Community--Religious aspects

An Evaluation of the Community Foundations Curriculum for Enhancing Interpersonal Relationships Among Church-Based Small Group Participants

Sten-Erik Armitage D.Min.
The purpose of this applied research project is to evaluate the Community Foundations curriculum in the context of the local church as a potential means to address the problems that emerge in the church through the foundation of the unscriptural societal value of individualism and the subsequent epidemic of loneliness. The project seeks to determine the overall effectiveness of the curriculum in three key areas: grounding the community in understanding the significance of what it is to be “in Christ,” providing opportunities for small groups to cultivate a desire to both know and be known within the context of a trusted community, and finally to cultivate an environment wherein a burden of care is embraced and felt within said community.

The research centers on qualitative interviews with participants in the Beta launch of the Community Foundations curriculum. The Beta launch occurred between Spring 2018 and Fall 2019. Three hypotheses geared around the key areas addressed above are presented and evaluated through the content of the recorded interviews.

The research results indicate deeper and more sustainable relationships were cultivated through these small group experiences as well as a new appreciation for the value of shared story in the context of community.

The Effect of a Rule of Life on the Symptoms of Acedia at Church of the Epiphany

Stacey Timothy Tafoya D.Min.
The question that arises is how spiritual communities can be affected by the many
distractions of the modern world. Churches are not immune to the lack of “the ability
simply to be alone with our thoughts.” In fact, it would seem that the church, whose text
is the Bible, must go further to break through the endless distractions of the day to hear
the voice of God in the scriptures.
the church began a journey with international refugees when
twenty-five children and adults from the nation of Burundi came to church on a Labor
Day weekend. This started a mini-influx of folks from various parts of the world. The
church has discovered a new sense of purpose and excitement as there are folks present in
worship from five continents. The worship of Epiphany is also both ancient and future,
focusing on the best of classical hymnology and contemporary worship within the
worship of the Book of Common Prayer. In addition, there is also an emphasis on the
Bible as the pastor and the church seek to be Christ-centered and evangelical as well as

Developing Better Interreligious Dialogue and Collaboration with Korean Muslims: An Exploration in Focolare Spirituality

Mi Sook Han D.Min.
This thesis-project focuses on fostering interreligious dialogue between the Korean Conference of Religions for Peace (KCRP), the most active interreligious dialogue organization in Korea, and Korean Muslim leaders who asked KCRP’s leadership to include Korean Islam as a member. This issue is still pending. The project seeks to develop interreligious dialogue between these two groups through an exploration in Focolare Spirituality, a spirituality of unity. Focolare Spirituality aims to promote universal fraternity and to achieve a more united world in which people respect and value diversity.
The project deals with four dialogues: dialogue with religious leaders who are related to this issue, Catholic Church’s teachings on interreligious dialogue, dialogue between religion and culture in Korean context, and dialogue with the Focolare spirituality in order to achieve the goal of mutual understanding and collaboration with Korean Muslims. This project concludes by offering a method from a spiritual perspective for a fruitful interfaith dialogue.

A study on healthy Christian community formation through relational spirituality

Young-wan Song
This paper defines the essential spirituality of a Christian and interprets spirituality necessary at the moment under a frame of relationship through a view of spirituality to recover relationships. recovery of relationship requires special (relational) spirituality, which must reach out to relationships with others by recovering full relationship with God through a life that pursues whole inhaling God’s spirit and seek for the image of God.

[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.]

Confirmation, Community, and Commitment: Evaluating Church Attendance at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary, Albuquerque, New Mexico

James W. Hunter D.Min.
his work studies the phenomenon of individuals dropping out of active church membership after confirmation. The positive approach adopted to examine this issue is through Appreciative Inquiry. Rather than trying to "fix" a problem, this paper studies what is good in the current confirmation preparation program, discovering how those good elements can be improved, and the importance of community in retaining members. The problem is analyzed through Holy Scripture, the Great Tradition of Christianity, and the experiences of eleven parishioners who have matriculated through the confirmation process and remained active in the life of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Let all Who Are Hungry Come and Eat - "In Good Faith": Intentional Interreligious Encounter and the Spirit of Hospitality

