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Social Issues and the Church’s Response: Understanding the Needs, Concerns, and Hopes of the World

September 16 – November 4, 2019

The diaconal ordination service states that the deacon is to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world. In order to do this work, the deacon must be familiar with the local community and be prepared to facilitate the social ministry of the church in response to these needs. The aim of this course is to help in that necessary preparation for deacons, student deacons and lay people active in social ministry. Participants will study the nature of social ministry and its link to the Baptismal Covenant. Urgent contemporary social issues facing society and the church in the areas of poverty, homelessness, health care, racism, and violence will be explored. We will also study effective church ministries and secular programs which address these issues. This is a practical and “hands on” course which involves online readings and videos and assignments which will take participants out into their communities to visit programs and agencies in their community in order to become familiar with how the issues are manifested locally.

Instructor: Sr. Pamela Clare Magers

Sr. Pamela Clare, CSF, is a member of The Community of St. Francis, a religious order for women in the Episcopal Church. She has a Ph.D. in Anthropology and an M.A. in Creation Spirituality. She has many years of experience in Hispanic Ministry and is on the faculty of The Episcopal School for Deacons in Berkeley, where she teaches Social Ministry. She is a certified massage therapist who works with poor and homeless people at various social service agencies in San Francisco.