Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

The Legacy of Hope - Moving Beyond Boundaries

Author
Temaki Carr
Abstract
The Legacy of Hope stares into the future, a future that seems riddled with change and transition, and ponders how best to serve a transforming community. Mt. Hope Baptist Church is a historically African American church nestled in a moderately rural Virginia community, which is in the midst of an enormous population, socioeconomic, and demographic transition. How will this community transition impact Mt. Hope? The purpose of the research was to determine what effect, if any, a relational meeting campaign and two multicultural, multiracial Christian education classes would have on incorporating multicultural, nonblack attendees into the life of Mt. Hope Baptist Church. The research determined that the threshold to incorporate multicultural, nonblack attendees into the life of Mt. Hope Baptist church has been traversed. The formal and informal relational meeting campaign with key leaders and nonblack worship attendees as well as two Christian education classes influenced the five measurement protocols towards a propensity of acceptance to multicultural ministry.

Preaching Through Grief to Wholeness

Author
Dava Cruise Hensley
Abstract
Grief and Loss are ever present in the life of the church. Death, illness, and change are ongoing events in the gathered community. Such loss is often accompanied by grief and at times, unrecognized and therefore, unresolved. This thesis is directed at naming unresolved grief and through intentional preaching which address grief, offers a legitimate and helpful way to address grief and can be the beginning of the process for healing to move through grief to wholeness using preaching as a tool of pastoral care. In this study, a Parish Support Group (PSG) selected from members of the congregation met before and after the preaching moments to evaluate if grief acknowledged from the pulpit allowed the congregation to begin to name grief. Interviews, questionnaires, and narrative stories were used in the evaluation process by the PSG and congregation. The logic method was used as evaluation of the resources needed to work through grief made changes in the community in vital ways. The congregation displayed evidence of movement as the grieving process was addressed being more willing to move beyond the pews and serve more in the neighborhood.

Baptismal Covenant and Antiracist Identity: A Phenomenological Study of Christian Antiracist Formation

Author
John Matthew Weiler
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of confession, repentance, and baptismal identity within the antiracist identity of four white Christians to further the work of antiracist transformation and organizing in the local church. The primary methodology for this work was exploratory, utilizing phenomenological, semi-structured, in-depth interviewing with a sample of four, white Christians at Eastern United Methodist Church in Michigan. The thesis was that baptismal identity, and the Christian practices of confession and repentance in the work of antiracism liberates white Christians to joyfully make space for all people to experience the liberating love of God.

A Korean Woman’s Voice to Preach as a Transformed Shaman through Perichoresis-Kut

Author
Jungmi Kang
Abstract
The author researched the thesis, “A Korean Woman’s Voice to Preach as a Transformed Shaman through Perichoresis-Kut.” Built on the homiletical perspectives of Lisa L. Thompson, Frank Anthony Thomas, and Lynn Japinga, the transforming power of women preachers was envisioned through emotive, resilient, and celebratory interaction with the congregation. Such a transforming interaction was indigenously connected with Korean shamans and their ritual kut, which empowered Korean women’s voices and their ability to speak out for the marginalized. It was theologically connected with Trinitarian perichoresis, which empowered women’s voices and leadership. This thesis was grounded in the methodologies of anthropological and social research into Korean shamans and their ritual kut, homiletical inquiry about women’s voices and leadership, and Asian women’s Trinitarian perichoresis regarding radical subjectivity and open mutuality. While reflecting on these diverse perspectives, the author defined the homiletical significance of the preaching project as follows. First, when Korean women preachers could interact with the Triune God in the pulpit, the congregation might hear in their voices a conviction of perichoresis-kut to speak up for the marginalized against sexism, racism, and cultural colonialism. Second, within the heart of the homiletical significance for churches of Koreans and Korean-Americans, there was the need to change a male-gendered pulpit, by embracing Korean women preachers’ voices and leadership. On the other hand, it was crucial to provide Koreans and Korean-Americans with a transitional and transforming liminal space where every voice and every position could matter, regardless of being at the center or on the margin. Lastly, homiletic significance for the academic field was not only to build up a Korean preaching style rooted in the transformation of perichoresis-kut but also to call hearers to discover their identities in pursuit of advocating human rights and environmental justice.

