Projects

Lifelong Learning

It is the role of Lifelong Learning within VTS to nurture church leaders to be informed theologians, intellectually engaged, articulate, and courageous.

“It is the role of Lifelong Learning within VTS to nurture church leaders to be informed theologians, intellectually engaged, articulate, and courageous. We are stewards and must be responsible for the gift of the mind.”

—Lisa Kimball, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Lifelong Learning

Inspired Learnings Build Inspired Communities

In addition to on-campus programming, Lifelong Learning uses digital platforms to create innovative strategies to reach the vast mission field of the Internet, where half of the over four billion users spend much of their time on social media.

Expanding Lifelong Learning will:

  • Provide courses and online multilingual programs, especially Spanish;
  • Create new short-term, residential, campus immersion, and one-day workshops;
  • Offer resources and training to form digitally literate clergy and lay leaders; and
  • Develop seminars and webinars on critical issues and timely topics to nurture adult discipleship.

The impact will include:

  • Readily accessible and relevant resources available across a variety of platforms to lay and ordained leaders near and far;
  • Leaders equipped to address a broader range of needs and challenges in the Church and digital world;
  • Disciples making disciples of Jesus Christ; and
  • Strong congregations supported by well-formed leaders.

Endowed Scholarships

The future of our Church relies on our ability to educate students of all races, genders, ethnicities, nationalities, ages, and theological perspectives.

While nearly all VTS students receive some financial aid, the Seminary’s dedication to inclusivity and diversity has never been more important. The future of our Church relies on our ability to educate students of all races, genders, ethnicities, nationalities, ages, and theological perspectives.

Our financial aid packages seek to provide free tuition, free meal plan, free accommodation, and a $4,000 contribution to health insurance (for those with household incomes of less than $150,000 and with assets – excluding the private home and pensions – less than $200,000). The current financial aid packages being offered can only cover 116 students per year. Funding endowed scholarships allow us to increase the number of students the Seminary can admit while offering the new financial aid package.

Additional Endowed Scholarships will:

  • Increase the number of students that we can educate with our generous financial aid packages;
  • Help us to target those for whom Seminary education feels financially unobtainable – these include students of color, international students, and second-career students.

The impact will include:

  • A three-year residential theological formation accessible to all students;
  • All the costs of attendance will be covered, so graduates can serve the small congregation or go overseas to preach the Gospel;
  • A student body empowered to serve the congregations of the Episcopal Church as they seek to serve Jesus Christ.

Try Tank

The action-oriented TryTank (not an idea-based Think Tank) offers a much-needed innovative approach to the challenges facing the Episcopal Church. Created through the partnership of sister seminaries, VTS and General Theological Seminary (GTS), the TryTank aims to first understand the forces threatening the Church. The TryTank will then implement creative ways of equipping future leaders to reinvigorate the Church.

The TryTank is an experimental laboratory where we:

  • Work side-by-side congregational and diocesan leaders and faculty to research social trends and cultural practices;
  • Seek to understand where new church models, business models, and technology can meet the needs of today’s Church;
  • Build on the information gathered to pilot and experiment with initiatives in congregations throughout the country;
  • Explore new ways of doing ministry and mission; and
  • Disseminate our results in action-oriented (“How-to”) papers for the church.

The research generated by the TryTank includes:

  • Resources for lay and ordained leaders to meet the Church’s unique needs in the 21st century;
  • Tangible and transferrable strategies for congregations and dioceses to re-engage people;
  • Adaptive responses to address real-life issues within an intellectual but practical environment, answering the question, “what if we…”;
  • Programs to articulate an Anglican vision;
  • Strategy papers to help congregations to welcome immigrants with the love of Jesus Christ; and
  • Workshops to address issues facing Christians today.

A primary goal of the TryTank is to disseminate information about experiments as far as possible; both those that succeed and those that fail. The aim is to make this a church-wide effort where the TryTank’s experiments tell a story, and that story is then shared with the greater community. This is important because a solution that may not have worked in one place, may just be perfect in another.

The TryTank is also creating a network of innovators in the Church to share information and to encourage congregations to also “try things” on their own. The founding Director of the TryTank, The Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija of Los Angeles, is in high demand as a keynote speaker on the subject of “How to Try” things in the Church.

The TryTank will have succeeded if it fails more than it “succeeds” in its experiments. This would mean that there is not a fear of trying things; that there is not a fear of failing. That too is a lesson for the Church which the TryTank can model. Success is in being faithful to one’s call.

For more information about the TryTank, please visit www.trytank.org.

