• 2021 Lancaster Theological Seminary DMin Symposium

    Monday, March 22, 2021

    Symposium presentations will be conducted online using Zoom.

    Schedule of Events
    Time Presenter Topic
    8:30-9:20 a.m.   Anita Wood  "The Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin: Transformation Through Group Engagement in Evolutionary Process"
    9:30-10:20 a.m.   Susan Claytor  "Hospitality to Individuals on the Autism Spectrum and their Families"
    10:30‑11:20 a.m.   Dottie Almoney  "Reclaiming the 'D' Word: The Ministry of Diakonia in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America"
    11:30 a.m.‑12:20 p.m.  Linda Moore  "Pastor Can We Talk? A Retrospective Study of How the Black Church Fails to Support Sexually Abused Black Women"
    12:20-1:00 p.m.  Lunch Break  
    1:00‑1:50 p.m.   Tracy Mooney  "Cultivating a Culture of Electronic Evangelism"
    2:00‑2:50 p.m.   Dan Jurman  "When Did We See You Hungry: Saving the Church by Serving the World"
    3:00‑3:50 p.m.  Celestine Fields  "Black Pastor, White Church: Using Positive Psychology as a Mission-Driven Strategy for Building and Sustaining Diverse Multicultural Congregations"
    4:00-4:50 p.m.  Patricia Prendergast  "Once upon an Agency: Faith Led the Way"
    All times are Eastern Daylight Time (UTC -4:00)

    Presentation Details for Current DMin Students and Guests

    • Presenters are listed below in schedule order
    • Expand the presenter's section to find:
      • Supporting documents provided by presenter (if applicable)
      • Online evaluation form (made available at the time of presentation)
      • Recorded presentation (available starting March 23, 2021)

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  • Instructions: Clicking on the section name will show / hide the section.

  • The Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin: Transformation Through Group Engagement in Evolutionary Process

    Time: 8:30-9:20 a.m.


    Drawing on 50 years of combined experience as a religious educator and spiritual director, I have created a resource for spiritual growth that engages people who want to more fully understand and integrate evolutionary principles into their lives. The pedagogical method as well as the content in the resource is based on principles of evolution, as described by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Jesuit scientist of the early 20th century. This paper describes how the resource is grounded in the faith development work of James Fowler, uses the dynamics of contemplative dialogue and small group interaction, and is informed by theories of transformative learning for adults. I also demonstrate how Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s work reflects a Process Philosophy view of God and the universe and is related to consciousness development and patterns of Christian spiritual growth, in particular, the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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  • Hospitality to Individuals on the Autism Spectrum and their Families

    Time: 9:30-10:20 a.m.


    In discussion with other congregational leaders around the members of their community, a growing population seems to be absent. The individuals and the families of those on the Autism Spectrum Disorder are not present in our worship services. This neuro-different population is not participating in communal worship, nor are their family members. It is time for  intentional outreach to this important and tremendous segment of our general population. Anecdotal evidence shows that quite often the parents of children on the spectrum are worried about both the reactions and welcome their child might generate and receive, and the disruption their child may bring to the service. However, the strong theme of hospitality throughout scripture, including the teachings of Jesus, compel us to be welcoming and accepting. Providing some basic education to the congregations will increase the likelihood of a community that is able to truly welcome and embrace the individuals and families of those on the spectrum. Additionally, embracing all of God's children, including those who are neuro-different, brings new gifts and talents into the gathering and ministries of the organizations. Pastorally, all people are in need of safe places to worship, grow spiritually and to receive care and support. In addition, many of the normal activities and programs of worshipping communities will prove to be greatly beneficial to those on the spectrum, proving unintentional intervention simply by offering acceptance and interaction. This paper encompasses the theological implications of hospitality, provides a four week educational series for all members of the congregation, and has some helpful hints and understandings for those in leadership or who volunteer in various ministries where they may work directly with those on the spectrum.

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  • Reclaiming the “D” Word:  The Ministry of Diakonia in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    Time: 10:30-11:20 a.m.


    The role of the diaconate is at the same time misunderstood and the most promising ministries of the church. Diakonia is a service ministry that has been in existence since the early church. Throughout history, deacons and deaconesses carried out the ministry of diakonia in both the church and secular arenas. While most of our congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have different types of service ministries, most do not grasp the full understanding of diakonia. The role of the deacon in the church remains elusive to many congregations and many synods and bishops have not supported the deacons in the way pastors are supported. This project is an exploration of the total expression of the ministry of diakonia and the role of the professional deacon as it pertains to this important service ministry. The final chapter will also give resources to use for educating on diakonia, how to put diakonia into action and the role of the professional deacon.

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  • Pastor Can We Talk?: A Retrospective Study of How the Black Church Fails to Support Sexually Abused Black Women

    Time: 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.


    This major project seeks to address the issues of sexual abuse within the Black Church and to offer pastors and lay leaders’ guidance to assist congregations in breaking the cycle of sexual abuse and silence. In the confounds of the Black Church and the greater African American community, issues of sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, or sexual behaviors have been neglected. To that end, this study aims to provide guidance and validation that the Black Church has a long history in supporting one another; however, sexual abuse and the treatment of Black Women were not given the adequate support. For far too long those issues have been secretly housed within the walls of our families, our civic organizations, and our Black Churches leaving victims without a platform of any kind, in which to express anything related to sex. As a result, men and especially women and children have undergone the effects of shame of not having an outlet or a safe place to unburden themselves of any form of sexual improprieties. In essence, this study is a compilation of personal experiences coupled with academic evidence that the Black Church needs a specific protocol and platform to combat the issues of sexual abuse. 

