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TRANSFORMING THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN THE CHANGING FACE OF USA Dr. Huberto Pimentel.

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Presentation on theme: "TRANSFORMING THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN THE CHANGING FACE OF USA Dr. Huberto Pimentel."— Presentation transcript:

1 TRANSFORMING THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN THE CHANGING FACE OF USA Dr. Huberto Pimentel

2 Introduction The aim of this presentation is to explore and analyze the challenges and possibilities of contextual theological education in the USA and Canada. It is also our objective to discover and recommend alternative theological education programs for minority groups and church leaders.

3 Teaching theology It is a theological and pedagogical activity that empowers the people of God to be agents of renovation, transformation and change in the midst of contemporary society. It is indeed a spiritual discipline!

4 Theology Its an activity of the whole people of God, so that it is a reflection by the believers within the community of faith seeking to understand, enjoy and respond to what it means to be accepted, sent, and called by God into the brokenness of the world. It is the reading and understanding of our world with spiritual eyes!

5 Our Task Study, evaluate and transmit the Christian tradition. Initiate people into the faith community. Relate faith to culture.

6 Continue the constructive and critical process of understanding and re-forming the tradition. Seek to be a faithful people by finding ways to embody the tradition.

7 The Most Pressing Needs Better opportunities for formal theological education. Training for laity to assume leadership responsibilities. Increased cultivation of second and third generation Latino youth.

8 The needs Initiatives that would help church leaders to advocate for the social needs and changes of their communities. Programs to provide lay leaders and clergy with practical administrative, theological and pastoral skills.

9 Interest in Theological Education In general, 63.4% very interested. 86.7% if program is within 250 miles. 70.1% if classes provided in Spanish. 86.7% if they can study Latinos issues. 81.5% if they have Latino and Latina faculty. Hispanic Ministry in the 21 Century: A National Gathering to Develop Strategies to Strengthen Hispanic Ministry. Duke Divinity School, NC. 2003, PAGE 13

10 Finances 22.4% unable to pay for an MDIV. 39% able to pay some of it. 2.9% able to pay most of it. 2.2% able to pay all of it. 56.8% listed availability of financial aid as the greatest barrier to completing the desired program. Hispanic Ministry in the 21 Century: A National Gathering to Develop Strategies to Strengthen Hispanic Ministry. Duke Divinity School, NC

11 Curricular Content 90.4% Pastoral counseling. 89.9% Teaching Ministry. 84.8% Preaching. 83.9% Evangelism. 83.9% Hispanic Theology. Hispanic Ministry in the 21 Century: A National Gathering to Develop Strategies to Strengthen Hispanic Ministry. Duke Divinity School, NC

12 Curricular Content 83.3% Bible Courses. 79.2% Bilingual/bicultural Ministry. 78.7% Community Development. 74.6% Urban Ministry. 73.8% Systematic Theology. 72.7% Social Service Ministry.

13 70.5% Ethics. 67.3% Church History. 66.6% Youth Ministry. 64.1% Worship and Liturgy.

14 Forms of Education Extension Programs 78.1%. Correspondence Programs 76.2%. Internet Courses 77.3%. Intensives 87.1%.

15 Pastoral Care Skills Skills for listening. Family systems theory. Family therapy.

16 What Seminaries can do? Offer basic traditional MDIV courses that are contextualized. An MDIV through the filters of urban, pastoral, minority ministry experience. Focus on urban theology. Public ministry of the church. Ethics for urban ministry. Have more Latino and Latina Scholars.

17 Be aware of the theological views held by Latinos and Latinas: 56% Conservative; 33% Moderate, and 11% Liberal. Be aware of the political views held by Latinos and Latinas: 58% Conservative; 33% Moderate, and 9% Liberal. Equipped to Serve: Latino/a Seminarians and the Future of Religious Leadership in the Latino/a Community - Research Vol , Oct 2006, University of Notre Dame, page 18, table 6.

18 What Seminaries can do? Dr. Daisy Machado(2003) notes on her book Of Borders and Margins: Hispanics Disciples in Texas , the inability of the CCDC to develop significant ties with Hispanics that resulted in the creation of a small church existing on both the «geographical and denominational margins» of the Disciples of Christ community.

19 Dr. Justo González said: The churches are the most permanent and the most hopeful presence in our Latinos and Latinas communities. And yet, the resources invested in the training and formation of such leadership is ridiculously and sinfully scarce. A few, a very few, attend the centers of higher theological learning. Many of these, by the fact of attending these schools, where Latino and Latinas are practically non-existent, become disconnected from their communities of origin. Adapted from the Foreword to Reconstructing the Sacred Tower

20 What Seminaries can do? On the few who manage to retain their commitment to and connection with the Latino and Latina community, almost none move on to graduate work at the doctoral level, to become the sort of teacher they themselves did not have in their own theological studies. Pastors, seminary trained or not, are leading their congregations into new dimensions of service and advocacy. There is an eagerness to learn, to study, and to be challenged by new ideas and visions. Adapted from the Foreword to Reconstructing the Sacred Tower, Dr. Justo Gonz á lez

21 What Seminaries can do? From Disparity to Diversity: Why we need more minority faculty members in our theological education institutions? Minority faculty will attract more African- American, Asian, and Hispanic students. Minorities are underrepresented in professional schools: 3.6% of medical faculty at IU Medicine School is African American, Latino and American Indian. By contrast 16.3% of student body and 7.29% of population are minorities. Diversity can help overcome disparities. Indianapolis Star Newspaper, Jan. 14, 2007, Focus Section.

22 Alternative for Lay Pastors CHET or similar programs Certificate programs. Licensing programs. Bachelor of theology accredited by denominations and accrediting institutions. Special program in cultural sensitive counseling. Special programs on community transformation, renovations and change. CHET - Hispanic Center for Theological Studies, Bell Gardens, California.

23 Suggested Teaching Methodology Interdisciplinary team of professors facilitate a discussion and resource students from the coffers of their disciplines for approaching the case studies. Facilitators may include professionals, community activists, seasoned pastors, or denominational leaders. Dr. Elizabeth Conde Frazier, Associate Professor of Religious Education, Claremont School of Theology

24 Suggested Assignments Short reflection papers on readings. Theological reflection accompanied by social analysis and pastoral action. All papers and projects have to do with the ministerial activity of pastors. Assignments become means for continued dialectic of action-reflection- action. Dr. Elizabeth Conde Frazier, Associate Professor of Religious Education, Claremont School of Theology

25 Success of a Program Curriculum that is relevant. Faculty that is knowledgeable and mentoring. Provide preparation for studying. Provide financial planning before beginning. Provide a workshop on time management for tentmakers.

26 Present ministerial and theological studies as a spiritual discipline. Work with husbands and wives teams; encourage spouses to participate in the educational process. Develop and affirm critical research, reading and writing skills.


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