Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

9/11 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: Justice and Pastoral Care

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professor’s bio.

This week’s course is: Justice and Pastoral Care.

Leanna Fuller teaches PTS students.

Professor Leanna Fuller teaches MDiv, MA, and Doctor of Ministry students at Pittsburgh Seminary.

About Justice and Pastoral Care

During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be learning about the connection between justice and caring practices with the Rev. Dr. Leanna Fuller in the class “Justice and Pastoral Care.” This course fulfills a requirement for the Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry and is open to students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), and Master of Theology (MTS) degree programs.

This course will explore the communal, intercultural, and systemic contexts of caring practices and the links between justice-making and pastoral care. Students will consider the ways in which communal dynamics such as injustice, exclusion, and conflict may shape individual experiences of suffering, both in congregations and in the communities of which they are a part.

By the end of the course, students will be able to articulate an understanding of pastoral care as a form of ministry that is situated within complex organizational and cultural systems—and narrate how this understanding challenges, supplements, or transforms their prior ideas about the nature of pastoral care. They will integrate insights from the course material with reflections on their own pastoral care experiences, with particular attention to the contexts of these ministry experiences. Finally, they will be able to describe their own emerging understanding of the proper relationship between practices of justice-making and practices of pastoral care.

Assignments will include required reading, classroom participation, reflection papers, blog posts, a public theology assignment, and a final integrative assignment. The texts for the course include but are not limited to Leah Gunning Francis’ Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community; M. Jan Holton’s Longing for Home: Forced Displacement and Postures of Hospitality; Emmanuel Y. Lartey’s In Living Color: An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Care and Counseling; Injustice and the Care of Souls: Taking Oppression Seriously in Pastoral Care, edited by Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook and Karen B. Montagno; and Chanequa Walker-Barnes’s Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength.

 

About the Instructor

A graduate of Vanderbilt University (Ph.D.), Vanderbilt Divinity School (M.Div.), and Furman University (B.A.), the Rev. Dr. Leanna Fuller is in her element when teaching about caring ministry. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, her most recent book is titled When Christ’s Body is Broken: Anxiety, Identity, and Conflict in Congregations (Wipf and Stock, 2016). Dr. Fuller has earned numerous fellowships, awards, and honors. She researches and writes about church conflict, and her book uses two case studies to examine the issue toward constructive outcomes. Fuller advises pastors to develop an intentional plan for dealing with congregational conflict—before the conflict arises! Some of the first steps, she says, include acknowledging that anxiety will be present in such circumstances and that the more serious the conflict, the more time it will take to resolve it constructively.

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9/4 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: Preaching and Communication in Ministry

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professors’ bio.

This week’s course is: “Preaching and Communication in Ministry.”

Dr. Angela Hancock

Dr. Angela Hancock, who teaches Preaching and Communication in Ministry alongside colleague Dr. Roger Owens.

About Preaching and Communication in Ministry

Earlier this year, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students learned about the theology and practice of preaching with the Rev. Drs. Angela Hancock and L. Roger Owens in the class “Preaching and Communication in Ministry.” This course is required for students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree program and is open to students in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) degree or Master of Theology (MTS) degree program.

In this course, students were introduced to the theology and practice of preaching, with attention to the performative skills involved in effective communication in ministry settings. Topics included: the oral interpretation of Scripture, biblical exegesis for proclamation, the role of culture and context in preaching, the structure and rhetoric of sermons, and the non-verbal dimensions of communication.

Upon completion of this course, students were able to identify their gifts for and calling to the task of Christian proclamation; define and describe the theological and methodological issues at stake in the movement from a biblical text to a sermon in relation to a particular congregational context; and give evidence of growth in the exegetical, rhetorical, creative, pastoral, and performative skills involved in the practice of preaching and communication in ministry. Further, students were able to demonstrate working knowledge of the basic exegetical method and approaches to sermon design introduced in class through the creation and delivery of two sermons. Students exhibited the capacity to think critically and deeply about their own practice and listened with discernment to the sermons of others, using the theological and rhetorical language of homiletical criticism.

