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With roots that go back to 1834, Hartford Seminary is a non-denominational graduate school for religious and theological studies. What makes us unique is our multi-faith environment and our proven ability to prepare leaders for the complex world that surrounds us.

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Hartford Seminary Condemns Antisemitic Attacks in NY, NJ
Following the news of a stabbing attack at a Hanukkah celebration in rabbi’s NY home on Dec. 28, which followed other attacks in NYC and the New Jersey Kosher Market shootings on Dec. 10, President Lohr issued this statement:We cannot rest. The recent attacks on Jewish people in New Jersey and now New York are painful reminders that antisemitism is not only still with us but growing at an alarming rate. In no uncertain terms we condemn these acts of violence and antisemitism. We stand with our Jewish community and refuse to accept that this is somehow normal. We will continue in our mission to bring hope, healing, and education to a violent, polarized, and broken world. May our loving God protect our Jewish friends and give us the courage to stand up against hate. And may God help us in our mission to educate a new world of leaders and laypeople who will work to overcome religious intolerance and hate.
Seminary Community Celebrates Roseann Lezak after 38 Years of Service
Not a dry eye could be found in Hartford Seminary's Meeting Room as dozens of colleagues, family, and friends paid tribute to Roseann Lezak, Director of Administration and Facilities, as she retired after a marathon 38-year career.As a young single mother, Roseann took a job as a secretary at Hartford Seminary in 1982, just as the Seminary was moving into its modern, Richard Meier-designed building at 77 Sherman St. She raised her two children on campus and worked in several different departments, including as Director of Human Resources, and finally as Director of Administration and Facilities.In that role, Roseann was responsible for the management and upkeep of 17 buildings, including housing for students. She answered calls any time of the day or night about compressors, backed-up plumbing, outages, and faulty sump pumps. For 17 years, she worked with Facilities Maintainer Ron Malcolm, who was one of the many former colleagues who came her retirement party to wish Roseann well.President Joel N. Lohr, who arrived at Hartford Seminary in July 2018, called Roseann a friend and a model employee who has "made thousands of calls to make sure snow was plowed, the doors were open, or messes were cleaned up."When I traveled recently to Indonesia and Singapore people would ask about you as if you are a member of their family,  a mom. You are giving, generous, selfless person, and we can all learn from you."Trustee Frank Resnick, who headed the board's Facilities Committee for many years and worked closely with Roseann, said she was "always doing" and knew every "nook and cranny" of every building on campus."Hartford Seminary has been extremely fortunate to have had Rose to rely on," he said. "I believe that an important measurement of one’s career is whether it made a difference that you were there; it has clearly made a difference that Rose Lezak was here."Professor Miriam Therese Winter, who has been at Hartford Seminary for Roseann's entire 38 years, wrote a special poem and song for the occasion. The song, sung to the tune of "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain," in part said:"Rose ... we thank you here today.Flourish in the years ahead we pray.You have made our burdens lighter, made our world a little brighter,and we bless you as we send you on your way."A steady stream of speakers, including former Hartford Seminary President Michael Rion and President and CEO of Leadership Greater Hartford Ted Carroll, spoke about Roseann's work ethic along with her compassion for the Seminary's students, who came to see her as a family member. She would often volunteer to drive them to grocery stores, banks, doctor's appointments, or wherever they needed to go. That compassion extended to other nonprofit organizations that Roseann supported, including Foodshare, for which she organized an annual turkey drive. The Seminary donated $200 in Roseann's name to another of her favorite nonprofits, the Ana Grace Project, which was formed after the Sandy Hook shootings to promote love, connection, and community for every child and family.Roseann was also presented with a sump pump spray-painted in gold to honor all the floods and late night emergencies in Hartford Seminary's basement.Congratulations, Roseann! You have earned a relaxing retirement![gallery size="medium" ids="19999,19998,20000,20002,20003,20004,20006,20007,20008,20009,20010,20011,20012,20013,20014,20015,20016,20017,20018,20019,20020,20021,20022,20023,20024,20025,20026,20027,20028,20029,20030,20031,20032,20033,20034,20035,20036,20037,20038,20039,20040,20041,20042,20043,20044"] 
Who Is Allah, Why It Matters with Dr. Bruce Lawrence
