Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry (Ambridge, Pa)

CREATED TO CONNECT: RECAPTURING A GOSPEL UNDERSTANDING OF INTIMACY FOR EMERGING ADULTS IN A COLLEGE SETTING

Author
Erin Moniz D.Min.
Abstract
Christian emerging adults struggle in their relationships because they lack a robust theology of intimacy. This thesis examines and analyzes the problem by combining practical theology, generational studies, and a study of the culture of faith communities. Biblical support is offered by an exegetical examination of three Scripture passages that demonstrate the three intimacy motifs of family, sexuality/marriage, and friendship. Trinitarian and covenant theology reveal the theme of intimacy in the triune God and redemptive history. The doctrine of Union with Christ connects human and Divine intimacy through a Christological lens. An ethnographic study involving a focus group and sixteen interviews is analyzed in order to uncover the intersection of faith and intimate relationships in emerging adults. This thesis investigates the role of faith in the lives of emerging adult relationships and offers a biblical and theological theology of intimacy.

The Hippie Theologian: Finding Religious Meaning on Social Media

Author
Nicole Foster D.Min.
Abstract
The Covid-19 pandemic brought about global changes in how religious communities discipled and evangelized, which caused many of these religious communities to utilize social media. This work is about how people can find religious meaning on social media by placing people on equal footing in such a way that a genuine dialogue is able to take place. This dialogue enhances the mission of the church insofar as it helps participants gain confidence in contributing to the broader project of public theology, and thereby be encouraged to go out and make disciples of all nations, as it states in Matthew 28:19. To reveal the extent of religious meaning people found on social media, surveys of followers of a Facebook page called The Hippie Theologian were conducted in two sample categories of individual participants and group participants within the Facebook page. This project initially started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but was mostly carried out during the pandemic when many churches either shut down in-person services, or operated at low-capacites, thereby prompting the use of social media for the broadcasting of worship services.

THE BINARY CHURCH: THE IMPACT OF GIFT REJECTION ON THE BASIS OF PATRIARCHAL GENDER IDEOLOGY

Author
Vanessa Bickle D.Min.
Abstract
Refusal of gifts as a result of stereotypical gender biases based on patriarchal ideologies negatively impacts women and men in the service of the church. Through qualitative and quantitative methods, it was recognized that ecclesial practices like role limitations, gender-based ministry, and forced identities contribute to experiences of exclusion, shame, and potentially gender incongruence. The failure of church leaders to recognize and eliminate these practices leads to the estrangement of women from the church and from God. Rigid gender normativity and the false association of non-stereotypical gender behaviors with the morality of sexuality prevents the church from being a community pointed toward God with its doors open to all those seeking refuge. Ecclesiastical essentialism is proposed as a transformative model that allows men and women to fully engage in the life of the church today without concern for unyielding gender binaries, serving the church as God intended when male and female were created in the image of God. Accompanying methods for reconciling detrimental ecclesial practices are provided.

Outsiders on the Inside: Racial Fatigue and Resilience among Black Pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America

Author
William E. Boyce
Abstract
This project assesses the state of racial fatigue among Black pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), triangulating phenomenology, Scripture, and theology to evaluate the PCA’s faithfulness to its stated aims regarding doctrine and race. An analysis of the denomination’s central tenets shows a theological mandate to welcome minority pastors. But the lived experiences of many Black pastors tells a different story. Though initially welcomed, these pastors sense that they are still “outsiders,” leading them to develop strategies to help them thrive and develop resilience in the face of a challenging racial ministry context.
his project assesses the state of racial fatigue among Black pastors in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), triangulating phenomenology, Scripture, and theology to evaluate the PCA’s faithfulness to its stated aims regarding doctrine and race.

