Monday, May 18, 2020 - 4:30pm to Friday, May 22, 2020 - 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. Since God’s ministry of reconciliation is entrusted to all Christians, the institute is designed to cultivate leaders who “carry the marks of Jesus” on their body (cf. Galations 6:17). These cross-shaped or cruciform reconcilers will have a robust vision and practice of Christian reconciliation that is faithful to the scriptural witness, discerning of the signs of the times, and sensitive to the life of the church. 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). As an integral part of the Divinity School at Duke University and rooted in a Christian vision of God’s ministry of reconciliation, the institute aims to serve the academy, the church, and the world.

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 and liberation.

The questions are:

  • New Creation — “Reconciliation toward what end?”: This is a question relating to the goal, the end toward which reconciliation leads. If we think about reconciliation as a journey, this first day anchors us in our destination. Where does this journey end? This question invites the participant to form a scriptural imagination of the gift of new creation.
  • Lament  —  “Where are we and how did we get here?”: This is a question of context, which seeks to get to a clearer and deeper understanding of the specific challenges through seeing, naming, and standing in the brokenness. What are the historic markers that lead us to our current context? How has the past shaped the present? This question invites the participant to develop the gift and discipline of lament.
  • Hope  — “What does liberation look like?”: This is a question of process, which highlights models, stories, and experiments that shape and sustain a new future in our context. We understand liberation and reconciliation to be concurrent processes. Where can we see signs pointing toward liberation? The question invites the participant into a vision, imagination, and capacity for hope leading toward liberation and reconciliation.
  • Calling“Why me, and why bother?”: This is a question of purpose, which explores issues of personal and communal formation, vocation, and mission. We understand that all Christians have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, although specific responses to this call may be varied. How have individuals and communities faithfully responded to this call? What practices, rhythms, and life-styles sustain people and communities, even in the face of challenges and obstacles, so they might continue working to achieve this goal? This question invites the participant to reflect on their calling to live as cruciform reconcilers.

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; and
  • Every follower of Jesus Christ seeking to become an ambassador of God’s healing and wholeness


The institute begins Monday, May 18, 2020 with registration, dinner, worship, and an opening plenary at Duke Divinity School. It concludes with a closing banquet on Friday evening, May 22, 2020.

See the 2019 preliminary schedule (pdf) for an anticipated outline of the week. A 2020 schedule will be posted in the spring.

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
Other activities include shared meals, one-on-one conversations with faculty, some evenings with community-building events, a free evening to explore downtown Durham, N.C., 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.

2019 Institute Faculty

Edgardo Colón-Emeric  Dr. Edgardo Colon-Emeric

Edgardo A. Colón-Emeric is the Irene and William McCutchen Associate Professor of Reconciliation and Theology, director of the Center for Reconciliation, and senior strategist for the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. He is an ordained elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference. 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 most recent book, Óscar Romero’s Theological Vision: Liberation and the Transfiguration of the Poor, was published in October 2018 by Notre Dame Press. His research interests focus on the intersections of dogmatic theology and Hispanic questions.

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

David Emmanuel GoatleyDr David Goatley
Professor David Goatley is a constructive theologian whose scholarship and practice is at the intersection of missiology, Black Theology, and leadership strategy. A globally recognized missiologist, he emphasizes cross-cultural experiential learning with indigenous communities to deepen understanding, broaden horizons, and strengthen Christian discipleship and leadership formation. He is ordained in the National Baptist Convention, USA, and serves in leadership capacities with the NAACP, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society, and the Baptist World Alliance and the World Council of Churches. In addition to articles, essays, and book chapters, Goatley is editor of Black Religion, Black Theology: Collected Essays of J. Deotis Roberts (2003) and authored Were You There? Godforsakenness in Slave Religion (1996, 2007), A Divine Assignment: The Missiology of Wendell Clay Somerville (2010), and Missions Is Essential (2011). His current research projects include leadership development informed by liberation theology, contemporary missiology and strength-based organizational theory, Black Baptist missiology, and African-American pneumatology.

Goatley will be the plenary speaker on the theme of Hope on Thursday, June 6.

L. Gregory JonesDean Greg Jones
L. Gregorgy Jones is serving as dean of Duke Divinity School, a position he also held from 1997-2010. He also is the A. Morris and Ruth W. Williams Distinguished Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School. He is the author or editor of seventeen books, including the acclaimed Embodying Forgiveness, co-authored the book Forgiving as We’ve Been Forgiven (with Célestin Musekura), and most recently Christian Social Innovation. He is an ordained United Methodist elder in the Western North Carolina Conference, and he is widely known for his work on forgiveness and reconciliation, leadership and innovation, and Christian ministry. He and his wife, the Rev. Dr. Susan Pendleton Jones, have written several studies together on themes related to Christian life and practice.