Join us to hear from Dr. Bruce B. Lawrence, Professor of Islamic Studies Emeritus at Duke University and adjunct Professor at Alliance of Civilizations Institute, Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul.Allah merits more than faithful acceptance or hostile rejection. Neither theological nor ideological, advancing neither apologetic nor polemical agendas, Dr. Lawrence approaches the name/the subject of Allah as a perspectivist.A perspective exploration must be at once fair minded, openended and expansive. Dr. Lawrence will examine literary and historical sources, including Jack Miles, God in the Qur’an (2018) as well as his own most recent books, Who is Allah? (2015) and The Koran in English: A Biography (2017), but he will also foreground the contribution of visual artists, such as M.F. Husain, Arahmaiani and Sandow Birk.About the SpeakerBruce B. Lawrence is Professor of Islamic Studies Emeritus at Duke University and adjunct Professor at Alliance of Civilizations Institute, Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul.  His research interests include: Contemporary Islam as Religious Ideology; South Asian Sufism; Islamicate Cosmopolitanism; the Multiple Roles and Uses of the Qur’an. Among his monographs are: The Koran in English - A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2017), Who is Allah? (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), The Qur’an – a Biography (Grove/Atlantic, 2006);  and Sufi Martyrs of Love (with Carl Ernst; Palgrave Macmillan, 2002). He is also working with Professor Rafey Habib on a multi-year project, The Qur’an – A Verse Translation, forthcoming from WW Norton in 2021. 
Free VA Community Clergy Training Program
March 4-5, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.This free, two day interactive training is co-sponsored by the National VA Chaplain Center and Hartford Seminary.Seats are limited at this event, so please REGISTER to RESERVE your seat now.Many Veterans and their family members seek help for their problems from clergy because they feel the faith community can provide anonymity, confidentiality and a stigma-free environment. Yet clergy members sometimes have limited knowledge about readjustment difficulties and the unique health issues such as post-traumatic stress, or depression common to returning warriors. This event can help prepare you to support them.The Community Training Partner Initiative offers critical resource to educate and support the faith community.Training InformationThe training will consist of a two-day training session. Each training day begins with registration at 8 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. Contact hours for module completion will be provided by the VA. In the case of snow cancellation, participants will be notified via Eventbrite by 5 p.m. on March 3.March 4- Module 1: Military Culture and the Wounds of War Explore underlying conflicts between military & civilian cultures. Increase understanding of the potential needs of assistance among those returning from war. Increase understanding of the challenges of re-integration into family & community after war. To consider potential roles of clergy in providing assistance with Veteran care.March 4 - Module 2: Pastoral Care for Veterans and their Families Improve pastoral care skills to better serve Veterans, service members & their families. Present the narrative approach to pastoral care to include the roles of past, present & future. Consider the roles of clergy in community pastoral care. Review pastoral responses to & resources for Veteran care, especially regarding moral injury.March 5- Module 3: Mental Health Services and Referrals Review national trends in mental health care. Review resources for mental health care available. Provide specific information on making referrals to VA mental health care & community mental health.March 5- Module 4: Building Community Partnerships Review the potential for congregations to be communities that support re-integration of Veterans back into their settings. Describe some successful community efforts in helping Veterans re-integrate. Identify opportunities for ministry with Veterans in your community.Learn more about this program on the VA Community Clergy Training Program website or email
Hartford Seminary Mourns the Passing of the Rev. Jean Blanning
Hartford Seminary was saddened to learn of the passing of the Rev. Jean M. Blanning, who served as a writing consultant at Hartford Seminary for several years, ending in 2014. She was 91.A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 18, 1 p.m. at Asylum Hill Congregational Church.Here is her obituary.Rev. Jean M. Blanning, a former associate pastor of parish life at First Church of Christ, U.C.C., Simsbury, died on November 22, 2019 at her home at The McAuley retirement village in West Hartford, CT. She was 91.Before her position at Simsbury’s First Church, the Rev. Blanning, a 1950 graduate of Connecticut College, a graduate of State University of New York-Albany with a master’s degree in history, and a 1954 graduate of Yale Divinity School, served as Campus Minister/Executive Director of the Greater Hartford Campus Ministry. In that position, she worked with Greater Hartford Community College, Hartford College for Women and the University of Hartford.She was also a writing consultant at Hartford Seminary and a volunteer with the