Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

That They May Have Life: The Congregation's Opportunity to Strengthen Resiliency and Foster Wholeness Amid Trauma in the Lives of Volunteer First Responders

Author
Jason Cashing D.Min.
Abstract
With every emergency, first responders are exposed to a degree of traumatic stress. This Secondary Traumatic Stress can sap the life and purpose from first responders, and the accumulation of unaddressed STS can lead to burnout, unhealthy coping mechanisms, and even suicide. The congregation, though practices of Sabbath and Lament, can offer pathways to help mitigate STS and strengthen resilience. Looking at the invitation to Abundant Life in John 10, the Church’s calling and the world’s need intersect, providing a framework and a language to help first responders and congregations alike realize the fullness of Life offered to all.

The church in transition: equipping congregational leaders for missional discernment

Author
Kevin M Starcher
Abstract
This project explores the hypothesis that a meaningful grounding in theological thought will yield richer and nuanced understanding of congregational growth in a transitioning Christian society. The project consisted of intentional education, research and analysis of the intersections of evangelism, Family Systems Theory, Reformed theology, cultural exegesis, and Christian missiology, and used these understandings to explore and analyze growing Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregations in the American West. The results of this qualitative research indicated that project participants valued the process and felt the project was helpful for a congregation experiencing numeric/cultural transition.

A Christian Exploration of African American Masculinity

Author
Clarence Lanely
Abstract
A Christian Exploration of African American Masculinity examines the cultural complexities of masculinity by investigating manhood acts and how they are enacted by African American men in their quest to obtain masculine (patriarchal) power. Those with cultural power, mostly white men, deny power to white women, men and women of color. In this project, biblical, cultural and theological insights are explored that offer African American men a life giving and progressive masculinity. The incarnation of Christ offers an image of masculinity that frees men to follow Him, allowing men to be in relationships with others in intimate and meaningful ways.

A Collegiate Exploration into Celtic Spirituality

Author
Casey L Callahan
Abstract
This project seeks to educate college students about the particular spiritual understandings and practices of the ancient Celtic peoples and to establish an historical, religious connection with their own instinctive spiritual insights and practices through the development, implementation, and evaluation of an educational curriculum. "Thin Places: A Collegiate Exploration into Celtic Spirituality" utilizes teaching sessions and engaging experiences framed around "Five Essential Threads" of historic Celtic spirituality.

Engaging Aging Church Members Faithful Living in a Covenant Community

Author
Deborah K Uchtman
Abstract
This project explores why it is that some aging church members in my context experience a feeling of hopelessness and seem to disconnect from their faith. This question will be explored with the book of Ruth and in particular, the character of Naomi through a bible study, sermon series and a special congregational event that features a storyteller.

The creative self of the therapist: a study in self care

Author
Jennifer A Schiller
Abstract
Therapists may care for others to their own detriment, failing to recognize and provide for their own needs. Without sufficient care of self, therapists risk burn out, empathy overload, and an inability to continue in the profession. A particular problem exists for marriage and family therapy interns balancing academic studies, clinical practice and personal lives. This project explores intern therapist engagement in creative activities as a form of self-care and stress reduction. While self-report scales reflect the benefit of creative activities for self-care, more study is needed. Questions remain regarding the specific needs of intern therapists and the role of program leadership in providing a healthy model for self-care.

Resolving feelings of powerlessness

Author
Michael D Jaques
Abstract
The question that this project in ministry sought to answer was "How do Army Chaplains resolve their feelings of powerlessness when they are unable to help a deployed soldier meet a specific need?" The method used in this study was grounded theory. The results show that chaplains go through a transformation and become new people. The changes that occur are categorized by five marks. These marks include: increased humility, improved pastoral identity, recognizing their finiteness, valuing their contributions, and finding strengths in weakness. The way that this transformation occurs is largely through relationship.

Welcoming the Immigrant and Renewing the Church

Author
John D Kalz
Abstract
The project focuses on how existing congregations can experience renewal by welcoming immigrants into the worshiping community using Buechel United Methodist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, as a case study. The project was designed to enable pastoral and congregational leadership to lead changes that would help the congregation include persons from various immigrant communities in their neighborhood, with an eye to the spiritual, corporate renewal of the church. The research, using both attendance numbers and interviews, points to several practices that churches can use to experience new vitality through intentional outreach to immigrant communities.

The journey home: images of death and afterlife with older adults

Author
Rebecca Gayle Church
Abstract
A widespread problem in pastoral practice today is an inadequate response by clergy in engaging older adults on their views of death and their hopes for what lies beyond. This author developed a six week program to assist in encouraging clergy and their parishioners in broaching this very important topic. The author utilized narrative, pastoral, and relational theologies to support her research. Also the use of qualitative research was utilized in the form of personal interviews, focus group participation, observation, and the building of a sand tray that depicted the image of afterlife. This author found that an inadequate response by clergy was founded. Participants expressed very little education from the church on this topic. Participants acknowledged gratitude for the opportunity to delve into this subject and hoped it would make have a conversation with family on last wishes much easier.

The Church as Family Worshipping in Unconventional Settings

Author
Janice L Six
Abstract
The project created opportunities for small group communal worship in unconventional settings among children and adults. The purpose was to identify the ways worship contributes to an awareness of God's presence in all places, and to the understanding of the church as family. The prominent research method employed was the pro-active research method wherein the researcher and participants were actively engaged with one another in a transformative process. As a result, communal worship is understood as an attitude of the heart, and when the Holy Spirit simultaneously tugs at the heart-strings of young and old alike kinship is nurtured.
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