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June 12th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

One religious institution that isn't so post-racial

Jonathan Walton is a rarity -- an African-American teaching at a U.S. seminary.

Even as the communities that churches serve become more diverse, there’s some religious quarters where people of color remain dramatically underrepresented: the nation’s seminaries.

About one-third of all accredited theological schools lack a single minority faculty member, according to leaders with the Fund for Theological Education, a nonprofit group that offers mentoring and financial support for minority doctoral students at seminaries.

The fund is co-hosting a leadership conference this weekend at the Chicago Theological Seminary aimed at producing more African-American students at the doctoral level in theological schools.

Jonathan Walton, an assistant professor of African-American religions at Harvard Divinity School, says minority students who are identified as gifted at the college level are encouraged to go into law or medicine because of those fields' financial rewards.

Walton, who personally received financial and mentoring support from the Fund for Theological Education, says America’s future religious leaders won’t be able to serve their communities as well if they don’t receive training from a diverse seminary faculty.

“You want your training ground for America’s clergy to be as diverse as the country itself,” he says.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Education

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Would anyone at CNN care to do a piece on race and the Reverand Jeremiah Wright's church/congregation? Didn't think so. Those of you on the liberal left have no credibility when it comes to the discussion of race between those of European decent and those of African decent because you refuse to look at the issue with both eyes open.

    July 21, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  2. ybs

    All religions are one big pile of dung!

    Many would prefer sticking their heads into it; few avoid it; kids are forced to eat it. And the putrid stench perpetuates! 😦

    June 14, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Adam Delezenne

    Chicago Theological Seminary isn't the only trying to make the church and seminaries more diverse, McCormick Seminary is sponsoring a conference this week to show young people of color what a seminary experience could be like learning from instructors of color: mccormick.edu/commonground

    June 12, 2010 at 11:13 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.