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Serene Jones
The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones became the sixteenth president of Union Theological Seminary, an independent, multi-denominational seminary founded in 1836. On July 1, 2009, Dr. Jones became the first woman president in the Seminary's 172-year history. She is the Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology.

Previously the Titus Street Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School, Dr. Jones comes to Union after seventeen years on the Yale University faculty, where she also served as chair and faculty member of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Jones has held faculty appointments at Yale Law School and in the Department of African American Studies and Religious Studies.

Dr. Jones is a prolific and popular scholar in the fields of theolgoy, religion and gender studies. In addition to publishing 37 articles and book chapters since 1991, she has delivered a long list of professional papers and public lectures across the United States and around the world. She is the author of Feminist Theory and Theology: Cartographies of Grace (2000) and Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety (1995). She co-edited Feminist and Womanist Essays in Reformed Dogmatics (2006), Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Engagement with Classical Themes (2005), Liberating Eschatology: Essays in Honor of Letty Russell (1999), and Setting the Table: Women in Theological Conversation (1995).

Dr. Jones earned her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (1985) as well as her Ph.D. in theology from Yale University (1991). She holds a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma (1981) and is an ordained minister in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.

Dr. Jones is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. She has received grants from the Pew Scholars and the Louisville Institute and was co-principal investigator on the "Women, Religion, and Globalization Grant" for the Henry T. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs. From 1996-2006, she served on the advisory board of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology at Wabash College in Indiana, and from 1999 to 2005 she co-convened the Constructive Theology Workgroup, a national organization of progressive theologians.

Entries by Serene Jones

Crisis in Syria: Pray for Wisdom and Guidance

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 4:51 PM

Dear Faith Colleagues and Community Leaders,

We write to invite you, friends and neighbors in faith communities across our nation, to join us this week in holding Congress in our prayers as they contemplate their response to our president's proposed military strike against Syria. We recognize the seriousness of the...

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God's Spirit at Work: Marriage Equality and the LGBTQ Movement

(773) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 1:12 PM

The religious debate over marriage equality has often been framed as a question of whether same-sex relationships are blessed by God and the Bible. Both sides can find proof texts to support their positions, and debate the matter endlessly. I believe that God loves all human beings equally and that...

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Economists and Innkeepers

(40) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 2:52 PM

As our nation focuses on economic issues such as fiscal cliffs and tax rates, it is odd to see the topic of faith, underlying election issues just six weeks ago, recede completely from sight. It's odd because in contrast to hot-button topics like gay marriage, gun-control, and reproductive rights, Christian...

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America Needs a New Econo-Theology

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2012 | 3:28 PM

Though not much read, Americans still revere the novels of Horatio Alger, Jr. Writing nearly 150 years ago, in the midst of Post-Civil War turmoil, Alger taught his young male audience that hard work, good personal hygiene and moral rectitude were a sure path to a brighter, wealthier future.


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Why Attend Seminary?

(122) Comments | Posted July 12, 2012 | 5:08 PM

As president of Union Theological Seminary, I am very proud of this institution's 175-year history as a force for socially-engaged Christianity in America and around the world. It's fascinating to me, though, how many people know of Union but have absolutely no idea what happens on our campus, or at...

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Protest 101: What Happens When A Seminary Is Occupied?

(19) Comments | Posted November 16, 2011 | 6:21 PM

Protests on a massive scale are scheduled to occur across New York City today, as Nov. 17 marks the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. With Tuesday morning's surprise eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, plans are now underway for demonstrations to relocate to City Hall, and even...

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Hate And Hope

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 5:06 PM

Of the many unforeseen results of Sept. 11, 2001, what stands out most in my mind is a startling increase of cooperation among open-hearted and open-minded religious leaders across the country. And not just theoretic cooperation, like signing petitions or standing next to each other at press conferences, but a...

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Why I'm Not Marrying Any Gay Couples on July 25

(188) Comments | Posted July 21, 2011 | 12:21 PM

Across New York City, and the entire Empire State, truckloads of wedding invitations are being dispatched for July 25. On that auspicious day, happy gay and lesbian couples are inviting their friends and family to join them on beaches, boats, churches and courthouse steps to watch them tie a knot...

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Equal Pray for Women

(169) Comments | Posted March 14, 2011 | 10:58 PM

March is National Women's History Month, and the theme for 2011 is "Our History is Our Strength."

Let's take a moment, then, to celebrate achievements of the last century -- or, since American women got the right to vote in 1920. Almost everywhere you look, women are doing work and...

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Marriage Vows are Non-Sense: Valentine's Day Thoughts on the Making and Breaking of Marriage Vows

(92) Comments | Posted February 13, 2011 | 5:03 PM

Will you be mine?

This romantic question shivers and quivers around Valentine's Day. If the answer is a fluttery "yes," it's often not long before the happy couple is waltzing down the aisle with a more serious question before them.

Do you promise to have and hold this person, now...

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The Shifting Sands of Divorce and the Rock-Solid Foundation of God's Love

(249) Comments | Posted July 29, 2010 | 8:22 AM

Editor's Note: Huffington Post Religion has launched a scripture commentary series, which will bring together leading voices from different religious traditions to offer their wisdom on selected religious texts. Next month we will have Muslim commentaries for Ramadan, and in September Jewish commentaries for the High Holidays. Each day...

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An Open Letter to Glenn Beck: We're Sending You Bibles!

(586) Comments | Posted July 19, 2010 | 9:00 AM

Dear Mr. Beck,

Serene Jones here. I'm President of Union Theological Seminary in New York, home of James Cone, the scholar featured on your liberation theology program this week.

I write with exciting news. Bibles are en route to you, even as we speak! Kindly let me explain. On...

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Worst Expectations: Motherhood Lost

(103) Comments | Posted May 7, 2010 | 3:32 PM

This Sunday morning, my daughter will make her annual bedside delivery of a "For Mom" greeting card. What fun to guess what sort of handwritten promises she might include: an always-clean bedroom, perhaps, or 365 kisses? Whatever she says or does, I know I'll give her a big hug, and...

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Not Throwing Stones: A Protestant Remembers The Best Of The Catholic Church

(185) Comments | Posted March 30, 2010 | 6:34 PM

As a Protestant, and as the President of a seminary known for its commitment to progressive theology, my reaction is deeply divided about the sexual abuse crisis that is currently shaking the Roman Catholic Church in Europe and the United States. Watching the disturbing details of cover-ups by clergy --...

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Marriage Equality Is a Theological Necessity

(198) Comments | Posted June 9, 2009 | 12:34 PM

New York - As people of faith and leaders of religious institutions in New York City, we support ending the exclusion of our gay brothers and sisters from civil marriage. Opponents of marriage equality too often attempt to use arguments about religion to denounce equal civil marriage laws. As Christians,...

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