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Revised curriculum emphasizes mission, discipleship, evangelism

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Two years ago, when the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers began to think about CDSP’s new Master of Divinity curriculum, William Temple was on her mind.

Temple, archbishop of Canterbury from 1942–1944, reportedly said, “The church is the only institution that exists primarily for the bene t of those who are not its members.”

“Today we recognize even more clearly that we must articulate and embody the good news of God in Christ not only within the church but especially in our pluralistic world,” says Meyers, CDSP’s academic dean and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics. “Our revised curriculum is organized to form students who learn to do that by studying the core Christian concepts of mission, discipleship and evangelism, and practicing the core leadership skills of contextual awareness, critical reflection and public conversation.”

CDSP’s faculty began designing the new curriculum in 2014 with the initial assistance of the Lilly Endowment’s Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. From the outset, says the Very Rev. Mark Richardson, CDSP’s dean and president, the goal was to build on CDSP’s historic strengths.

“As founding members of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), CDSP has always provided rigorous academic and spiritual formation to leaders who understand the distinctive gifts that the Episcopal Church offers to a diverse world,” Richardson says. “The West has always been rich with religious and cultural pluralism, and so in some ways, we have had a head start in preparing people for Anglican ministry in a post-Christian culture. Our new curriculum builds on that historic strength by focusing on the ancient features of mission, disciple- ship and evangelism interpreted for Chris- tian life today.”

The GTU is a consortium of eight theological schools and eleven centers and affiliates that includes Lutheran, American Baptist, Roman Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish institutions. CDSP’s membership in the GTU allows students to cross-register for a much wider variety of electives than are typically available to seminary students. The opportunity to seek theological breadth, however, is matched by a requirement to study deeply in the Anglican tradition. CDSP’s residential and low-residence Master of Divinity students take most or all of the courses covering the six canonically required areas of study for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church at CDSP. Those areas are Holy Scriptures, history of the Christian church, Christian theology, Christian ethics and moral theology, Christian worship, and the practice of ministry.

They’re learning in a thoroughly Anglican environment,” Meyers says. “However, it’s not unusual to have GTU students from different faith traditions in those classes. So from the very beginning of their academic preparation for ministry, they’re learning to articulate Anglican perspectives and explain Anglican traditions to people who come from other contexts, just as they’ll need to do in the congregations and ministries they serve after graduation.”

The Rev. Dr. Susanna Singer, associate professor of ministry development, helped develop the new curriculum and is enthused by its focus.“For me as a teacher, centering on mission, discipleship and evangelism is really exciting, because I can see how I can make my course design more effective. It helps me sort the wood from the trees. There are lots of things I can teach, but this helps me narrow it down and helps me assess my courses’ effectiveness.”

The new MDiv curriculum will be instituted during the June intensive session that includes low-residence students. The curriculum includes a new cornerstone class for students in the low-residence program. Residential MDiv students will take the same class during their first semester on campus.

This summer, Singer and Jennifer Snow, assistant professor of practical theology, will teach the cornerstone class, in which Singer says students will “learn how to think like an Episcopal ministry leader.” The reading and writing intensive class is designed to introduce students to spiritual practices and traditions from across the Anglican Communion and help them to articulate where their own ministry fits into the Anglican landscape. Along the way, students will undergo something of a boot camp experience in academic writing, systems theory, critical theory and core com- munity organizing concepts. “We’re putting it all in the context of developing yourself as a leader,” Singer says. “There’s tons of writing, spiritual practice, hymnody and prayer.”

Singer has also piloted CDSP’s com- munity organizing course, which has been taught as an elective in partnership with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) since 2013 and is now required for all MDiv students. Faculty will rotate teaching the course in collaboration with Joaquin Sanchez, lead organizer at the Bay Area Industrial Areas Foundation. Snow taught the course last winter. 

“Part of the community organizing course is to go see an action,” Snow says. “An action is a very well-planned event by a group of people who are already com- mitted. When I taught the class last January, the action was full of people who were eager to be there. It was full of people who had relationships and wanted to go deeper. I compared that to so many of our congregations, where people don’t sit together and don’t have a clear sense of why they are there.

