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.
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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For joint-program students participating in Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) modules as part of the Interfaith Studies Certificate. Each module offers contextualized immersions in the teachings and practices of a particular religious tradition as well as the embodied arts of spiritual ministry, preparing students for informed and open-hearted service to a pluralistic society. Students must register for the level of credit that reflects the number of modules completed during the academic term, at a rate of 1.5 units each. This course is only for students who have been admitted to the SKSM-ChI joint program and is not available to other SKSM students or to students from other GTU schools. This course does not count toward residency requirements.
For joint-program students participating in Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) modules as part of the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate. Each intensive learning module focuses on the development of practical skills and competencies for offering spiritual direction to persons of varying religious beliefs and backgrounds. This immersion in the arts of ministry combines pedagogies of theoretical, practical, and artistic learning. This course is only for students who have been admitted to the SKSM-ChI joint program and is not available to other SKSM students or to students from other GTU schools. This course does not count toward residency requirements.
This lively and interactive course grounds participants in philosophical, psychological, programmatic, ethical and theological aspects of youth ministry. Geared toward Unitarian Universalists, but open to all religious or secular affiliations, this course seeks to embody a vision of youth ministry that is a vibrant, robust, and flexible part of every congregation and community. Topics of instruction include leadership and spiritual development, professional support for youth advisors, denominational polity, adolescent life issues, building intergenerational community, and a critical analysis of different models of youth ministry and programming. A foundational course recommended for all religious leaders, both new and old to youth ministry.
In her book The Shelter of Each Other Mary Pipher identifies the challenges facing American families today. These range from poverty to racism, addictions to technology, too little time to consumerism. Pipher suggests two of the most important things we could do to protect and nurture families is to slow down and have conversations together. She calls for re-building families by creating a renewed sense of community or what the Sioux call a “tiospaye.” This class will explore ways of strengthening families at home, in congregations and in the community through spiritual practice and care. Practices will include family rituals, sabbath time, prayer, meditation, small groups, community service, mindfulness, play, mealtimes, multigenerational worship, and gratitude. Families of all kinds, across the generations, and from different cultural and faith traditions – including our own families – will receive our attention.
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/programs/religious-civic-leaders/. Online during the Spring 2017 Semester (February-May 2017) plus three day immersion at the RFC in Washington, DC (March 20-22 Travel expenses are the responsibility of the students. Separate application must be made to the Religious Freedom Center by December 11, 2016 at the latest. Designed and administered by Rev. Nate Walker, RFC Executive Director, supervised by Christopher Schelin. (http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/contact/directory/?entry=18)
This is an introductory course in systems thinking, a leadership model that recognizes that people, structures, and processes interact within organizational systems to foster (or restrict) organizational health. Wherever your ministry takes you: serving a congregation; working as a chaplain; supervising volunteers in a voter registration drive; even living in a cooperative or Occupy encampment, knowledge about systems thinking offers tools to respond appropriately to the needs of the system in which you find yourself.
Our study of congregations and other organizations will be rooted in a multi-cultural, anti-oppressive understanding of the intersectionality of systems and identities. Our work will also take us into less-charted territory to explore systems thinking in relation to social media and non-hierarchical (rhizomatic) organizational systems.
In an increasingly changing and globalized world, the intersection of religious and queer studies is vital for understanding the construction of identities. This online course is designed to introduce you to the place given to gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, the sexual division of labor, gender role expectations, race, and ethnicity within world religions’ theo(ideo)/logical discourses. Drawing from an interdisciplinary approach you will develop a self-critical perspective on the way that sacred texts and dogmatic corpus influence the lives and spiritual practices of queer individuals and communities. Together we will explore the mutual constitution of queerness and subjectivity of religious experiences and their social and political implications towards the deconstruction of stereotypes, power dynamics, and marginalization.
This course is a blended learning course will offer the following for religious leaders and introduce a diverse group of graduate students to the challenges that the media present in communicating and engaging with belief within the context of the First Amendment and freedom of religion or belief.
In order to be an effective and authoritative religious leader in a diverse democracy, lay and ordained leaders must cultivate multiple competencies and literacies. This course will help students expand religious, media and digital literacies. These competencies will be measured via multimedia engagement, key readings, videoconferences, Socratic seminars, analysis (case studies), and media production.
