Monday, June 4, 2018 - 4:30pm to Friday, June 8, 2018 - 9:00pm
Duke Divinity School
Valerie Helbert
(919) 660-3594

Come expand your theological imagination, grapple with practical problems, and be equipped to continue a journey of reconciliation within a wider community.

Our focus on reconciliation is grounded in a distinctively Christian vision and a framework that is richly practical, contextual, and theological. Rooted in Duke Divinity School’s conviction that reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel, the Summer Institute for Reconciliation draws on the strengths of a faculty of world-class scholars and practitioners. The institute is nurtured by the deepening formation, teaching, and content of a biblical vision of reconciliation that inspires and ferments a movement of transformed communities and relationships. This formation of communities is nurtured by each other’s witness that Christ is strengthening us to the end, affirming us so that we do not “lack any spiritual gift” in our life together (1 Corinthians 1: 4-9).

Institute Overview

The Summer Institute for Reconciliation blends plenary talks given by preeminent scholars and practitioners in the fields of theology and reconciliation, small group seminars led by world-class educators and practitioners, and ecumenical Christian worship to create a rich, vibrant week focused on growing together as scholars and practitioners of reconciliation. Plenary speakers, seminar teachers, and worship leaders use scriptural interpretation, theology, and story-telling to weave a rich tapestry of reflection that is theological, contextual, and practical.

The learning and formation that take place at the Summer Institute for Reconciliation build on critical questions that frame our content and design. These questions address the heart of the journey of reconciliation. Our methodology, which we call “Word Made Flesh,” explores the theological, contextual, and practical dimensions of this movement of hope.

The questions are:

  • New Creation — “Toward what?”: This question addresses our goal, the end toward which the movement leads, and invites participants to form a vision of new creation grounded in Scripture.
  • Lament  —  “What is going on?”: Through this question, we seek to develop a clearer and deeper understanding of the specific challenges participants face through seeing, naming, and standing in the brokenness. This question invites participants to develop the gift and discipline of lament.
  • Hope  — “What does hope look like?”: This question engages the hopeful lives, models, stories, experiments, initiatives, visions, and practical skills that can shape and sustain a new future.
  • Spirituality for the journey — “Why me, and why bother?”: This question explores issues of personal vocation, calling,and formation. The question highlights practices, rhythms, lifestyles, and convictions that sustain people and communities even in the face of challenges and obstacles, and invites participants to form a deep and lively practical spirituality to support leadership over the long haul.

The Summer Institute for Reconciliation is intended for:

  • Pastors with a desire for their congregations to become communities that live out alternatives to the destructive conflicts and social divisions that fragment our world
  • Christians who are committed to the ongoing training and equipping of others, calling forth the gifts of the community to inspire, form, and support people to become ambassadors of God’s movement of hope; that foster a life together that is a witness to now being “the acceptable time,” now being the “day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
  • Grass-roots ministers and Christians living and working among people who suffer or are marginalized
  • College, university, and seminary faculty and administrators training young Christians to live in the way of the Kingdom
  • Denominational and organizational leaders seeking to guide their organizations into new practices and structures that enable the flourishing of communities living out God’s vision of peace and justice
  • Every follower of Jesus Christ seeking to become an ambassador of God’s healing and wholeness


The institute begins on Monday June 4, 2018 with registration, dinner, worship, and an opening plenary at Duke Divinity School. It concludes with a closing banquet at the Hilton hotel on Friday evening, June 8, 2018.

2018 schedule (pdf).

Daily schedule elements:

Morning & Evening Worship
Participants begin and end each day with vibrant Christian worship, held in Duke Divinity School’s beautiful Goodson Chapel.

Morning Common Journey
All participants gather to learn from and dialogue with plenary speakers about a theological vision and practice of reconciliation. 

In-Depth Seminars
Participants select one seminar for the entire week, going in-depth with one or two faculty members and a small group of peers in a format of rich teaching and interaction.

Other Activities
Shared meals, one-on-one conversations with faculty, some evenings with community-building events, a free evening in downtown Durham, and access to the many gifts of Duke University’s campus.