Impact of Spiritual Counseling for African American Young Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

Author
R. Lorraine Brown M.Div.
Abstract
The author researched how African Americans, age 18-28, who received care for sickle cell disease (SCD), were impacted by intentional sharing of clinic-based spiritual counseling. This spiritual intervention addressed the often unspoken concerns of this population. Understanding spirituality, while managing the many facets of SCD, is vital for holistic health. Participants found themselves at critical junctures in their spiritual development - seeking, exploring, even questioning - how spirituality plays a role in their overall well-being. The project collected both qualitative and quantitative data through a chaplain interventionist. The chaplain met 1:1 with participants to share strategies for increasing everyday coping and self-efficacy. The participants found spiritual care to be necessary and helpful as they navigated their daily lives and sickle cell disease. The author came to realize to truly be effective, an in-depth longitudinal study is needed for true impact.

Lives Aglow: A Study of the Vocational Lives and Testimonies of Congregational Leaders at First United Methodist Church

Author
William Cato
Abstract
This project addressed a lack of opportunities for Christian vocational discernment at First United Methodist Church in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (FUMCA). The research question asked what effect, if any, the public speech of leaders would have on the vocational self-understanding of congregants. The hypothesis postulated that the public testimonies of congregational leaders, coupled with a sermon series, would produce an increase in the percentage of congregants who identify as called to participate in God’s redemptive work. While the hypothesis could not be substantiated, the project produced vocational agitation among congregants. Results indicated the need for follow-up measures to sustain lasting change.

Impact of Spiritual Counseling for African American Young Adults with Sickle Cell Disease

Author
R. Lorraine Brown M.Div.
Abstract
The author researched how African Americans, age 18-28, who received care for sickle cell disease were impacted by intentional sharing of clinic-based spiritual counseling. This spiritual intervention addressed the often-unspoken concerns of this population. Understanding spirituality, while managing the many facets of SCD, is vital for holistic health. Participants found themselves at critical junctures in their spiritual development -- seeking, exploring, even questioning -- how spirituality plays a role in their overall well-being. The project collected both qualitative and quantitative data through a chaplain interventionist. The chaplain met 1:1 with participants to share strategies for increasing everyday coping and self-efficacy. The participants found spiritual care to be necessary and helpful as they navigated their daily lives and sickle cell disease. The author came to realize to truly be effective, an in-depth longitudinal study is needed for true impact.

An Experience in Small Group Spiritual Direction at McGuire United Methodist Church

Author
Cynthia Frances Johnson Hooton D.Min.
Abstract
This research project studied the benefit of developing a Christian formation process at McGuire United Methodist Church in Monroe, Louisiana, focused on developing intimacy with God and the community of faith through small group spiritual direction; the personal prayer practices of journaling, praying the Psalms, Lectio Divina, and centering prayer; and, St. Benedict's monastic virtues of stability, obedience and conversion of life. The flow of spiritual direction included group contemplative silence, a time for each participant to share their journey into God, and a commitment to listen, reflect, and respond to the other group members’ narratives of their journey into God.

Preaching and Pastoral Care: Helping a Hurting Church Heal and Move Ministry Forward

Author
Curlee Lamont Adams D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis project focuses on preaching and pastoral care and its ability to help bring healing to a church hurting in the aftermath of issues that originated from previous pastoral leadership. In the black church context, such issues and the resulting hurt experienced by congregations have become almost normative, and the means by which it has been addressed is limited at best. People who have suffered from betrayal, hurt, and loss are often told to “let go and let God.” The perpetuation of this has often taken place from the pulpit, which should be a place from which the good news of Christ’s unending grace is preached. It is the effort of this writer to show through contextual practice how the integration of preaching and pastoral care can help churches overcome hurt in order to move ministry forward.

The Pastoral Pulpit: Preaching to Offer The Assurance of Grace to a First Generation Burmese-Chin Refugee Congregation in the U.S.

Author
Biak Lian Thang D.Min.
Abstract
This thesis project focuses on preaching to offer assurance of grace to the people who are living in the midst of struggle, and to help them see ‘who they are, what they are, and where they are’ as Burmese-Chin refugees in the U.S.A. It is based on the belief that preaching assurance of grace and of God’s saving act in their journey of life to encourage in a foreign land and assures the congregation of God’s presence and care. The thesis project seeks to show that preaching can offer the assurance of grace that helps a congregation experience God’s grace in their lives so that they can reach the community as the faithful witnesses through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even though they are invisible, insignificant, and minorities in the society.
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