Jones will be the plenary speaker on the theme of New Creation on Tuesday, June 4.

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 and will also be the plenary speaker on the theme of Lament on Wednesday, June 5.

Adam PerezAdam Perez
Adam Perez is a half Cuban-, half Dutch-American doctoral student who studies music, culture, and contemporary praise and worship at Duke Divinity School. He holds a B.A. in music education from Trinity Christian College (outside of Chicago, Ill.) and an M.A. in religion and music at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Most recently, Periz served as interim minister of music at All Saints’ United Methodist Church (NC) and is returning for the second year as worship director for the Summer Institute for Reconciliation. He is a regular contributor to the Center for Congregational Song blog ( and his writing has been published in Reformed WorshipThe HymnChristian Scholar’s Review, and Perspectives (now Reformed Journal). Perez is a contributing author to Essays on the History of Contemporary Praise and Worship, edited by Duke Divinity School Professor Lester Ruth forthcoming from Wipf & Stock. He also serves as an Endorsed Worship Coach for the CRCNA.

Perez serves as the worship director for the Summer Institute for Reconciliation.

Célestin MusekuraRev. Celestin Musekura, PhD
Célestin Musekura is an ordained Baptist minister and the president and founder of the African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries, Inc. (ALARM). Born and raised in Rwanda, Musekura received a Master of Divinity at the Africa International University (AIU), a Master of Sacred Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, a Master of Science in Justice Administration and Leadership at the University of Texas at Dallas, and a Ph.D. in theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and Criswell College in Dallas. He also serves on the faculty of the Great Lakes Institute (GLI) in Kampala, Uganda, and as a visiting lecturer in the Doctorate of Ministry program at AIU. An international speaker and author, Musekura’s published works include Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Peace, co-authored with L. Gregory Jones. Musekura currently lives in Dallas, serving the ALARM U.S. office for part of his time, and spending the rest of his time in East and Central Africa training and equipping Christian leaders for the Church and community in servant leadership, discipleship and church administration, biblical justice, peacebuilding, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Musekura will be the plenary speaker on the theme of Calling on Friday, June 7.

Matthew SoerensMatthew Soerens
Matthew Soerens serves as the U.S. director of church mobilization for World Relief and as the national coordinator for the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of evangelical organizations of which World Relief is a founding member. Soerens is the co-author of Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis (Moody Publishers, 2016) and Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (InterVarsity Press, 2018). He has also written for various print and online publications, including Christianity Today, The New York Times, USA TODAY,, Sojourners and The Gospel Coalition. He has been honored for his advocacy on behalf of immigrant communities by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, and the White House. Soerens earned his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Illinois and a master’s degree from DePaul University’s School of Public Service.

Soerens will be co-teaching the Welcoming the Stranger seminar with Jenny Yang.

Jonathan Wilson-HartgroveJonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (M.Div., Duke Divinity School) is a writer, preacher, and moral activist. He and his wife, Leah, founded the Durham, N.C.-based Rutba House, a house of hospitality where the formerly homeless are welcomed into a community that eats, prays, and shares life together. He directs the School for Conversion, a nonprofit that pursues beloved community and a is a national steering committee member for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. He is also an associate minister at the historically black St. John's Missionary Baptist Church. Wilson-Hartgrove is the coauthor, with the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, of The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement and author most recently of Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom From Slaveholder Religion.

Wilson-Hartgrove will be teaching the Moral Revolution of Values seminar.

Jenny YangJenny Yang
Jenny Yang serves as the senior vice president for advocacy and policy at World Relief. She previously worked in World Relief refugee resettlement program as the senior case manager and East Asia program officer, where she focused on advocacy for refugees in the East Asia region and managed the entire refugee caseload for World Relief. Prior to World Relief, she worked at one of the largest political fundraising firms in Maryland managing fundraising and campaigning for local politicians. She is co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate, serves as chair of the Refugee Council USA Africa Work Group, and was named one of the “50 Women to Watch” by Christianity Today.

Yang will be co-teaching the Welcoming the Stranger seminar with Matthew Soerens.



Website registration for the 2020 Summer Institute for Reconciliation will open in January 2020.

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