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 closing worship and lunch on Friday, May 22, 2020.

The 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 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 dsignate their top three choices for seminars. Each participant will be enrolled in two seminars that meet 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 noon meals, one-on-one conversations with faculty, optional evening events, and access to the many resources of Duke University’s campus.



Website registration for the 2020 Summer Institute for Reconciliation will open at the end of February 2020.

Please contact program coordinator Valerie Helbert for more information, and/or to add your name to the 2020 registration contact list.


Accommodations, Meals & Travel


All Summer Institute participants are responsible for making their own lodging arrangements. We have arranged for a special rate at the Hilton Hotel on Hillsborough Road in Durham, N.C., a full-service hotel located 2.2 miles from the Divinity School. Participants in the Duke Summer Institute will be eligible for the rate of $119 (plus 13.5% sales and occupancy tax) per night for a single room (1 king bed) or for a shared room (2 queen beds). This rate will be in effect until April 30, 2020, or until the room block is filled.

How to make a reservation:

  • Phone:  Call 1-800-HILTONS (445-8667) and be sure to reference the Duke Divinity Summer Institute 2020.
  • Online: Link coming soon.

Hilton amenities:

  • Complimentary in-room, high-speed Internet access
  • Fitness room;
  • Pool​;
  • Complimentary shuttle service to and from Duke Divinity School;
  • Free parking at the hotel; and
  • Complimentary printing service.

If you would like to share a room with two queen beds (reducing your housing costs to $54.50 per night per person plus tax) but do not have a roommate, please contact us at We will gladly put you in touch with other participants who are seeking a roommate. 


Lunch will be served buffet-style each day, Tuesday–Friday. Monday’s opening dinner is also included in your registration.  A morning coffee/tea break and an afternoon snack will also be provided Tuesday-Friday.

Additional options for local dining will be included in your participant information when you arrive.


Air Transportation

The nearest airport is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), a 20-minute drive to Duke University. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to and from the hotel. Super Shuttle Service runs from RDU airport to Duke University and the surrounding area. You can make a reservation online prior to your arrival to Duke (provided you have a credit card). There will also be taxi cabs waiting outside each terminal of the airport.

Rail Transportation

The Durham Train Station offers Amtrak service to and from Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., Washington, D.C, New York City, and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.

Ground Transportation

Directions to Duke University


If you are staying at the Hilton Hotel, a free shuttle service will provide transportation to and from Duke Divinity School every day and a parking pass is not necessary or recommended due to limited parking available on campus. Local transportation will be arranged for any off-campus events during the week of the Institute.

If you are driving to the Summer Institute any day of the event, you must register and pay in advance for a pass to park on-campus. Parking passes may be picked up at the registration table on Monday, May 18. No extra passes will be available onsite.

Information about parking will be available at the end of February when registration opens.