The Center for Reconciliation offers a reconciliation-centered spiritual formation group for residential students at Duke Divinity School. The Berean Cohort (CHURMIN 708) aims to form students into transformative Christian leaders who are deeply prepared for the mission of reconciliation in the church, academy, and world by connecting to and building on Duke Divinity School’s programs of teaching and learning. Students who participate in the cohort can expect to gain the following:

  • an opportunity to learn from CFR staff Valerie Helbert;
  • a deepened understanding of the interconnectedness of reconciliation work, vocational ministry, and Christian faith and practice; and
  • an awareness of the Word Made Flesh methodology as a framework to understand and participate in God's mission of reconciliation.

Through participation in a series of activities (regular seminar meetings, retreat, spring pilgrimage, and Summer Institute for Reconciliation), Bereans will deepen their vision of reconciliation and form a community of support with a sense of shared journey and mission. Bereans will also be encouraged to attend events and community-wide activities sponsored by the CFR. The cohort will remain small (up to 10 students) to ensure an intimate and meaningful journey for each participant in the program.

Berean Cohort participation includes a full year commitment. Contact Valerie Helbert for more information.

Why “The Bereans”? 

The Bereans mentioned in Acts 17:10-15 were members of the Jewish diaspora living in the city of Berea in Macedonia, today’s Northern Greece. Paul and Silas preached to them during Paul’s second missionary journey. The context of this encounter was one of conflict and even violence against the early Christians, but the Bereans had a humbler and more positive attitude when they heard the message than other groups.  

The Bereans are described by Luke in verse 11 as more receptive (NRSV), open-minded (NLV), fair-minded (NKJ), of more noble character (NIV), more willing to listen (NCV), because they were not quick to condemn. In fact, they demonstrated that they were eager to learn but they would not accept any doctrine without considering it carefully in the light of the Scriptures.   

They are particularly remembered in the New Testament as a group of God-fearing people who listened to the teachings of Paul and Silas and, as a community, searched the Scriptures to examine the content of what they had heard. Their diligent attitude led them to faith in Jesus of Nazareth.