Faculty & Speakers

Each day of the Summer Institute for Reconciliation includes a plenary talk given by preeminent scholars and practitioners in the field of reconciliation. Plenary talks use scriptural interpretation, theology, and story-telling to weave a rich tapestry of reflection that is theological, contextual, and practical. The teaching team of the Summer Institute for Reconciliation also includes afternoon seminar leaders who unite in-depth teaching with small group reflection around a particular theme, issue, or context in reconciliation.

2018 Institute Faculty

Edgardo Colón-Emeric  Dr. Edgardo Colon-Emeric

Edgardo Colón-Emeric is an assistant professor of theology at Duke University and senior strategist for the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School, which was established to assist the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church and Duke Divinity School in supporting and strengthening ministries to and with Hispanics and Latinos in North Carolina. On July 1, 2018, Dr. Colón-Emeric will also become the faculty director for the Center for Reconciliation. Colón-Emeric is an ordained elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference and serves in the United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order.  He directs the Central American Methodist Course of Study and serves on national and international Methodist-Catholic dialogues. His ecumenical study of Wesley, Aquinas, and Christian perfection received the 2008 Aquinas Dissertation Prize from Ave Maria University and was published by Baylor University Press. His research interests focus on the intersections of dogmatic theology and Hispanic questions.

Colón-Emeric will be teaching the Theology of Reconciliation seminar.

Julia DinsmoreJulia Dinsmore

Julia Dinsmore is an author, poet, singer-songwriter, and poverty abolitionist who is best-known for her poem, “My Name is Not Those People.” She uses creative voice and storytelling to talk about the one thing we too often ignore—class and poverty in America. From church basements to the halls of Congress, she has presented in her edu-performance style, calling those who listen to join the work of creating a just world for those experiencing poverty and marginalization. She has taught students in high schools and in universities including Stanford University, Brown, Swarthmore, and Amherst College. She is most well known for her classes in neighborhood “porch sitting,” which she calls an alternative to service-learning. She has been a community faculty member with Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs: Inequality In America in St. Paul, Minn., for the past 30 years and has been part of shaping the creative community-based pedagogy of the institution. Though functionally illiterate for most of her life, Dinsmore taught herself how to write while writing her first book, My Name Is Child of God, Not Those People, A First Person Look at Poverty (Augsburg Fortress). This book has become required reading in university classrooms and a favorite book of book clubs and reading groups.

Dinsmore will be teaching the God Bless the Grass: Confronting Poverty and Classism in the Body of Christ seminar.

Elaine HeathDean Elaine Heath

Elaine Heath began her tenure as dean of Duke Divinity School in July 2016.  Previously she was the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Her scholarly work integrates systematic, pastoral, and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between the academy, church, and world. Her research interests focus on evangelism and spirituality, evangelism and gender, the new monasticism, and emergence in church and in theological education. Heath is the author of numerous books and monographs, the most recent of which is God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church (June 2016). She is also the co-founder of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, which provides opportunities for clergy and laity to learn how to live in intentional communities and how to develop missional communities and social enterprise in diverse social contexts.  Her other publications include Missional.Monastic.Mainline (co-authored with Larry Duggins, 2014), The Mystic Way of Evangelism (2008), Naked Faith: The Mystical Theology of Phoebe Palmer (2009), Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Communities (co-authored with Scott Kisker, 2010), We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse (2011), and The Gospel According to Twilight: Women, Sex, and God (2011).

Heath will be presenting the plenary on New Creation on Tuesday, June 5.

Allen HiltonAllen Hilton

Rev. Dr. Allen Hilton is the founder and leader of House United Movement, a nonprofit initiative dedicated to bringing people together across political differences for the common good. Hilton has helped build thriving communities in academia (as a professor at St. Mary’s College of California and Yale Divinity School) and in congregations (as pastor in four large churches across the nation). These days he writes, speaks, and consults on team- and community-building. He earned an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary (’89) and a Ph.D. in New Testament from Yale. His book, House UnitedHow the Church Could Save the World, calls Christians to reconciliation and unity across political difference. 

Hilton will be teaching the Different Together: Bridging Political Difference in the Church and Beyond seminar.

