Available courses

This course provides an introduction to the practice of Scriptural Reasoning (SR), a form of inter-faith dialogue in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims gather to read and reflect on their scriptures. Unlike some forms of inter-faith engagement, the aim of SR is not so much about seeking agreement or consensus but exploring the texts and their possible interpretations across faith boundaries and learning to “disagree better.” In this online/intensive hybrid class, students will gain an understanding of the history and theory of SR as well as first-hand experience with the practice of SR during our in-person meetings.

Students will be exposed to and engage with the content of the course in a variety of ways, beyond reading texts and writing formal essays. They will participate in the in-person practice of SR, experiencing first-hand the relational dynamics of interreligious reading and dialogue, develop relationships with classmates and other SR practitioners, participate in online and in-person class discussions – with the option to contribute personal reflections in writing, audio recording or video. In doing so, students will increase their capacity to engage in various methods and techniques of theological reflection [MDiv 4.1].

Scriptural Reasoning, when done well, often leads to a deeper understanding of others’ and one’s own scriptures and traditions as well as the formation of strong relationships across religious and cultural divides. In this course, students will directly engage in dialogue with people from different religious, cultural, and ethnic contexts. They will be encouraged to reflect on their experiences and examine their assumptions (before, during, and after the class) [MDiv 3.4].

We live in a rapidly changing world in which the concept of what we think of as “traditional” church is being challenged.  As membership numbers decline and fewer young people engage in mainline denominations, we must develop leadership capabilities that both support our traditions AND welcome new ideas and practices into our worship and mission.

This course will focus on helping lay and clergy leaders to develop the skills they need to faithfully lead congregations in the midst of rapid change and uncertainty—and even help them thrive.  Students will be introduced to concepts and tools that will help them identify the capacities of congregations, neighbors, and partner organizations as they move out into their communities.

Through lecture, case studies, contextual analysis, and classroom interactions students will explore Asset Based Community Development, Resilience Theory, Appreciative Inquiry, Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Social/Micro-Enterprise as tools for congregational vitality.  Each student’s present ministry context will form the basis of exploration and application of theoretical material.

ML 561/661: Reimagining Congregations and Mission

June 4-8, 2018

Monday-Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

The Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry, Instructor

 Contact information bonnie@allsaintschicago.org cell: 773-315-9028

 Office Hours on Request

 Course description

 This course explores inherited assumptions and patterns of Christian congregational life in light of new apostolic environments.  Perspectives on missional ecclesiology offer a framework for renewing congregational identity and practice.  Students engage insights from organizational, leadership and innovation theory as well as bring insights from their own contextual experiences.

 Christianity, at its roots is dynamic, relational, and incarnational.  Once upon a time, people walked to the ends of the earth preaching, teaching and embodying the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because their lives had been completely changed by their encounters with Jesus and Jesus’ followers.  Early Christianity, as it told of and incarnated the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth was a movement, a tsunami, upending and rearranging religious, social, economic and governmental structures. 

How do our faith communities embody these attributes today?  How have we strayed from our origins? How do we as lay and ordained Christian practitioners, lead communities of faith that embody the promise of God’s Kingdom as it was made known to us in Jesus?  How might we re-imagine our congregations and our ministerial structures so that we might return to the missional origins of the Gospel?

I am not interested in saving the church as it is, rather I long to change our church so that it may embody the love of God as it was made known to us in Christ Jesus.  This will be the focus of this course and these will be the goals with which we will wrestle.  I look forward to our conversations and our ability to learn from one another. 

This course uses a hybrid format:  teaching and learning take place both online and in the classroom.  The course uses the Moodle online learning platform for communication, conversation, readings, assignments, and reflections. 

 The course will meet at Bexley Seabury Seminary at 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on June 4-8, 2018.  Prior to the classroom week, students are asked to complete reading assigments and prepare a 15- minute presentation, lavishly illustrated with visuals, to be given the first days of class that introduces his or her own congregational context.  Through lecture, interactive exercises, video, and classroom dialogue, participants will actively engage the course topics.

 Issues of global contexts and diversity will be incorporated into the theological and practical reflection sessions and in the student final paper. Classroom presentations will prompt discussion and reflection around such concerns as community inequality, difference and ethnic/racial diversity.

Differing learning styles will be honored through use of both individual and interactive learning activities, written and oral contributions, and varied presentation strategies.

A community forum

A travel course on contemporary mission and ministry through the lens of growing, vibrant churches in London, UK. A travel course. 3 Credit Hours.

A travel course on contemporary mission and ministry through the lens of growing, vibrant churches in London, UK. A travel course. Class meets in London 20-26 May 2017. 3 Credit Hours.

CC 461/661:  The Structures of Community: Cities, Neighborhoods, and the New Urbanism for Church Leaders

What’s a good place? A good neighborhood? A well-designed city? What does the church have to do with it all? How can we live well in whatever place we find ourselves? How do order, community, sustainability, and livability in the built environments we inhabit affect us as we lead communities of faith? These are some of the questions we’ll look at in this class. You’ll develop skills in analysis, evaluation and theological assessment of places, and will assess the relation of urbanism to the gospel, the common good, and the church’s mission. The course involves several local field trips and field work.

Course Title: MN3185 – Pastoral Offices   Fall Term 2015

Instructor:  The Rev. Valerie Bailey Fischer

Meeting Dates:  September 10-12, October 8-10, November 5-7 in Chicago with online work between meetings

Course descriptionThis course provides an introduction to the pastoral offices in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer and other liturgical resources such as Enriching Our Worship and the Book of Occasional Services, 2003. The course will provide a historical, liturgical, catechetical, pastoral and ritual overview of the pastoral offices in use in the Episcopal Church. Some of these offices include marriage and other rites of union, reconciliation, ministration to the sick and dying, and the burial rites.  These offices will be put in the context of the church’s liturgy and how these rites shape, form and enrich a parish’s worship, prayer and shared community life.

A place for support, conversation, encouragement, resources, and problem-solving. 

In the Faculty Sandbox you can play with online teaching & learning toys, including the latest digital toy, Blackboard's Collaborate Ultra. Everyone here is a teacher, so feel free to upload content.