The Course of Study at Duke — and at seven other United Methodist seminaries — is offered as an alternative to traditional seminary. But no one would call it a shortcut.
Administered under the guidelines and authority of the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the program serves those for whom traditional theological education at a seminary is not feasible.
Five years of basic classes cover the historic disciplines and the arts of ministry, but ordination through the Course of Study curriculum requires at least 12 years of study — plus additional years of service in a congregation.
“These folks’ commitment to the church and to their studies is impressive,” says Nathan Kirkpatrick D’03 of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity. “After completing the five-year program, many of our students complete another 32 hours of graduate credit through our advanced program to be eligible for ordination.”
Several Course of Study alumni have been ordained and received into membership in full connection in United Methodist annual conferences.
Duke will educate almost 300 students this year through summer and weekend Course of Study, making it one of the largest programs in the country. This summer’s program concluded July 30 with closing convocation for the 150 students in Duke Chapel.
The Divinity School is among nine seminaries featured in “Seminary 2.0: Retooling seminaries for the world of today — and tomorrow” in the current (September-October 2009) edition of Sojourners magazine. Alumna Christa Mazzone Palmberg D’09, who was interviewed for the article, comments on Duke Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation and its Certificate Program in Gender, Theology, and Ministry.
“You know, Israelites invented the weekend. And for
that we remain truly thankful.”
— Ellen Davis, Kearns professor of Bible and practical theology, regarding the Sabbath, as an aside in a story about the Israelites in Babylonian captivity, July 14
“In Christ, God decided to tie God’s self with you.
There is nowhere for you to fly so far that God cannot
find you and hold you close. Where you go, God goes.”
— Kate Bowler, speaking to the 43 Duke Youth Academy students at the July 15 plenary
“It’s kinda like a lifetime warranty on all covenants.”
— DYA student, considering the concept of covenant, the July 15 theme, in Psalm 40
“Excuse me. You have on a Methodist cross, you’re carrying a rosary, and you’re
reading a book of Midrash. … What are you doing here?”
— Divinity School Library visitor, questioning a student emerging from July 21 workshops where students explored lectio and visio divina, praying the rosary, and praying the Psalms
“Now that we are God’s ‘new creation’…we have been given a new name: Christian.
Make it count.”
— Rev. Shane Benjamin D’06, leading worship July 22, Asbury Temple UMC, Durham, N.C.
“Everyone wants a revolution, but nobody wants to do the dishes.”
— July 22 plenary speaker Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove D’06 of Rutba House, an intentional Christian community in Durham’s Walltown neighborhood, encouraging students to do everyday things for the glory of God
*For a full account, read DYA’s Daily Journal
2010 DYA: June 20 - July 3, 2010; Applications due: March 5, 2010
“We need you to get in the habit of forming questions that cause us to take a step back from our assumptions. I do not think it accidental that the most interesting leaders I have encountered over the years — intellectually within disciplines and professionally among a wide variety of occupations — have been people who ask great questions. The best students I have taught do so as well. They don’t only think outside the box; they are willing to ask questions without a box at all.”
— Dean L. Gregory Jones’s Aug. 19, 2009, opening convocation address to Duke’s graduate and professional schools
New research shows that the influence of congregations and denominational polity is so strong that pastors’ efforts to be healthy are likely to be enhanced — or thwarted — as a result.
The findings, published in April in the Journal of Religion and Health, are based on an analysis of conversations with 88 United Methodist pastors and district superintendents conducted by the Duke Clergy Health Initiative.
The analysis revealed that programs to improve clergy health should address the multiple conditions that contribute to health, especially conditions created by congregations and denominational polities.
Pastors reported that stress is created at some churches due to congregational conflict and unhealthy church dynamics. In contrast, participants also noted that support from churches can benefit a pastor’s health.
The Duke Clergy Health Initiative, funded by the Rural Church Division of The Duke Endowment, conducted a series of focus groups across North Carolina involving both congregational pastors and district superintendents. Learn more at Faith & Leadership.
The Study Leave for Ministry Professionals offers a week at Duke University for self-directed study, worship, and prayer. This opportunity is open to ministry professionals from all Christian denominations and communions.
Clergy, Christian educators, church musicians, deacons, elders, lay professionals, lay speakers, parish nurses, program directors, and youth directors are invited to apply.
Participants will have full access to the university and divinity libraries and to community worship and lecture opportunities. Arrangements will be made for class auditing and for conversations with the Divinity School faculty as appropriate to the topic of study.
Remaining fall semester dates include Nov. 9–13 and Nov. 16–20.
Spring semester dates are: Jan. 25–29, Feb. 8–12, March 1–5, March 22–26, and April 5–9.
Clergy serving Duke Endowment churches are eligible for scholarships from the Rural Church Division of The Duke Endowment.