Church and Ministry. Practical Theology

PT501. Introduction to Practical Theology

Credit, three hours. (S. Reynolds)

This course introduces students to models and methods of practical theology. We explore what it means to do theology in context, especially the context of everyday life, and examine the implications of such theologizing for the practice of ministry. We attend in particular ways to dynamics of practice, place, culture, and embodiment, and evaluate the capacity of shared practice to engage questions of suffering and injustice. Interdisciplinary in nature, students explore texts and perspectives from systematic, practical, pastoral, and political theology; liturgical and ritual studies; and the social sciences.

PT503. Vocational Discernment for a Sustained Life in Ministry

Credit, three hours. (Shepard)

This course is designed for students who are in the process of vocational discernment and/or participating in the certificate program for Women, Theology, and Ministry in the MDiv or MTS degree programs. It will explore the call of God using the theological framework of Wesleyan theology and the work of Benedict and Ignatius for providing skills useful in a sustained life of ministry. The course will look at the history and theology of the role of call within the context of ordination and will consider some of the unique issues that surround ordained ministry as well as retention in ministry, particularly for women. This course will also employ the diverse role of creativity for ministry as it employs sustaining models for visual journaling, autobiographical journaling, and other expressive arts.

PT515. The Art and Practice of Christian Prayer

Credit, three hours. (Shepard) (Same as RE545.)

Students in this course will be introduced to the rich history of Christian prayer across the continents; apply the practices of prayer both personally and in small groups; examine particular dimensions of the practice of prayer including the impact of gender, racial, sexual, and religious identity; examine the construction of one’s personal prayer life through the readings that are historic as well as autobiographical; consider the relationship between their own personal prayer journey and others; consider the use of prayer in pastoral care and within a congregation.

PT550. Contemporary Wesleyan Spirituality and the Means of Grace

Credit, three hours. (Elliott)

This course explores the ways in which the means of grace, as understood and practiced by John Wesley and participants in the Wesleyan movement, give shape and form to the ministry and mission of The United Methodist Church in the world today.

PT600. Creative Writing as Theological and Spiritual Practice

Credit, three hours. (Faculty)

This course examines the formational and transformational impact of creativity and imagination in human development through the lens of creative writing. Specific attention is given to creative writing as a means of theological reflection and form of spiritual practice, with the potential for both individual and social transformation. Students develop their own practice of creative writing as a form of spiritual discipline and a means of social transformation. Students also learn to use creative writing in informed and critical ways to enhance theological imagination and spiritual formation of others as a part of ministry.

PT615. Good Food

Credit, three hours. (Ayres)

Students in this course will examine a “grounded practical theology of food,” whereby people of faith are responding to the global food system through practices of education, growing food, advocacy, and supporting sustainable agriculture. Through an examination of these practices, students will consider how at thriving theological and moral perspective on food is formed.

PT625. Cross-Cultural Communication

Credit, two hours. (Faculty)

Working in intercultural settings as pastors, deacons, community organizers, or counselors is an enriching experience of cultural awareness and can deepen our understanding and knowledge about people from other cultures and circumstances of life. However, working in cross-cultural settings can be also an experience of misunderstanding, misinterpreting, misjudging, and being misjudged. Students in this course will analyze and understand different cross-cultural communication styles; acquire tools and practice bridge-building communication; learn peer coaching and conflict mapping as a reflection method; learn intercultural conflict transformation skills; name the principles of role transparency for conflict prevention; and strengthen their ability to think and speak theologically about the work of crosscultural conflict transformation.

PT635. Fearless Dialogues in Church and Community

Credit, three hours. (Ellison) (Same as CC635.)

In July 2013 Gregory Ellison launched a grassroots community initiative called Fearless Dialogues that creates unique spaces for unlikely partners in local communities to engage in heartfelt conversation about taboo subjects. Since then, Fearless Dialogues has convened nearly 20,000 impassioned interlocutors including but not limited to international heads of state, incarcerated youth, pastors, seminarians, corporate executives, and activists protesting on the front lines in Ferguson, Missouri. This course outlines the theoretical and pedagogical framework utilized in Fearless Dialogues community conversations to create unique spaces for unlikely partners to engage in hard conversations. Particular attention will be given to the life and work of 20th- and 21st-century faith leaders who equally value the epistemic quality of theory, community engagement, and “faith-full” practice. The conversations, theory-based experiments, and writings around this subject matter seek to foment a movement, heighten awareness, and galvanize systemic change. (PT635CEE when offered as a Contextual Education elective.)

PT674. Approaches to Criminal Justice Ministry

Credit, three hours. (Faculty) (Same as ES674.)

This course examines the historical, social, psychological, and theological implications of crime, punishment, and incarceration in America. Through discussion of the readings, lectures, field-based experiences, and guest speakers, students will explore the multifarious dimensions of the prison industrial complex as well as their own attitudes and biases towards incarcerated persons. Throughout the course, learners investigate both the strengths and limitations of current approaches to incarceration while also acquiring knowledge and skills to employ change in their own context. Students are encouraged to reflect on how they might use the learning from the class to impact and enact restorative care in communities, congregations, policies, families, and other diverse contexts affected by the criminal justice system.

PT670A. Research as a Theological Practice

Credit, three hours. (Faculty) (Same as RE670A.)

This course reframes the research process, including reading and writing, as a theological practice. In addition to exploring the tools and techniques that support seminary students in their academic coursework, this course will help you think about that work as an element of your vocational and spiritual development. This course is appropriate for all Candler master’s degree students (in any track). The course requires no prerequisites.

PT670B. Hacking Ministry: The Work of the Church in a Digital Age

Credit, two hours. (Faculty) (Same as RE670B.)

An introduction to creative techniques and reflective practices for the effective use of digital technology in the arts of ministry.

PT698. Special Topics in Practical Theology

Credit, variable. (Faculty)

Special topic or one-time offering courses led by Candler regular and visiting faculty. Prerequisites may be required and are noted on the course schedule when applicable.