Education Task Force for the Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice and a reader for pre-schoolers at the School for Young Children on Asylum Hill (SYCAH). She was active in a book club, the Saturday Morning Club of Hartford, church adult education classes and various Yale activities.Before her work in the ministry and her move to the Hartford area in 1978, the Rev. Blanning was a teacher in the New Haven area, serving for many years with the Hamden-New Haven Cooperative Education Center as a social studies coordinator and adviser for gifted students at Hillhouse High School.Before moving to Connecticut, she and her family lived in Cambridge, Mass., where she worked for a number of years as a research associate at Harvard Divinity School.The Rev. Blanning was a published author, writing for a number of educational journals and publications focused on gifted and talented education.Her passions included politics, women’s issues and social justice causes and reading on a range of subjects, and she found great joy in her circle of friends and family and spending summers at her family’s home on Cape Cod. Friends noted her joie de vivre, her insatiable curiosity and energy, her genuine interest in their lives and her delight in lively conversation.She was pre-deceased by her husband, Rev. James R. Blanning, and her daughter, Wendy. She is survived by her son, William, of Corona del Mar, CA, daughter-in-law Kathleen, and grandchildren, Alex and his wife, Nita, of Washington, D.C., and Allison, of Kent, CT.A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 18, 1 p.m. at Asylum Hill Congregational Church. Donations in her memory can be made to the Wendy E. Blanning Summer Fellowship at Yale by sending a check payable with Wendy E. Blanning Summer Fellowship in the memo line to: Yale University, Office of Development, Contribution Processing, P.O. Box 2038, New Haven, CT, 06521-2038. Or go to and select Make Your Gift Now, then Support Other Areas, and Other and type in Wendy E. Blanning Summer Fellowship (designation number 25125) when asked to specify area of support. Taylor & Modeen Funeral Home, West Hartford has care of arrangements. For online condolences please visit
If Beliefs Divide Us and Values Unite Us ... Does God Matter?
Please join Hartford Seminary, Chai Mitzvah, and First Church, West Hartford, for a lively discussion moderated by Colin McEnroe, host of WNPR's "The Colin McEnroe Show."Scott A. Shay's recent book In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism makes a cogent argument for the rational belief in God. He defends monotheism against those who claim that religion has done more to divide us than unite us. Tom Krattenmaker, author of Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, argues from a secular humanist perspective that we can all agree on values to live by and focus on making this world a better place without a concept of an overarching deity. Colin McEnroe, himself on a much-discussed spiritual journey, will engage Scott, Krattenmaker, and the audience in a lively discussion. We expect this to be a sold out evening.Tickets are $10 in advance; $15 at the door. Hartford Seminary students and faculty are free but must register.Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.  About the SpeakersScott A. Shay, author of In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism, has had a successful business career spanning Wall Street, private equity, venture capital, and banking. He co-founded Signature Bank of New York and has served as its Chairman since its formation. He has been a provocative commentator on many financial issues, including among others, how the banking system should best function to help society, the implications of a cashless world, and tax reform. Shay called for the re-imposition of Glass-Steagall and breaking up the big banks at a TEDx talk at the NY Stock Exchange in 2012. Throughout his life, he has been a student of religion and how religion ought to apply to the world outside of the synagogue, church, or mosque. In addition to authoring articles relating to the Jewish community, Scott authored the best-selling Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry.Tom Krattenmaker is a writer specializing in religion in public life and author of Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, honored as one of the top two religion books of the year by the Religion News Association. His first book, Onward Christian Athletes, examined Christianity in professional sports. Krattenmaker’s second book, The Evangelicals You Don’t Know, on the “new evangelicals” in post-Christian America, was a winner in the best books competition of the Religion Newswriters Association in 2014. Krattenmaker writes regularly for USA Today’s op-ed page as a member of the newspaper’s editorial Board of Contributors. His work has also appeared in recent years in the Washington Post, Religion News Service, and Huffington Post, among numerous other media outlets.About the ModeratorColin McEnroe is an author, playwright, professor, columnist, and blogger, who is allergic to penicillin and enjoys photographing his dog wearing hats and publishing those photos to the internet.   