“Community organizing training isn’t just for outreach or community work. It
is to build those kinds of relationships— that kind of relational power—that can be part of the entire institutional structure,” Snow says. “It’s about building power with instead of power over.”

The new curriculum’s focus on mission and contextual awareness is particularly well-suited to Snow, who studies 19th and early 20th century missionaries in Asia
and Africa. In spring 2017, she will teach
a class on missionaries and the Anglican Communion.


“I want people to understand how our contemporary global Christian context has been shaped by missions and the work of missionaries,” she says. “When we don’t understand it, we can be blind to the ways that our history has shaped the debates we’re having now in the Anglican Communion.”

In particular, Snow hopes to help students understand the complicated role of colonial missionaries, who are sometimes regarded more as agents of empire than servants of Christ. They shaped Anglican churches in many parts of the Global South where today Episcopalians strive to nurture partnerships across vast theological and cultural differences and inequities.

“There’s a tendency to blame missionaries for our dominant society’s complicity in colonialism and imperialism. I want students to begin to grasp that while missionaries have often been implicated in structures of oppression, they frequently struggled against them as well. Students are having similar experiences today as they discern how to teach, talk and share about Christianity in a society that is very aware of the colonial and imperialist past,” she says.

Richardson thinks that the new curriculum, with its focus on ministry in a world of pluralism, will help CDSP continue recruiting energetic students who will build the church of the 21st century.

“Christians today have to invent practices of ministry that meet the world on its own terms with a distinct voice,” says Richardson. “But invention can only succeed over time if it is borne out of deep and faithful grounding in the tradition. Our new curriculum will help students become the inventors of the church of tomorrow.” 

The Most Rev. Dr. Paul Kwong '82, archbishop and primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui and bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong Island, will speak at the 122nd commencement of Church Divinity School of the Pacific on May 20 at 10:30 am in the chapel of the Pacific School of Religion.

The event is open to the public and will be broadcast live online at www.cdsp.edu.

Kwong, who was elected chair of the Anglican Consultative Council in April, was ordained a priest in 1983 and became bishop in 2007. He was brought up in an Anglican family in Hong Kong, and his great-grandfather was one of the first Chinese Anglican priests in the 19th century. Kwong holds a bachelor degree from Lingnan College, a Master of Divinity from CDSP, and a PhD in theology from the University of Birmingham.

At the ceremony, CDSP will award the Master of Divinity degree to 10 candidates and will also grant the Doctor of Ministry degree, the Certificate of Anglican Studies, and Certificate of Theological Studies, and the Master of Arts degree in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union.

Kwong and two retired CDSP faculty members, the Rev. Dr. Linda Clader ‘88 and Dr. Donn F. Morgan, a former dean and president, will receive honorary doctorates at the ceremony.

Clader, who was the first ordained woman on the CDSP faculty, holds a Ph.D. in classical philology from Harvard and taught classical languages at Carleton College, from which she holds an A. B., for twenty years. In 1988, she received her Master of Divinity from CDSP, and in 1991, she returned to the seminary as professor of homiletics. She also served as dean of the chapel for several years and as academic dean for a decade. She retired from full-time teaching in 2013, but continues to offer occasional preaching courses.

Morgan taught Old Testament at CDSP from 1972-2013 and served as president and dean from 1995–2010. He also taught biblical studies, Christian education, homiletics and other multidisciplinary courses and topics. He holds an A.B. from Oberlin College, a B.D from Yale Divinity School, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate School. He is currently editor of “The Oxford Handbook of the Writings of the Hebrew Bible.”

Incoming students get introduction to works by Countryman, Meyers

Students enrolling at CDSP in 2016 are receiving a hefty new summer reading list designed by faculty to prepare them for their studies. Two titles on the list will introduce students to some of the significant intellectual work done by CDSP faculty in recent years.

