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Courses in Area V: Practical Theology
PR 500 The Art & Practice of Preaching

A consideration of the nature of Christian preaching. The course explores the issues and dynamics of preaching, as well as the practices that support preaching. Class size is limited. Prerequisites: FDC 600, HB 500, NT 500 and TH 500, or permission of instructor.

PR 500.44 The Art & Practice of Preaching

Online version of PR 500

PR 525 Advanced Preaching Workshop

Advanced workshop that focuses on homiletic models and methods with primary focus on crisis preaching, preaching difficult texts, and preaching as spiritual direction. Class size is limited. Prerequisites: FDC 600, HB 500, NT 500, TH 500 and PR 500, or permission of instructor.

PR 535 Preaching as a Communicative Art

In this course, students will study preaching as oral communication, learning principles of both extemporaneous speaking and creative writing in the process of sermon design and development. Prerequisites: FDC 600, HB 500, NT 500 and TH 500, or with permission from instructor. Satisfies preaching requirement.

PR 545 Critical Issues in Preaching and Public Communication

In this course students will explore issues related to preaching for social change and transformation, principles of topical preaching, speeches of advocacy, and the development of sermons from difficult texts. Prerequisites: FDC 600, HB 500, NT 500 and TH 500

PR 550 Storytelling in Ministry

A practical introduction to the art of storytelling as it applies to teaching and preaching ministries. Students will learn to tell and re-imagine biblical stories using techniques of oral interpretation and dramatization and to craft personal narratives based on life experiences. Some attention will be given to principles of narrative preaching. Grading is pass/fail. Class size is limited.

PR 575 Narrative Preaching

This course explores a sub-discipline of homiletics called 'narrative preaching.' Through preaching, reading, discussion, and analysis of one another's sermons the class will: discover and define what characterizes a 'narrative' sermon, come to an understanding of what methodologies are appropriate to create and preach 'narrative' sermons, and use these characteristic methodologies to expand and deepen the students' preaching ministries. Prerequisites: FDC 600, HB 500, NT 500 and TH 500. Recommended Prerequisites: previous preaching course. Class size is limited.

PR 600 Biblical Storytelling

This course is designed as a workshop that will introduce students to the practice of biblical storytelling, a means of expression that draws upon performance studies to prepare oral interpretations of biblical texts. It will also serve as an introduction to performance criticism, an approach to biblical interpretation that assumes that performed interpretations were and are significant experiences within the development of the oral and literary traditions of both testaments.

PR 650 Seminar in Storytelling

Advanced workshop focusing on particular themes, methods, or festivals in storytelling. Grading is pass/fail. May be repeated.

PR 675 Preaching the Lectionary

Practical experience in developing exegetical skills and sermon ideas based on lectionary texts. May be repeated; however, a total of no more than 3 semester-hours may be applied toward a diploma or master's degree program. Recommend Prerequisites: HB 500 and NT 500

PR 800 Seminar in Preaching

Advanced study focusing on an issue, person, or practice in Christian preaching. Prerequisite: completion of a preaching course listed above or permission of instructor.

PR 900 Research in Preaching

Advanced individual research of selected issues. Offered on request only to advanced students.

Public Worship
PW 540 The Theology & Practice of Public Worship

An introduction to liturgical theology, or the discipline of theological reflection on the words and actions of the church's worship, designed for students who will lead worship in communities of faith. While some attention is given to liturgy for occasional services, the primary focus will be on the people of God's regular Sunday worship. Prerequisite: PC 500, PC 550 and PC 600.

PW 700 Worship Practicum

Students in this class are responsible for planning and evaluating the seminary community's weekly services of worship. Regular attendance of the class and at worship are required. This class is offered tuition free, is graded pass/fail, and may be repeated. A total of no more than two hours may be applied toward a certificate or Master's degree program. Prerequisite: One portal course.

PW 880 Seminar in Worship & Liturgy

Advanced study of selected issues in the areas of worship and liturgy. May be repeated with different topics. Prerequisite: PC 500, PC 550, and PC 600.