David Anderson HookerDr. David Anderson Hooker

David Anderson Hooker is professor of the practice of conflict transformation and peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Hooker is a mediator and peace builder with over 30 years of experience in the field with specialties in managing complex, multi-party, and public policy conflicts, post-violence community building, and transforming historical harms. He is the former senior program associate for the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in Washington, D.C.  He is a Ph.D. graduate of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, a graduate of Emory University’s School of Law (J.D.) and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (M.Div.). Hooker’s work has taken him to Bosnia, Croatia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Southern Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar, and Cuba. He formerly served as faculty for the Institute for Church Administration and Management (ICAM) at the Interdenominational Theological Center (The ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia where he taught conflict transformation, legal principles for clergy and churches, and leadership communications to clergy, episcopal, and lay leadership of historically African American churches. He is also a member of the staff collective of JustPeace, The United Methodist Church’s Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation.

Hooker will be teaching the Discovering and Embracing Narratives of Reconciliation seminar.

Velda LoveVelda Love

Velda Love currently serves as minister for racial justice in The Justice and Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ (UCC) National Office in Cleveland, Ohio. Love develops comprehensive curriculum, training resources, and strategic approaches for UCC national conferences, congregations, and staff colleagues to explore and understand the intersection of race with other justice related issues—economic, environmental, gender bias, poverty, and mass incarceration. The goal of her work is to assist the Christian church and society to dismantle and eradicate racism and white supremacy. From 2009- 2017, Love served as adjunct professor at North Park University and North Park Theological Seminary. During that time she also served as director of justice and intercultural learning in the Office of Diversity’s Collaboratory of Urban and Intercultural Learning, collaborating and consulting with various academic schools and divisions as well as with individual faculty and staff to develop curricular and co-curricular opportunities designed to support and encourage greater integration of students’ in-class and out-of-class experiences with an emphasis on social justice-related issues. Love has articles published on the UCC Witness for Justice web page and in Sojourners magazine.

Love will be teaching the Righteous Resistance: Models for Embracing Prophetic Reconciliation seminar.

Ellen Ott MarshallEllen Ott Marshall

Ellen Ott Marshall is associate professor of Christian ethics and conflict transformation at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. She is also on the faculty for the ethics and society doctoral program in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, where she serves as co-convener for the initiative in Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding.  Marshall’s work focuses on contemporary Christian ethics, with particular attention to violence, peacebuilding, conflict transformation, gender and moral agency, and the dynamic relationship between faith, history, and ethics.  She has her B.A. from Davidson College, Mass., in international peace studies from the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame, and her M.A./Ph.D. in ethics and society from Vanderbilt. Her books include two edited volumes, Choosing Peace through Daily Practices (The Pilgrim Press, 2005) and Religion and Conflict Transformation: Essays in Faith, Power, and Relationship (Palgrave MacMillan 2016) and two monographs, Though the Fig Tree Does Not Blossom: Toward a Responsible Theology of Christian Hope (Abingdon 2006, Wipf & Stock 2015) and Christians in the Public Square: Faith that Transforms Politics (Abingdon 2008, Wipf & Stock 2016).  Her current book project is titled Christian Ethics in Conflict (under contract with Westminster John Knox Press).  She also co-chairs the Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace unit of the American Academic of Religion.  She received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award for Emory University in 2015.  In 2009, she served as lead writer for "God’s Renewed Creation," a pastoral letter and foundation document from the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church. 

Marshall will be presenting the plenary on Hope on Thursday June 7.

Bill StanfieldRev. Bill Stanfield

Rev. Bill Stanfield is a co-founder of the Metanoia Community Development Corporation of North Charleston, N.C., where he currently serves as the chief executive officer. Metanoia launched in 2002 with support from the South Carolina Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Stanfield and his wife, Evelyn Oliveira, were hired by this coalition of churches to work to combat child poverty in the zip codes with the highest concentration of child poverty in South Carolina. Rev. Stanfield is originally from Greensboro, N.C. and holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and is also is a graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Economic Development, the South Carolina Department of Commerce Economic Developer’s School, and the South Carolina Community Development Institute of Clemson University, Benedict College, and the SC Association of CDCs. He is a graduate of the 2011 class of the Liberty Fellowship Program. Rev. Stanfield was voted the 2012 North Charleston Citizen of the Year by the North Charleston Citizens Advisory Council. Rev. Stanfield is also an associate minister at St. Matthew Baptist church.

Stanfield will be presenting the plenary on Spirituality for the Long Haul on Friday June 8.

