“Seek the shalom of the city I’ve brought you to”
The Ormond Center, an initiative at Duke Divinity School, seeks to equip congregations and their communities to work together for the thriving of all. The Ormond Center does this by working across the Divinity School and Duke University more broadly to catalyze innovative leadership that revitalizes the church and fosters thriving communities.
Current Context and Animating Questions
From racial justice to COVID-19, climate change, culture wars, and economic inequality, the question of what it means and takes to thrive in the contemporary world is one of the most urgent questions of our time. Yet the available answers and standard prescriptions have never seemed so impoverished or ineffective to so many.
We believe this is precisely the moment to reimagine what “thriving” can be, and for whom, in more just and sustainable ways. We believe that Christian congregations have a critical role to play in the work of reimagining thriving in their communities, both as living expressions of the body of Christ and as vital community institutions among others.
Three fundamental questions animate the center’s mission to reimagine what thriving can be in this time:
- What does it take for congregations and communities to thrive in today’s world—and crucially, who does and does not get to thrive?
- How do congregations and their communities work together to build enduring solutions to present challenges for the thriving of all their members?
- How can communities of faith draw on their distinctive traditions and histories to contribute to our collective understanding of what thriving can be in our time?
Ormond Centers of Excellence
In its launch year, the Ormond Center is starting out with four distinct yet overlapping Centers of Excellence. Within these areas of concentration, frontiers of research and frontiers of practice come together to equip congregations and communities to work together for the thriving of all. The Ormond Center equips through its key activities of translational research, teaching and training, convening around innovative practice, and storytelling.
Our Centers of Excellence:
- Clergy and Congregational Well-being: Healthy congregations need healthy clergy. The Ormond Center seeks to improve the mental, physical, and spiritual flourishing of clergy and congregations for the benefit of their communities.
- Congregational Placemaking: Congregations play a vital role in the ecology of their communities as physical gathering places and local anchor institutions. The Ormond Center equips congregations with the resources and skills to reimagine how their property can serve their community and expand their mission.
- Leadership of Common Good Institutions: Institutions have a profound impact on communities, for better or worse. As institutions face crisis, leaders can transform the narrative by restoring hope in institutions and justice in communities. The Ormond Center equips Christian leaders of public and private institutions to seek the common good.
- Transformational Social Enterprise: Faith-animated social enterprise and investment offer unique solutions to ending extreme poverty, redressing historical inequities, and boosting shared prosperity. The Ormond Center equips enterprises and investors motivated by their faith to address social concerns and revitalize the social enterprise field.
Sample of Current Projects
- Clergy Health Initiative Field Guide
- Produce a comprehensive field guide that maps the trends and frontiers of practice for the national clergy health movement
- Mapping NC Faith Communities
- Map the congregational landscape of North Carolina, across denominations and regions
- Community Craft
- Build a curriculum that enables institutional leaders to craft more effective and holistic civic responses to the needs and opportunities of their neighborhoods
- Enterprise Solutions to Poverty Field Guide
- Research, publish, and promote the first-ever survey of Enterprise Solutions to Poverty that will map trends across the field social entrepreneurship, highlight leading approaches and models, and identify pressing gaps and obstacles to enterprise-based solutions