Creative Writing and Public Theology Focus

Do you feel your heart burning with something to say? Would you like to experiment imaginatively with the ways that theological reflection can draw creatively from the prophetic tradition and engage the wider public? We have designed this program to help you bridge your vocational context and your call to write theologically. We will march with you out the doors of the academy and church and into the public space saying something unexpected, beautiful, and challenging. Join your voice with others in this exciting work!

Join the Next Creative Writing and Public Theology Cohort

The cohort beginning in June 2024 is full; we are no longer accepting applications. 

Engage your theological imagination and craft your public voice through creative writing! The Doctor of Ministry program invites students into a community of inquiry that accepts the unfinishedness of both theology and creative writing. During this hybrid program, you will explore the fluid dimensions of faith and the complexities of your vocational context with your cohort, our faculty, and the reading public. At the end of your coursework, you will write a publishable manuscript that engages your vocational context in conversation with your coursework. You will also produce a statement of vocation in public theology and offer a public reading and discussion of your creative work.

Creativity of God and God's People
Porsha Williams Gates is excited about this cohort because it brings together the creativity of God and the creativity of people from diverse backgrounds to express themselves through writing and storytelling.
Hope, Beauty, and Peace
DMin student Mike Haddox says that the Creative Writing and Public Theology cohort has been life-giving to his ministry. In his cohort they have found ways to bring a message of hope, beauty, and peace into the world.

What is the Creative Writing and Public Theology Focus like?

In the very heart of all theological writing is what Rowan Williams calls “an essential restlessness in the enterprise of Christian utterance.” As a result of the ongoing nature of our faith, we are always searching for bright new ways to communicate in churches, seminaries, and wider society about our life with God. Our sharing of these illuminating theological voices is more crucial than ever for our public sphere, which is in need of fresh, prophetic insights. In response to this need, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has developed this D.Min. program at the lively intersection of creative writing and public theology. The next Creative Writing and Public Theology cohort is anticipated to begin in June 2024, focusing on the theme, Burning Hearts: Faith, Place, and Theological Imagination. 

How is this curriculum shaped?

The program features two types of courses. The first are practical Craft of Writing workshops, led by professional writers and editors and focused on expanding creative writing skills in a variety of genres, including blogs and podcasts, poetry and literary non-fiction, children’s literature, memoir, and journalism. In addition to the craft workshops, the program features Theological Content courses, taught by working theologians; these relate creative writing to ministry, spirituality, theological reflection, the prophetic tradition, and the Bible. Discussing publishing practices and offering public reading of participants’ works are regular highlights during the course of study.

When and where do the classes meet?

The Theological Content courses are held in person at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pa., and St. Petersburg, Fla., during alternating one-week blocks of time in January and June. These are followed by 10-week online workshops dedicated to the Craft of Writing in different genres. The next Creative Writing and Public Theology Focus cohort is anticipated to begin in June 2024.

Donna Giver-Johnston and Liberty Ferda will teach the first course, "Voice, Faith, and Place in Creative Writing and Public Theology", June 17-21, 2024, at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Courses May Include

  • Exploring Voice, Faith, and Place in Ministry through the Theological Imagination
  • Voices: Exploring a Sense of Faith and Place in Ministry
  • C. S. Lewis: The Bible, Storytelling, and Theological Imagination in Public Theology
  • Storytelling for Times Such as These
  • Religion and Experimental Poetics / The Sacred and the Profane
  • Creative Writing and Spirituality 
  • Online Craft Workshops on
    • Memoir
    • Poetry
    • Literary Journalism
    • Short Stories
    • Writing for Children
    • Blogs, Podcasts, and Radio Shows
    • Manuscript Writing

Listen to Learn More

The Seminary's Doing it Different podcast explores our Doctor of Ministry degree and its various focus areas. In episode 1, the relationship between womanism and the Creative Writing and Public Theology Doctor of Ministry Focus is explored in a conversation with Porsha Williams Gates and Dr. Shan Overton, hosted by Shannon Garrett-Headen. 

Listen to Episode 1

Listen in as scholar/writer J. Kameron Carter and practical theologian/writer and Director of the Center for Writing and Learning Support at PTS Dr. Shan Overton join in a round table conversation on the Creative Writing as Public Theology cohort on this aij podcast, featuring conversations and performances at the intersection of art, inspiration, and justice.

Creative Ministry as Public Theology Round Table, Part One

Creative Ministry as Public Theology Round Table, Part Two



Connect with the Doctor of Ministry Office to learn more about our next Creative Writing and Public Theology cohort. We'd love to have you join us!  Apply now to reserve your space in a future focus. Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

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