MIND THE GAP: THE DELTA BETWEEN SUNDAY FORMATION AND WEEKDAY WORK FOR LAY BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

Author
Anthony P Clark
Abstract
"This thesis-project examines the gap between the Sunday formation and the weekday experience for lay business professionals in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and argues that lay business professionals are not adequately equipped by the church for the ethical challenges they face in the workplace. The thesis-project proposes a biblical theology of a royal priesthood as the best way to understand the formative community of the people of God. The moral theology section of
the thesis-project argues that this royal priesthood is best shaped and formed in the virtue ethics tradition for most effective engagement with ethical issues in the workplace. In addition, lay business professionals offer their insights on the effectiveness and the improvement of formation in the church through field research that includes qualitative interviews and surveys. Finally, the
thesis-project discusses the implications for congregational ministry based on the biblical theology of a royal priesthood, moral theology focused on virtue ethics, and field work observations. "

International Seminary Students As Potential Mission Partners: A Case Study For Trinity School For Ministry, SAMS and Diocese of Kirinyaga, Kenya

Author
Deborah L. Carr
Abstract
This thesis was the record of Trinity students who worked together to lead conferences for Sunday school teachers in Kirinyaga, Kenya. It was a review of the challenges and opportunities we faced as Anglicans trying a new way to develop an international partnership. Five adaptations to the typical short-term missions of Society of Anglican Missionary and Senders were: 1) seminary friends served as hosts, 2) joint leadership, 3) use of locally available materials, 4) shared funding, and 5) singular focus on making disciples. It concluded with 12 common sense methods toward better mission practices.
This thesis was the record of Trinity students who worked together to lead conferences for Sunday school teachers in Kirinyaga, Kenya.

Encouraging Biblical Literacy: An assessment of the Biblical Literacy Task Force of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, 2008-2017.

Author
Richard C. Crocker
Abstract
Several surveys portray the current state of biblical literacy; accelerating decline an urgent concern. The biblical evidence in Old and New Testaments that God’s word is written, and should be heeded, is outlined. The doctrine of biblical inspiration is examined; biblical criticism necessitates changes in approach. Five historical instances of significant biblical engagement are described: catechetical movement; monasticism; Cranmer’s English Reformation; Charles Simeon’s impact; Sunday Schools. The Pittsburgh Biblical Literacy Task Force is examined, by review of materials, focus group, and clergy survey. Achievements are noted, and improvements suggested. Biblical literacy should become an intentional project of the church nationally.

Listening: The Heart of Christian Healing Prayer

Author
Sandra B. Kerner
Abstract
Students desiring formation in Christian healing prayer ministry participated in a training course which fostered knowledge and practices of good listening and healing prayer demonstrated in ministry with one another. Students gave feedback to one another on developing skills and reflected on their learning experiences as a community of practice. Course design addressed the need for specific training, practice, and feedback in listening within the practice of healing prayer, listening to God and people, so that healing, empowered by the Holy Spirit, may be enhanced. Biblical and theological sources (from Hilary, Calvin, Wimber, and Payne) undergirded content and practices.
Students desiring formation in Christian healing prayer ministry participated in a training course which fostered knowledge and practices of good listening and healing prayer demonstrated in ministry with one another.

The Fear of the Lord: Its Meaning and Use as a Motivation for Christian Living

Author
Bradley R. Sickler D.Min.
Abstract
The fear of the Lord is a multifaceted concept. Rather than trying to narrow down the definition to one concept, this study defines the concept in terms of four broad vantage points: first, the fear of the Lord as an emotional experience with the living God; second, the fear of the Lord as an objective truth which can be taught to people; third, the fear of the Lord as a motive for behavior; and finally, the fear of the Lord in relation to the love of God. The study was motivated by a realization that it was rarely specified as a motive in Christian decision-making or Christian behavior among the congregation. To address this problem and pastorally respond to it, this study makes use of the discipline of biblical theology, tracing the theme of the fear of the Lord and its development from Genesis to Revelation (chapter 2). Four main concepts pertinent to understanding the fear of the Lord are then examined from the perspective of systematic theology (chapter 3), in order to define the meaning and purpose of the fear of the Lord from both a biblical and systematic perceptive [sic]. In order to help the congregation understand and live in the fear of the Lord, an assessment of what the congregation currently believes about the fear of the Lord is also needed. Chapter 4 presents the results of field research undertaken to assess these belief’s utilizing ‘Q methodology,’ a research technique that allows the researcher to conduct a qualitative study using quantitative methods. Chapter 5 concludes with a summary of the results of this study and offers reflections on how to move forward in light of those results, as well as a discussion of ways in which the field research might be improved.

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

Author
James W. Hunter D.Min.
Abstract
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.
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