Michael WatersMichael W. Waters

Michael Waters is founder and senior pastor of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas, one of the newest and fastest-growing A.M.E. churches in the state. He also serves as the senior pastor of the nearly century-old Agape Temple A.M.E. Church in Dallas. The two congregations serve together as one body under one pastoral vision. Waters is the author of Freestyle: Reflections on Faith, Family, Justice, and Pop Culture (Upper Room Books, 2014) and Stakes Is High: RaceFaith, and Hope for America (Chalice Press, 2017). Waters holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees with honors from Southern Methodist University and the SMU Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. The founding director of the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, he presently serves as an adjunct professor in the Doctor of Ministry degree program at Perkins, as North Texas Peer Preaching Group facilitator in the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence, and as a member of the Perkins executive board. Among numerous board and commission appointments, Waters is a co-founder of The Sankofa Coalition, an organization which seeks to bring racial healing through a recognition of and atonement for past historical injustices.

Waters will be the plenary on Lament on Wednesday, June 6.


Each participant selects and attends one seminar all week. This allows a more intimate group experience and enables a smaller group to delve deeply into a particular area of reconciliation.

2018 Seminars

Different Together: Bridging Political Difference in the Church and Beyond

The war between the political left and right in the U.S. continues to escalate. Families split, friendships end, church and corporate teams come apart because of political difference, and these divisions are increasing around the world. This seminar calls the church to a unity that Jesus commands and prays for, and then helps us prepare to export healthy ways of cultivating community to our unhealthy nation and world. We focus on Christian practices like courageous conversations on controversial and divisive topics; collaboration and community-building across theological and political difference; and capitalizing on difference as an asset, rather than a threat.

This seminar is being taught by Allen Hilton.

Discovering and Embracing Narratives of Reconciliation 

We live our lives within conscious and unconscious narratives. The narratives that structure our lives have been passed to us through children’s literature, folk tales, myths, traditional stories, family and cultural histories, and Scriptural narratives. Conflict and broken relationships can often be understood as a clash of narratives; injustice can be understood as worldly realities that clash with the prophetic narrative of the realm of God; and reconciliation can occur when individuals and communities can build and live into preferred shared narratives. As theologians (both professional and lay) it is helpful to understand the source of the narratives that are structuring conflicts and informing our sense of justice. In this course we will draw on Scripture, children’s stories, and other folk literature to understand how narratives shape our lives. Through a series of guided self-reflections, journal writing, and co-counseling exercises, participants will begin to uncover their own hidden and competing narratives of justice and reconciliation.

This seminar is being taught by David Anderson Hooker.

Theology of Reconciliation

At the heart of the gospel is the invitation to the ministry of reconciliation. It is a ministry that remembers creation’s original goodness and harmony, wrestles deeply with how sin causes that harmony to be distorted, and anticipates the day when every tribe, tongue, people, and nation will sing in symphony with the Triune God. By reflecting on God’s ministry of reconciliation as revealed in Scripture, interpreted in Christian tradition, and lived in community, we will better understand the significance of diversity in the world. This seminar hopes to stir a holy restlessness in the participants so that we will “run with perseverance” the race set before us in tune with God’s call in ever-changing, diverse, and multicultural societies.

This seminar is being taught by Edgardo Colόn-Emeric

Righteous Resistance: Models for Embracing Prophetic Reconciliation

Our nation continues to embrace narratives, ideologies, and traditions that are not invitational and embracing of all people regardless of race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. We are witnessing an aggressive and violent resurgence of what it means to be people of color in a colonized nation valuing white skin privileges. The resurgence is not a new phenomenon, but it is pervasive even within the Christian Church. This seminar will explore models that challenge traditional Christian ideologies through cultural-centered biblical and theological teaching. Time will be spent developing strategies to actively address oppressive systems and structures, and move from conversations on race and reconciliation to constructive social action. Through exploration and study we will learn how to dismantle racism and place all humans on the margins because God occupies the center of life and faith.

This seminar is being taught by Velda Love.

