Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminaries are the vanguard in ensuring that future religious leaders are prepared to address gender, sexuality, and reproductive health in their ministry and to be effective advocates for sexual, gender, and reproductive justice. In partnership with the Religious Institute, seminaries, divinity, and rabbinical schools are shifting toward increased sexuality education—cultivating sexual health and justice in their curricula, student life, and institutional policies and practices.
Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminaries
The Religious Institute is committed to working intensively with seminaries to help them become more sexually healthy and responsible. The Religious Institute has compiled a wealth of resources and best practices for seminaries, divinity, and rabbinical schools. In addition to these resources, the Religious Institute has a form to help schools evaluate their sexual health and offers individualized technical assistance to institutions. Over the years, the Religious Institute has consulted with a range of graduate theological institutions to evaluate and improve their sexual health and responsibility in curricula, student life, and institutional culture.
The Project’s History
The Religious Institute’s Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminary Project traces its roots to Sex and the Seminary, a 2009 Religious Institute study authored by Dr. Kate Ott. The study surveyed 36 leading seminaries and rabbinical schools, evaluating whether they were sexually healthy and responsible based on criteria developed by an advisory group of seminary deans, faculty and clergy with expertise in sexuality. The study found sexuality courses largely absent from most seminary curricula and degree requirements. Most seminaries were neither providing future religious leaders with practical skills to address sexuality in ministry nor offering sufficient opportunities for study, self-assessment, or ministerial formation in sexuality. Responding to these findings and the urgent need for ordained clergy who understand the connections between religion and sexuality, the Religious Institute committed to change the landscape of sexuality education within graduate theological institutions and began its Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminary Project.
List of Sexually Healthy and Responsible Seminaries
The Religious Institute has nearly tripled the number of United States seminaries, divinity, and rabbinical schools that are preparing the next generation of religious leaders with the training they need to address sexuality issues in ministry. Thirty-one seminaries now meet a majority of the criteria for a sexually healthy and responsible seminary, compared to just ten in 2009.