Wesley Theological Seminary

Caring for the Spirit of the Family Caregiver

Author
Dennis E Beryl
Abstract
The objective of this research project was to inquire about the lives and experiences of family caregivers, so a devotional could be developed that would speak directly to the needs of family caregivers as a way of caring for their spirits. The research looked at experiences of biblical characters, reviewed theological reflections, and examined survey and interview responses of family caregivers. Exploring "what caregivers need" opened the research to the very core of caring for the spirit of the family caregiver because needs based on real experiences were identified.

Missional Cultivation Through Groups First United Methodist Church at Trussville's Effort at Reengaging the Community

Author
Joseph B DeWitte
Abstract
Post-Christendom, the church is left with a choice: to remain as though it dominates culture and continue to lose effectiveness, or to find the spirit that once birthed a church in the midst of not mere apathy, but persecution. The author explored the potential for a church firmly embedded in the mindset of Christendom to find that missional spirit once again through a covenant community seeking connection with God through spiritual disciplines to rediscover that the church is the continuation of God's mission of salvation to the world.

A Narrative Curriculum for Affirming an African American Unitarian Universalist Identity

Author
Natalie M Fenimore
Abstract
The author developed a narrative curriculum to promote faith development of black Unitarian Universalists. The author incorporated the stories of black Unitarian Universalists, past and present, using the story linking method found in African American Christian education. The curriculum was field tested by black members of a Unitarian Universalist congregation, black Unitarian Universalist religious professionals and a multi-racial group in a workshop at the 2016 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly. The participants in these field tests were surveyed. Their responses support the curriculum as a valuable tool in Unitarian Universalist faith development.

Congregational and Nonprofit Social Service Agency Partnership to Move Families Experiencing Intergenerational Poverty Toward Self-Sufficiency Using a Two-Generation Approach

Author
Kendra R Grams
Abstract
The author researched how a congregation could partner with a social service agency to empower families experiencing intergenerational poverty toward economic self-sufficiency using a two-generation approach. The author led a three-year pilot partnership, evaluating program effectiveness using both quantitative and qualitative metrics, and incorporating lessons learned throughout program implementation. Client families built skills and achieved numerous goals while engaged with the program. Program evaluation suggests the following elements advance program effectiveness: clear expectations of client families from the outset, focus on support practices that empower client families, and robust coordination of support provided to client families by all partners.

Becoming A Stronger Credible Witness United Methodist Churches in the Metro District Strategic Engagement with the Growing Diverse People in our Surrounding Communities

Author
Stephanie M Hand
Abstract
These project objectives are to design, implement, and coach a new Multi Cultural Multi Ethnic Cohort to lead five United Methodist churches through a yearlong process of discernment, new learning, strategic visioning, and community engagement. The cohort will address religious culture shifts from majority Anglo to a more ethnically diverse one in the Metro District, Western North Carolina Conference, The United Methodist Church. Additionally, the cohort is charged with developing Ministry Action Plans and identifying Adaptive Challenges inside and outside the churches, to engage with and be transformative, credible witnesses to and with Metro's diverse homogenous faith communities.

A Study on Reaffirmation of Baptism of the Korean Methodist Church

Author
Sin-Chun Seo
Abstract
The author was troubled by the formalized reaffirmation of baptism of the Korean Methodist Church. Using Wesleyan baptismal and sanctification theologies and covenant renewal service, the author created a baptismal reaffirmation service to be applied to the worship and baptism at Hyosung Central Methodist Church. The author used sermons to teach the meaning of baptism, decorations in the baptismal hall to help believers recall their baptism, and the baptismal reaffirmation service to physically use water to emphasize the importance of sanctification. The results of the project show an increase in understanding of baptism and reaffirmation for the participants.

Women's Leadership in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church

Author
Erin Reibel
Abstract
There continues to be significant differences in the level of success that women are able to achieve as the lead or solo pastors in United Methodist Churches. Through a grassroots effort, women can form small groups that offer teaching and practical assistance on many of the challenge/opportunities that women clergy face, including their role as adaptive leaders, prophets, and vulnerable leaders. While four months was not sufficient time to see significant results the groups offered women a model of support that could be replicated or modified to reach more female clergy leaders.

Co-working Ministry in and with Christ

Author
Jennifer Parks-Snyder
Abstract
The mid-size church faces various challenges, especially when they have grown from a smaller congregation in a matter of a few years. Using leadership and congregational surveys, along with theological and congregational development techniques, this project will lead the reader to recognize the valuable tool of co-working ministry between laity and pastors. The Apostle Paul developed this form of ministry, and today's churches of all sizes can certainly benefit from his example.

Reconsidering Calvin Bringing the Arts into Reformed Worship

Author
Amy W Parker
Abstract
Reformer John Calvin is widely considered to be the epitome of the "anti-art in worship" Reformers, yet when his writings and work in Geneva were revisited by the author, five principles of a Reformed liturgical aesthetic became discernable: liturgical art should be biblically based, in the vernacular/contextual, and participatory; it should embody simplicity, and should avoid images of the divine. Applying these principles and the practice of worship curation, the author led the staff and members at Village Chapel Presbyterian Church in planning two seasonal series that intentionally integrated various arts into their traditional Reformed worship services.

A Study of Christian Spirituality Training through Wesley's Means of Grace Focusing on InHeung Methodist Church

Author
Lee Hoo Jung
Abstract
This is a study of the spirituality training through Wesley's means grace and of the spirituality training project implemented to the church members over 60 years old living in the agricultural rural area. In this project, Wesley's means of grace " Bible studies, prayers, the Holy Communion, Christian fellowships, and spiritual journaling" has been applied and the purpose is spiritual growth of participants with progressive changes into holiness in all realms. Therefore, by implementing the project, the author discovers that participants have understood Wesley's spirituality and means of grace, but also their life aims have been switched to resembling Jesus, and it can be a necessary tool for visible growth as they maintain and grow personal relationships with God.
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