New York City:
Theological education at GTS, the most urban of Episcopal seminaries, embodies a particular set of academic and cultural possibilities born out of its cosmopolitan environment. Deliberately, the General Theological Seminary seeks to cultivate the unique opportunities for learning offered by our location.
In addition to the city's 94 universities and colleges, the metropolitan area is home to nine major seminaries. Cooperative arrangements between General Seminary and several other schools open most elective course offerings at these institutions to full-time General students. General students wishing to take courses at Union Theological Seminary, New York Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Drew University Theological School, Jewish Theological Seminary or Fordham University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences may register for them at General. A special arrangement with the Columbia University Department of Religion exists for doctoral candidates.
Spouses and partners of students who wish to continue their education will find New York University, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the New School, Fordham University, the School for Visual Arts, City University of New York and other fine institutions a very convenient distance from the General campus.The City's libraries are also an important academic resource. General students have full privileges at the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary. In addition to the dozens of other nearby institutions with specialized collections, the New York Public Library, representing the largest public collection of bound volumes in the USA (10.7 million), is within walking distance of Chelsea Square.
New York City is home to the headquarters of the Episcopal Church, the office of its Presiding Bishop, the office of the Anglican Observer at the United Nations, the Church Publishing Company, and the Church Pension Fund. The offices of other Christian bodies here include the National Council of Churches, the Graymoor Ecumenical Institute, the Vatican Mission, and the Interchurch Center. The largest Jewish population outside the Middle East is found in the NYC metropolitan area. The Islamic Center on the Upper East Side and the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple on Riverside Drive are national centers for these communities of faith.
For many Seminary students the close proximity to dozens of Episcopal and other congregations where they may visit, worship, and undertake field education or research assignments during their time in Chelsea Square is a primary advantage in being at the General Theological Seminary. Nearly all are communities where, since its founding, the Seminary's students, faculty and alumni/ae have made significant and lasting contributions.
For relaxation and enrichment, the cultural opportunities presented by New York's theater, art and concert offerings are world-renowned. A scholarship program gives GTS students an opportunity each term to attend a cultural performance as a part of their theological education.
The metropolitan area is home to over thirty major museums with specializations ranging from modern art to broadcasting. The largest collection of early and medieval Christian art in North America is found in the Metropolitan Museum and The Cloisters, and guided tours are available for our students, frequently conducted by GTS faculty members. And, as many of our professors will attest, New York City is a bibliophile's wonderland. The Strand Bookstore boasts eight miles of shelves on its basement and main floors alone.
The City's subway system handles over 3.4 million riders on an average workday, and the concentrated energy of rush hour is a unique New York experience. For those with a lower anxiety threshold, the possibility of finding almost anything one needs in the neighborhood of Chelsea affords a rare degree of choice about how often to take the urban plunge.
GTS students, with the help of residents and neighborhood volunteers, work in conjunction with the City's Partnership for the Homeless to help make a difference in our community.
The tremendous economic, ethnic and cultural diversity, along with unparalleled educational resources, are the reason Seminary graduates consistently point to General's New York location as one of its greatest assets.
The dynamic relationship between worship and academics is a central hallmark of life at the GTS and its concept of formation for ministry. Each day, the Daily Offices are prayed and the Holy Eucharist is celebrated in the Chapel. Chapel attendance creates a shared framework for living in the Seminary community as we experience God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In 1886, on the eve of the laying of the cornerstone for the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Dean Hoffman spoke prophetic words when he said that the Chapel, "by its central position, its devout communions, its daily offered prayers, and its divine teaching. . . will daily remind them that in addition to, and far above the education of the library and the lecture room, there is a spiritual preparation needed for the priests of the Church."
Chapel worship utilizes the rites of the Book of Common Prayer, the new forms from Enriching Our Worship, and supporting liturgical materials. The Eucharist is celebrated according to the Lutheran rite on a scheduled basis as well. Ordained members of the community serve as celebrants and deacons at the daily celebrations of the Eucharist, and all faculty serve as officiants at Evensong. In their first year of study, students serve as acolytes, and later as readers and officiants at the Daily Office. Staff members and members of student and faculty households, including children, are encouraged to participate in Chapel services. Members of the entire community are invited to take a hand in composing the intercessory prayers of the Eucharist.
On Tuesdays, an evening celebration of the Eucharist provides an opportunity for the entire seminary community, and especially families, to come together at the Lord's Table. Tuesday's evening Eucharist is followed by a community meal in the Refectory. On Tuesdays, Fridays, and feast days, the sermons are preached by faculty members, senior students, or distinguished guests.
Evensong, a service historically beloved of Anglicans and a distinctive feature of the worship life of the Seminary over many generations, is sung four evenings each week. Heralded by ten minutes of hymns played on the tower chimes and opening with the procession of the faculty, Evensong retains a formal beauty which is at one with the chapel's architecture and furnishings, the choir-wise seating arrangement being conducive to the antiphonal recitation of the daily office.
Central to the worship life of the Chapel is the participation of three primary chapel guilds. The Guild of Sacristans maintains the chapel furnishings and vessels and makes all necessary provisions for the smooth conduct of services. The Guild of Precentors comprises the cantors who provide vocal prompting at services and gather as a group on Monday evenings to lead the community in singing Compline. The Guild of Chimers is responsible for playing the Seminary's historic set of fifteen Durfee tubular tower chimes. Rung mechanically, they may be heard each morning and evening throughout the neighborhood of Chelsea, calling the Seminary community together for the corporate worship of God.
While welcoming and accommodating a growing number of commuter students, the Seminary believes that students gain substantially from their Seminary experience by being participating residents of the Seminary community. There are dormitory accommodations and apartments available within the Close. Students must be full-time in order to qualify for GTS housing. Apartments are rented on a twelve-month basis except when the student graduates sooner. Pets are welcome in all GTS housing units.
Dormitory rooms are furnished with basic essentials: dresser, desk, chair and bed. Students need to supply blankets, linen, lamps and any other furnishings they desire. Most one- or two-bedroom apartments have a kitchen with refrigerator and stove, bathroom, and living room. However, size varies from efficiency to three-bedroom apartments. The amount and size of furniture you bring must be planned carefully. Although there are no connections in the apartments for personal washers or dryers, a laundry room with washers and dryers accommodating debit-card payment is maintained by the General Theological Seminary. Gas and electricity are included in the rent, but telephone, television, and cable television costs are not.
All students must comply with the GTS Housing Policy as stated in the Community Life Handbook. Please refer to the Housing Policy, as included in the application, for further information. If you would like a copy of the Community Life Handbook, it may be obtained from Anthony Khani, Vice President of Operations by e-mail.