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Community Life and Services


Every day that classes are in session, there is a community hour when no classes or meetings are held that provides an opportunity for community Christian worship, and for daily community fellowship, which is central to our purpose. This community hour reflects the commitment of YDS to the recognition that theological education encompasses far more than gaining qualifications alone.

Services are held in Marquand Chapel at 10:30 a.m. and last thirty minutes, except on Fridays, when the community takes forty-five minutes to celebrate Eucharist, Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper. After each chapel service, coffee is served in the Common Room for the whole community.

Daily worship in Marquand Chapel draws on the many Christian traditions represented at YDS as well as engaging from time to time with the voices of other faiths. The worship planning is highly collaborative and varied, and students, faculty, staff, and visitors are regularly invited to join the team to plan and lead worship. Community singing is central to our worship, supported by student choirs and regular visiting musicians. Sermons are given by faculty, staff, guests, and students, and many other liturgical arts are employed—from dance, to painting, to theater, to poetry.

The Marquand Chapel program is led by the dean of chapel and a team of professional staff. Each year the chapel team also includes a number of student chapel ministers, musicians, and choir directors. Opportunities to join the team are posted each term. The chapel team hosts regular sessions for the community to process their chapel experience, bring feedback and suggestions, and take part in planning services. A worship committee, with representatives from staff, faculty, and students, provides another forum for discussion.

There are other opportunities for worship at YDS—in the Henri Nouwen Chapel on the lower level of the library, and at St. Luke’s Chapel at the Berkeley Center. Services in these chapels are organized by various denominational groups. Daily weekday worship at Berkeley Divinity School is open to all YDS students.

A rich variety of worship is offered by many religious traditions throughout the University. Yale’s historic University Church at Battell Chapel offers ecumenical Christian Sunday morning worship. The Chaplain’s Office, directed by Yale University Chaplain Sharon M. K. Kugler, offers or coordinates programs of worship and spiritual reflection throughout campus and is a point of contact for connections with all major religious faiths within Yale and throughout New Haven. Resources are listed at http://chaplain.yale.edu.

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Libraries and Collections

Yale’s libraries have been developed over a period of three centuries. Throughout its history, the University has devoted a significant proportion of its resources to the building of collections that have an international reputation and that are matched by those of few other universities in the world.

The Yale University Library comprises three central libraries—Sterling Memorial Library, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Library—and twelve school and department libraries as well as many special collections. Third-largest among the university libraries in the United States, it includes more than fifteen million volumes and information in all media, ranging from ancient papyri to early printed books to electronic databases. Students have access to the physical collections and study spaces of all the libraries at Yale, as well as to a full array of online and digital resources. For additional information, please visit www.library.yale.edu.

The Divinity Library was established in 1932 through the consolidation of the Day Historical Library of Foreign Missions, the Trowbridge Reference Library, and the Richard Sheldon Sneath Memorial Library of Religious Education. These collections have been augmented through purchases and gifts. The gifts include the libraries of Deans Charles R. Brown and Richard J. Wood, Professors Benjamin W. Bacon, Frank C. Porter, Douglas Clyde Macintosh, Henry Hallam Tweedy, Kenneth Scott Latourette, Carl H. Kraeling, Roland H. Bainton, Liston Pope, Johannes Hoekendijk, Henri Nouwen, Robert L. Calhoun, George Lindbeck, Randolph Crump Miller, James Dittes, and Marvin Pope; the files on religion in higher education collected by Clarence P. Shedd; the Edward Sylvester Smith Collection of Methodistica; and the John R. Mott Library. The library contains more than 500,000 volumes, 250,000 microforms, and 5,000 linear feet of manuscript and archival material.

The primary strength of the Divinity Library is in the history of missions, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox; Christian doctrine, historical and constructive; biblical literature; and church history. The mission collection is one of only two such major collections in the world, and the section on doctrine is unusually complete. Subjects particularly well documented include Jansenism; American slavery and the Church; and the classical theologians, especially Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Harnack, and Barth.

The Special Collections Department is a rich source of primary research material. It includes the archives and papers of the World Student Christian Federation, the Student Volunteer Movement, the Student Division of the YMCA, John R. Mott, Henry Knox Sherrill, Horace Bushnell, Dwight L. Moody, the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, and the China Records Project. This department also houses many microform collections of missionary archives, a large collection of historical sermons, the publications of numerous missionary and non-Western ecclesiastical bodies, and the papers of many Yale scholars.

In addition to its extensive print and manuscript collections, the Divinity Library’s Henry H. Tweedy Reference and Resource program provides access to research materials in electronic formats. At the heart of the program are public and staff computer workstations connected to locally mounted tools and databases, to public resources on the University’s campus-wide network, and to the Internet. Patrons may use the workstations to query a wide variety of bibliographic and full-text databases and to communicate with scholars throughout the world. The Tweedy program also provides facilities for using audio, video, and multimedia tools for study and research. Inaugurated in 1992, the program is named in honor of Henry Hallam Tweedy, professor of practical theology at YDS from 1909 to 1937, and acting dean from 1934 to 1935.

