Ministry in Church and Society

  • STH TC 529: Spiritual Autobiographies
    In the course, students will explore classic and contemporary spiritual autobiographies. These autobiographies reveal the diverse paths of religious seekers, the crises and epiphanies that became focal points of meaning and revelation. Students will learn about the practices of faith that sustained and challenged religious people from Augustine to Teresa of Avila to Tolstoy. Through close, empathetic, and critical examination of the texts, students will reflect on their own spiritual journeys and identities. They also will engage first-hand in the crafting of spiritual autobiography, and students will have the opportunity to work intensively in small groups throughout the writing and sharing process. Throughout the course, students will explore potential uses of spiritual autobiography as pathways of discernment and growth in congregational and retreat settings, small faith groups, spiritual formation and companionship.
  • STH TC 715: Introduction to Preaching
    An introduction to the theology and practice of preaching within the context of Christian ministry and worship. Students develop skills necessary for preparation, composition, delivery, and critique of sermons. Required of all M.Div. students in the Pastoral Ministry track.
  • STH TC 723: United Methodist Polity
    Covers the polity, structure, procedures, and ritual of the United Methodist Church along with the basic structure of and ecclesial concepts contained within its Book of Discipline. Designed to meet one of the requirements for membership in a UMC Annual Conference.
  • STH TC 796: Theology of the Streets
    This clinic combines both an intellectual and an experiential appreciation of ministry on the streets of Cambridge. Each week, students will spend ninety minutes in the classroom and two to three hours in fieldwork as participants and observers in an outdoor church for chronically homeless men and women. Field work placements will rotate among street outreach on Tuesday nights, Saturdays and Sunday, pastoral visits to homeless shelters, pastoral visits to meals programs and, as opportunity permits, pastoral visits to prisons, jails and hospitals. For more information, please contact the instructor, Jedediah Mannis, at
  • STH TC 801: Contextual Education I
    Supervised practice of ministry in a congregational setting or community agency combined with participation in a peer reflection-learning group focused on the integration of theology and practice. MDIV CORE REQUIREMENT. Background check is required.
  • STH TC 802: Contextual Education II
    Graduate Prerequisites: STH TC 801.
    Graduate Prerequisites: STH TC 801. Continues and presupposes STH TC 801 in the spring semester. MDIV CORE REQUIREMENT. Background check is required.
  • STH TC 803: Contextual Education III
    Normally continues STH TC 802 (see course description for TC 801). Can be taken for variable credit.
  • STH TC 804: Field Education IV
    Normally continues STH TC 803.
  • STH TC 807: UMC General Conference
    The quadrennial General Conference is the chief legislative body of the United Methodist Church. This course provides students with the opportunity to examine the critical role of the General Conference in the United Methodist tradition. In addition to examining the General Conference's impact upon the historical and theological identity of United Methodism, the course explores specific doctrinal, polity, and social issues that are on the agenda of the General Conference in the semester in which the course is offered. The course allows students the option of receiving additional credit for attending part of the General Conference sessions.
  • STH TC 808: Sermon Studio
    This class will be conducted like a studio class in theatrical performance where students are encouraged to take risks, be creative, and get immediate and interactive feedback on their work. While the sermon is not a performance piece, we deliver sermons to a culture that demands performance quality work from professional orators. Therefore, as preachers, we must approach the sermon with diligence, earnestness, and willingness to rigorously practice the craft. The Sermon Studio is a class designed to help students of homiletics further develop and practice the art form. Each three hour class will begin with a teaching topic from the primary text, and then we will have four to five half-hour segments for students to workshop sermons and get immediate feedback on their work. The goal of the class is to have students get up and preach as frequently as possible, so that they become more comfortable and adept with the art form. The class will seek to create an environment that emphasizes creativity, regular practice, and feedback as the primary means of developing artful and effective sermons.
