Columbia Theological Seminary

"Lessons of Hospitality in the Parables of Jesus: Inspiring a Congregation to Transform Its Ways of Loving and Serving Neighbors"

Author
Joan Warren Gandy D.Min.
Abstract
This project proposes that lessons of hospitality in the parables of Jesus can inspire a congregation to transform its ways of loving and serving neighbors. The congregation took part in an eight-week study with multiple opportunities to engage the parables each week. Research methods included ethnographic practices of listening, observing, and reading historical documents; written surveys to gauge how participants viewed congregational hospitality and service to neighbors before and after the study; and practical theological methods such as reflection/action and the four tasks of practical theological interpretation. The research discloses the power of parables to stir hearts for neighborhood mission.

The Pulse of a Community: Incarnation at the Intersections

Author
Lisa D Heilig
Abstract
This project focused on the response of one congregation to the shooting at the Pulse nightclub with spiritual support for its community and how its engaging in an intentional process of becoming more missional prepared it to respond so effectively. Through qualitative research, the practices, perspective, and leadership of this congregation in that process were identified in a way that can provide a missional road map for other congregations and leaders in a similar process, thereby preparing them to respond to emerging needs in their own communities.

Witness of grace, a liturgy of hope dialogue in weekly worship as sacred encounter

Author
Jessica Patchett
Abstract
This project proposes that the practice of dialogue in response to scripture and sermon in weekly worship offers a vital liturgical and evangelical experience, offering participants a sense of connection with the church community and hope for their lives and the world. It includes narrative accounts of the practice, describes how it works, proposes theories for why it functions as a source of hope, and outlines dimensions of the practice that are more mundane, unpredictable, or unintended. The research shows that the practice offers a critical contribution to the contemporary reformation of the church.

Celebrating Communion Why Youth Aren't Hungering to Come to the Lord's Table

Author
Cheryl A Carson
Abstract
This project proposes that many church-attending Christian youth find the sacrament of the Lord's Supper irrelevant and lifeless. The reasons for this disconnect are investigated and imaginative liturgical strategies are sought to help youth passionately engage in communion. Basic qualitative, narrative analysis, and quantitative research were utilized. Data was collected through personal interviews and focus group interviews. The results show that youth generally find communion routine and done so frequently as to be commonplace. However, the findings also reveal that these adolescents are indeed hungering to participate in communion with and experience the presence of the risen Lord.

BEING TRANSFORMED THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH FOR CUMBERLAND UMC

Author
Anthony Hodge
Abstract
What approaches can Cumberland UMC take as a collective body to ensure that the church will be a viable, inviting and healthy community of faith for the present and future? This project explored alternatives that can be implemented at Cumberland UMC and other churches facing similar challenges. Surveys/questionnaires, one on one discussion sessions and small group discussion sessions were utilized to assist the researchers in this process. Research disclosed that greater member participation, a congregational emphasis on evangelism, a focus on ministry with children and youth and an ongoing commitment to stewardship would help to transform Cumberland UMC.

Centering prayer: a pathway to healing and transformation

Author
Barbara W Gorsky
Abstract
The objective of this project was to determine if participating in centering prayer diminishes the internal stressors caused by traumatic experiences by allowing God's presence to bring healing and transformation. The method was to establish two centering prayer groups meeting for six weeks to engage in centering prayer daily with weekly group meetings. To evaluate the effectiveness of centering prayer practice, pre-centering prayer and post-centering prayer surveys were conducted to determine stress changes noted due to the centering prayer. The findings of this research should encourage churches to find ways to provide quiet, meditative prayer time to allow for God's presence to bring healing and transformation.

The older shall teach the younger, and a little child shall lead them: intergenerational Christian education in an age-segregated world

Author
Joshua R Kingcade
Abstract
The thesis of this project is that intergenerational learning can be meaningful for its participants in five particular ways: increasing biblical knowledge, forming meaningful relationships, growing closer to God, encouraging daily discipleship, and loving others better. The author used basic qualitative research tools to plan and execute a four-week class with participants ranging from fourth grade to senior adulthood. Each class addressed one or more of the desired outcomes listed above. Participants answered surveys and interviews before and after the class, and based on this data, the author found that intergenerational leaning can essentially achieve the same outcomes as age-segregated education.

The wonder project how can sharing our experiences of wonder in the world and in the Word foster our spirituality?

Author
Anita Killebrew Herbert
Abstract
Wonder is a universal emotion experienced by all ages. It is also a primary emotion for our spirituality, though seldom developed in communities of faith. The failure to integrate experiences of wonder with our faith can render us as bifurcated beings, split between heart (our experience) and head (our knowledge). Additionally, a failure to approach the Bible through the lens of wonder diminishes the opportunity to experience an encounter with God. The goal of this project is to create a Bible study that encourages the sharing of experiences of wonder in the world and in the Word.

Dying Well: Journeying Together into the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Author
Sharol R Hayner
Abstract
When conversations about end of life issues are difficult and often non-existent, how will the church live out its commitment to walk together from birth and baptism until death? Using the basic qualitative research method, the author interviewed middle-aged men and women and young adults to ascertain how they made sense of childhood experiences of death and how that affected their current attitudes toward death. She concluded that many lack the ability to talk about death and how to prepare for it, and that to die well, one must live well. The author provides tools for facilitating both of these conversations.

The word in our mouths: Scripture memory and recitation as proclaimation in congregational worship and practice

Author
Stacy S Duke
Abstract
This project considers a re-imagined communal engagement with the oral/aural dimension of scripture. The thesis of this project is that scripture memory and recitation within public worship can provide pastors of mainline congregations a way to facilitate fresh encounters with scripture as a living word. Using ethnographic listening practices, the study investigates the effect of scripture recitation as a form of proclamation in one mainline protestant congregation over the course of two years. The project concludes that this simple, ancient practice offers dynamic possibilities for congregations to engage with scripture in a personal and powerful way.
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