The Master of Arts Degree Program
The Master of Arts degree program at Hartford Seminary provides an opportunity for persons of all backgrounds to deepen and broaden their faith understandings, to reflect on the challenge of diversity in a dialogical setting, and to meaningfully relate religious theory and spiritual practice to the context in which faith communities exist in daily life, community and the world at large.
The program is designed for persons who want to increase their knowledge and develop their skills in religious leadership and the practice of ministry in daily life while pursuing specific interests in an area of focused study.
Ministry In Daily Life
Rooted in the conviction that one’s entire life reflects a sense of vocation and the drive to serve God, students choosing this area of focused study are encouraged to take courses that invite reflection on the application of faith to life and that equip the student to serve both the faith community and the world more effectively. This area of focused study… may be the appropriate selection for those seeking to develop or enhance their ministry in a non-ordained form.
From the Hartford Seminary Master of Arts Brochure-2003
- To provide an introduction to thinking theologically about ministry.
- To develop conceptual and academic skills for success in graduate course work.
- To cultivate useful collegial relationships and support strategies to nourish meaningful education for ministry.
- To identify and examine one’s personal call to ministry and its practice in contemporary church and society.
- To learn how to integrate biblical, theological, liturgical and pastoral understandings of ministry.
- To learn how to reflect critically and prayerfully on one’s own experience in ministry and on the wider social context.
- To learn how to communicate effectively in verbal and written forms.
- To learn how to discern one’s own vocation and to sustain the necessary confidence and skill to carry out that ministry.
CLASS SCHEDULE AND ASSIGNMENTS
February 1 - Introductions and overview of the course
Distribution and discussion of “Vocation” – by L. Gregory Jones
February 8 - The Context – And Authority – Of the Laity
Read: The Laity in Biblical Perspective (Gillespie)
The Authority of the Laity (Dozier)
Due: A one-page description of how work relates to your ministry.
February 15 - The Daily Life Context of Faith and Ministry
Read: Where in the World Are You? (Everist and Vos)
Due: A one-page answer to the question: “Where and how does God use you in your daily life?”
February 22 - Ministry in Today’s Turbulent Religious Context
Read: God’s Politics: “Why the Right Gets It Wrong, and the Left Doesn’t Get It.” (Wallis)
Two Articles ( Christian Century reprints)
- Hanging in There : “Why Conservatives Need Liberals” (Mouw)
- Strange Company : “Why Liberals Need Conservatives” (Wheeler)
Due: A one-page reflection about what you think religious spilt among Christians in America (liberal vs. conservative – right vs. left) is doing to our society.
March 1 - Ministry in Interfaith Context
Read: Not Without My Neighbor: “Issues In Interfaith Relations” (Ariarajah)
Article: “Jews, Muslims and Peace” (Landau and Hendi)
Class Guest: Mr. Abdullah T. Antepli, Coordinator of Islamic Chaplaincy & Interfaith Relations
Due: A two page introduction to a person of a different faith. In an interfaith dialogue with that person where do you think you would find common ground, and what key issues of difference might emerge?
Conduct, and report, - in two pages – an interview with a person of a different faith. Where did you discover common ground? What appeared to be the key differences between you? How might an interfaith dialogue be established?
Note: Members of the class will be asked to take the MBTI (Meyers Briggs Instrument home and return it at the next class.)
March 8 - Ministry and Spirituality
Read: The Active Life (Palmer)
Due: Using no more than two pages write a short prayer that expresses your understanding of ministry and spirituality and then an interpretation of a key passage of scripture that gives meaning to your faith and sense of ministry.
** Return completed MBTI instruments.
March 15 - Ministry in Personal Context
Guest: Ms. Julia Browne, Career Development Counselor, Connecticut College, New London, CT
Due: A two page biographical sketch of a lay person who practices his or her faith in ways that you admire.
March 22 & 29 - Ministry in Action: Case Studies
Due: Case Description – On the day you present, bring a one-page description of a situation or incident when you engaged in ministry and/or solved a problem, or a reflection on the most unresolved relationship in your life. (The class will be divided into small groups. Half of the cases will be discussed on March 22.) On the week after you have presented your case, please turn in another one-page reflection paper summarizing learnings and insights about ministry, which you gained from the discussion.
Reading assignment for these two weeks: Let Your Life Speak (Palmer)
April 5 - Ministry and the Justice Context
Read: Jesus and the Disinherited (Thurman)
Christ Outside the Gate (Costas)
Chapter 7, Response to the Cry of Latin America
Due: Using newspaper articles, magazines, or working on the World Wide Web, choose one contemporary issue where you believe that understandings of justice and injustice should inform your call into ministry. Write a one-page reflection on why this is your conviction.
Class Guest: Ms. Gwen Lewis, Writing Associate
April 12 No Class
April 19 The Theological Context of Ministry
Read: Becoming a Thinking Christian (Cobb)
How To Think Theologically (Duke and Stone)
Due: A one page draft of your personal theology of ministry.
April 26 - The Context of Local Church Ministry
Read: The Once and Future Church (Mead)
Due: A one page paper about what you think the church is called to be and do in our times.
May 3 - Defining Your Ministry
Read: The Dream of God (Dozier)
Due: A one-page paper that response to the question: “Informed by your theology of ministry, to what do you believe the Dream of God may be calling you?”
Due May 19 Final Integrating Paper (8-10 pages double spaced)
Using footnotes (or endnotes) and appropriate academic form, write a paper in which you lift up insights gained about ministry from each of the readings assigned for the course. Begin with your draft personal theology of ministry prepared for the April 19 class and build upon it. Draw from readings, personal experience, church involvements, work settings and individual convictions to make a cohesive statement about ministry in our contemporary world. What informs your understanding? What sustains it? Where is it vulnerable? What is the future of ministry?
