The Hispanic Summer Program is a 14-day summer graduate program in theology and religion. The HSP is a “wandering institution” that moves around the country and is held in a variety of ATS seminaries or theological schools. The summer session begins on a Saturday around mid-June, where students, faculty, and HSP administrators gather for two intensive weeks of high quality theological education as well opportunities for worship, community building, and networking with other Latinx students and Latinx faculty. Each student may take only one three-credit course. Thus, the earlier they apply, the easier they will be accepted in the course of their first choice. Because of the time commitment required for each course, students cannot audit a second course.
Classes are taught in English though Spanish may be used in the classroom and students may submit their written assignments in Spanish. Classes are small: 7-15 students per course. Classes meet 3 hours daily for 10 days and in keeping with ATS requirements, there is additional time used for research and writing. Students have daily readings and may have written assignments or presentations. All classes require students to prepare a short assignment before they arrive and are given two weeks after the summer course itself to complete any final assignment. Students have access to the library of the institution where the program takes place.
Our program starts with a Saturday which is a travel day. That first Sunday is set aside for fellowship and community building – right before our first Monday of classes – marked by a Convocation, which is a time of celebration through a worship service. Our second weekend, in the exact middle of the two weeks of classes, is used differently by different people: some to read and write, others to rest and play, yet others to visit a nearby church, city, relative, or friend – and a few do several or all of the above! The Friday before our last day, we have a community dinner and a joyous “talent show” to draw the program to a celebratory close. On Saturday morning, we say our goodbyes and head back home.
We meet each summer in a different institution and region, rotating among some of our 37 sponsoring institutions – thus boosting the ecumenical, itinerant, independent spirit of the Hispanic Summer Program. The Hispanic Summer Program is an affiliate member of the Associate of Theological Schools.
Our faculty is carefully chosen: seven professors of the best possible academic quality, with a balance of scholarly disciplines, denominational families, theological orientations, ages, gender, national roots, teaching language and academic seniority. Luckily we have a growing pool of Latina/o potential faculty already numbering above 200 – half of whom have been invited to teach at the HSP in our first 20 years of service.
Our students are mostly Latinx M.Div./M.A. students from one or another of our 37 sponsoring schools. We regularly also admit African, African American, Asian, Asian American, and Euro-American students (most of them engaged or interested in ministry with/among Hispanics). We accept students from non-sponsoring institutions, as well as a limited number of Ph.D. and D.Min. students. Our Admissions process takes into account not just the letters of recommendation and date of application of our applicants, but endeavors to insure a diversity of denominations, theologies, ages, gender, ethnicities & sponsoring institutions in our student body.
Through Hispanic Eyes is an innovative sub-program that runs parallel to the HSP summer session. Through Hispanic Eyes admits 10 non-Hispanic faculty from sponsoring institutions interested in the contributions of, and dialogue with, Latinx theology and scholarship. The participants engage in interaction with our HSP faculty and students, and depart both enriched by, and having enhanced our program, in ways not possible otherwise.
Outside the classroom, students, faculty and administrators have a number of opportunities to meet, talk to each other, and build community. We worship together, share most meals, and – time and weather permitting – we play sports or games, take a stroll, watch the news, or sit together to study, research, or write.
Daily worship each day before lunch is a central component of our summer program. We encourage a variety of worship services, which are currently organized by our Professor of Worship and Preaching with the help of students who take a worship colloquy as a course option. Every day this wonderful group helps to create a diverse worship experience with the help of as many students as want to also participate whether leading a hymn, singing a special song, playing an instrument, preaching. Our goal is to provide a space where all our participants have the opportunity to experience worship from a variety of traditions so that together will all be reminded that God’s love is expansive and embracing.
Invariably, each summer program is rich, fulfilling, and significant, and not only does it get very affirming, heartening evaluations from most or all of the students – but a large number reapply to the HSP again in subsequent summers. We must be doing something right!
Come and see for yourself.
If you are interested in applying for HSP or THE, please click here.