With world-renowned teachers and alumni, CTS is the global leader in transformational religious studies. We offer several Masters and Doctoral degrees, including Masters in Divinity, Sacred Theology and Religious Leadership.

Gilberto Castañeda

The Gilberto Castañeda Award was established in 1994 in loving memory of Gilberto Castañeda, the “adopted” son of Dr. Theodore Jennings and Rev. Ronna Case. Gilberto first met Ronna Case in California, where she was engaged in developing mission congregations among undocumented workers from Mexico. Gilberto was an “inquirer” who “found the love of God so compelling that he became not only a member but also a leader in the new congregations of young people” being established by Rev. Case. He learned to play the guitar and, over the next five years, brought his gifts of music and ministry to Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and Methodist congregations in both Chicago and Atlanta. In 1994, at the age of 29, he died of complications due to AIDS.

Of his life and this scholarship Dr. Jennings writes, “Gilberto was one of the people it would be easy to overlook…In honoring the memory of ‘one of the least of these,’ CTS also honors our common Lord.”

This award is presented either to openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students or to those who actively support the openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered student community at Chicago Theological Seminary. It is an expression of the seminary’s commitment on behalf of these students to transform congregations from places of hostility and alienation to communities of hospitality and empowerment.

Castañeda Awards at Chicago Theological Seminary

2013-2014 - Dr. Laurel Schneider, Vanderbilt University
Thursday, May 1, 2014
5:15 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Lecture, "Insiders Out"

Dr. Schneider (Pictured, right) will return to CTS to deliver the 2014 Castañeda Lecture. Dr. Schneider is Professor of Religious Studies, Religion and Culture at Vanderbilt University and was formerly (1999 – 2013) Professor of Theology, Ethics, and Culture at CTS. She works at the intersections of postcolonial theory, queer theory, race theory, and feminist theory. She is interested in intersectional questions of identity, meaning and divinity as they pertain to contemporary political and social questions of justice and liberation. Dr. Schneider’s published works include Polydoxy: Theologies of Multiplicity and Relation (2010) and Beyond Monotheism: A Theology of Multiplicity (2007). Recent essays include “What Race is Your Sex?” (2012), “Promiscuous Incarnation” (2010), and “Homosexuality, Queer Theory and Christian Theology” (2009). The annual Castañeda event brings students, faculty, scholars, activists, faith communities and individuals to engage in religious and theological reflection toward greater justice for LGBTQ individuals and communities.

2012 - 2013 - Noach Dzmura
Britt Cox, M.Div.

2011-2012 - The Rev. Dr. Patrick Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School, speaker 
Esther Baruja, M.Div.

2010-2011 - Dr. Emilie M. Townes, Yale Divinity School, speaker
Wendy Cooper, M.Div.
Jamie Hawley, M.Div.

2009-2010 - Dr. Ellen T. Armour, Vanderbilt Divinity School, speaker
Erik Koepnick, M.Div.
Emily Jones, M.Div.
Eileen Gebbie, M.Div.

2008-2009 – Dr. Alice Hunt, speaker
Kooper Knebel, M.Div.
Nate Metrick, M.Div.
Katherine Schofield, M.Div.

2007-2008 – Dr. Bo Myung Seo, speaker
Jennie Kitch, M.Div.
Benjamin Reynolds, Ph.D.

2006-2007 – Dr. Laurel C. Schneider, speaker (video excerpt, lecture text)
Carlos Fernandez, M.A.
AnnMarie Kneebone, M.Div.
Mike Underhill, M.Div.

2005-2006 – Dr. Scott Haldeman, speaker
Sara Ross, M.Div.
Nicolette Siragusa, M.Div.

2004-2005 – speaker unknown
Anastasia McRae, M.Div.
Gregory Potts, M.Div.
Anthony Hollins, M.Div.

2003-2004 – The Rev. Elder Troy Perry, speaker
Gabriel Calderon, M.Div.
Susan Sparta, M.Div.

2002-2003 – Dr. Ted Jennings, speaker (lecture text [pdf])
Matthew Emery, M.Div.
Anastasia McRae, M.Div.