L. William Countryman, Living on the Border of the Holy:  Renewing the Priesthood of All 

In a 2015 review of this 1999 book by L. William Countryman, Sherman E. Johnson Professor Emeritus in Biblical Studies, Israel Galindo wrote: "Countryman's book is a worthy contribution to the study of ordination and the issue of the nature of clergy vs. laity. His framework of interpreting clergy as priests among priests is a helpful corrective to overly strict sacerdotal polarities between clergy and lay." Galindo, of Columbia Theological Seminary, was the consultant to CDSP's recently concluded curriculum review process. Read the review.

Ruth Meyers, Missional Worship, Worshipful Mission:  Gathering as God's People, Going Out in God's Name

Shortly after the 2014 publication of her most recent book, Dean of Academic Affairs and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics Ruth Meyers said in an interview: "In the book, I propose that missional worship isn't a matter of particular techniques but rather an approach to worship and to all of congregational life that places God's mission at the center. Having memorable models invites people to think creatively about a missional approach to worship. ... Look outside your doors. See who is in your neighborhood and ponder how God is at work in your context. Ask how your worship can more fully express the needs and hopes of your community and how your congregation can respond to the needs in your neighborhood."Read the interview.

Read more about other summer reading list picks on the CDSP website

During her nine years leading the Episcopal Church’s nearly 2 million members, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori spent a good deal of time representing the church on public issues ranging from caring for the poor to caring for the planet. Next fall, CDSP students can engage with her firsthand when the former presiding bishop returns to campus as the St. Margaret’s Visiting Professor of Women in Ministry to teach a course entitled The Public Square: Engaging Emerging Opportunities.

“We are going to consider a variety of ways in which pastoral leaders might engage the public square, in partnership with others, and including such areas as public policy, human flourishing, scientific discovery and artistic creativity,” Jefferts Schori says.Climate change would be an excellent example. I expect us to focus on how people of faith can flourish in their baptismal vocation of reconciliation. We will consider how to balance this work with reflection, Sabbath, silence, and re-creation.”

Jefferts Schori, who was a teacher long before she was a preacher, has advanced degrees in both science and religion. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Stanford in 1974 and a Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University. Prior to her ordination to the priesthood in 1994, she was a visiting assistant professor in Oregon State University's Department of Religious Studies, a visiting scientist at Oregon State University's College of Oceanography, and an oceanographer with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle.

Jefferts Schori received a Master of Divinity from CDSP in 1994 and an honorary Doc­tor of Divinity in 2001. She served as bishop of Nevada until 2006 when she became the first woman elected as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Her term ended last November.

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, Ph.D., CDSP’s dean and president, had long hoped to recruit Jefferts Schori to spend a semester at CDSP. “This is an opportunity for Bishop Katharine to return to the classroom where she is so gifted, and to share with us the wisdom of her experience gained over a decade of episcopal leadership,” says Richardson, who co-taught seminar sessions on theology and evolution with Jefferts Schori several years ago at General Theological Seminary. “The Women in Ministry experience is also a time set apart for one's personal research, reflection and writing, and that is something she richly deserves.”

Asked what she loves about teaching, Jefferts Schori says, “Watching and experiencing fertile minds making leaps, discovering things, making new connections, and being invited into that creative ferment.”

All of her multi-faceted experiences with religion in the public square will come to bear on the Tuesday evening course at CDSP.

“We’ll consider how to encourage constructive and elevated public dialogue that is at once civil and earnest, evangelical and thoughtfully critical, and energetically focused on a vision of the beloved community – God’s peaceable kindom of all creation,” she said.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 4.35.40 PMEach month between now and the official start of the summer reading season, we're highlighting some titles on CDSP's summer reading list chosen by our faculty members. 
 
This month, Assistant Professor Julián González discusses two titles that provide perspectives of Christians in the Global South.

"This book is a study of Christian missionary activity over the centuries," says González. "The authors are talking about the meaning of mission when we talk about the church of the Global South not as people receiving mission, but as people creating a new understanding of mission. How can we imagine a new paradigm of mission that doesn't work on the dichotomy of north and south, or the assumption that we in the Global South are just receiving and never giving anything? What new can we bring from our geopolitics in the south?"

