June 3-7, 2013
What are religious congregations and why do we need them?
The answers would seem obvious. Congregations constitute the largest volunteer gathering of religious people in North America. Yet the definition of religious congregations is shifting and expanding as new models emerge for communal worship.
The focus has grown from what takes place within physical houses of worship—Here's the church, here's the steeple—to include the wealth of possibilities offered by online communities and by groups of people who gather outside of the traditional church. Can new kinds of congregations serve people who currently aren't being served?
This one-week course will examine religious congregations from theological, historical, sociological and economic perspectives. Included in the discussions will be emerging and fresh ministries that are popping up on the religious landscape and an exploration of what God is calling the church to be and do in today’s world.
The Rev. Dr. Susan Harlow, course instructor and Seabury's director of congregational development, said she finds great value in being part of a congregation.
"These are earthbound communities seeking a life of transcendence," she said. "They are seeking more: more love, more relationships, more authenticity, more God. And there's a good deal of comfort in seeking with others. If one person is powerful, a committed group addressing the same issue is even more powerful.
Harlow said she'd like to say "come and see" to people who feel they have no need for a religious community.
"Sometimes when people say I'm spiritual, they're saying they realize there is something more to life but don't want to be part of a religious community," Harlow said. "But I say come and see. The spirit is at work in community. And in community, you understand forgiveness in a different way."
Students will leave the course with a better understanding of how congregations support our faith journey, challenge our personal perception of God, and broaden our understanding of who God is.
Instructor: The Rev. Dr. Susan Harlow, Director of Congregational Development
Dates: June 3-7, 2013
Weeklong Intensive 3 credit or CEU hrs. MDiv or DMin
Click here to register