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- Bridging Classroom and Church
—Dean Deirdre Good, Prof. Althea Spencer-Miller, and Rev. Clarissa South Holland Today, theological education is undergoing major changes across the world. We hardly know the shape of theological education even in the next decade. But one direction taken by a course on Matthew’s Gospel at Drew University Theological School, echoing new directions in several other theological schools across the country, drew on a nearby UMC church as a community of accountability with their pastor, The Rev. Clarissa South Holland (C ’78, T’88). The Whiting UMC is located in the most densely populated 55 and older area in the USA and like the Matthean community they have unique spiritual needs. Using a hybrid model, the weekly class brought together parishioners from UMC Whiting and Drew seminarians from all degree programs. Classes blended online discussions between the two communities as a way of deepening and expanding learning and formation. Questions from Whiting congregants often drove discussions: “Who is Jesus in Matthew?” asked Shelly in a class on Matthew’s birth narrative. Classroom and church were a two-way street. The class instructors would often drive to Whiting for class on alternate weeks. But in a class on Matthean parables, Lester, Carol, Nancy, and others […]
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