Wednesday, May 12, 2021 (All day) to Friday, May 14, 2021 (All day)
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. Galatians 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 in 2021 will be online due to the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This year's institute will consist of daily, two-hour virtual plenary sessions (Common Journey) led by preeminent scholars and practitioners in the fields of theology and reconciliation, and allowing for interactive discussion and Q&A. Additionally, there will be a daily 90-minute panel discussion (Round Table) that will draw on diverse voices and perspectives from our partners at the Duke Divinity School and around the world. Speakers use scriptural interpretation, theology, and storytelling to weave a rich tapestry of reflection that is theological, contextual, and practical.

The learning and formation that takes place at the Summer Institute for Reconciliation builds 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 being explored in our Common Journey this year 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 & Liberation“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.

Our Round Table topics are:

  • Moving from a school with a Center for Reconciliation to a school that is a center for reconciliation
    • Panel highlights voices from Duke Divinity School;
  • The Work of Reconciliation Around the World: Challenges and Opportunities
    • Panel highlights voices from partner reconciliation initiatives (Great Lakes in Africa, Northeast Asia, The Americas); and
  • Reflections on the Papal Encyclical "Fratelli tutti"
    • Panel highlights Catholic and Protestant voices from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

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 2021 Summer Institute for Reconciliation will take place daily via Zoom on May 12-14, 2021.

Registration link and information about speakers will be announced soon.

Wednesday, May 12

  • Common Journey plenary on New Creation: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Evening Round Table: 7 to  8:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 13

  • Common Journey plenary on Lament: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Evening Round Table: 7 to  8:30 p.m.

Friday, May 14

  • Morning Round Table: 9 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Common Journey plenary on Hope & Liberation: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Registration for the 2021 Summer Institute for Reconciliation will be open soon.

There is no cost for the institute in 2021 since it is a virtual event.