Justo González, "Santa Biblia: The Bible through Hispanic Eyes" 

"This is a good book for people who are new to this stuff of reading the Bible and asking questions that are outside of their own experiences of marginality, poverty, and solidarity. For example, in my country [Colombia], there are no clear demarcations between who is white and who is black. Divisions based on skin color are not the same, because we see ourselves as mestizaje. So we ask how we can bring class to the reading of the Bible."

Tripp HudginsThe Rev. Tripp Hudgins, a doctoral student in liturgical studies and ethnomusicology at the Graduate Theological Union, has been named the 2016-17 Bogard Teaching Fellow at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, academic dean at CDSP announced last week.

“We’re pleased to welcome Tripp, who has an energetic presence, a lively mind and a deep understanding of how music and culture affect one another and how both shape our experience when we gather to worship,” Meyers said.

Hudgins, who has been serving as director of admissions and an adjunct professor of liturgy at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, will serve as a teaching assistant in the fall term, then offers a course during the spring semester. He succeeds Stephen Shaver as the Bogard Fellow.

“It is a privilege to have an opportunity to learn and teach within a community I already know well,” Hudgins said. “I look forward to deepening the relationships that already have a profound influence on my work.”

The Bogard Fellow participates in CDSP worship and community life and attends monthly colloquies at which faculty discuss one another's scholarly work.

Hudgins, a native of Ashland, VA, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and master’s degrees in both divinity and theological studies from the former Seabury-Western Seminary in Evanston, IL. He was ordained in the American Baptist Churches, USA, in 2004.

After serving two congregations as pastor, Hudgins and his wife, Patricia Austin, moved to Berkeley where they live in community with their infant son, Elias, as part of All Souls Episcopal Parish near CDSP.

His Ph.D. focuses on the history of American Protestantism and music as lived eschatology.

Watching war movies, reading science fiction and examining Zen Buddhism aren’t your typical seminary fare, but they are among the many innovative, online continuing education courses available at CDSP.

The Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL) offers online courses during winter, spring and fall sessions that allow students to go at their own pace and learn at a time convenient to them. Courses are seven weeks long and are open to everyone, lay or ordained.

David Cunningham, a member at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, Berkeley, and former director of planned giving at the University of San Francisco, is effusive about the CALL program.

“My wife, Claire, and I have taken two courses, Brian Taylor's ‘The Empty Way’ and John Kater's ‘Anglican Theology,’" Cunningham said. “Both were very rich in content and most stimulating and inspiring.”

Taylor’s course, “The Empty Way: Contemplative Christianity and Zen Buddhism,” was offered in the fall of 2015 and will be offered again in the spring of 2017. It explores the spiritual practices of contemplative Christianity and Zen Buddhism, including an openness to life as it is, compassion towards others, and freedom from anxiety-producing habits of mind.

“This course is not specifically Episcopal,” said Taylor, who served for 30 years as rector of an Episcopal congregation in New Mexico and has studied and practiced with a variety of Zen Buddhist teachers in San Diego, Albuquerque and Chicago, where he now resides. “This course puts together a Christian and Buddhism landscape and looks at the overlap. Today there are just so many people interested in Buddhism.”

Cunningham said the course helped further his and his wife’s own Christian formation.

“We found the course content a powerful tool for another approach to our Christian faith journey,” Cunningham said. “Brian showed us, via a video, how to sit in Zen meditation and why. He then guided our work to connect this contemplative experience to our spiritual learning.”

As part of the class, students were required to meditate each day. The Cunningham’s devoted 20 to 30 minutes a day to meditation, and “we still meditate now several months after the course ended. I wish Brian would teach another class. He is an excellent teacher.”

Brad - Headshot - Final 1In an upcoming class titled “War in Film and Faith,” participants will explore whether it is possible for disciples of Jesus Christ to participate in or approve of war. And if so, under what circumstances? The course, taught by Dr. Bradley Burroughs, will approach these questions through the lens of contemporary films—both fiction and documentary—that portray key aspects of war. The films will be augmented with readings that deepen students’ understanding of the rich history of Christian reflection on war.

