Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Syllabi from seminars

Many of our participants have requested that we share the seminar syllabi, and we are thrilled to do that. Here are the course descriptions and the syllabi!

Social Conflict, Healing, and Mission in Global Contexts
Emmanuel Katongole
The seminar is especially designed for Christian leaders who are working in the midst of social conflict, war and poverty outside the US and those whose organizations, congregations and ministries are seeking to respond to these global challenges. The seminar will explore prevailing models of mission and reconciliation in global contexts. Drawing from stories and lessons from around the world: Uganda, Burundi, Sudan, the Middle East, South Africa, Haiti, the seminar will point to fresh experiments and develop alternative models of mission and reconciliation, which reflect the gift of God’s new creation. Models to be considered will include: pilgrimage, relocation, intervention, and interruption. In developing and exploring these models, special attention will be paid to the sets of skills and gifts that sustain Christian leaders within these models: lament and hope; courage and compassion; resistance and imagination; description and dreaming.

A Spirituality to Sustain Action
Margaret Pfeil and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
The same Jesus who told his disciples that their works would exceed his own also promised to send an Advocate who would guide us in the ways and means of God. This course draws on 2,000 years of Christian experience to explore the rhythms, practices, and dangers of life with the God who chooses to work in and through communities of broken people for the reconciliation of all things. The course is especially designed for people who find themselves burnt out, distracted, depressed, or restless in the ministry of reconciliation. It will invite participants to build on their own questions, hopes, and experiences of faith to contemplate the dynamics of a spirituality of reconciliation. We will use a variety of media, including film, music, and art, together with opportunities for prayer and meditation.

Building Beloved Communities of Justice and Peace at the Grassroots
Mary Nelson and John Perkins
This seminar will focus on practical ways to build Beloved Community in under-resourced community settings, using interactive sharing of John Perkins, Mary Nelson and seminar participants. We also will use case studies of community building, community organizing from Chicago and Mississippi, dialoging on the Christian Community Development tools, including reconciliation, incarnational presence in the community, redistribution, building on the strengths of people and empowering indigenous leadership. Finally, we will partner with seminar participants to think through their own settings and action plans.

Shaping Congregations for Faithfulness across Divides
Jin S. Kim and Therese Lysaught
This seminar will ask: What do pastors need to learn to faithfully lead their congregations in embodying the ministry of reconciliation in light of obstacles to this work posed by contemporary culture? We will draw from the major spiritual traditions of the early church to think about what it means to "do church" in a way that witnesses to Christ's ministry of reconciliation. Through exemplars and interactive sharing we will focus particularly on practices of submission, prayer, confession, hospitality, and Eucharist. A key goal of the seminar will be for seminar participants to identify challenges in their own settings and to develop action plans for moving forward.

Transformative Leadership through National Organizations
Samuel Barkat and L. Gregory Jones
This course is designed to assist the senior leaders of organizations and institutions in discovering ways to move their own leadership and their organizations to a new level of faithfulness in the mission of reconciliation. Drawing from a theological framework, case studies, and participant experiences, three areas will be addressed:
  1. A biblical and theological view of transformative ministry for reconciliation and teamwork for common objectives.
  2. How to lead an organization in pursuing reconciliation, both internally and externally, including addressing conflicts. What does it meant to pursue reconciliation in organizational ministry Biblically and theologically, and with psychologically and sociologically sound principles and practices rather than through power and position? How does the call to embody both justice and forgiveness reshape institutional practices, structures, and programs?
  3. Development of a practical action plan. Participants will identify opportunities, challenges, and barriers and develop a concrete action plan to move their organization ahead in dealing with reconciliation issues on personal, structural and institutional levels.

    This course is based on collaborative and transformative leadership principles. We will address the kind of character, integrity and humility that leaders of organizations need to posses in order to be successful collaborative leaders.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009


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The Present Future

Reconciliation is not a dream. It’s not an act of the imagination. As Chris Rice introduced the session on leadership and the beloved community, his words were intended to lighten the load leaders take on themselves: “What God is doing is real,” he said. “And it’s bigger than us. God is gathering the gifts of God’s church. God has given us everything we need, and now we offer those gifts to one another.”

As Paul put it: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us” (2 Cor. 5:19). Today’s ambassadors of reconciliation don’t create peace. Jesus has already done that. They don’t create the gifts. They receive them from the Holy Spirit and pass them on.

This doesn’t mean leaders don’t get worn out or exhausted. They do. Paul did. Many of the leaders at this institute are tired. Paul, in the same chapter, wrote, “In this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling” (5:3). At a particularly worn out moment in his journey, Chris shared yesterday that he received a word from God. “It’s not about you,” the Lord said. “It’s about me.”

That word from God is an invitation to receive strength and to embrace the Sabbath. Reconciliation is as sure as the promise of God’s work in Jesus Christ.

It’s not about us.


"God calls us into the pain of the people--to identify with it and if necessary to take it on. Great leaders are willing to enter into the pain of their people."

--John Perkins, speaking on 6/4/09

Participant Talk Back

Charlie Dates reflects on how he was blessed through his experience at the Summer Institute.

Thursday, June 4, 2009