Other VTS Projects

Create new and revised interdisciplinary studies as well as broaden expertise to embrace emerging fields of study by endowing two faculty chairs: a Professor of Church Music and a Professor of Environmental Theology.

“The number one reason students go to any seminary is they sense a call from God to serve God and the world. The number one reason students choose VTS, in particular, is the strength of our faculty.”
—The Rev. Melody D. Knowles, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs

VTS’ dedication to serving the Episcopal Church is demonstrated and lived by our remarkable faculty. They help our students understand the obstacles to strengthening the Church while providing them with tools to build thriving congregations with innovative ministries.

Faculty Funding will:
Create new and revised interdisciplinary studies as well as broaden expertise to embrace emerging fields of study by endowing two faculty chairs: a Professor of Church Music and a Professor of Environmental Theology.

The impact will include:

  • Faculty and courses integrating the full spectrum of the latest information available and forward-looking ideas, technology, culture, and theology;
  • New opportunities for innovation and dynamic approaches to share wisdom with students; and
  • Unparalleled student formation characterized by flexible, adaptive, and current knowledge.

An endowed Professorship of Church Music will form clergy who will share ministry with trained organists and musicians. During our third century, VTS will lead in guaranteeing the quality of church music in parishes small and large. We will: educate students well, offer much-needed continuing education, and find ways to mentor the organists and church musicians who are called to serve congregations and schools in the Episcopal Church.

An endowed Professor of Environmental Theology will equip seminarians with the knowledge necessary to grasp the importance of matters of the ecology. Properly trained VTS alumni will make a world of difference as they go forth with a mind and heart toward creating a sustainable ecology. With their help, people around the world—those in the parishes and communities led by VTS alumni— can become loving caretakers of creation.

Campus Renovations include:

  • Bishop Payne Library
  • Addison Academic Center
  • The Refectory, Scott Lounge, and 1823
  • Bicentennial Hall
  • The Welcome Center
  • Deanery
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VTS is committed to preserving our endowment for future generations and is not relying on tuition as a primary source of revenue. To be good stewards for the future, we are including the Annual Fund as an intrinsic part of the Bicentennial Campaign.

The VTS Annual Fund provides for campus, program, student, and faculty priorities. With new programs and building improvements, our expenses will increase. VTS is committed to preserving our endowment for future generations and is not relying on tuition as a primary source of revenue. To be good stewards for the future, we include the Annual Fund as an intrinsic part of the Bicentennial Campaign. A strong Annual Fund allows us to envision a future of sustainable health and growth for VTS and the Episcopal Church.

To make that future a reality, we need our faithful Annual Fund donors to join hands with new donors to keep pace with the growing need for faithful, well-formed leaders and a strong Church. With those needs in mind, we have set forth a goal to increase Annual Fund revenue each year during the Bicentennial Campaign.

Every gift to the Annual Fund supports current mission and ministry, and every Annual Fund donor is shaping VTS’ third century.

The Seminary has the vision to lead in supporting imaginative mission opportunities throughout the church and nearby Alexandria.

We will create a fund, the proceeds of which will support an outreach budget for partnering in innovative projects and community enhancement activities—from buying a table at a ministry parish event to supporting innovative ministry ideas from alumni.

VTS aspires to model for our seminarians what we expect our graduates to do in their Christian ministry. Learning to give and support opportunities where people are fed and housed, both literally and spiritually, is a Gospel imperative grounded in our baptismal covenant.

The Seminary is creating an endowment fund from which the income will fund reparation. VTS recognizes that enslaved persons worked on the campus and that even after slavery ended, VTS participated in segregation. VTS recognizes that we must start to repair the material consequences of our sin in the past.

The income from the endowment will be allocated annually in conversation with key stakeholders for the following purposes:
the needs emerging from local congregations linked with VTS;
the particular needs of any descendants of enslaved persons who worked at the Seminary;
the work of African American alumni/ae, especially in historic Black congregations;
the raising up of African American clergy in The Episcopal Church;
other activities and programs that promote justice and inclusion.

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With pictures and quotes, the wall of recognition will be a testimony to the impact of the Seminary at our Bicentennial.

Every donor will be included on the Interactive Digital Wall of Recognition. With pictures and quotes, we will have a testimony to the impact of the Seminary at our Bicentennial. A photograph of every parish will be included; a quote from every Rector; a picture from every friend, alum, and employee – past and present. Relatives in years to come will visit that wall and gain a sense of the reach of the Seminary and find their relative on the Wall of Recognition. It will be a historic record of this important anniversary.