This course is for Starr King students engaged in part-time or full-time Clinical Pastoral Education. Participate in ministry to persons, and in individual group reflection upon that ministry. Theoretical material from theology, the behavioral sciences, and pastoral care. Integrates theological understanding and knowledge of behavioral science into pastoral functioning. Upon completion, a written evaluation from the program supervisor will be placed into the student’s permanent files. Discuss first with your advisor and then faculty. Final evaluation from CPE supervisor needs to be sent to faculty by the last day of the semester to receive credit. Every year SKSM offers an orientation to CPE and to the application process; students are responsible for applying and securing a place in a CPE program. Please check the SKSM Student Handbook for more information.
Field work describes an involvement in community work for up to 15 hours a week with the ongoing support of a mentor. Community Field Work includes work in gender, racial and economic justice, queer activism, disability advocacy, immigration issues, environmental responsibility, civil liberties protection, HIV response, youth at risk, peace building, participating in a fundraising campaign for a non for profit or grassroots organization, chaplaincy, teaching and more. Students should discuss the field work opportunity with their advisor before making arrangements with the professor. Student and community mentor should discuss and sign a learning agreement before the official beginning of the field work experience. Midterm and final student/mentor evaluations will also be required by midterm and the last day of SKSM classes. All forms available from the professor at the beginning of the semester and on the SKSM Website. Please see Student Handbook for more information.
All SKSM students involved in community internships will meet together for reflection on their work, as it is only through the processes of theological reflection and critical reflection on experience that field work becomes field education. This class includes readings, discussions and writings and is designed to broaden and to deepen students’ analytic perspective on their field site contexts and on their roles as religious leaders and professionals. Students will be grow in their ability to think and learn in a praxis oriented way, that is, allowing situations of practice to deepen and challenge their academic knowledge about theo/alogies, and allowing their academic knowledge of theology to deepen and challenge their practice of leadership. In field-based experiences the depth of students’ learning depends entirely upon how well they can implement praxis oriented learning.
Community Internships involve engagement at a field site from 16 to 40 hours a week, under weekly supervision at the site and the support of the SKSM Community Intern Reflection class (an integrative seminar). Community Internships include a variety of settings, such as supervised placements in a non-profit service agency or grassroots organization, hospice work, chaplaincy, teaching and more. They can also entail creating new projects such as starting a new organization or planning a national conference with a board of mentors. Those who register for this course should also register for Community Intern Integrative Reflection Spring. Students should discuss the internship with their advisor before making arrangements with the professor. Student and supervisor/mentors should discuss and sign a learning agreement before the official beginning of the internship. Midterm and final student/supervisor evaluations will also be required by midterm and the last day of SKSM classes. All forms available from the professor at the beginning of the semester and SKSM Website. Please see Student Handbook for more information.
Fieldwork in Unitarian Universalist congregations may include teaching a religious education class for children or adults, working with a youth group, participating in a stewardship campaign and/or more. Please arrange with the professor.
For SKSM Master of Arts in Social Change (MASC) students only. MASC students can split this course over two semesters or sign up for it during their last semester. This final project can take a variety of forms and should be representative of the student’s learning and creative work in the MASC degree. Projects include research thesis, public presentations, designing and implementing educational curricula, organizing local/national conferences and special events, multimedia art-work, writing a book and more. The thesis topic, proposal and final draft need to be discussed and developed with the faculty. The project can have a public presentation. A total of 3 MASC Project credits are required for graduation in the MASC degree. Please discuss with instructor.
All Starr King students serving as ministerial interns in Unitarian Universalist congregations are expected to participate in regularly scheduled times of reflection on their ministerial work and the work of their intern colleagues. Participation in a two day gathering (TBD) of interns and teaching ministers at the School is essential.
This is a 10 month full-time (one year) or part-time (two year) experience in a teaching congregation under the supervision of a Minister in final Fellowship, an intern committee, and a professor at the school. Those who register for this course must also register for Parish Intern Refection Spring. Please note: this course does not indicate a specific time block at this time (TBA).
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This course can be taken alone, but it is also the second half of a winter semester intensive course. It is suitable for students interested in chaplaincy, pastoral and congregational ministry, as well as for students interested in broader sociological perspectives. We will share our attention between focused pastoral and broader societal aspects of aging. Our culture encourages us to understand aging-related issues only as a person’s individual problems and ignore systems of privilege and difference. These misapprehensions lessen our ability to be effective in our ministries.
