Seeing Forty Years into the Future: Shanta Premawardhana
For four decades, the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE) partnered with divinity schools and seminaries to help provide an immersive experience to train ministers for the realities of the modern world.
They called this process "contextual theology," and it became a mainstay of seminary programs across the United States.
Now, in the 21st century, SCUPE has embarked on a new mission, to carry the vision of the past forty years into the next forty years. The organization is now called OMNIA LEADERSHIP.
In this episode, we speak to their President and Chief Executive Officer, Shanta Premawardhana, who has helped shepherd the organization through this process.
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Originally from Sri Lanka, the Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana was most recently the director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches based in Geneva, Switzerland. Previously, Shanta served as the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches of Christ, based in New York.
Following seminary education in Sri Lanka and India, Shanta arrived in the United States in 1981 for graduate study at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned his MA and PhD in Religion. Continuing to live in the Chicago area, he founded the Chicago Ashram of Jesus Christ, a Christian community with an outreach to South Asian immigrants and served for fourteen years as senior pastor of Ellis Avenue Church located in the south side of Chicago.