PW 880.01 Liturgy & Music Across Cultures

This course is designed to enable students to analyze, plan, and lead Christian worship with pastoral and theological integrity while being attentive to denominational, cultural, and local church traditions in larger ecumenical and historical contexts.

Syllabus - Spring 2015, taught by Cynthia Wilson
PW 900 Research in Worship & Liturgy

Advanced individual research on selected issues in worship and liturgy. Offered on request only to advanced students. Prerequisite: PC 500, PC 550, and PC 600.

Pastoral Theology & Care
PT 520 Care in Christian Communities

The purpose of this course is to help students understand in a more comprehensive and dynamic way practices of Christian care within their communities. Students will explore ways to attend to suffering and to identify resources within and outside of the church that contribute to the ability to offer care. Students in this course will be required to have a Gmail account. Prerequisite: one Portal Course required; two recommended.

PT 565 Effective Hospital Ministry

A course designed to introduce students to healthcare ministry. The class gives students opportunities to practice basic skills of listening, praying and responding to the spiritual needs of the sick. Also, significant attention to theological reflection in the clinical environment will be the basis for better understanding the church's role in providing healing and supportive care.  Through reading assignments, classroom instruction, and verbatim case studies students will gain the preliminary insights, knowledge and skills necessary for effective hospital ministry. Prerequisite: PC 550, PC 600, and PC 650.

PT 567 Caring in Depth: Death and Dying

This course provides an opportunity for careful study of caring in depth around the broad topic of death and dying. The course will help equip leaders in ministry in a variety of forms to hone practicing attention to and remaining present in the midst of death, dying, illness, loss and grief. The course places these dynamics of communal life in a narrative frame that attends to both theological and psychological aspects. Elective. Prerequisites: PC 550; PT 520 recommended.

Syllabus - Spring 2016, taught by Melinda McGarrah Sharp
PT 750 Pastoral Care in Crisis Situations

This course addresses the definition and nature of crisis and the development of good care skills and effective communication in order that the student can handle crisis situations that persons in ministry face. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

PT 880 Seminar in Pastoral Theology & Care

Advanced study of selected issues in the understanding and practice of care in Christian communities. May be repeated with different topics. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

Syllabus - Fall 2016, taught by Melinda McGarrah Sharp
PT 900 Research in Pastoral Theology & Care

Advanced individual research on selected issues in the understanding and practice of care in Christian communities. Offered on request only for advanced students. in Christian communities. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

Pastoral Leadership
PL 650 Pastoral Leadership and Administration

A survey of practices involved in leading a congregation, with special attention to processes for discerning a particular church's present and future mission, handling administrative tasks, and carrying out the ongoing integrative work in which such practices are shaped by theology and Christian tradition. Prerequisite: PC 550, PC 600, and PC 650.

PL 675 Issues for Women in Christian Ministry

This course examines issues often encountered by women performing ministerial functions (e.g., preaching, teaching, counseling, managing conflict) and the unique gifts of leadership which women commonly bring to the pastoral role.

PL 700 Weddings, Funerals & Other Occasions

A consideration of issues surrounding the minister's role in planning and carrying out weddings, funerals, and other liturgical occasions including baptisms, christenings, reaffirmation of marriage vows, etc.  Attention will be given to the pastoral care and liturgical aspects of working with families and congregations in times of crisis and change. Prerequisite: None.

PL 725 The Church & Evanglism

An exploration of biblical, historical, and theological perspectives on Christian evangelism that inform faithful ministry in the contemporary church. No Prerequisites. .

Syllabus - Summer 2018, taught by Rob Weber
PL 750 Multimedia & the Church

A consideration of the church's use of multimedia in worship, religious education, and outreach. Learners will be introduced to tools and techniques for developing compelling media. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

PL 775 Ministry in Urban Contexts

The approach of this course is an alternation of on-campus study and contextual observation and participation in selected centers of urban life. Issues are considered from an interdisciplinary stance with an overarching concern for effective structure-changing ministry and witness by all persons in the church. Prerequisite: PL 650 and PC 650.