  • STH TC 809: Leading Spiritual Formation Ministries
    This course provides a context to explore preparing and leading forms of spiritual formation ministries in diverse settings. It is grounded in the assumptions that (1) all aspects of life provide opportunities for strengthening our spiritual journey, and (2) a key task of the spiritual leader is to facilitate experiences that can help make those connections. The course offers guidance and practice in designing and leading such experiences, including retreats, small groups, and spiritual guidance. Foundations for spiritual formation ministries for children, youth, and families are also considered. Participants explore and reflect upon a variety of disciplines that ground and inform such leadership. A key task of the course is providing an opportunity for participants to identify and critically reflect upon their own theological and pedagogical perspectives and how those influence their practice of ministry.
  • STH TC 810: The Pastoral Life
    This class is intended to help seminarians entering pastoral ministry develop effective strategies that will allow them to fully enjoy the richness and beauty of their vocation.
  • STH TC 811: Pastoral Leadership
    The aim of the course is to prepare the student, at the basic professional level, in the primary forms of pastoral leadership. On completing the course, the student should have gained professional confidence and reflective competence in these areas of pastoral leadership: conversation and visitation; preaching and teaching; stewardship and development; administration and lay preparation; conflict resolution and systems analysis; evangelism and youth\children's ministry.
  • STH TC 813: Spirituality and Ministry in Multicultural Contexts
    This course examines Christian spirituality as it is related to ministry in multicultural contexts. Drawing upon different contexts in which church ministry is engaged, the course explores how spirituality is situated and developed in those contexts. The course also focuses on how to practice "contemplative ministry" in congregational settings.
  • STH TC 814: The Jazz of Preaching: How to Preach with Great Freedom and Joy
    An exploration of preaching preparation and performance in dialogue with the jazz hallmarks of improvisation, call and response, swing, and other central elements of jazz. Special emphasis will be placed on cultivating preaching imagination, creativity, and joy. Course includes in-class preaching.
  • STH TC 816: Homiletical Options and Homiletic Analysis
    This course is an advanced homiletics seminar that in alternate years either reviews contemporary homiletic theory ("Homiletical Options") or explores practices of sermon analysis ("Homiletical Analysis"). Pre-requisite: TC715 ("Introduction to Preaching") or its equivalent.
  • STH TC 817: Introduction to Christian Worship
    An introduction to the spirit and structure of Christian worship. Word, sacraments, calendar, music, and pastoral offices are analyzed and described in terms of their relevance to congregational life, spirituality, catechesis, and mission.
  • STH TC 819: The Sacraments: Rites and Theologies
    Contemporary study of the sacraments brings together ritual studies, liturgical history, the history of dogma, and systematic reflection. This course examines the baptismal and eucharistic rites of the Church, both past and present, along with theological rationales of and commentaries on them offered by ecclesiastic writers of the patristic, medieval, Reformation, and modern periods.
  • STH TC 821: The Gospel and Empire
    This course explores the relationship between Christianity and empire both historically and theologically. While the broader context for the course is the mutual shaping of empire and Christianity as the Christian movement has spread throughout the world, Cuba will provide a case study for reflecting on how this shaping has taken place on that island in relation to particular imperial influences.
  • STH TC 823: Spiritual Guidance in the Christian Tradition
    Are you seeking a "word of life"? Do you hunger to know more about the wisdom of Christian spiritual traditions? Do you feel called to grow in your ability to guide others? In this course students will explore selected writings from the Christian tradition -- both classic and contemporary. They will read the pithy sayings of the early desert abbas and ammas, the gentle counsel of Francis de Sales, the spiritual teaching of John Wesley and his mother Susanna, and the insights of the Russian pilgrim who wanted to pray without ceasing. They will analyze the various theological commitments reflected in these authors' spiritual teachings, and place them in their historical contexts. Then they will move to contemporary texts about the practice of spiritual guidance, addressing concerns such as spiritual direction of women, group spiritual direction, prayer, and cross-cultural spiritual guidance.