Emmie Arnold, MDiv ’19, is one of 14 seminary and divinity school students, and early-career clergy, chosen for the 2019 Seminary Program of the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE). She’ll participate in a two-week program in Germany and Poland this summer, which uses the conduct of clergy and religious leaders in Nazi-occupied Europe as a way to reflect on contemporary professional ethics.
Now in its tenth year of operation, FASPE provides a unique historical lens to engage graduate students in professional schools as well as early-stage practitioners in five fields (business, journalism, law, medicine, and seminary) in an intensive course of study focused on contemporary ethical issues in their professions.
Arnold “applied to FASPE in order to explore questions of past oppression and violence, present contexts, and responsibility in working toward justice, and the roles I can play in cultivating hope, hospitality, and peace in the future.” While at Princeton Seminary, she was a member of BGLASS, a student organization that provides support, advocacy, education, and fellowship to those who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning, or intersex (LGBTQQI). BGLASS believes that LGBTQQI persons should be fully included in the church as they affirm their sexuality and discern God’s call. She also served as the chaplain of The Association of Disabled Students and Allies (ADSA). Next for Arnold is working as a pediatric hospital chaplain resident at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
As a FASPE fellow, Arnold joins a diverse group of 70 colleagues across all five programs who were chosen through a competitive process that drew applicants from across the U.S. and the world. FASPE covers all program costs, including travel, food, and lodging.
FASPE seminary program offers an approach to ethics and professionalism that differs from the usual classroom experience by providing a holistic curriculum that looks beyond the specifics of formal rules to focus on the ethical dilemmas faced by individual clergy and other religious leaders in the contemporary setting. Daily seminars are led by specialized faculty who engage fellows in discussions and critical thinking about both the historical and the contemporary. The seminary program is strengthened by the diverse perspectives of its participants and the power of place and context.
“By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and the power of their chosen professions, FASPE seeks to instill a sense of professional responsibility for the ethical and moral choices that the fellows will make in their careers and in their professional relationships,” said David Goldman, FASPE’s founder and chairman.
FASPE studies the perpetrators to emphasize the essential role of professionals and to ask how and why professionals abandon their ethical guideposts. The FASPE seminary program examines the roles played by the clergy in the Nazi state, underscoring the reality that the moral codes governing clergy of all religions can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. With this historical background, the seminary fellows are better positioned (and more willing) to confront contemporary issues.
In 2019, the FASPE seminary program will be led by Fr. Steven Bell, CSP, who serves with the Paulist mission, and Rabbi Aaron Bisno, Frances F. and David R. Levin, Senior Rabbinic Pulpit at the Rodef Shalom Congregation.
The experience of the seminary fellows is enhanced by traveling alongside the medical fellows, who together—in formal and informal settings—consider how ethical constructs and norms in their respective professions align and differ. In 2019, the three groups will travel from June 15, 2019 to June 28, 2019, beginning their trip in Berlin and then traveling on to Krakow and Oświęcim (the town in which Auschwitz is located), Poland. In Berlin, the program includes museum visits, meeting with a Holocaust survivor and educational workshops at the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site where state and Nazi Party agencies convened in 1942 to coordinate plans for the Nazis’ “Final Solution.” In Krakow, fellows will continue their seminars at Jagiellonian University, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities, and at Auschwitz, they will be guided by the distinguished educational staff of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.
After the program, each fellow will submit an essay focused on a contemporary ethical issue of his or her choice. Select essays are published in the annual FASPE Journal, which showcases work in all five disciplines.
FASPE maintains long-term relationships with its fellows in order to sustain commitment to ethical behavior and to provide a forum for continued dialogue. To date, FASPE has over 500 alumni across its five programs.
To learn more about FASPE and its programs, visit www.faspe-ethics.org.