Resources found elsewhere in the University bearing upon the work of YDS include approximately 100,000 volumes classed as religion in the Sterling Memorial Library, with another 100,000 in the Library Shelving Facility. This collection contains a wealth of scholarly periodicals and publications of learned societies, the source material of the Protestant Reformation, Byzantine and Orthodox literature, early Americana, and older books acquired in the past. A primary collection of Mormonism is in the Collection of Western Americana, together with related materials. Other collections important to YDS are Judaica; the American Oriental Society; and the Lowell Mason Collection of Hymnology in the School of Music Library. Early English church history imprints and the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of Negro Arts and Letters are found in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. There is an excellent collection on Cardinal John Henry Newman and the Tractarian Movement. Christian art is in the Arts Library; archaeology bearing on biblical studies and Christian origins is found in association with archaeology, ancient Near East, and classics. Resources to support the various area programs at Yale—East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Slavic and East European—are invaluable for the study of missions, non-Christian religions and culture, and world Christianity. The collections of the University illustrating the monuments and literature of Assyria and Babylonia are housed in Sterling Memorial Library.

The Yale University Art Gallery houses a collection of Palestinian pottery, acquired through the generosity of the late Mrs. Francis Wayland. Collections obtained through the excavations of the Yale–British Expedition to Gerasa, Transjordania, and the Yale–French Academy Expedition to Dura-Europos are also located in the Art Gallery.

Access to Resources

The Divinity Library offers a full range of bibliographic and technical services. During the term, the library is open Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 11 p.m. Daily messenger service is provided between the Divinity Library and other circulating collections at Yale. Through the Borrow Direct service, the Yale community also has access to the holdings of a consortium of nine university libraries.

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Career Services

The Office of Career Services sponsors a variety of programs designed to help students clarify their vocational calls, learn job search skills and strategies, and develop the documents necessary to find appropriate employment after graduation. Programs aim to meet the interests and needs of students planning ministries and careers in a wide variety of arenas.

Specific programs and services include, but are not limited to, individual career counseling, individual career assessment testing, an online résumé and CV creation system, participation in DivLink’s job posting service, access to a credential file system for storage of reference letters and transcripts, practice interviews, access to the career network as sponsored by the Association of Yale Alumni, and production of sermon CDs for future pastors. Other programs are added when possible. All services are available to current students, and many are available to alumni. For appointments, click “request a counseling session” on DivLink, online at https://divinity-yale-csm.symplicity.com/sso/students.

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Student Book Supply

The Student Book Supply (SBS) has been serving the needs of YDS for more than seventy-five years. It is committed to providing YDS, Yale, and the greater New Haven community with the best in current and classic theological scholarship. In addition to providing textbooks for YDS classes, the SBS stocks more than 12,000 titles for practical ministry, academic study, professional service, and personal devotion. The bookstore also offers officially licensed YDS merchandise and sponsors periodic book signings and author lectures.

Professionally staffed by theologically trained individuals, the SBS maintains the tradition of its earlier life as a student cooperative through its membership discount program. The bookstore actively participates in the wider bookselling community through membership in the Association of Theological Booksellers, the American Booksellers Association, and the IndieBound independent booksellers association.

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Campus Mailroom

The YDS campus mailroom is located on the first floor of the School’s building, adjacent to the commuter lounge. The sole purpose of the mailroom is to receive and send YDS and University correspondence. YDS is not responsible for receiving or sending personal mail and packages. All members of the community should use their primary home address for all personal mail and package deliveries.

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Student Groups and Activities

YDS students enjoy a rich community life in both the larger University and the School itself. On the YDS campus, life outside the classroom centers on two student-led organizations, the Student Council and the Community Life Committee (CLC), both of which provide programming to enrich community life among students, faculty, and staff of YDS.

The Student Council leadership is elected each spring term (and fall term, if needed). Through the Student Council, students have an active voice alongside faculty and administration in making decisions affecting the academic and community life of YDS. In addition, the Student Council, in conjunction with the CLC, addresses the needs of the community as they arise each year.

The CLC, under the direction of two student coordinators and a committee of students and faculty, oversees the work and ministry of student groups on campus. In addition, the CLC sponsors three annual events: the Advent Party, Spring Fling, and the All-School Conference (a program of speakers, panel discussions, dinners, and social events focused on a common theme). The CLC also sponsors a series of community dinners during the academic year to provide an opportunity for socializing and the sharing of community concerns.