Chava Stacie Bahle D.Min.
This thesis-project explores participant experiences in a long-term Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue program. Examined through the theological quests for truth, love and peace, participants reflected on their experiences, placing those experiences in conversation with sacred texts and images from their home traditions. T'shuvah, the Jewish theological act of turning toward the holy, is explored as a transtemporal, liberative and conciliatory gesture, through which the program might create change in the participants' sense of self and other. Reflective storytelling as a method is explored in depth.
The author theorizes that t’shuvah did in fact occur, according to participant interviews. T’shuvah in an interreligious dialogue setting may occur in part because of: the phenomenon of multiple “Us-es,” according to the neurobiology theories of Robert Sapolsky; contact theories through dialogue; and the structure of gatherings proposed by Priya Parker. Ethical considerations of intentional interreligious engagement, especially historical wounds and vulnerability, are also discussed.
The thesis-project used semi-structured, one on one interviews, and applied a novel, four step Jewish theological reflection method conceived by the author: p’shat, thick descriptions of “what happened”; d’rash, placing those experiences in dialogue with sacred texts and images; t’shuvah, how the experiences may have created individual and cosmic repair among the dialogue partners; and k’dushah, exploring whether and how participation in the program translated into action in the world outside the program. Framing the interviews through the lens of “participant as storyteller” is explored in detail as a potential contribution to sacralizing the lived experience of the program.
The rich imageries of shared ancestry, meeting at table, fellow travelers and learning in the presence of the other inform the conclusion that the intentional interreligious engagement of this program may create tikkunim (repairs) in both individual and group to group relationships among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A church-wide emphasis, with preaching and teaching, provided the platform for instilling in members of Polkville Baptist Church a better understanding of the individual's role in the community of faith, the goal being that a greater percentage of...

Richard Lee Hamrick
A church-wide emphasis, with preaching and teaching, provided the platform for instilling in members of Polkville Baptist Church a better understanding of the individual's role in the community of faith, the goal being that a greater percentage of members take an active role in the church. The twelve-member research group was tracked individually, and the control group was tracked as a unit. Following the emphasis, care was taken to discover if there were more members involved in the life of the church than before the emphasis. There was a clear growth in understanding and in the number of active members.

A Case for Lament: Strategies to Augment Cross-Cultural Discipleship Efforts at Bridge Community Church and Cornerstone Church

Sahr Mbriwa
American evangelical Protestant churches in multicultural settings are predominantly monocultural. While some churches might be open to the idea of cross-cultural engagement, their discipleship process and methods tend to be greatly influenced by the dominant culture of the church and rarely influenced by the subdominant culture. This can hinder cross-cultural discipleship and engagement. In addition, one rhythm is glaringly absent in our discipleship: lament. Lament is essential to cross-cultural discipleship. This paper will explore the relationship between lament and cross-cultural discipleship. It will also offer four lament-based strategies to augment cross-cultural discipleship efforts in two monocultural evangelical Protestant churches: Bridge Community Church and Cornerstone Church.

An Examination of Discipleship in Army Chapel Ministries Overseas

Jesse McCullough D.Min.
Military chapels face unique situations that churches do not. These circumstances complicate making Biblical disciples, especially in an overseas environment. As pastors called to preach the gospel and make disciples, Army chaplains must discern how to fulfill the command of Christ while also working as an Army staff officer. Measuring whether growth is occurring may provide information to help chaplains keep what is working and change what is not. This project is designed to gauge whether chapels in an overseas environment, specifically Germany, are truly making disciples in accordance with the Biblical mandate. The research combines context, theological basis, and surveys of congregants to attempt determining which factors contribute to growth and which are unimportant. Advice for lessons learned and further research are included.


Domestic violence is a real issue in Vietnam. This thesis-project is an effort to propose a pastoral program to equip Church ministers for accompaniment. The author, mainly, uses the methodology of Richard Osmer’s as primary framework and, simultaneously, integrates a number of components from Poling and Miller to strengthen the performance of this thesis-project. In the process, this study, by conducting qualitative interviews of Church ministers, examines first, if the Church ministers are aware of the domestic violence situation, and then, what skills they may need in responding to this issue. As a result, this study acknowledges some insights from practical, socio-cultural, theological, and pastoral perspectives. Under this understanding, this thesis-project suggests some recommendations for a pastoral response to domestic violence, and provides a possible pastoral program as a way to equip Church ministers in assisting women who experience domestic violence in the context of Vietnam.
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