John Hines Day

Community gathers to honor Founder of Seminary of the Southwest

On October 5, 2017, the community of Seminary of the Southwest gathered for the annual celebration of our founder, The Rt. Rev. John Hines. In attendance were members of the Seminary of the Southwest Board of Trustees, members of the Hines family, students, faculty, and members of Southwest’s Legacy Society, named for John Hines.

Marked by a stirring sermon from The Rev. Jane Patterson, and followed by a luncheon in the Weeks Center, Hines Day once again reminded the community of Seminary of the Southwest of their roots, and how Bishop Hines vision of a seminary for the church in 1952 remains relevant and resonates today.

Patterson – wearing the stole of Bishop Hines traditionally worn by those preaching on Hines Day – delivered a sermon that moved most in attendance, including The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President. Said Kittredge, “Jane connected the wounds of our shared past in scripture with the wounds of John Hines’ time and the wounds reopened today. She imagined the healing, compassionate church that God is calling us to be in the gesture of the Samaritan at the roadside.  The sermon bears rereading and deep reflection. It belongs among the ‘Christ Chapel Classics.'”

Read Patterson’s Sermon here.

Each year in October, Seminary of the Southwest pauses to celebrate the life of its founder, Bishop John Hines. Bishop Hines founded Southwest in 1952 when post-war growth saw an increased need for priests in the Episcopal Church, and thus seminaries to train them. As Bishop of Texas, Bishop Hines envisioned a seminary that would be “a new kind of theological school.”

“We sought to have a first-class seminary which would not be just a local seminary – we wanted to avoid that – but which would eventually be a seminary of the whole church.  It would utilize the wide open still frontier-like resources of the Southwest in terms of ideas and hopes and expectations and also fiscal realizations, and produce a seminary which could in reality not mind so much whether its graduates are ordained into the ordained ministry – although that would probably be its primary thrust – but would care whether or not their theological education was centered around some kind of dialogue between the Christian faith and culture.”

– Bishop John E. Hines, Southwest founder in an interview with Hugh Downs

As Presiding Bishop during the Civil Rights Era, Hines is credited for leading the Episcopal Church toward an identity that embraced positions involving social justice. Wrote the New York Times upon his death in 1997, “His commitment to social justice prompted his elevation by the Episcopal House of Bishops to spiritual head of the church’s three million members in an extraordinarily disruptive period. From 1965 to 1974, he pursued profound changes in the church’s structure and its outlook. Bishop Hines kept his church in the forefront of ecumenical and civil rights movements.” Read the entire obituary here.

Twenty years after his death, with a current student body from 26 different dioceses, his vision for Seminary of the Southwest to be a seminary for the whole church endures.