The Certificate in Faith-based Organizing, Advocacy, and Social Transformation is for students seeking to engage in campaigning and advocacy work, community organizing, community development, and related forms of social, political, and economic witness from a Christian basis. Such work can either be a part of congregational ministry; local, national, or international nonprofit work; social justice activism; or involve the delivery and governance of public education, health, welfare, or housing. 

The certificate provides a pathway to the kinds of learning and formation needed for this work, builds connections with others with a similar sense of vocation, and provides expertise and learning opportunities in the Divinity School, the Ormond Center, the broader university, the surrounding community, and with alumni all over the world. In short, the certificate provide a framework for students seeking to learn how to address the political dimensions of cultivating thriving communities.

This certificate is for those seeking a path to explore their interests with more flexibility and with a less time-intensive and financially demanding commitment than a formal joint-degree program. Students can earn this certificate as a part of the M.Div. (residential and hybrid), M.T.S., or M.A. in Christian Practice programs.

Drawing on the resources of Duke Divinity School and Duke University, students have specific coursework requirements, internship and spiritual formation opportunities (M.Div. only), as well as extra-curricular leadership training.

Requirements

Requirements for the Residential M.Div.

  • Completion of one core course, chosen from one of the following (more may be added):
    • XTIANETH 813: Listen, Organize, Act! Christian Responses to Politics and Poverty
    • PARISH 792: The Church and Thriving Communities 
    • WXTIAN 845: Conflict Transformation: Theology, Theory and Practice
  • One elective course in the Divinity School from the below list of courses
  • One elective course outside the Divinity School: Electives external to the Divinity School
  • Independent civic engagement or social action project or appropriate Field Education placement that involves some aspect of social, political, or economic witness.
  • Listen to all episodes of the first series of the "Listen, Organize, Act!" podcast (available from the Ormond Center website) and write a 500-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast to be submitted to the faculty director.
  • Participation in designated spiritual formation group and leadership training: Students may choose the "The Bereans" or the “Sustaining Practices for Work on the Margins” group, the latter draws in those undertaking the Certificate in Prison Studies. Participation is negotiable for those whose denominational requirements make this requirement impossible.
  • It is recommended, but not required, that students undertake a version of the Industrial Areas Foundation’s five-day training (or equivalent with parallel networks such as Faith in Action). Access to this training can be arranged (and is free) via a church or organization in membership with an organizing network.

Hybrid M.Div. Requirements

  • Completion of one core course, chosen from one of the following (more may be added):
    • XTIANTHE 813: Listen, Organize, Act! Christian Responses to Politics and Poverty
    • PARISH 792: Cultivating Thriving Communities
    • WXTIAN 845: Conflict Transformation: Theology, Theory and Practice
  • Completion of two elective courses in the Divinity School as agreed with the certificate faculty director
  • Participation in one independent civic engagement or social action project or appropriate church placement that involves some aspect of social, political, or economic witness as agreed in collaboration with the faculty directors;
  • Listen to all episodes of the first series of the “Listen, Organize, Act!” podcast (available from the Ormond Center website) and write a 500-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast; and
  • It is recommended, but not required, that the student undertake a version of the Industrial Areas Foundation’s five-day training (or equivalent with parallel networks such as Faith in Action). Access to this free training can be arranged via a church or organization in membership with an organizing network.
  • It is recommended but not required, that students undertake the Summer Institute for Reconciliation.

M.T.S. Requirements

  • Completion of one core course, chosen from one of the following (more may be added):
    • Christian Ethics 813 (Listen, Organize, Act! Christian Responses to Politics and Poverty);
    • Parish 792 (Cultivating Thriving Communities);
    • World Christianity 845 (Conflict Transformation: Theology, Theory and Practice); and
  • Completion of two elective courses in the Divinity School as agreed with the certificate faculty director
  • Write a thesis on a topic related to the certificate, as negotiated with faculty directors.
  • Listen to all episodes of the first series of the “Listen, Organize, Act!” podcast (available from the Ormond Center website) and write a 500-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast.

M.A. in Christian Practice Requirements

  • Complete at least 2 electives in the certificate area. Relevant M.A. in Christian Practice electives:
    • XTIANTHE 813: Listen, Organize, Act!
    • PARISH 792: Cultivating Thriving Communities
    • WXTIAN 845: Conflict Transformation: Theology, Theory and Practice 
  • Complete an assignment related to the certificate in a third course (arranged with instructor).
  • Listen to all episodes of the first series of the "Listen, Organize, Act!" podcast (available from the Ormond Center website) and write a 500-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast
  • Complete a 1000-word summary of how the student’s current vocational work integrates with the specific concerns and focus of the certificate.

Approved Electives

  • BCS 763 (The Life and Thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • PARISH 792 (Cultivating Thriving Communities)
  • PARISH 802 (Prophetic Ministry: Shaping Communities of Justice)
  • PARISH 807 (The Theology and Spirituality of Place)
  • PARISH 809 (Restorative Justice, Prison Ministry, and the Church)
  • PASTCARE 761 (Introduction to the Ministry of Social Work)
  • WXTIAN 845 (Conflict Transformation: Theology, Theory and Practice)
  • XTIANETH 813 (Listen, Organize, Act! Christian Responses to Politics and Poverty)
  • XTIANETH 814 (Christianity and Capitalism: A Theological Exploration
  • XTIANETH 890 (Social Justice, Public Policy and Political Theology)
  • XTIANTHE 841 (Political Theology)
  • XTIANTHE 842 (Womanist Theological Ethics)

Forms and information for current students »

For more information about the certificate, contact the certificate co-directors:

Luke Bretherton
Robert E. Cushman Professor of Moral & Political Theology
luke.bretherton@duke.edu
(919) 660-3497

Nina Balmaceda
Consulting Professor; Associate Director for the Center for Reconciliation
nbalmaceda@div.duke.edu