Money concerns ranged from a concern that new ministers take on huge debt which impacts their careers, choices, and ability to serve congregations, to generosity building in our movement in general and the equitable distribution of the resources we do have. The point was made that in spite of that huge debt load, no theological student pays more than 40% of the real costs of theological education. Theological schools give hugely to denominations!
There was concern that "theological education" is larger than M.Div, but includes lay education and ministerial continuing education.
The point was made that two of the greatest weaknesses in faith communities are poor theology of stewardship and poor theology of institutions. (in that case, no wonder our theological school are suffering!)
Congregations are generally disconnected from theological schools; often don't know what schools their ministers attended and usually making no contribution to schools.
There was considerable discussion about the fact (apparently seen across denominations) of persons entering theological school without deep connections to congregational life. (just as many new members of churches don't have deep connections to a denomination) How should that fact be handled and remediated?
There was concern expressed that as a whole UU community we do not have a shared vision for theological education and that it's not clear who would appropriately articulate such a vision. Such a compelling vision would assist in fund-raising.
This second conversation recommended that this vision be created.
Also that other paths for support of theological education be developed and supported.
And that the UU theological schools and the theological schools educating the largest groups of UU students put time into their relationships.
Scattered through the notes like little chimes of warning were comments about the failed attempt to merge the two schools about 18 months ago. That was the subject of the next conversation and will be the subject of tomorrow's notes on this blog.