Dear Friends of Starr King,

This past week I had the pleasure of being in Washington D.C. to participate in the Justice Ministries and Theologies Convocation, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and All Souls Church.  It was exciting, given this moment of hope and challenge for the United States, to be in the company of Unitarian Universalist theologians, ministers, musicians and denominational leaders devoted to social change. Our congregations and institutions have significant contributions to make in this urgent season of fresh possibility. Read reflections on the convocation at the UUA Social Justice blog http://uuasocialjustice.blogspot.com.

At Starr King School, we are devoted to educating religious leaders who approach social change as sacred work, rooted in spiritual practice and multi-religious understanding.    

Our spring semester starts this week.  Here is a glimpse into some of the residential courses our students will be taking:

In Unitarian Universalist Theologies: Modernity and Post-Modernity, the course I teach, students will be exploring Unitarian Universalist theological affirmations that ground our social justice activism: our positive view of human gifts and powers; our emphasis on here and now as the place in which to actualize liberation, justice and abundance; our belief that all souls are to be saved, that life is an inter-dependent, relational whole.

In Teacher and Prophet, Rev. Michelle Favreault will equip students to lead educational work in congregational and community settings that manifests the prophetic possibility and power of teaching and learning.   

In Preach It! students will be developing preaching skills under the guidance of Rev. Kurt Kuhwald, who challenges students to preach “words that speak truth, lift hope, inspire action and offer blessing.”

Students will gain understanding of Jewish mysticism in Experiencing Kabbalah, and in Native spiritual perspectives and practices in Indigenous Ways of Knowing.   

In The Resonance of Allah, taught by Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé, students will engage in a close read of an important Islamic text.  

Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Islamic sources will be used in Compassion and Moral Repair, taught by Rev. Chris Frye, where students will work to “deepen and strengthen their ability to act with compassion in their lives and ministries and, thus, help ‘repair the world.’"

In The Search for Common Ground, taught by Dr. Dorsey Blake, students will study the work of Howard Thurman.  They will give attention to “oneness across racial, sexual, cultural, religious, and national boundaries” and will learn how spiritual discipline can be “an essential method for engaging the search for common ground in the 21st Century.”

Starr King’s on-line courses serve Unitarian Universalist students at seminaries throughout the United States. (Click here to see what’s happening this spring).  Through these courses we assure that students who do not have the opportunity to attend a UU seminary will be equipped to bring prophetic UU values, practices, and perspectives into their ministries.  Through our new practice of allowing Starr King degree students to enroll in these courses, we are fostering a community of shared work among our future ministers and religious leaders while they are in seminary, wherever they are studying.  By welcoming a multi-religious student body, we also are creating ties of friendship and mutual appreciation across religious lines—this is the special promise of our time.  

We’ve just posted our on-line and residential course listing for the 2009-2010 academic year and invite you to take a look.  Our rich array of course offerings is an important aspect of how Starr King prepares religious leaders for the 21st century. Students also learn through field work in congregations and community settings, immersion experiences (such as the Rumi Immersion that just took place in Turkey in December 2008), tutorials and independent projects.  The close and committed guidance of advisors and mentors enables each student to chart the path of study that best prepares them for the work they are called to do.

In these days of new hope for the United States, we are educating religious leaders for the challenges ahead.  Your support is needed and appreciated.  Can you make a gift to help us on our way? Click here to donate on-line!

    In grace and gratitude,

    Rebecca Parker
    President and Professor of Theology

    510 845 6232 ext. 112
    rparker@sksm.edu

As ever, your comments are welcome. Email me at rparker@sksm.edu.

 

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