Social justice

Praxis of Acompañamiento to the Pueblo Creyente Towards an Inclusive, Liberative, and Decolonized Pastoral Model as a Gift to the Universal Church

Author
Elia S Cardenas D.Min.
Abstract
There is an inculturated, integrative, liberative, and decolonized model of church in the highlands of Chiapas. This Diocese in an autochthonous church developed by the prophetic vision of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, who knew how to read the signs of the times, was inspired by the vision of the Vatican Second Council, the Medellin Conference in Latin America, and the Church’s preferential option for the poor. He succeeded in restoring the dignity to the indigenous people with his subversive praxis and helped them become subjects of their own destiny. Today, they still walk accompanied by the courageous pastoral team of San Cristobal de las Casas.

PREPARING THE SOIL FOR PREACHING CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING THROUGH EMPATHETIC NARRATIVE

Author
William Hisker D.Min.
Abstract
The research study explores the theological and social-psychological forces that discourage the preaching of the prophetic message of the Gospel. The study was conducted with seventy-four volunteers and six permanent deacons in the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The study used a combination of quantitative and qualitative surveys and interviews. The hypothesis explored was whether or not the use of narrative techniques, specifically Narrative 4 story exchange would be useful as a technique for preparing congregations to be open to the challenges presented by Catholic social teaching. Additionally, the research sought to determine whether or not the six deacons who participated in the study would find narrative a useful technique in their preaching and evangelization efforts.

Participants completed an empathy profile before viewing one of seven different videos produced by the United States Conference of Bishops on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person; the Call to Family, Community, and Participation; the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; Rights and Responsibilities; Solidarity; Care for God’s Creation; and the Dignity of Work. Participants were asked to rate the videos and indicate how often they heard preaching of the subject matter of the videos. Participants were also given the opportunity to participate in a Narrative 4 story exchange. Participants were then asked to complete the Interpersonal Reactivity Index a second time to see if there was a statistically significant change in their empathy profile. In addition, participants were asked to evaluate their experience with the story exchange. While there was no significant statistical change, as measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index, the interviewees demonstrated a high level of approval for the story exchange as a vehicle for improving the empathetic response of a congregation and as a useful technique for use in the preaching of Catholic social teaching.

A call to action : identifying and actualizing the social justice voice of the First Baptist Church of Highland Park

Author
Rachel McPhail Boyd
Abstract
"The voice of the black church sounds the clarion call for community uplift by nurturing personal piety and fighting for communal liberation. This project is a framework for the design, implementation, and evaluation of a Social Justice Ministry (SJM) in the black church. The study utilizes a review of church literature, ethnographic interviews, pre-intervention survey, communications, community forums, training, and preaching to develop a social justice ministry. This study offers an approach to SJM composition and leadership that engages the voices of church and community to inform the work of, ignite energy regarding, and invite activism to eradicate injustice." -- Leaf [2].

Developing and implementing a public office ministry to grow a beloved community in Willingboro, New Jersey

Author
Carlos Sanchez Worthy
Abstract
As policies and decisions of elected and appointed officials within
governmental structures continue to negatively impact the lives of people for generations, it is important for disciples of Christ to actively engage with a theology that focuses on reforming these structures to serve as a conduit of God’s love, justice, and peace. As governmental, elected and appointed, officials at all levels fulfill their responsibilities through developing and passing policies, these documents serve as the moral thermometer that determine the well-being of a community in the present and for the future. This research examines how a local missional church developed and sustained a ministry of serving in public office with moral integrity that equipped missional leaders to participate in God’s mission through the redemption and restoration of their township into a beloved community.

Peace Upon Our Troubled World: A Reflection on Jesus' Post Resurrection Visits in John 20:19-31

Author
CANICE CHUKWUEMEKA NJOKU FR M.A.
Abstract
In a world where both the interior and exterior peace of its inhabitants is under constant threat by one form of chaos or the other, is there any hope for lasting peace? This reflection explores the impact of Jesus' gift of peace to his disciples during his post-resurrection visits in John 20:19-31. Importantly, it carefully evaluates the relevance of this visit to all living in today's challenging and chaotic world.

This work reveals that peace is a gift from God and that Jesus' salutation ("Peace be with you"), which communicates much peace and liberates every troubled soul, is still very much re-echoed to all today. Hence, it is still relevant for the continued restoration and sustenance of peace in both the individual and our entire world.

Faith and humility are prerequisites for receiving the peace that Christ offers. Also, the Holy Spirit is a principal-agent in humankind's search for lasting peace, and peace is not primarily a characteristic of happenings in the world but also a human attitude and a characteristic of all who have received it.

The title of this little book speaks for itself. The peace that Christ offers is still very much needed in every soul and in our world at large. It is what our world lacks and needs most today, and this is what I present to you in this little book.

Prophetic Activism: Increasing the Academic Achievement Among Low Performing African-American Male Students at Mary B. Martin School

Author
Danny Anthony Everett D.Min.
Abstract
University Circle United Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio partnered with Mary B. Martin School to address academic achievement disparities for low performing African-American males. If students participate in faith and culturally based extended school programs, then their academic performance improves. Explorations from qualitative research during a church led after school program were expounded. The approach incorporated prophetic activism based on themes of spirituality, educational inequity, and social learning and critical race theories. The data suggests partnerships between churches and schools improve outcomes for African-American male students. A final project was submitted to the Doctoral Studies Committee at United Theological Seminary in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Ministry.

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

Author
Jungmi Kang D.Min.
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.

Rolling Away the Stone: Toward Wholeness and Holiness for Queer Catholics

Author
Ryan J. Hoffmann D.Min.
Abstract
In what ways are the praxes of queer Catholics cultivating affirming approaches to wholeness and holiness? How is DignityUSA, a national nonprofit LGBTQI advocacy organization in the United States, testifying to more inclusive and just expressions of church?

This thesis-project explores best practices of hospitality among DignityUSA chapters and examines ways in which it contributes to LGBTQ wholeness and holiness. Queer Catholic experience, Catholicism, and relevant fields of science serve as dialogue partners. The project asserts points of clarification and identifies six pathways forward for LGBTQ Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church.

The project suggests that radical hospitality serves as an integrative catalyst behind which LGBTQ Catholics more authentically and confidently appropriate their rightful place in the Catholic Church.

The Unity Process and Its Effectiveness In Decreasing Cross-Cultural Divisions In Society Due to Racism

Author
Pamela Y Fields D.Min.
Abstract
This case study dealt with determining the usefulness of The Unity Process as a tool in combatting the racial divisions in the Dallas area. Research tools included pre- and post-surveys and interviews. The results were compared with The Unity Process. The three major findings from the research are the reality of the systemic nature of racism became apparent as well as the lived realities of minorities. From this awareness and understanding, participants became able to engage with others from different races and cultures. Finally, participants felt more competent and willing to engage and be an active advocate for minorities in America.

ACTING JUSTLY: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR STUDENTS AT LAFAYETTE COLLEGE

Author
Alexandra M Hendrickson D.Min.
Abstract
Many students experience a disconnect between religious practice and social justice, even though social justice is a core value. Showing the connections between religion and social justice encourages these students to have a positive understanding of religion.

What effect will a six-week, small group on social justice in the Abrahamic traditions, have on their understanding and appreciation of religion as central to their ongoing formation?

The group of students I worked with experienced a strong connection between religion and social justice. After participating in the Religion and Social Justice small group, they hold positive, engaging, and holistic understandings of faith.
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