectual tradition. We value our strong partnerships with Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus and with ACTS, the Association of Chicago Theological Schools, and hope in the near future to work with additional Anglican and ecumenical partners both here and abroad.

The successful candidate will help pioneer the future of 21st century theological education, strengthening a full-time residential MDiv program in Columbus while also supporting innovative low- and non-residential models for theological education.

The Director of Field Education and Formation is based in Columbus, Ohio, at the Bexley Hall campus of the Bexley Seabury Federation, and has primary responsibility for:

• a comprehensive field education program: training and orientation of field education site supervisors; coordinating placement of students; reviewing learning agreements and mid-year and end-of-year evaluations; orienting and debriefing students; and teaching the weekly field education seminar for those students serving in placements

• directing Anglican Formation:  planning and facilitating a monthly formation retreat for all students; providing resources and referrals for spiritual direction; coordinating additional formation opportunities (such as Advent and Lenten quiet days)

• providing worship planning resources for students:  at Bexley Seabury, students are primarily responsible for planning all aspects of our worship life.  The Director works with student sacristans to coordinate student worship teams and cycles of daily and weekly worship; also serves as liaison to Worship Committee at our partner school, Trinity Lutheran Seminary

• along with dean and other faculty, serve as academic advisor to Master of Divinity students

• work with the Dean to meet the pastoral needs of a residential seminary community.

• teach in area of expertise if so qualified.

Reporting to the Dean at Bexley Hall, the director will work collaboratively and creatively with faculty and staff both at Bexley Seabury and at Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

Qualifications and skills:

• Post-graduate degree in a theological discipline; Ph.D, Th.D. or D.Min preferred, but strong candidates with MDiv and/or STM will be considered

• Knowledge of and experience with the Episcopal Church; ordination in the Episcopal Church or a church in full communion strongly preferred

• Experience in theological education and/or congregational leadership, preferably in the Episcopal Church

• Demonstrated commitment to teaching, learning, and formation for lay and ordained ministries in an ecumenical and inter-religious context

• Demonstrated ability to work constructively as a member of a team and independently

• Demonstrated teaching ability at seminary level or higher.

• Working knowledge of educational technology such as Moodle or an equivalent online learning platform, and of social media. Ability to learn and embrace new technologies with demonstrable ease.

Bexley Seabury actively seeks women, minorities, veterans, and disabled persons for employment and promotion.

To apply, please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to: The Rev’d Thomas Ferguson, Dean, Bexley Hall Seminary.  Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2014. Expected start date will be July 1, 2014.

The Big Class with Bishop Michael Curry

Open, online course, discussion, January 27-February 3

DETROIT, December 5, 2013—Early next year, anyone with Internet access and a computer or tablet can get free instruction on how to become a crazy Christian.

From January 27 through February 3, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, will teach The Big Class, a program of ChurchNext. The course will expand on Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus published by Church Publishing Inc. The book is based on "We Need Some Crazy Christians," a widely acclaimed sermon the bishop preached at the Episcopal Church's General Convention in 2012.

Bishop Curry will moderate the course and answer online questions during the week of The Big Class. Participants can take the course anytime during the week at No special software is required.

"We thought about putting a warning label on this course: Danger, Your Life Will Be Transformed,'" said the Rev. Chris Yaw, founder of ChurchNext, a producer of online Christian learning. "In a world that constantly sanitizes Jesus' radical message, Bishop Curry's clarion call to deeper discipleship has changed lives. We pray all who take this course will experience God's transforming power."

The Big Class is a worldwide online course for all who want to go further in their walk with Christ, and is free to everyone, everywhere thanks to the support of Bexley Seabury, Church Publishing Inc., the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and Forward Movement. Special materials will be available for congregations and adult education classes who desire to take the class together as part of their Epiphany season study.

In his book, Bishop Curry writes, "We need some crazy Christians. Sane, sanitized Christianity is killing us. That may have worked once upon a time, but it won't carry the Gospel anymore. We need some crazy Christians like Mary Magdalene and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Christians crazy enough to believe that God is real and that Jesus lives. Crazy enough to follow the radical way of the Gospel. Crazy enough to believe that the love of God is greater than all the powers of evil and death."

"It's exciting to see all the new ways technology is being leveraged to help folks go into a deeper awareness of and relationship with the living God," said Bishop Curry. "Online education is an excellent example of it. It allows folks to learn, to interact, exchange ideas and, ultimately, to share what they learn with others. The process is exactly what we as Christians are called to do; an online classroom just gives us one more way to do it."

Visit Church Next to learn more about The Big Class.

ChurchNext creates online Christian learning experiences to invigorate lives and congregations. Along with our partner, Forward Movement, we are devoted to helping people grow in their Christian faith, improve their lives, and better the world. Learn more at


Diocese of Chicago Scholarships for Leadership Institute

A special opportunity for members of the Diocese of Chicago

Through the generosity of the Shoemaker Fund and the Bishop of Chicago, the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Seminary Federation can offer up to ten places in this summer’s Leadership Institute with full scholarship to successful applicants from the Diocese of Chicago. Scheduled for June 16-18 at the Wieboldt Center on Northwestern’s Chicago campus, this year’s Leadership Institute features nationally and internationally known faculty from the Center for Nonprofit Management, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, with sessions on leadership, social media strategies, understanding changing generations, and communicating vision and values.

Now in its fourth year, the Kellogg program attracts lay and clergy leaders from all denominations, and is especially valuable for leadership teams—rectors and wardens, vestry members, and parish leaders in development, evangelism and communication.

The full cost of the program is $1685. The only cost for Shoemaker Fellows is a non-refundable deposit of $250. Places are limited, so plan to apply soon. Scholarship funding for successful Diocese of Chicago applicants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You can apply for the program online.

For more information about Bexley Seabury Leadership Institute at the Kellogg School, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For more information about the Shoemaker scholarships, contact Diocese of Chicago Director of Ministries Jim Steen.

Selnick Joins Bexley Seabury as Vice President for Advancement and Church Relations


Contact:  Rebecca Wilson, 330-524-2067, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ohio rector, business school grad to join new seminary federation

Conrad SelnickNOVEMBER 12, 2013, Chicago—Bexley Seabury President Roger A. Ferlo announced today that the Rev. T. Conrad Selnick will become the federation’s vice president for advancement and church relations in January 2014. Selnick is currently rector of St. Christopher’s by the River Episcopal Church in Gates Mills, Ohio in the Diocese of Ohio.

“We are building a center for Episcopal learning and discipleship at the crossroads of the country, and I am delighted that Conrad will join us,” said Ferlo. “His experience as a rector, a consultant and a leader in the wider church is the perfect fit for our mission.”

Read more: Selnick Joins Bexley Seabury as Vice President for Advancement and Church Relations

Media Contact

Rebecca Wilson
Canticle Communications


Bexley Seabury In the News

In Trust: Coming to the Table

The New Year 2013 magazine of In Trust, an organization committed to strengthening boards and governance in North American theological schools, profiles the Seabury and Bexley federation. The story is titled "Coming to the Table: Building on a shared missionary heritage, two Episcopal seminaries carefully chart a way forward."

Read the article.

Dean Ferguson on Fasting in Christianity and Judaism

Tom Ferguson was recently featured on All Sides with Ann Fisher, a local NPR show in Columbus. Listen to a 13-minute segment to hear him talk about fasting in Christianity and Judaism.