* = Required Reading
*Ariarajah, S. Wesley. Not Without My Neighbor, 2003.
Ayres, Francis O. The Ministry of the Laity: A Biblical Exposition. Methodist Church, 1958.
Bass, Dorothy. Ed. Practicing Our Faith: A Way of Life for Searching People. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.
Bellah, Robert et. al. The Good Society. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1991.
Briskin, Alan. The Stirring of the Soul in the Workplace. San Franciso: Berrett-Koehler, 1998.
Ralph D. Bucy, ed. The New Laity: Between Church and World. Waco, TX, 1978. (Contains the Gillespie article, out of print, class handout.)
Butt, Howad, et. al. eds. At the Edge of Hope: Christian Laity in Paradox. New York: Seabury, 1978.
*Cobb, John B. Jr. Becoming a Thinking Christian. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.
Colglazer, R. Scott. Finding a Faith that Makes Sense. Indianapolis: Chalice, 1996.
Conger, Jay A. Spirit at Work: Discovering the Spirituality in Leadership. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass, 1994.
*Costas, Orlando, E. Christ Outside the Gate. Orbis Books, 1982.
DeGruchy, John W. Theology and Ministry in Context and Crisis. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987.
DePree, Max. Leadership in an Art. New York; Doubleday, 1989.
-----. Leadership Jazz. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Diehl, William E. The Monday Connection: A Spirituality of competence, Affirmation, and Support in the Workplace. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1991.
-----. Thank God, It’s Monday! Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982.
DiGiancomo, James J. and John J. Walsh. So you want to do Ministry? Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1993.
*Dozier, Verna. The Authority of the Laity. Washington, D.C.: Alban Institute, 1982.
*Dozier, Verna, The Dream of God. Cowley Publications, Boston, MA – 1991.
* Everist, Norman Cook and Nelvin Vos., Where in the World Are You? Connecting Faith with Daily Life, Alban Institute, 1998.
Grant, C. David. Thinking Through Our Faith: Theology for 21 st Century Christians. Nashville: Abingdon, 1998.
Gregory, H. William. Faith Before Faithfulness: Centering the Inclusive Church. Cleveland: Pilgrim, 1992.
Guder, Darrell L. Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Hall, Douglas John. Why Christian? For those on the Edge of Faith. Minneapolis: Fortess, 1998.
Hardy, Lee. The Fabric of this World: Inquires into Calling, Career Choice, and the Design of Human Work. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.
Heifetz, Ronald A. Leadership Without Easy Answers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1994.
Hiebert, Bruce. Good Work: How to Live Your Values in the Workplace. Kelowna, British Columbia: Northstone, 1997.
Hodgson, Peter C. Revisioning the Church: Ecclesial Freedom in the New Paradigm. Philadephia: Fortress, 1988.
Jones, Alan. Sacrifice and Delight: Spirituality for Ministry. San Francisco: Harper, 1992.
Jones, Laurie Beth. The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and Life. New York: Hyperion, 1996.
Kraemer, Hendrik. A Theology of the Laity. London: Lutterworth, 1958.
Markham, Ian and Abu-Rabi, Ibrahim. September 11: Perspectives on the Causes and Consequences. OneWorld Publications, 2002.
McBrien, Richard P. Ministry: A Theological, Pastoral Handbook. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986.
*Mead, Loren B. The Once and Future Church. Washington: Alban Institute, 1991.
Naylor, Thomas H., William H. Willimon and Magdalena R. Naylor. The Search of Meaning. Nashville: Abingdon, 1994.
Nouwen, Henri. Creative Ministry. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1971.
Ogden, Greg. The New Reformation: Returning the Ministry to the People of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990.
Oswald, Roy and Otto Kroeger. Personality Type and Religious Leadership. Washington: Alban Institute, 1998.
Page, Patricia N. All God’s People Are Ministers. Equipping Church Members for Ministry. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1994.
*Palmer, Parker. The Active Life: A Spirituality of Work, Creativity, and Caring. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990.
* Palmer, Parker. Let Your Life Speak. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.
Rademacher, William J. Lay Ministry: A Theological, Spiritual and Pastoral Handbook. New York: Crossroad, 1991.
Rasmussen, Larry L. Moral Fragments and Moral Community. A Project for Church and Society. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993.
Rifkin, Jeremy. The End of Work. New York: G.P. Putman, 1995.
Roof, Wade Clark and William McKinney. American Mainline Religion. It’s Changing Shape and Future. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University, 1987.
Roth, John. Private Needs, Public Selves: Talk about Religion in America. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois, 1997.
Rowthorn, Anne. The Liberation of the Laity. Wilton, CT: Morehouse, 1987.
Tannen, Deborah. You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. New York: William Morrow, 1990.
*Thurman, Howard. Jesus and the Disinherited. Boston: Beacon, 1976.
Thurman, Howard. With Head and Heart. Orlando, Harcourt-Bruce, 1981.
Tickle, Phyllis. God-Talk in America. New York: Crossroad, 1997.
*Wallis, Jim, God’s Politics. San Francisco, Harper, 2005.
Whitehead, James D. and Evelyn Eaton Whitehead. Method in Ministry: Theological Reflection and Christian Ministry. New York: Seabury, 1980.
Wuthnow, Robert. The Restructuring of American Religion. Princeton: Princeton Univ., 1988.
----. The Struggle of America’s Soul: Evangelicals, Liberals, and Secularism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989.