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/programs/religious-civic-leaders/. Online during the Spring 2017 Semester (February-May) plus three day immersion at the RFC in Washington, DC (March 20-22). Travel expenses are the responsibility of the students. Separate application must be made to the Religious Freedom Center by December 11, 2016 at the latest. Designed and administered by Dr. Debra L. Mason, of the RFC of the Newseum, supervised by Christopher Schelin. (http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/contact/directory/?entry=24)
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 in cooperation with the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum, http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/programs/religious-civic-leaders/. Online during the Spring 2017 Semester (February-May) plus three day immersion at the RFC in Washington, DC (March 20-22). Travel expenses are the responsibility of the students. Separate application must be made to the Religious Freedom Center by December 11, 2016 at the latest. Designed and administered Lauren W. Herman (JD, MTS) of the RFC, supervised by Christopher Schelin. (http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/contact/directory/?entry=23)
Faculty Approval Required
The course introduces students to the human right of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), based on a review of the conceptual and operational tools, as well as illustrative empirical evidence, necessary for advanced study of the issue. FoRB is widely recognized by scholars, policymakers, and practitioners of human rights as the oldest of the universal human rights recognized under international law. The course is designed so that students of religious studies and/or theology, as well as religious leaders, can develop an understanding of how this right has come to be defined, protected, interrogated, and addressed, in a global order that remains organized according to the (evolving and problematic) political entity known as the state.
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/programs/religious-civic-leaders/. Online during the Spring 2017 Semester (February-May) plus three day immersion at the RFC in Washington, DC (March 20-22). Travel expenses are the responsibility of the students. Separate application must be made to the Religious Freedom Center by December 11, 2016 at the latest. Designed and administered by Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou of the RFC, supervised by Christopher Schelin. (http://www.religiousfreedomcenter.org/contact/directory/?entry=25)
This course begins with a discussion of recent historical developments in Unitarian Universalism and then extends back through time to the various antecedents of Unitarianism and Universalism in pre-Reformation Europe, all the way back to the early church and the Council of Nicea. Students will have the opportunity to explore Unitarian Universalist heritage, as well as different historical approaches. We will examine social location in relation to class, race, and gender identities, and how these enabled or impeded social justice advances. We will discover the origins of our faith by progressing from our known contemporary experience to the unknown, and perhaps unknowable. Along the way we will consider various theological developments within this tradition, as expressed through various identities and the challenges presented by new modalities of faith including Transcendentalism and Humanism. Sources will range from primary sources to anecdote, with an emphasis on articulating contemporary experience in the context of historical identity and experience.
This reading-intensive online course grounds its exploration in the fundamentals of liberal theology, through a survey of Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist voices. Its main purpose is to engage those considering Unitarian Universalist ministry in the practice of theological reflection while exploring some of the historical, philosophical, and theological contexts shaping Unitarian Universalism as we know it today. This course is intended to provide a deep engagement with modern Unitarian Universalist theologies and is not intended to replace a class in systematic theology. Students will be expected to complete the reading, write a brief weekly reading response, and participate in dialogue about personal and spiritual responses to the topics each week. Students may choose to skip submitting reading responses for two of the weeks during the semester. All students are required to submit a final paper on their own personal theology during the final week of the course.
In this class, we will gain facility with economic theory in order to engage and deconstruct it in service of spiritual grounding, personal liberation, and social change. Despite the illusion of disembodied objectivity presented by mainstream academics, economics is fundamentally interactive. To that end, we will complement discussions about contemporary economic thought with image theater, forum theater, and other rituals to demechanize our habitual relations with money. All participants will collaborate to create a supportive and safe environment for receiving and transforming individual stories of scarcity, greed, exploitation, indebtedness, gratitude, abundance, forgiveness, renunciation, sacrifice, generosity, and other relevant experiences. The class is designed for people who have avoided economics classes and terminology out of aversion or fear and those who are familiar with the concepts and have found them inadequate or spiritually harmful. Others are welcome.