Journal of Interreligious Studies Publishes Issue on 'Migrating Religions'
A new issue of the Journal of Interreligious Studies was released on Dec. 5, 2019. This issue’s theme is “Migrating Religions.”JIRS is published by Hebrew College and Boston University School of Theology, in collaboration with Hartford Seminary. Dr. Lucinda Mosher, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Studies, is the journal’s book review editor; President Joel N. Lohr serves on its Board of Advisors as the journal’s Associate Publisher.The latest issue can be accessed here. 
Professor Hossein Kamaly Discusses 'A History of Islam in 21 Women'
According to Professor Hossein Kamaly, his new book, A History of Islam in 21 Women, is a historian's way of looking at Islam through a new lens.Professor Kamaly gave a presentation about the book on Dec. 3, 2019, and answered questions from a highly engaged audience of students, faculty, staff, and others."Since the 1980s, plenty of books have appeared about women and Islam," he said. "What I wished to do is write a history from the 7th century to the present organized by women."To that end, Professor Kamaly chose the women included in his book very carefully. He starts with Khadija, the Prophet Muhammad's wife and the first believer in the new religion."Khadija gave all she had to her last dying breath to support her husband," he said.The other women in the book range from Queen Arwa (1050-1138), who ruled Yemen for 50 years, to Tajul-Alam Safiatuddin Syah (1612-1675), a queen in Indonesia, to the final biography in the book, Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), a renowned Iraqi-born architect."Writing a history around women is bound to be controversial," Professor Kamaly said, adding that he decided to let the stories -- not the controversy -- shape the narrative.To learn more about the book, visit this link on the One World Publications website or on The full presentation can be viewed below:  
Hartford Seminary Receives Faculty Grant for Joint Program on Scripture
Hartford Seminary is thrilled to be among the institutions winning a 2019-20 Faculty Grant from the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education (HCHE).The Faculty Grant Program is a 30+ year initiative that promotes collaboration between HCHE member institutions and the Greater Hartford community.The grant awarded to Hartford Seminary, Trinity College, and St. Thomas Seminary will be used to put on a symposium on scriptural language entitled, The Many Names of God: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives. The symposium will be held at Trinity College on Thursday, April 5.Other winning teams are:UCONN-Hartford | University of Hartford | Trinity CollegeProject: "Urban Living in the Age of Climate Change: Sustainable Local Development in Hartford and Connecticut" University of Saint Joseph | University of Hartford | UCONN-HartfordProject: Podcast: "Inside Out/Outside In - Addressing and Challenging the Problems of Racism and other forms of discrimination on University Campuses"On Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Theaterworks in downtown Hartford, each team will present and showcase its project, its goals and how members of the community may be involved.Congratulations to all the winners! 
