Church and social problems

The voice of the African American Church on mental Illness : schizophrenia

Author
Emma J. Valentine
Abstract
This project addresses the need for the Northern Virginia Baptist Association to become a resource center on mental illness to assist its congregations. The researcher did a qualitative review of literature on the impact of mental illness, particularly schizophrenia; facilitated focus groups and interviews with professionals from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and religion, as well as lay people; and examined a case study of a family with a mentally ill son. Results of the study suggest that pastors and leaders can work collaboratively within the Association to provide a user-friendly resource center for those seeking help with mental health issues.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Preaching peace : one congregation's exploration of war and peace through preaching

Author
Timothy B. Tutt
Abstract
This project explores sermons related to war and peace preached in the 1900s at Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ in Bethesda, Maryland. The sermons were the centerpiece of an eight-week worship and education series intended to help the congregation better articulate a proactive theology of peace that would nurture their ongoing commitments to being creative, vigorous peace-mongers in the face of future wars and rumors of war. The project included sermons preached in worship, an education series, and two surveys exploring the impact of sermons on congregants’ views of war and peace.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Reclaiming the church's role in health and healing : educating, equipping, and training people for contemporary whole person health ministries through an online health minister certificate

Author
Thomas Pruski
Abstract
This project addressed the question of what kind of formal, foundational education prepared and equipped congregations and their members to reconnect to their health and healing mission so they could serve the world in this capacity. The educational offering also equipped various professionals who have conviction and passion for addressing health through a whole person health perspective. Under the direction of the author, Wesley Theological Seminary offered a Health Minister Certificate which provided knowledge and pastoral skills to help people reclaim and initiate whole person health ministries.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Empowering churches to assist certain ex-offenders through the expungements of criminal records

Author
Leslie Evette Moody
Abstract
This project focused on how the local church can be empowered to assist ex-offenders in filing a petition for expungement. The author attempted to engage four churches in two communities to become trained to begin establishing churches with the necessary tools to help their congregations and communities. This project concluded that it is possible for any church with proper training and guidance to be empowered to assist ex-offenders in filing a petition for expungement.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Work theology : how church can assist veterans transition towards civilian employment

Author
Gladys Runetta Robinson Lanier
Abstract
According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH), a leading international journal devoted to research and reviews: Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are facing physical and mental health problems with even greater difficulty as well as uncertain futures with new disabilities while transitioning to civilian lifestyle. The veteran's physical and mental health problems often lead to debilitating depression is being linked to suicide with unemployment as the precursor. The researcher will reveal how the church can support the veteran spiritually during their transition into civilian employment that will strengthen the veteran's resilience towards a stable vocation.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Always step out in faith : sowing the seeds of sanctuary, solidarity, and hope in troubled times

Author
Walter J. Mark Knutson III
Abstract
We live in the midst of a global refugee crisis, with 68 million people displaced by violence, poverty, and hate. Twelve million vital members of our communities in the US are living in constant fear. Simultaneously, our nation demonizes immigrants by taking actions that viciously harm families while assaulting our core values as people of faith. Using the experience of Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon, a Sanctuary Congregation since 1996, the author, who serves as pastor, designed a speaking and teaching process to inspire congregations and judicatories to publicly stand in solidarity with immigrants by embracing the Sanctuary movement.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Transformative hospitality : a guide to welcome the persons with mental health issues in the local church

Author
Millie L. Kim
Abstract
After the closure of the Northwestern Hospital, Rome (GA) has borne the brunt of care for the mentally ill. The author assessed the needs of Second Avenue UMC by interviewing its members and the mentally ill. She took on the task of studying mental health issues, and how the church can be a part of multidimensional support for them. The author preached, led workshops, and hosted community events to bring awareness and solicit support. She created vision of transformative hospitality and protocols to help the church welcome and include persons with mental health issues in the life of the church.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Shuttered factories, scattered faithful : a third generation study of Gastonia and the confluence of faith, poverty, race, class, textile manufacturing, and union organizing in the new South

Author
Laura Alexander-Elliott
Abstract
Following on from Millhands & Preachers (Yale Divinity) and Spindles & Spires (Union Seminary), two religious academic works that studied Gastonia, N.C., in previous sequential generations, the author examines the relationship between the faith community and disappearing textile industry through the lens of her hometown, which once boasted the largest concentration of Southern cotton mills--businesses that built and sustained churches. She incorporates issues of economics, labor, class, and race, and--utilizing dozens of local interviews and surveys--documents the missions role congregations and faith-based nonprofits play today when both manufacturing and the mainline church have been in decline.

[Note about entry: Abstract submitted to the Atla RIM database on behalf of the author. The text appears in its entirety as it does in the original abstract page of the author’s project paper. Neither words nor content have been edited.]

Creating a Narrative Empathy Among Southern Baptist Leaders: Shaping a New Perception of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and Jihad

Author
Charles Wesley Powell Dr. D.Min.
Abstract
The Southern Baptist denomination is the largest Protestant religious group in the United States. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 there has been an increase of negative rhetoric among Southern Baptists towards Muslims. This thesis-project asks to what extent a lack of narrative empathy towards Muslims can be altered in the life of the Southern Baptist leader thus enabling the leader, consequently the denomination, to better understand and communicate the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as embodiments of spiritual discipline and peaceful living. The theoretical framework and in-depth qualitative interviews provide invaluable insights into the dynamics and use of anti-Islamic rhetoric among Southern Baptists. Concrete strategies of action are proposed, such as strategic personal encounters between Southern Baptists and Muslims which when combined with a better understanding of Islam can help uncover the Southern Baptist denominations preconceived prejudices and misunderstandings of Islam that so often hinder constructive dialogue. This project has crucial practical implications that has not yet received scholarly attention.

UNDERSTANDING AND CONTEXTUALIZING THE MARKS OF HEALTH AND ITS OBSTACLES IN SELECTED BRAZILIAN EVANGELICAL CHURCHES BASED ON THE TRANSFORMATIONAL CHURCH CRITERIA

Author
Sergio Queiroz D.Min.
Abstract
This major project was designed to understand and contextualize the marks of health and its obstacles in selected Brazilian churches, using the Transformational Church criteria. The report began with a theological and missiological foundation about church health and missionality, composed by a storyline of the most important reflections on church growth and mission over the last fifty years, from the Church Growth Movement until the Missional Church Conversation, with emphasis on the Transformational Church.

Following that, in order to understand and contextualize the Transformational Church marks of health into the Brazilian church, the cultures of Brazil and the US were compared in search of how the cultural constructs of power distance, individualism/collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and others can work either as obstacles or facilitators of health and missionality in Brazil. The last part of the project was in-depth interviews with senior pastors of forty-five churches from different denominations and regions of Brazil about leadership practices, evangelism, worship, prayer, local and global missions, small groups, involvement with the city, assimilation of new believers, as well as about the hindrances those churches face in order to be healthy and missional.

The main conclusions of the research were that the Transformational Churches in Brazil show similar marks of the American ones: they discern the context with a missionary mentality, embrace the values of vibrant leadership, relational intentionality and prayerful dependence, and engage the right actions of worship, community and mission. However, the Brazilian Transformational Churches have to face major obstacles to be healthy and missional, especially the teachings of the Prosperity Theology, financial problems, and the lack of commitment of their members to the mission of God.
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