Friendship at the Margins:

A Fresh Approach to Mission

Duke Divinity School

September 24, 2010 to September 25, 2010


We invite you to join us for the Center for Reconciliation’s fourth annual Reconcilers Weekend (formerly called Teaching Communities Week).

When friendships across economic and class disparities become a central part of our lives, how does that change our perspective on mission, social justice, and evangelism? What difference does it make for friends who are poor? How does it change friends who are wealthy? What does it mean for the church, for reconciliation, and for the practice of ministry?

Models of Christian ministry among people who are poor or vulnerable often assume that the task of those with resources is to meet the needs of those who are poor.  But what if we all need one another?  Understanding friendship as a model for mission rearranges our assumptions.  When caring for someone in need is seen as an encounter with Jesus, a chance to walk on holy ground, our entire understanding of mission shifts.  There is no longer a “we” doing ministry for “them.” Instead, all of us are given an opportunity to be enveloped in God’s grace and mercy.

Over a two-day conference and a series of public events, Chris Heuertz (international director of Word Made Flesh, a community of contemplative activists serving Jesus among the poorest of the world’s poor) and Christine Pohl (professor of church in society at Asbury Theological Seminary and author of Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition) will introduce a fresh approach to ministry rooted in the conviction that friendship is a crucial Christian vocation that can bring reconciliation and healing to our broken world.

We will learn how unlikely friendships are at the center of an alternative paradigm for mission, where people are not objectified as potential converts but where we encounter one another in relationships of mutuality and reciprocity.  Local pastors and ministry practitioners will join Chris and Christine in helping us explore how friendships across the margins of society can create communities of righteousness and justice. You will leave with fresh insight into Christian mission and what it means to faithfully live out the calling of Christian reconciliation in your community today.

The Duke Center for Reconciliation recognizes that forming Christian leaders in the theology and practice of reconciliation requires a close relationship with living signs of hope, the faithful witnesses throughout the global church that embody deep wisdom about the ministry of reconciliation. Reconcilers Weekend (formerly called Teaching Communities Week), is an annual event that brings a leading practitioner and a leading theologian, each dedicated to a life of Christian reconciliation, to share their stories and wisdom at Duke Divinity School.  The program is designed to provide theological and ministry formation to students, pastors, lay Christians, and other ministry practitioners.


Christopher L. Heuertz

Christopher L. Heuertz is co-international executive director of Word Made Flesh, an organization that exists to serve Jesus among the poorest of the world's poor. An activist, author, and public speaker, Chris has traveled with his wife, Phileena, through nearly 70 countries working with the most vulnerable of the world's poor—Roma, children with AIDS, prostituted women and girls, recovering drug addicts, homeless children, and refugees. Chris is the author of Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World.

Christine D. Pohl

Christine D. Pohl (Ph.D., Emory University) is professor of church and society/Christian ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary.  Christine worked in various ministries, including advocacy and refugee resettlement, for 11 years before attending seminary. She currently serves as an occasional adviser for homeless shelters and refugee programs. She also has helped plant three churches and is currently assisting her brother in planting a church in Nicholasville, Ky.  Her books include Making Room and Living on the Boundaries.

Chris and Christine’s friendship dates back to the 1999 publication of Christine’s book Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition.  Chris found that Christine’s words spoke new life into the work of the Word Made Flesh community, and he wrote a note to tell her so.  To his surprise, she responded with a commitment to pray for the Word Made Flesh community as they sought friendship with Jesus among some of the world’s most vulnerable people.  In 2010, Chris and Christine coauthored the book Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission (InterVarsity Press), on which the content for this year’s Reconcilers Weekend is based.

Read more about our speakers in Faith & Leadership »


Weekend Conference Schedule

Friday, September 24

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Registration and Meet & Greet

Duke Divinity School

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.


York Room,
Duke Divinity School

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Chris Heuertz on “The Vocation of Relationship” and Christine Pohl on “Mutuality in Mission,” followed by Q & A

Goodson Chapel,
Duke Divinity School

Saturday, September 25

9:00 – 10:20 a.m.

Chris Heuertz on “Reconnecting Righteousness and Justice” and small group conversation

0016 Westbrook,
Duke Divinity School

10:20 – 10:45 p.m.