Book Talk: An American Biblical Orientalism with Dean David D. Grafton
NOTE: This talk will take place in the Budd Conference Room at 60 Lorraine Street.Please join us to celebrate the release of Interim Academic Dean David D. Grafton's new book, An American Biblical Orientalism: The Construction of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Nineteenth-Century American Evangelical Piety.The book "examines the life and work of Eli Smith, William McClure Thomson, and Edward Robinson and their descriptions of the 'Bible Lands.' While there has been a great deal written about American travelogues to the Holy Lands, this book focuses on how these three prominent American Protestants described the indigenous peoples, and how those images were consumed by American Christians who had little direct experience with the 'Bible Lands.'"  About the SpeakerThe Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton is the Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations on the faculty of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary. The Duncan Black Macdonald Center is the oldest center of its kind in the United States. Dr. Grafton holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, from the Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, University of Birmingham, England, an M.Div. from Luther-Northwestern Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN, and a BA from Capital University, Columbus, OH.Prior to his appointment at the Hartford Seminary, Dr. Grafton served as the Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian Muslim Relations at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and was the Director of Graduate Studies. He has also served as the Coordinator of Graduate Studies and Director of the Center for Middle East Christianity at the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary in Cairo, adjunct lecturer in Islamic studies at the Dar Comboni Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Cairo, Egypt.Dr. Grafton’s academic interests focus on the history of Christian-Muslim relationships, Christian theological perspectives on Islam, the history of Christianity in the Middle East, and American Christian perspectives of religion and society in the Middle East. He is the author of numerous articles, and chapters of books on Christian-Muslim relations, as well as The Christians of Lebanon: Political Rights in Islamic Law (I.B. Tauris, 2004), and Piety, Politics and Power: Lutherans Encountering Islam in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, 2009), The Contested Origins of the 1865 Arabic Bible (Brill, 2015). He is the North American Sections editor for the bibliographic history Christian-Muslim Relations 1500-1900 (CMR1900).David D. Grafton is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and has served Lutheran congregations in New Jersey, England, and an international congregation in Cairo, Egypt. 
Book Talk: A History of Islam in 21 Women with Professor Hossein Kamaly
Hossein Kamaly, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Holder of the Imam Ali Chair for Shi’i Studies and Dialogue among Islamic Legal Schools, will introduce us to his new book, A History of Islam in 21 Women.One World, the publisher, describes the book this way:"Beginning in seventh-century Mecca and Medina, A History of Islam in 21 Women takes us around the globe, through eleventh-century Yemen and Khorasan, and into sixteenth-century Spain, Istanbul and India. From there to nineteenth-century Persia and the African savannah, to twentieth-century Russia, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq, before arriving in present-day Europe and America.From the first believer, Khadija, and the other women who witnessed the formative years of Islam, to award-winning architect Zaha Hadid in the twenty-first century, Hossein Kamaly celebrates the lives and groundbreaking achievements of these extraordinary women in the history of Islam."Please join us!Note: Hartford Seminary is committed to providing accessibility for all. Please contact Susan Schoenberger at or 860-509-9519 at least 3 days in advance if you have questions about our accessibility or need reasonable accommodations for this event.  About the SpeakerHossein Kamaly holds the Imam Ali Chair in Shia Studies and Dialogue Among Islamic Schools of Thought at the Hartford Seminary, as of 2019. Before obtaining his PhD (2004) and MA (2001), both in history from Columbia University, he had earned an MSc degree in Mathematics, Statistics, and Operations Research from New York University. His undergraduate degree was in Computer and Electrical Engineering from Shahid Beheshti University in Iran.In Tehran, he pursued diverse disciplines of learning, actively participating in formal classes and informal circles on philosophy, epistemology, and traditional Islamic learning. His translation of Karl Popper’s Logic of Scientific Discovery, which first appeared in 1991 and has undergone six reprints ever since, along with articles published in Persian on logic and probability theory indicate his deep-rooted interests form his younger years.Between 2000 and 2017, Kamaly taught in various capacities at the City University of New York, Columbia University, and Barnard College. He also worked as the Middle East, Islamic, and Jewish Studies Librarian at Columbia University, 2004-7. His first book in English, God & Man in Tehran: Contending Visions of the Divine from the Qajars to the Islamic Republic was published in 2018 by Columbia University Press.He is currently working on several projects, including a monograph entitled Giving Voice to Scripture: Tafsīr in the Imāmī Shia Tradition. Kamaly describes himself as a lifelong student, and his pursuit of knowledge and wisdom continues.
Hartford Seminary became the first seminary in America to open its doors to women, in 1889.
In 1902, Hartford Seminary was a founding member of the American Association of Schools of Religious Education.
The first American center for the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations opened at Hartford Seminary in 1973.
In 1990, Hartford Seminary became the first nondenominational theological institution in North America to name a female president.
Naming a Muslim to the core faculty was a first for nondenominational theological institutions in North America in 1991.
Hartford Seminary established the first Islamic Chaplaincy Program in America in 2001.
The first chair of Shi’i Studies in North America launched at Hartford Seminary in 2015.

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