PL 800 Ministry & Conflict Management

A course that explores aspects of human conflict and contemporary theories of constructive conflict management. Prerequisite: None.

PL 880 Seminar in Pastoral Leadership

Study of selected practices necessary for leading communities of faith in areas such as stewardship, evangelism, and leadership development. May be repeated with different topics. Prerequisite: Prerequisite: all four Portal Courses.

PL 880.02 Conflict in Community

This course explores models for addressing difficult conversations in faith communities. Focusing on pastoral skills of conflict resolution and nonviolent communication, students will incorporate systems theory, self-awareness, and best practices for addressing conflict both within families and in decision-making units in congregations. Congregational conflict, relating to substance abuse, sexual ethics, financial stress, and clashes of theological values will be included. Lectures, discussions of readings, and case studies are among methods used to achieve course outcomes.

PL 880.03 Pastoral Leaders as Financial Stewards

This course is a study of the role of pastoral leader in relationship to church finances and stewardship. The student will examine and compare historical developments, theological claims, and personal perspectives about how financial resources function in congregational life. Exploring concrete activities and practices for budgeting, capital drives, and stewardship awareness, students will formulate practical strategies for leading healthy financial ministries. Online discussion, reflective essays on readings, and formulation of a theological statement on stewardship will be among learning strategies. Also, students will evaluate the impact of these elements within a contemporary, global framework. Prerequisite: PC 600.

PL 880.04 Vocation of the Laity

Faithful and effective Christian behavior in the world, based on the way of Jesus, is critical to a host of 21st century issues e.g., climate change, good soil, the meaning of work, humane uses of technology, the ethics of 'who is my neighbor?'. The failure of congregations to equip and support laity for their work in the world diminishes the power of the Christian movement to participate with God in transforming the world. Topics in this course will range from the theology of the clergy-laity relationship, to the ethical challenges of the 21st century, to imagining how Christian communities could better support and equip laity. Structured interviews with laity will be one of the core learning strategies. No prerequisites; satisfies a Phase II Pastoral Leadership requirement.

PL 880.05 Financial Literacy and Pastoral Leadership

In this course students will participate in a Financial Literacy and Pastoral Leadership seminar hosted by the Pension Fund of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, for pastors and students of Phillips Theological Seminary. In addition, they will read and reflect on texts related to their personal relationship with money and the history of how Protestant churches in the U.S. have raised money for mission and ministry. The context of the information provided in this course will be specific to Disciples; however, students from all denominations are welcome. More information about the seminar is available in the dean's office. No prerequisites.

PL 900 Research in Pastoral Leadership

Advanced individual research in the area of church administration, focusing on a particular practice, topic, or author. Offered on request only to advanced students. Prerequisite: Prerequisite: all four Portal Courses.

Christian Education
CE 500 Educational Dimensions of Ministry

The course provides practice in basic teaching, teacher training, and educational ministry-development skills; looks broadly at ways congregations and other Christian ministries 'teach,' and concludes with focused educational planning for each student's current or envisioned ministry context. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

CE 525 Introduction to Christian Education

This introductory course will examine different approaches to Christian Education. Students will begin to explore the multiple purposes that the teaching ministry of the church serves, and learn how these principles can be used in a variety of ministry settings. Students will also learn to articulate and challenge your own approach to Christian education. While the bulk of this course is asynchronistic, there will be 3-4 synchronistic meetings via an online platform towards the end of the semester. No Prerequisites.

Syllabus - Fall 2018, taught by Annie Lockhart-Gilroy
CE 550 Christian Education with Children

After reviewing learning at various stages of childhood, students will consider the roles of children in the teaching ministries of congregations and other ministry contexts, examining various models of employing classroom space, time, outreach projects, peer teaching, and professional and/or volunteer staffs. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

Syllabus - Fall 2012, taught by Julia Jordan Gillett
CE 575 Christian Education with Adult Learners

Through the study of various approaches to adult development, this course explores how teachers can engage in transformative, life-giving work with adult learners in various Christian ministry contexts. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

CE 600 Introduction to Youth Ministry

The aim of this course is to explore the church's role in engaging in spiritual development and faith formation with young people. The course will explore the human development and culture of today's youth, the environments that help spiritual formation to take place, and theological and practical approaches that can be used to aid in the spiritual development of adolescents.