Break – snacks and coffee will be available


10:45 – 11:30 p.m.

Christine Pohl on “Naming the Ambiguities”

0016 Westbrook,
Duke Divinity School

Noon – 1:15 p.m.

Seminar Breakout Sessions over box lunches

Duke Divinity School classrooms

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Christine Pohl on “Keeping Hope and Holiness Alive” and Chris Heuertz on “Rethinking Margins and Center”

Goodson Chapel,
Duke Divinity School,

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.



2:45 – 4:00 p.m.

Panel discussion and Q & A

Goodson Chapel,
Duke Divinity School

4:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Closing Worship

Goodson Chapel,
Duke Divinity School

6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Dinner in local homes


Sunday, September 26

Conference participants are invited to worship with one of these two local congregations:

Chris Heuertz will preach at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, located at 917 Onslow Street, Durham. Worship begins at 10:45 a.m.

Christine Pohl will preach at Reconciliation United Methodist Church, meeting in the Healthy Start Academy at 807 W. Chapel Hill Street, Durham. Worship begins at 10:15 a.m.


Duke Divinity School Lecture

Monday, September 27

Noon – 1:20 p.m.

Lunch and Lecture

Alumni Memorial Common Room, Duke Divinity School

There is no charge for the Lunch and Lecture event, but please RSVP to by September 20

The following events are free and open to the public. No registration is required for those who are not participating in the weekend-long conference.

Friday, September 24, 2010

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Opening Presentation

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Locations and times TBA
Worship in local congregations
Chris Heuertz and Christine Pohl preaching

Monday, September 27, 2010

Noon – 1:20 p.m.
Lunch and Lecture at Duke Divinity School
There is no charge for this event, but please RSVP to by September 20, 2010.


Duke University is committed to providing access to programs for persons with disabilities. If you anticipate needing accommodations or have questions about physical access, please contact (919) 660-3578 in advance of the program.


Lodging reservations should be made directly with Durham motels or hotels.

  • Hilton Durham on Hillsborough Rd:
    $99 nightly rate, plus applicable taxes.
    Call (800) 445-8667
    Hilton offers a free shuttle to Duke.
    Ask for the Duke Divinity School rate
  • Duke Tower All Condominium Hotel on West Trinity Avenue:
    $85 nightly rate, plus applicable taxes
    Call (866) 385-3869 by August 24, 2010
    Duke Tower offers a free shuttle to Duke


  • 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. There is now Super Shuttle Service 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 DC, and New York City and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.
  • Ground Transportation
    Directions to Duke University


Parking will be available on September 24 – 26 in the Bryan Center Parking Garage. Participants who register for the weekend conference by September 8 will receive a pre-paid parking pass in the mail in advance of the conference. If you are not registered for the weekend conference, you will be responsible for paying your own parking fees upon entering the garage.

Pay parking for the lunch and lecture on September 27 will be available in Duke’s visitor parking. Please note that mid-day parking on campus can be difficult to find - plan to arrive early.

Things to Do in Durham

Visit many of Duke’s gifts of beauty including the Sarah P. Duke Gardens the Nasher Museum of Art, the Duke Lemur Center, and the famous home of Duke basketball, Cameron Indoor Stadium. Enjoy Durham’s flourishing downtown restaurant scene with dinner in a renovated warehouse or outdoor café.

Register by September 1, 2010 and save $10!

Early registration deadline: September 1, 2010
Final registration deadline: September 8, 2010

  • If you register by September 1, fees are $50 for the general public and $25 for full-time students.
  • After September 1, the fees are $60 for the general public and $25 for full-time students.
  • After September 8, register at the door for $65. We can accept cash or checks only at the door (no credit cards).

Print and mail registration form (doc)
All registration fees are non-refundable.


We have some scholarship funds available for participants who have financial need and who are actively involved in ministry. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship for the weekend conference, please complete the attached scholarship application and email it to by August 30. Please do not complete the online conference registration before receiving your scholarship award notification. You will be notified of your scholarship award by September 3.

Scholarship recipients will receive a reduced registration rate of $20.

Scholarship application form (doc)