The Center for Swedenborgian Studies of the Graduate Theological Union

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Center for Swedenborgian Studies

is a 501c3 organization founded in 1881 as the seminary for the Swedenborgian Church in North America.

Our office on the campus of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, houses our Dean, faculty and staff. Our Library and Archives are also nearby on campus. Our staff includes Francesca McCrossan, Administrative Assistant; Alan Thomsen, Financial Manager and Michael Yockey, Librarian.  You can reach any of them by email at: info@css.gtu.edu  or by phoning 510 849 8228.  As a not-for-profit organization we are governed by and elected Board of Trustees.  Please follow the link for more information about our Board.

SSR in Winter Postcard

Former Swedenborg School of Religion, Newtonville, MA

With a continuously operating graduate school program for religious training and scholarship since 1866 in five successive locations in Boston and recently Berkeley, the school known variously as the New Church Theological School, Swedenborg School of ReligionSwedenborgian House of Studies, and now Center for Swedenborgian Studies (CSS) became an affiliate center of the Graduate Theological Union on July 1, 2015. The Center’s offerings are multi-disciplinary with strengths in theology, the arts, spirituality, history, and biblical studies. In addition, the Center emphasizes inter-religious engagement, cultural studies, and personal spiritual formation. CSS functions as a think-tank for Swedenborgian studies globally, as well as the official seminary of the Swedenborgian Church of North America.

Historic Timeline

June 1866, A Committee on a Divinity School was noted in the denomination’s annual meeting Minutes (47th Convention Journal, June 1866, p. 20) and a theological school program was begun in the buildings of the Perry Normal School in Waltham, a western township of Boston.

June of 1880, the Board of Managers of the Theological School was directed by denomination to seek advice on officially incorporating.

June 1881 – the first annual meeting of the corporation of the New Church Theological School was held June 27th, at the rooms of the Massachusetts New Church Union in Boston with 17 elected to the Board.

1901 the New Church Theological School campus was erected adjacent to Harvard Yard in Cambridge. The compound was anchored by what is regarded by many as a crown jewel of Cambridge architecture: the “pocket Gothic” Church of the New Jerusalem (also known as The Swedenborg Chapel), still the home for an active congregation and adorning the corner of Kirkland and Quincy streets.

1965 All of the campus except the chapel is sold to Harvard University, and the seminary relocates to a new campus in Newton in close proximity to Andover-Newton Theological School for an inter-seminary arrangement. NCTS adopts a new dba: Swedenborg School of Religion.

2001 – Swedenborg School of Religion closes down operations in Newton and relocates as a new center in an affiliation with Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. NCTS adopts a new dba: Swedenborgian House of Studies.

2001-2015 – The Swedenborgian House of Studies continues it’s mission and graduates over 20 students who have gone on to become ordained ministers working across the US and Canada. A focus on developing the next generation of faculty is a high priority.

2015 – The Swedenborgian House of Studies evolves its focus to emphasize and affiliation and becomes the Center for Swedenborgian Studies of the Graduate Theological Union).