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. 

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Luke Bretherton headshot in front of Goodson Chapel windows, in dark blue shirt jacket with light blue shirt

"This certificate is a great way for students to learn about and engage in forms of social transformation from a Christian basis and learn how such work connects to wider practices and approaches. It provides the theological frameworks, practical experience, spiritual formation, and relational support for students to undertake the often difficult and demanding work of everyday politics in order to bring about a more just and loving common life with and for others, particularly the marginalized and oppressed."

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.

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Requirements

Find detailed information about requirements and courses for current students (NetID required) »

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

  • Completion of one core course, chosen from approved list (current students: see Intranet for details)
  • Completion of one elective course in the Divinity School from approved list (current students: see Intranet for details)
  • Completion of one elective course focused on an area of policy or practice (e.g., healthcare, public health, environment, energy, food systems, schooling, prisons, housing, social work, social movements, public administration). This can be from courses offered either inside or outside the Divinity School as agreed with the certificate faculty directors (preference is given to courses external to the Divinity School);
  • Participation in one independent civic engagement or social action project or appropriate field education placement that involves some aspect of social, political, or economic witness as agreed in collaboration with the Office of Field Education and 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 1000-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast; and
  • It is recommended, but not required, that students participate in designated spiritual formation group and leadership training  (current students: see Intranet for details)
  • It is recommended, but not required, that the student undertake a version of the Industrial Areas Foundation’s 2-day or 5-day training (or equivalent with parallel networks such as Faith in Action). Access to this 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.

  • Completion of one core course, chosen from approved list (current students: see Intranet for details)
  • Completion of two elective courses in the Divinity School as agreed with the certificate faculty directors (current students: see Intranet for details)
  • Participation/volunteer in either one independent civic engagement initiative, social action project, initiative in your vocational sector, campaign for social justice, or community related church ministry 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 1500-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast in dialogue with and as they relate to the civic engagement/social action/ministry project participated in;
  • It is recommended, but not required, that the student undertake a version of the Industrial Areas Foundation’s 2-day or 5-day training (or equivalent with parallel networks such as Faith in Action). Access to this 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.

  • Completion of one core course, chosen from one of the following approved list (current students: see Intranet for details)
  • Completion of two elective courses in the Divinity School as agreed with the certificate faculty director (current students: see Intranet for details) 
  • 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 1500-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast, ideally as these points of reflection relate to some experience/involvement in civic or community engagement.
  • It is recommended, but not required, that the student participate/volunteer in one independent civic engagement or social action project or appropriate church placement that involves some aspect of social, political, or economic witness.

  • Complete at least 2 courses in the certificate area (current students: see Intranet for details).
  • Complete an assignment related to the aims and objectives of the certificate in a third course (arranged with instructor);
  • Participation/volunteer in either one independent civic engagement initiative, social action project, initiative in your vocational sector, campaign for social justice, or community related church ministry 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 1500-word reflection of key points of learning from the podcast that relate to and in dialogue with the civic engagement/social action/ministry project participated in; and
  • Complete a 1000-word summary about how the student’s current vocational work integrates with the specific concerns and focus of the certificate.