Many communities are in crisis today over issues of sexuality. In these painful debates, religion and the interpretation of religious texts and practices often play a defining role in the status and treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in religious congregations and the broader society.
More than ever, strong leaders are needed to provide compassionate and informed guidance on these issues in religious communities and institutions, professional societies, advocacy organizations, and legal and legislative bodies.
PSR’s Certificate in Sexuality and Religion (CSR) is designed to provide specialized training for such leadership in religious settings by providing a unique program focusing on the theological, historical, ethical, pastoral, and practical dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation, religion, and gender identity.
Graduates of the program can expect to find vocations in the religious arena as religious directors, religious educators, activities directors, other religious work, and in some cases even clergy. Participants may come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including:
- Seminary students, clergy and lay leaders from Protestant and Catholic traditions who want to be better equipped to lead the often painful conversations and important constructive actions required to advance the full inclusion of LGBT people within their faith communities.
- Journalists, counselors, psychologists, and other professionals whose work involves issues of sexuality and religion.
- Folks who may not necessarily be interested in the certificate program but who are interested in taking a CSR course or two as a Special Student or Auditor might be LGBT activists and friends who want to become more articulate about religious issues and establish collaborative alliances with religious communities.
The CSR provides working professionals and students with knowledge and skills to apply theological, historical, ethical, pastoral, and practical dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity to their religious vocations. The goal of the program is to help students to demonstrate the following skills in vocations of religious leadership and work:
- Think theologically about contemporary sexual practices and identities
- Understand the history of faith traditions in regard to sexuality and sexual identity
- Speak knowledgeably about contemporary sexual practices and the scientific and psychological information relevant to them
- Consider the historical and theological development of ethical systems used to evaluate and regulate moral judgments concerning various sexual practices and identities within faith traditions
- Gain authority and expertise in leading discussions on issues of religion and sexuality both within faith traditions and within society more broadly
CSR courses are taught by faculty from Pacific School of Religion and other Graduate Theological Union member schools. Some courses are offered by adjunct faculty selected by PSR’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.
It is strongly recommended that you have basic introductory knowledge of the Bible, theology, church history and ethics before matriculating into the CSR program. This recommendation can be satisfied in one of the following three ways:
- Undergraduate or graduate level course work in these areas at an accredited institution;
- Proof of completion of an MDiv degree program;
- Completion of a reading list supplied by PSR.
Transfer credit from an accredited seminary or graduate school is accepted if that credit has not already been applied to a degree and if that credit is evaluated by the Associate Dean as an appropriate part of the MDiv program. Transfer students should contact the Associate Dean as early as possible in the application process. Petitions to the Associate Dean should include an official transcript showing the credits earned. In some cases, the Associate Dean may request that you supply syllabi to accompany the written request.
If you are transferring to the Master of Divinity program you should contact the Field Education office during the application process to determine your filed education requirements and to plan for a placement if necessary.