Syllabus - Fall 2012, taught by Michael Davison
CE 650 Human Development & Learning Styles

This course is designed to enable those in ministry to identify stages of cognitive, moral, and faith development and to engage questions concerning learning through the human lifespan and multiple styles of learning. Prerequisite: PC 550 and PC 600.

CE 880 Seminar in Christian Education

Advanced study of selected issues in Christian education. May be repeated with different topics. Prerequisite: all four Portal Courses.

CE 900 Research in Christian Education

Advanced individual research on selected issues. Offered on request only to advanced students. Prerequisite: all four Portal Courses.

Spiritual Practice
SP 500 History of Christian Spirituality

A survey of the theology and practice of spirituality in various historical contexts from the beginnings of the church to contemporary times. Special attention will be given to influential persons and their spiritual writings.

SP 550 Spirituality & Social Action

An exploration of the classic divide between contemplation and action in spirituality with an emphasis on people and movements that have sought to integrate the two.

SP 600 Celtic Christian Culture & Spirituality

An examination of the original context of Christian spirituality as perceived and practiced by the Celtic people (5th-8th centuries) with the principle objective of translating these practices and perspectives for 21st century people.

SP 620 Spirituality: The Personal Disciplines

A small group experience with a focus on the spiritual development of the student as an individual and a minister. The primary goals are to develop personal spiritual practices and to build community. A variety of spiritual disciplines are presented, explored, and practiced. Enrollment is limited.

SP 640 Spirituality: Hospitality

A small group experience with a focus on the spiritual development of the student as a member and leader of faith communities. The primary goals are to develop an awareness of hospitality through its practice as a spiritual discipline and to build community. Enrollment is limited.

SP 680 Spirituality: Celtic Spiritual Disciplines

A small group experience with a focus on the holistic, egalitarian, and earth-connected spiritual perspectives and disciplines of Celtic Christianity--a sect of Christianity which arose in the British Isles prior to the 8th century. Enrollment is limited.

SP 700 Spirituality: Simple Living

A small group experience with a focus on simplifying our lifestyles and making room for what we truly value. Opportunities will be provided for examining values and lifestyles, determining how we go about living according to what we truly value and how we can accommodate cultural values and maintain our integrity. Enrollment is limited.

Syllabus - Spring 2011, taught by Patricia Hoerth
SP 720 Spirituality: The Labyrinth

A small group experience focused on the labyrinth as a means of enhancing the spiritual life. A variety of perspectives and experiences will be offered for the use of this spiritual practice. Enrollment is limited.

SP 800 Spirituality: Selected Topics

Guided group experience and discussion of selected issues in spirituality and spiritual practices. May be repeated with different topics. Enrollment is limited.

Syllabus - Fall 2011, taught by Patricia Hoerth
SP 800.01 Praying for Justice

This class involves reflection on spirituality, ministry and personal spiritual development with a focus on responding prayerfully to injustice in the world as a spiritual discipline. The primary goal is to become more aware of how injustice is perpetrated and to identify ways, small and large, that we can respond prayerfully.

SP 800.02 Creation Spirituality

How does God's first revelation-creation-inform theology? This course offering provides students the opportunity to study, experience and reflect on deep ecology-a philosophical view that places human beings as part of mutually-dependent web of life. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the natural world that is our home and the implications for how we live on the planet.

Syllabus - Spring 2018, taught by Patricia Hoerth
SP 800.03 Reading Biblical Texts through Movement

This course seeks to interpret Biblical texts through the use of movement and dance. Students will read and analyze selected these texts in their historical, social, and political contexts and use movement to construct interpretations of these particular texts. The use of movement and dance will help students create interpretations from different perspectives leading to a deeper reflection that will begin to construct conversations that address or probe into social and ethical concerns that are relevant to our contemporary contexts. No prerequisites.

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