Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE)

This profile was last updated in 2014

Founded in 2008 with a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLEIn some Pagan traditions, a “circle” refers to the people who gather for a ritual. When standing in a circle, all the participants are able to see each other, with no one member elevated over any other. This practice is often felt to encourage egalita...) is a joint initiative ofAndover Newton Theological School (ANTS) and HebrewHebrew is the ancient language of the Israelites in which the Bible and most of Jewish liturgy is written. College. CIRCLE’sIn some Pagan traditions, a “circle” refers to the people who gather for a ritual. When standing in a circle, all the participants are able to see each other, with no one member elevated over any other. This practice is often felt to encourage egalita... mission is to nurture a new generation of moral and spiritual leaders equipped for service in a religiously diverse world.

The work of CIRCLE is rooted in the cultivation of authentic relationships among the students, faculty and staff of the two schools. Together, we seek to help transform the ways that religious communities engage in the work of creating a more just and compassionate world. While our primary focus is on “Faith Hill,” CIRCLE is also part of a growing national and international conversation about the role of interfaith engagement in religious education and leadership. 

Both schools are committed to the premise that the training of contemporary religious leaders should include regular and substantive encourters with students and teachers from other faith communities. The presence of the religious “other” throughout a student’s education requires the aspiring rabbiRabbi means “my master,” an authorized teacher or master of the Torah and the classical Jewish tradition. After the fall of the second Temple in 70 CE and the scattering of the Jewish people in exile, the role of the rabbi became very important in gat..., ministerMinister is a general term for a member of the clergy in the Christian church. The term has also come to use in other religious traditions to designate a member of the clergy (as in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and the Nation of Islam)., cantorIn Judaism, a cantor or hazzan/chazzan is one who recites, chants, or sings prayers or liturgical passages in the synagogue. or educator  to articulate his or her religious commitments with clarity and conviction, while remaining open to learning from people with different beliefs and practices.

 

How to Get Involved with CIRCLE

 

JOURNEYS ON THE HILL (JOTH) 
JOTH provides informal seasonal and thematic programming for the ANTS-HC graduate student community. Look for posters about upcoming events; come to one or all of the gatherings; become a JOTH leader!

 

INTERFAITH PEER GROUPS
These student-led groups meet once monthly throughout the academic year for study and intentional conversation. New groups form at the beginning of the fall semester.

 

CIRCLE FELLOWS
Each year six outstanding graduate students from the two schools are chosen as CIRCLE fellows. These competitive one-year fellowships carry a generous stipend and include an intensive leadership development program.

 

JOINT ACADEMIC COURSES
Each semester, ANTS and HC faculty offer one jointly-taught course open to graduate students from both campuses. We are planning the following upcoming courses:

 

Spring 2010 Song of Songs in Jewish and Christian Interpretation
Solomon Schimmel and Carole Fontaine

 

Fall 2010 Practical Dimensions of Contemporary Religious Leadership 
Sarah Drummond and Daniel Judson

 

Spring 2011 The Ethics of Force in Jewish and Christian Thought
M.T. Davila and Solomon Schimmel