“The films ideally are intended to open up certain questions and issues related to the ethics of war,” said Burroughs, a former CDSP professor who now lives in Dayton, Ohio, and teaches at United Theological Seminary. “For instance, the first film we watch is ‘Glory.’ When I had full-time students in Berkeley, most were inclined toward a form of pacifism. ‘Glory’ is intended to open up the question, might there be a time when war is just? This film portrays a war that has as strong of a claim to justice as any, in my opinion.”

In addition to “Glory” (1989), students will watch and reflect on one movie per week, including: “American Sniper” (2014); “Defiance” (2008); “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012); “Wag the Dog” (1997); “Selma” (2014); and “Restrepo” (2010).

Burroughs had an abundance of films from which to choose. So he chose ones that were easy for students to access online and that best addressed the questions he had in mind.

“For instance, I wanted to consider moral injury, which is not just PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but also war injuries in the larger framework—the idea that by participating in a certain act, you feel that you have damaged your own ability to do good or be good. This is of immense significance for those ministering to soldiers and returning soldiers.”

For that issue, he chose “Restrepo,” a documentary that chronicles the lives of men from the beginning of their deployment in the Korengal Valley of northeast Afghanistan (at the time, regarded as one of the deadliest places on earth) until their return home.

“It’s a really powerful movie about how the ways the effects of war continue long after the general public has stopped thinking about it,” Burroughs said. “When soldiers come back, we’re not so good at thinking about the enduring consequences of what we have asked those people to do on our behalf.”

Burroughs said courses that deal with contemporary issues challenge the faith formation of laypeople and clergy alike.

“What I would say about my courses is there are right or wrong answers, and we are too quick to say there is no right or wrong. I certainly hope when you walk away from this course that you can make your case in a way that is faithful to Christian scripture, tradition and reason.”

Michelle MurrainLooking ahead to the fall of 2016, science fiction writer Michelle Murrain will teach a course called “Sci-Fi Faith.” A primary text for the course will be “The Sparrow,” by Mary Doria Russell, a book about the first Jesuit mission to a planet inhabited by intelligent life. The course will also include short stories and non-fiction readings.

“We’ll be talking about the themes in science fiction that have to do with God, creation, the ways in which religion manifests in human beings and may manifest itself in the future,” said Murrain, who lives in Healdsburg, California. “There’re lots of ways in which religious concepts have made their way into science fiction since the beginning.

Murrain, who has a Ph.D. in biology and a certificate of theological studies from the Pacific School of Religion, has written numerous science fiction books and currently works as a relationship coach.

She said the Sci-Fi Faith course will consider existential questions about the universe and human nature.

“Most of religions are human and earth bound—Jesus came to earth to save humans,” Murrain said. “So what does it mean if there are aliens and what is God’s relationship to them? So it forces us to think a little bit bigger than we may have before. It will really expand our sense of who is God and what God is responsible for.

“We’ve never seen aliens, but the universe is very large. Chances are there are other living creatures out there. So what is God’s relationship to them?”

Taylor, who teaches the contemplative prayer and Zen Buddhism course, said the CALL program answers a very specific need faced by many people of faith today.

“It’s not always easy to engage a lot of your parishioners in significant adult formation,” Taylor said. “You can offer courses on weeknights, Saturday programs, or Sunday forums, and often the only thing possible in these settings is a ‘101’ level of formation. It is difficult to go deeper. In a congregation, there will only be a small number of people who want to or can participate.

“On a national level, such as in CALL courses, you can go into depth in a way you can’t do in a parish,” Taylor said. “ There are people spread around all over the church who are looking for more in-depth experience but they can’t get it unless you go online.”

As a past participant in two of the CALL courses, Cunningham said, “I think this is a very vital way to the future for our church. It is easy to log on; the conversations make you really think; and the new experience learned, especially via the Zen experience, changes attitudes and bad habits. I breathe first before getting upset in traffic. Claire is most pleased about that!”

For more information about upcoming CALL courses, go to http://cdsp.edu/center-for-anglican-learning-and-leadership/call-online-spring-2016/. Continuing Education Units are offered for CALL courses at the rate of 2 CEUs per course. Spring courses run April 11 through May 30