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  • Cultivating a Culture of Electronic Evangelism

    Time: 1:00-1:50 p.m.


    Small-to-Medium sized United Methodist Churches often struggle with adapting to new technology.  Unfortunately, this problem has now become a large obstacle which must be overcome by each individual congregation while trying to spread the message of Jesus Christ.  While congregations could be evangelizing through technology, the lack of enthusiasm and/or resources in many congregations has stifled the voice of the Methodist church in the digital world, slowing the dissemination of their message of God’s grace and love.  Seeking guidance from the growth of Methodism through John and Charles Wesley’s leadership, the research proposes a plan for small-to-medium sized churches to evangelize online.  The project studies the benefits of creating Audio, Communication, and Technology (ACT) Teams, enabling a new generation of leaders and bringing them together with other United Methodist Congregations to share and then implement technology resources. With ACT Teams, the United Methodist Church can develop itinerant leaders that “go out” digitally to build relationships with people who may not be able or be willing to enter a physical church building.  The project also explores the ways leaders can use video to create an atmosphere for viewers to have a transformational experience with God.  The hope is that by following the Wesleyan example of evangelism, the United Methodist Church may break through the digital noise to connect to those in a new way. 

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  • When Did We See You Hungry: Saving the Church by Serving the World

    Time: 2:00-2:50 p.m.


    Predominantly white churches tend to engage in transactional ministry with people living in poverty; giving food, clothing, bus passes, and Christmas presents, or paying utility bills from the confines of their church buildings. At the same time churches are taking this transactional approach, “none” is the fastest growing religion in the United States marking the church’s ongoing decline. In this work we: a) hear from predominantly white congregations’ leaders in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania about how they and their congregations see their work with people living in poverty, b) engage in a theological dialogue with multiple researchers on what the Bible has to say about poverty in Deuteronomy, Ruth, the Prophets, and the Parables of Jesus, c) examine two current movements to get congregations out of their buildings and into their communities, d) look at the relational models that have influenced my secular work in poverty, and e) hear from two leaders in African American and Latino churches about how they engage with people living in poverty. Finally, incorporating elements from all these touchpoints, I lay out a path for church leaders to move their churches to relational models with people living in poverty, not to play the role of “Good Samaritan,” but because the church itself is in need of saving and has much to learn in and from the neighborhoods and communities it generally avoids.

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  • Black Pastor, White Church: Using Positive Psychology as a Mission-Driven Strategy for Building and Sustaining Diverse Multicultural Congregations

    Time: 3:00-3:50 p.m.


    This research study seeks to gain more knowledge from the experiences of Black clergy who are serving in predominantly White congregations and learn from their experiences. This research will assist Black clergy and the congregations that call us to understand what is involved when calling Black clergy to serve in a predominantly White congregation.  In addition, this study will investigate how positive psychology[1] can be used when a predominately White congregation calls or desires to call a Black clergy to achieve a mission of creating a diverse multicultural congregation.

    A note regarding the capitalization of Black and White in describing the people of the study. After researching this topic, the decision was made to use upper case lettering for both Black and White people. The reasoning, as will be revealed in this study, both Black and White people have an experience of race in our society. To use lower case capitalization for White people would continue the perpetuation of the idea of White folks not experiencing white as a race. As argued in the Washington Post, “Why ‘White’ Should be Capitalized, too,” for the capitalization, “We should capitalize “White” to situate “Whiteness” within the American ideology of race, within which “Black,” but not “White,” has been hypervisible as a group identity.”[2]  It is important to this research study and the work in predominately White congregations, who call Black clergy to recognize there is White racial identity, as the invisibility of whiteness impacts the clergy. The capitalization of white in this study does not negate nor ignore white nationalists’ usage of a capital to elevate white supremacist ideology. 

    [1] Positive Psychology is an evidence-based science that focuses on positive emotions, identifying and building strengths and virtues to sustain a “good life. Positive psychology research has shown when individuals use their core strengths, they can successfully manage adversity and life’s difficulties.

    [2] “Opinion | Why ‘White’ Should Be Capitalized, Too - The Washington Post,” accessed February 1, 2021,

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  • Once upon an Agency: Faith Led the Way

    Time: 4:00-4:50 p.m.


    This qualitative research project uses a narrative approach to study how seven faith-based organizations in a ten-county area of southern New Jersey have maintained, adapted, expanded or abandoned their original mission since their founding. What is the story of each respective organization from& its beginning until the present? What are the challenges and struggles inherent in maintaining a focus on an original organizational mission statement and how do operational pressures like changes in funding, shifts in cultural expectations, and unforeseen events such as a natural disaster and a pandemic affect the living out of the mission? Interviews with participating agencies are analyzed to search for commonalties among the agencies in the study, and to discern lessons to be learned from all of the agencies together. Recommendations are made for faith-based organizations seeking to be faithful to their founding mission in the face of the various changes and challenges they encounter.

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    • Submit your signed recording consent form Assignment
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    • March 15 Practice Session, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Zoom meeting
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