We will touch on ageism/stereotypes; changing roles; spiritual development; loss of independence; paid/unpaid caregivers; dementias; congregational programs; death/dying, both individually and in the broader societal context in which these individual situations and problems are situated. You will be offered a wide variety of readings and resources to use in your own work. This course can be taken as a follow-up to Aging Issues and Ministry, Jan. 2016
A blended learning course on the origins and development of religious liberty in the US from the colonial and founding periods to the mid-twentieth century. It offers a thorough understanding of the historical and legal foundations that currently govern the relationship of religion and government, define protection for the free exercise of religion, and provide the civic framework for living among people of all religions and none. Part of a pilot program for the Certificate in Religion in Public Life in cooperation with the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum: http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/admissions/areas-of-study/religious-leaders . Online from February 8 to May 18, 2016 plus three day immersion course at the RFC in Washington D.C. (March 21-23). Travel expenses are the responsibility of the students. Designed and administered Rev. by Nate Walker, RFC Executive Director, supervised by Dean Lettini. (http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/contact/directory/?entry=18)
This course will examine the major global religions from a cross-cultural, multi-religious perspective. Taking into consideration that a course that explores many religions cannot be comprehensive, we will consider the religions from a thematic perspective by analyzing fundamental beliefs and practices in the various religious traditions. In addition, we will also examine assumptions underlying the discipline of religious studies. Students will engage through weekly readings and forum discussion, as well as other interactive learning activities, as part of the online learning community. Students of all faiths and backgrounds are invited and encouraged to enroll. Priority given to off-campus SKSM students.
This online seminar course provides a broad introduction to the theory and practice of liberal religious education, with an emphasis on Unitarian Universalist congregations. Topics include history and philosophy of Unitarian Universalist religious education, teaching and learning, developmental theories, the congregation as an educating community, social justice visions for religious education, current approaches and innovations in religious education for all ages, collegial relationships and professional standards for religious educators, and curriculum resources. The course draws from another by the same name, developed by Betty Jo Middleton, Roberta M. Nelson, Eugene B. Navias, and Judith Mannheim, with support from a St. Lawrence Foundation grant. Open to seminarians, ministers, religious educators, and other lay leaders.
Merging the practical and pastoral, this foundational course helps equip students for effective organizational management and leadership – whether serving congregations, leading other religious institutions, or bringing spiritual leadership to secular settings. Topics of exploration include non-profit administration, governance, finance, strategic planning, human resources, change management, and organizational culture – and how these relate to ministry. This interactive, multi-faceted course blends readings and written assignments with group discussion, coaching, independent research, and a praxis (action/reflection) component. With the support of the instructor, students will customize their course experience to build on their unique learning goals, aptitudes, and areas for improvement as organizational leaders.
Across Asia and Latin America we are witnessing the emergence of queer faith-based communities in very dissimilar contexts and with very different histories. Exploring the way that these communities address issues of ecclesiology and rites would benefit students to explore the ways that our global village is moving in terms of the intersections among religion, gender, and sexuality. The course investigates what are the struggles and mechanisms that these communities have to cope in their context with ingrained homophobia, transphobia, lesbophobia and the like. At the same time, it will examine how those communities enact interreligious and multireligious dialogue and rituals and how faith and activism are coupled to counter oppressive discourses and colonial performativities in their own situations. The course also features guest ministers and activists from different context to whom we can turn to learn from their experiences and who will be “present” every class through recorded videos.
During Spring 2016, the Institute of Buddhist Studies will offer the following courses. Please note ~ we participate in the same GTU registration periods. To register for an IBS course, follow the same instructions as registering for a Starr King course. See How to Register. Most, but not all, IBS courses do not require a PIN, so pay close attention when registering. View IBS Course Listings, including:
- HRPH-8488: Topics in Zen Buddhist Thought with Professor Taigen Dan Leighton
- HRHS-8455: Topics in Buddhist Thought with Professor Lisa Grumbach
- HR-8250: Esoteric Buddhism with Professor Richard Payne
Again, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Starr King School have different requirements for registration. For example, SKSM does not accept auditors. Although sponsored by SKSM, IBS courses follow IBS rules. Please check course descriptions carefully before registering.
In this semester-long, online class, students will explore, develop, and deepen their spiritual practice and encourage classmates to do the same. The class will be experiential and multi-faith, drawing on some of the wisdom and practices of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, as well as neuroscience, poetry, nature, movement, and the arts. Specific attention will be paid to practices involving mindfulness, sabbath-keeping, gratitude, prayer, compassion, loving kindness, equanimity and joy.
A blended course on the evolution of the First Amendment religious Freedom principles from the 1940s, through the civil rights era, to today. Participants will address contemporary issues that concern the constitutional relationship of religion and government along with current debates over the meaning of free exercise of religion. Part of a pilot program for the Certificate in Religion in Public Life offered in cooperation with the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum, http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/admissions/areas-of-study/religious-leaders . The course will be taught online from February 8 to May 18, 2016. Participants will need to attend a three day immersion course at the Religious Freedom Center in Washington D.C. on March 21-23 2016. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the students. Designed and administered Lauren W. Herman (JD, MTS) of the RFC of the Newseum, supervised by Dean Lettini. (http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/contact/directory/?entry=23 )
This course begins with an examination of the (alleged) antecedents to Unitarianism and Universalism in pre-Reformation Europe. We begin with development of Unitarianism in Poland, Transylvania, and England, then on to that of North American Unitarianism through its classical age, the Transcendentalist development, and the various crises of identity and purpose that develop into and through the late 19th and 20th centuries. Then we turn our attention to Universalist ascendency, decline, and then consolidation with Unitarianism. Careful attention will be paid throughout to the Unitarian/Universalist social location in relationship to class, race, and gender identities, and how these sometimes enabled and sometimes impaired social justice advances.