The student groups and activities all make community life at YDS rich in opportunities for learning, socializing, serving, and giving leadership. In addition, as members of the Yale University graduate and professional student population, YDS students are invited to participate in all appropriate student organizations and activities. YDS students enjoy the nightly social life of GPSCY, the graduate and professional student center located off York Street near the central University campus. Students are involved in leadership of graduate student activities and programs through the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. These venues for socializing and programming enable YDS students to meet and work alongside students from Yale’s other graduate and professional schools.

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The Marquand Chapel Choir and the Marquand Gospel and Inspirational Ensemble are active student organizations under the supervision of faculty members of the Institute of Sacred Music and YDS. The choirs offer anthems and support congregational singing at weekly services. Full rehearsals for the Marquand Chapel Choir are held every Sunday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. Members are selected in early September, with auditions for voice placement. The Gospel and Inspirational Ensemble is led by Mark Miller; this choir requires no audition and rehearses for two hours, fortnightly, on a Monday evening. Both choirs may be taken for credit.

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The Roland Bainton Lectureship, inaugurated in 1988, represents the two foci of Professor Bainton’s life and work: church history and the church’s witness to peace and justice.

The Bartlett Lectureship was created in 1986 with a gift from the Reverend Robert M. Bartlett, B.D. 1924, and his wife, Sue Bartlett. The lectureship serves a twofold purpose. The first is to foster knowledge and appreciation of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony and their contribution to the religious, intellectual, and political life of America. The second is to encourage understanding of the history and culture of modern China. These two areas, which have commanded interest and attention over many decades, are treated on a rotating basis. In 1992 the Bartletts added to their gift and broadened the scope to include “Democracy, Human Rights, and World Peace.”

The Lyman Beecher Lectureship was founded in 1871 by a gift from Henry W. Sage, of Brooklyn, New York, as a memorial to the great divine whose name it bears, to sponsor an annual series of lectures on a topic appropriate to the work of the ministry.

The Francis X. Cheney Lectureship in Pastoral Theology was established by students and friends to encourage a minister’s proper focus in pastoral care. The lectureship is open to scholars in all disciplines who seek to bring their expertise to bear on this subject. This lecture is given every second year at Berkeley Divinity School, alternating with the Louis Wetherbee Pitt Lectureship.

The Loring Sabin Ensign Lectureship in Contemporary Interpretation of Religious Issues was founded in 1994 by church members and other friends to honor Loring S. Ensign, M.Div. 1951, for his twenty-five years of service as pastor of the Southport Congregational Church (Connecticut).

The Hoskins Visitorship was established in 1967 in memory of Fred Hoskins, B.D. 1932, by gifts from the churches that he served and from individual friends. The Hoskins Visitor is a Christian leader invited to the School to deal particularly with issues that relate to the reform and renewal of the church. This visitorship is given every second year, alternating with the Luccock Visitorship.

The Kavanagh Lecture, presented by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, is named for the late Professor Emeritus of Liturgics Aidan J. Kavanagh O.S.B., and given in conjunction with Convocation Week at YDS.

The Luccock Visitorship was established in 1963 in memory of Halford E. Luccock, who served as professor in the School from 1928 to 1953, by gifts from alumni and other friends. The Luccock Visitor, usually a parish minister, is invited to spend several days at YDS. This visitorship is given every second year, alternating with the Hoskins Visitorship.

The Parks-King Lectureship commemorates two civil rights activists, Mrs. Rosa Parks and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was established in 1983 through the efforts of the Yale Black Seminarians. The lecture brings the contributions of African American scholars, social theorists, pastors, and social activists to YDS and to the larger New Haven community.

The Louis Wetherbee Pitt Lectureship was established as a memorial to Dr. Pitt and his wife, Blanche Parmelee Pitt, by his family to provide for lectures by distinguished preachers and world Christians. This lecture is given every second year at Berkeley Divinity School, alternating with the Francis X. Cheney Lectureship.

The Shaffer Lectureship was established in 1929 by a gift from John C. Shaffer of Chicago, Illinois, as a memorial to his son, Kent Shaffer, Ph.D. 1907, to sponsor lectures on the life, character, and teachings of Jesus. This series is given every second year, alternating with the Nathaniel W. Taylor lecture series.

The Margaret Lindquist Sorensen Lectureship was established in 1978 by a gift from her son, Dr. Andrew A. Sorensen, B.D. 1962, to provide an annual lecture on politics and ethics.

The Nathaniel W. Taylor Lectureship in Theology was created in 1902 by a gift from Rebecca Taylor Hatch of Brooklyn, New York, in memory of her father, who was Dwight Professor of Didactic Theology from 1822 to 1858. A series of lectures on some theme in theology is given every second year, alternating with the Shaffer Lecture series.

The Dwight H. Terry Lectureship was established in 1905 by a gift from Dwight H. Terry of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and in 1923 inaugurated lectures on “Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy.” It is administered by the Yale Office of the Secretary.

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