|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in one series arranged by material type.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains records of the Society for the Advancement of Continuing Education for Ministry (SACEM), including reports, articles and books by SACEM memebers, correspondence, an oral history transcript, and other materials.
Burke Library record group:
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, Society for the Advancement of Continuing Education for Ministry (SACEM) records, 1960-1995, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The exact provenance of this collection is unknown.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
The finding aid was created by Daniel Sokolow in 1996, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Society for the Advancement of Continuing Education for Ministry (SACEM) was created in 1967 by a group of ministers and educators concerned over the lack of concerted continuing education programs for the nation's pastors. Pilot programs had been created in the late 1940s, but they were limited to the few seminaries interested enough to put the time and money into the projects. A series of meetings and conventions between 1960 and 1967 demonstrated that there was a great demand for an organization to promote post-seminary study for ministers. A group meeting at a Chicago Consultation in 1965 took up the task, and by 1967 had established several committees to hammer out a plan of action. Over the intervening two years the group had gained the support of the National Council of Churches and ministers around the country, and at its Syracuse meeting organized SACEM. The organization included seminary staff, denominational executives, government and university members, and pastors, among others. The by-laws expressed SACEM's purposes, including advocating continuing education for ministers, providing a forum for continuing education, and to conduct and promote research in the field. Through its annual meetings, SACEM brought its members face to face with the challenges of the ministry. Over time, the organization grew large enough to sustain regional branches, and groups were created in four regions of North America.
SACEM produced numerous publications, including a newsletter, regional guides, and membership lists. In addition, it produced numerous reports on the state of continuing education, as well as bibliographies, resources, and guides for those interested in additional education. The organization averaged over 250 members, including many clergy and seminary staff. SACEM worked closely with the Association of Theological Schools, the Academy of Parish Clergy, and the National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy, among others. These diverse groups combined forces on programs, studies, and publications. Many of the issues of concern to SACEM were internal: what is the organization's purpose? Should annual meetings deal in advanced issues only, or include introductory approaches for new members? Other issues include the importance of the Doctor of Ministry degree for pastors, the value of designed programs of continuing education and bringing them to the attention of parishes and seminaries, and the value of home study. SACEM continued as a somewhat volunteer-led organization until 1986, when it was decided that the new Executive Secretary would become a full-time leadership position.