Aesthetics of the Oppressed (AO) is the term that Augusto Boal used to refer to the full spectrum of cultural and artistic activities that a community develops to resist, challenge and transform oppression. Building on the foundations of Theater of the Oppressed (TO) and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Aesthetics of the Oppressed recuperates the power of art and theater “to liberate both oppressor and oppressed” and “recover our deepest humanity” through creativity, art, dialogue and education.
This course will build on the curriculum of Theater of the Oppressed (RSED 4036), while also integrating writing, spoken word/poetry, visual arts, dance, music, architecture & sculpture to develop a fluid, liberatory poesis & praxis between and across different art forms, through embodied, mindful, multi-modal and enactive practices of collective cognition, imagination, discernment and creation.
There will be a focus on deepening the techniques and practices as practitioner/educator/activist, refining the aesthetics and artistry of the work, while expanding the range, depth, and scope of theoretical analysis and political action and engagement. Emphasis will be on refining the skills of facilitation (jokering), devising, engagement, and accompaniment, using TO/AO approaches with the community or on a political issue. RSED 4036 recommended but not a pre-requisite.
This course will invite students to explore the nature of their own spiritual formation and to cultivate an awareness of the Divine presence and action in every dimension of life. Through readings from multiple faith traditions, audio and film resources, discussion, reflection, and a variety of experiential activities we will consider the practices, struggles, and commitments that deepen and nourish our souls. We will look at the role of spirituality in ministry, and the impacts that the demands of ministry can have on our spirituality. We will examine the importance of developing an ongoing spiritual discipline to foster balance, integrity and vitality in our relationships with God, self, family, congregation, community, and world.
This course offers an opportunity to learn and practice introductory pastoral counseling skills. The course will include lectures and class discussions about professional ethics, healthy boundary-setting, and counseling theories and practices, balanced with experiential learning activities including enactments and role-plays of situations often encountered in pastoral settings. Students will learn and practice skills in a safe, confidential, and supportive environment.
The course will foster multicultural awareness, and introduce students to culturally responsive counseling practices. We will examine intentional and unintentional oppressions and privilege, and become more aware of biases, prejudices, microaggressions, processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination, and other culturally supported behaviors that are detrimental to the growth of the human spirit.
2/1/16 – 5/20/16
Starr King Campus (Oakland, CA)
Fireside Room/Round Chapel first Monday of the month
Faculty Approval Required
This course invites the student into a deeper understanding of the Sufi Ceremonies of Divine Remembrance, embracing the breath, body movement, silence, etc.. how can we make dhikr accessible to peoples of all forms of embodiment?
Through philosophical reflection, study of sacred texts, and application of spiritual technologies, this course will introduce pathways of spiritual liberation found in dharmic, yogic, and tantric wisdom traditions. Students will investigate the thea/ologies, cosmologies, soteriologies, cultures, and consciousnesses of these diverse traditions. Special analysis will be given to marginalized heterodox traditions of spiritual emancipation–such as the tantric path of the Mahavidyas or Great Wisdoms. Scriptures explored will include the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Tantras, and devotional writings of the bhakti poet-saints. Coursework will include embodied ritual, religious exercise, scriptural study, spiritual lecture, pilgrimage to temples, group processes, classroom presentations, and scholarly research. Prerequisite readings will be announced. A field trip to at least one ceremony will be required. Please see the syllabus for more information.
In the face of profound climate disruption, racial injustice and economic inequality, people of faith are called be change agents, co-creators of more equitable, sustainable and life-giving communities. How does change occur, for individuals and larger systems? What particular gifts can faith leaders and communities bring to this work? How can our justice ministries be more effective, meaningful and sustainable? Students in this class will: 1) engage with different theories of change, 2) learn from historic and current movements for justice, 3) become acquainted with Unitarian Universalist, interfaith, faith/labor, legislative, and organizing networks and leaders, 4) develop more capacity to inspire, organize, analyze, structure, resource, sustain, and pastor effective justice ministries. Each student will have the opportunity to explore a justice issue of their choice, applying the concepts and tools they learn in class.
The rationale of this course is to engage the interdependence of personal and collective power in contributing to social change movements, leadership, and liberation. The course will explore specific approaches to social change through various perspectives of community, contention, and collaboration, as well as the mythologies that are perpetuated by interlocking systems of domination. Participants will have the opportunity to develop their relationship to power and social change by: studying political movements and leadership; working with concrete tools; reflecting upon the wisdom of spiritual and secular sources; and collaborating in the cultivation of community, group equity, and shared power. Students will be expected to complete readings, evaluations, reflections, and a final project that contributes to the collective wisdom of the class.
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