God Bless the Grass: Confronting Poverty and Classism in the Body of Christ

 “God bless the grass that grows through the cracks…,” Malvina Reynolds sings, painting a powerful image of resilience in the face of oppression. In this seminar, participants will learn how to become poverty abolitionists as they are invited to listen to the stories of the “grass that grows through the cracks.” Through engaged learning rooted in storytelling, song, poetry, and reflection, participants will be asked to see the world differently by learning from those who are experiencing poverty and oppression. Cohort members will begin before the course by reading Julia Dinsmore’s book, “My Name is Child of God, Not Those People.” Through the course of the seminar, participants will become poverty-informed as they learn how people have been divided and pitted against each other both today and in the past. They will also understand how each person is wounded by classism and the othering that is inherent in this structural violence. The course will end by asking participants to create their own “rule of life” where they name their commitments to join in the work to end chronic poverty in their context. 

This seminar is being taught by Julia Dinsmore.

Registration, Cost, & Scholarships

Registeristration for Summer Institute for Reconciliation June 4-8, 2018 is now closed.

 Please contact program coordinator Valerie Helbert if you have any questions.


The registration fee for the 2018 Summer Institute for Reconciliation is $500, which includes the cost of most meals. Lunch and dinner will be served buffet-style each day, Tuesday–Friday, with the exception of Thursday dinner, which is on your own. Monday’s dinner is also included in the meal plan. A light continental breakfast will be provided each morning, Tuesday–Friday.


We will accept admissions and scholarship applications on a rolling basis until May 1, 2018, as long as space and scholarship funds are available. Scholarship are only awarded to reduce registration fees. Please note that we do not offer any full-fee scholarships or financial support for travel or lodging.

Complete the scholarship application form online. 

Scholarship award decisions and registration discount codes will be communicated beginning Jan. 5, 2018. Please email with any questions related to scholarships.

Award Criteria:

Scholarship priority will be given to leaders who are actively involved in reconciliation ministry and who have both financial need and significant influence, or to emerging leaders with financial need.

Successful scholarship applicants will have a concrete plan to share what they learn at the Summer Institute within their circles of influence. We are particularly interested in applicants who have secured some funding from an outside source other than their personal funds.

Accommodations, Meals & Travel


All Summer Institute participants are responsible for making their own lodging arrangements. We have arranged for a special rate at the Hilton Hotel on Hillsborough Road, a full-service hotel located 2.2 miles from the Divinity School. Participants in the Duke Summer Institute will be eligible for the rate of $109 (plus 13.5% sales and occupancy tax) per night for a single room (1 king bed) or for a shared room (2 queen beds). This rate will be in effect until May 14, 2018, or until the room block is filled.

Two ways to make a reservation:

Hilton amenities:

  • Complimentary in-room high-speed internet access
  • Fitness room
  • Pool​
  • Complimentary shuttle service to and from Duke Divinity School
  • Free parking at the hotel
  • Complimentary printing service

If you would like to share a room with two queen beds (reducing your housing costs to $54.50 per night per person plus tax) but do not have a roommate, please contact us at  We will gladly put you in touch with other participants who are seeking a roommate. 


Lunch and dinner will be served buffet-style each day, Tuesday–Friday, with the exception of Thursday dinner, which is on your own. Monday’s opening dinner is also included in the meal plan. A light breakfast will be provided each morning, Tuesday–Friday. A morning coffee/tea break and an afternoon snack will also be provided Tuesday-Friday.

Additional options for local dining will be included in your participant information when you arrive.


Air Transportation

The nearest airport is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), a 20-minute drive to Duke University. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to and from the hotel. Super Shuttle Service runs from RDU airport to Duke University and the surrounding area. You can make a reservation online prior to your arrival to Duke (provided you have a credit card). There will also be taxi cabs waiting outside each terminal of the airport.

Rail Transportation

The Durham Train Station offers Amtrak service to and from Charlotte, Raleigh, Washington, D.C, New York City, and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.

Ground Transportation

Directions to Duke University


If you are staying at the Hilton Hotel, a free shuttle service will provide transportation to and from Duke Divinity School every day and a parking pass is not necessary or recommended due to limited parking available on campus. Local transportation will be arranged for any off-campus events during the week of the Institute.

If you are driving to the Summer Institute any day of the event, you must register and pay in advance for a pass to park on-campus. Parking passes may be picked up at the registration table on Monday, June 5. No extra passes will be available onsite.

There are two options for parking on campus:

1.) Green Zone Lot (map): 10-15 minute walk (no shuttle) to the Divinity School. Green Zone parking costs $22 for the week.
2.) Bryan Center Parking Garage (map): 3 minute walk to the Divinity School. Bryan Center parking costs $40 for the week.