Assignments included speech performative exercises and class participation, two sermons (written and preached), regular analysis of selected sermons, a midterm take-home assessment, and a brief ethnography of context for the second sermon. Students read Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place by Sally Brown and Luke Powery; Wondrous Depths: Preaching the Old Testament, by Ellen Davis; The Witness of Preaching by Thomas Long; and Getting the Word Across: Speech Communication for Pastors and Lay Leaders by G. Robert Jacks.

 

About the Instructors

The Rev. Dr. Angela Dienhart Hancock serves as associate professor of homiletics and worship. She is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and has served as pastor to churches in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Hancock is the author of Karl Barth’s Emergency Homiletic, 1932-33: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich, a contextual interpretation of Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s lectures on preaching in the early 1930s, based on unpublished archival material. Her current research explores Karl Barth’s contribution to the ethics of deliberation in Christian communities and the relationship between political and theological rhetoric. Hancock continues to preach, teach, and lead worship in a variety of settings.

The Rev. Dr. L. Roger Owens received his Ph.D. in theology from Duke University where he was awarded a Lilly Fellowship for the Formation of a Learned Clergy. Before that he completed his M.Div. at Duke Divinity School. As an undergraduate he studied philosophy and Bible/religion at Anderson University in Indiana. Owens is an ordained Elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. In North Carolina he served both urban and rural churches for eight years as co-pastor with his wife before coming to PTS. His newest book is Threshold of Discovery: A Field Guide to Spirituality in Midlife (Church Publishing, 2019). Owens serves on the faculty for the Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation, where he lectures on postmodern spirituality and traditions of Christian spirituality.

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3/25 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: Intercultural Experiential Learning

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professor’s bio.

This week’s course is: “Intercultural Experiential Learning.”

Colombia mission trip

About Intercultural Experiential Learning

During the January Term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students took Intercultural Experiential Learning with the Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell in the class “Intercultural Experiential Learning.”  This course is required for students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree program and is open to students in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) and Master of Theology (MTS) degree programs.

Intercultural Experiential Learning is organized in conjunction with the World Mission Initiative/Metro- Urban Institute intercultural learning trips and provides pre-trip orientation in cultural competence and anti-racism, intercultural communication, a theology of short-term mission engagement, area studies for the specific communities to be visited, and spiritual practices for mission. After the trip, students explored personal, cultural, missiological, and theological strategies for reflecting on the intercultural experience. This year students traveled to Colombia and Southwest Florida.

During this class, students come to understand basic concepts in intercultural work: the culture concept, ethnocentricity, cultural competence, racism, white privilege, intercultural communication, and intercultural conflict. They develop a theology of short-term mission and a missiological understanding of the role of a missionary. Further, students develop an understanding of the relationship between context and mission, are exposed to and develop spiritual practices drawn from the experiences of the global church, and learn how to lead a short-term mission trip. Throughout the course, students also identify needs and assets through the lens of mutuality.

In addition to a number of articles, students read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Mission Trips that Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World by Dan Richter, and Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude Steele. Assessment is based on readings and written reflections, trip journaling, participation in an intercultural immersion experience, and class presentation on lessons learned during the intercultural immersion experience and application to local ministry.

 

About the Instructor

The Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell assumed his position at Pittsburgh Seminary in 2017 after serving as director of World Mission for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville, Ky. His mission leadership and service spans more than three decades. In his years as World Mission director, Farrell managed a 180-member staff in 52 countries while overseeing the areas of strategic direction and partnerships, funds development, operations, and communications. Earlier, as a Presbyterian mission co-worker in Peru, he organized and accompanied an international network of churches, non-profit organizations, and universities that linked social capital in Peru and the U.S. to address issues of poverty and justice. And while working with World Mission in East and West Africa, he supervised the work of mission workers in seven African nations in programs of health, development, evangelism, education, and theological education. He also taught in the Republic of Zaire—now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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