We are made of stories. They shape our lives – and our world – in seen and unseen ways. By reflecting on our stories, we learn more about who we are. By sharing them, we learn who we are to each other. By connecting them to shared visions for a more just world, we open new pathways for bringing that world into being. In this intensive, students will explore storytelling for social change by engaging with theoretical perspectives, strategic approaches, ethical considerations, and tools for measuring impact. We will also examine specific techniques for utilizing digital media in worship settings. Of equal importance, students will engage in “hands-on” personal storytelling practices that connect their lived experiences to broader visions for social change. They will share stories, receive feedback, and illustrate their stories with digital media (e.g. digital video, photo essay, audio recording). To accomplish this, students will learn best practices for capturing and editing photos and videos with accessible tools (e.g. smartphones, laptops); ideally, these concrete skills will help students plan, create and share multimedia stories within the context of their social change ministries.
Meeting Dates and Times: Two high-residency weekend intensives at SKSM, plus two Friday afternoon sessions on-line or in person.
Friday February 3 2:00pm – 4:00pm Hybrid (in-person or online)
Friday March 10 10:00am – 12:30pm | 1:30pm – 5:00pm Optional dinner to follow
Saturday March 11 9:00am – 12:30pm | 1:30pm – 5:00pm
Sunday March 12 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Friday March 24 2:00pm – 4:00pm Online session
Friday May 5 10:00am – 12:30pm | 1:30pm – 5:00pm
Saturday May 6 9:30am – 12:30pm | 1:30pm – 5:00pm
Sunday May 7 1:00pm – 5:00pm
This is an advanced seminar in thematic preaching intended for students with preaching experience who seek to further develop their own unique preaching presence and voice. Topics will focus on thematic development, use of poetic voice, effective sermon construction, pulpit presence, and preaching through the liturgical year. This course utilizes a high level of peer collaboration and review. All religious traditions welcome. Prerequisites: an introductory level homiletics course or extensive preaching experience with permission of the instructor.
This course assists the intern doing fieldwork in a community field site through a peer group seminar. It offers theo-ethical reflection, linking the experience in the internship to the student’s broad educational and vocational goals (praxis). The class is designed for students to assess their personal progress, gather support from peers and the instructor, integrate their internship experience into their degree program, and deepen theo-ethical practices to sustain religious leadership in community ministry. Students gather multi-religious sources of wisdom, which serve as touchstones for group theological reflection. Each week features a process of theological reflection bringing intern experiences to a collective dialogue that engages these sources and yields new “truths” to introduce into personal spiritual practices. The course includes a required weekly live web-based video seminar and frequent online discussion postings; readings and discussion are in service of the professional experience in the internship as well as creating lasting tools and knowledge for a career in community ministry. The Spring course is a continuation of the Fall seminar by the same name, but it is possible to begin the seminar in Spring. This is a Hybrid course.
Sunday school is dead, long live Sunday school? How are progressive congregations teaching and how are learning ministries adapting to new technology, counter oppressive pedagogies, contemporary family life issues and changes in volunteer culture? Participants in this course will visit and engage with congregational programs and develop skills for leading faith communities into the future. Each student will practice teaching and learn self-reflective techniques in an integrative project, curriculum design or immersion experience.
Howard Thurman was a 20th century religious leader and thinker whose prophetic vision and quiet mentorship were instrumental to Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists of the Civil Rights Movement, and beyond. Thurman’s writings and sermons are rich with the poetics of mystic spirituality, yet reveal insightful social commentary on racism, militarism, and suffering that is as relevant and revolutionary today as it was during his lifetime. Through readings, discussion, creative activities, and video and audio recordings of Dr. Thurman, we will dive deep into his life and teachings and explore their application to our own spiritual development, ministry, and commitment to social justice and transformation. NOTE: This course will meet every-other-week beginning the week of January 30th.
This course is designed for seminary students or graduates who are interested in teaching an introductory course on the Quran in their local churches. While focusing on the textual study, the course will also afford the students an introduction to the basic beliefs and practices of Muslims. Students registering for this course must have taken at least one course in Quranic Studies or have the equivalent in knowledge about the Quran. The students will be prepared to teach a course which has four main focus areas:
1) Intro to Quranic Text
2) Islam & Judaism
3) Islam & UU/Christianity
4) Resources in the Sufi tradition for a “Green” (eco) Islam.
This is a hybrid class: the faculty will teach in low residency, while students will be either on campus or in low res. The class counts as low residency for all students.
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