Academic Programs

Ministry in Multi-Faith and Multi-Contextual Communities (AM-657)
January Intersession 2004

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the particular challenges created by diversity in all its forms. Particular attention will be paid to the different types of pastoral care required of and the different demands placed on persons working in multi-faith and multi-contextual ministry settings.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
January 12-16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ahmed Nezar Kobeisy
Adjunct Professor of Arts of Ministry and Counselor and Muslim Chaplain, Syracuse University

Contact Information:
(315) 491-3050

Course Syllabus

This Course aims at helping current and future ministers, pastors, spiritual leaders and laypersons of various faith traditions in understanding the multi-dimensions of diversity within one’s own particular faith tradition as well as across religions, ethnicities, cultures and traditions thus acquiring knowledge and skills necessary to deal sensitively and effectively with diverse populations. During the course of study, students will be introduced to multicultural competency models and will be challenged to examine their own prejudices and biases towards groups that are religiously and/or culturally different. Various models of Intercultural communication will be examined. A survey of various world views in religion, cultures and ethnicities will be introduced. Training on practical skills of intercultural communication, conflict management and resolutions as well as on counseling diverse populations will be provided. Furthermore, specific issues that pertain to various religious, ethnic and cultural groups in the United States will be explored. In conclusion, this course will provide the necessary theoretical knowledge, practical skills and effective strategies to sensitively and successfully respond to religiously, culturally and ethnically diverse populations as well as to issues related to them.

Required Textbooks:

  1. Larty, E. (2003). In Living Color: An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Care and Counseling. Kingsley, Jessica Publishers.
  2. McGoldrick, M, Giordano, J. & Perce, J. (Eds.), (1996), Ethnicity and Family Therapy. The Guilford Press.
  3. Richards, P. & Bergin, A. (1999): Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Diversity. The American psychological Association.
  4. Smart, N. (2000), Worldviews: Cross Cultural Explorations of Human Beliefs. Prentice Hall.

Recommended Readings:

  1. Gellner, E. (1992), Postmodernism, Reason and religion. Routledge.
  2. Levinson, D. (1996), Religion: A Cross Cultural Dictionary. Oxford University press.
  3. Ponterotto, J., Casas, J., Suzuki, L & Alexander, C. (1995). Handbook of Multicultural Counseling. SAGE Publications.
  4. Samovar, L. & Porter (1991): Intercultural Communication. Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Other handouts and reading materials will be distributed and/or assigned.

Course Requirements:

1. Regular attendance and active participation. In addition to physical presence in class during all times of instruction, it includes initiating and participating in classroom’s discussions. This component is worth 20% of the grade. Unexcused absences are not allowed.

2. Final exam (40% total).

3. One research paper of at least five pages (30%). Before you begin the research and develop a topic, submit a proposal for my approval.

4. A daily journal in which you’ll write commentary and analysis on both the readings and your experience in the class (10%). I expect you to be as analytical and critical as possible. The journals are due every day at the end of the class.

Extremely Important:

  • All assignments are to be typed or printed and handed in on time. Assignments must include references where appropriate and bibliographies. It is expected that you will proofread all your work before submitting it.
  • Required readings for the day must be done in advance and prior to the day in which it is listed.
  • Food, cell phones and beepers are prohibited during class. Essential and needed rinks (e.g. coffee, soda, juice and other non-alcoholic beverages) are allowed provided they do not violate the college or facility rules or interfere with the educational process.

Day one (January 12, 2004)

1. Introduction and Organization.

2. Ministry: Definition, role, scope of services and expectations from constituencies.

  1. World views- religions-spiritual paths.
  2. Inter-Religious or inter-faith interaction from various perspectives:
    1. Purpose
    2. Context
    3. Outcome
  1. Spiritual leaders from the three major faith traditions will be invited to speak of their own experiences and contextual settings:
    1. Define your own role within your own congregation.
    2. Discuss your own constituents’ expectations of your education- expertise- services.
    3. Define your own understanding of interfaith interaction.
    4. Discuss your experience in interfaith.
    5. Discuss the outcome of your interfaith experience.
    6. Have you provided services to members of cultures other than your own? What are they? What is the outcome of such experience?
  1. Students’ experiences:

Readings for the day:

World views: Cross Cultural Explorations of Human Beliefs. In Living Color: An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Care and Counseling. Handouts.

Required work for the day:

1. Commentary and critique of Living color.
2. Presentation in class about ministerial role in one’s own tradition.
3. Journal entry.

Day two (January 13, 2004)

  1. Culture:
  2. Definition:
  3. Demographic trends for religious, racial and ethnic groups in the United States:
  4. Challenges posed by diversity.
  5. Intercultural communication (Models and outcomes)
  6. Multicultural competencies (Models- skills).
  7. Skills for effective communication with the culturally different.
  8. Conflict Management and Resolution.

Film: Orientalism.

Students’ activities: group discussion and practice.

Readings for the day:

1. Worldviews: Cross Cultural Explorations of Human Beliefs.
2. Crollius & Nkeramihigo : What is SO New About Inculturation? (handout).
3. Articles on Multicultural competencies and Skills of Intercultural communication.

Required work for the day:

1. Students’ research and presentation on the demography, history, beliefs, practices and trends of immigration or growth within the United States for one religious, cultural or ethnic group that is different from his/her own. The group must be discussed in both the global context as well as within the United States.

2. Students’ practice of multicultural competency and intercultural communication skills.

Day three (January 14, 2004)

1. Counseling.
2. Multicultural counseling.
3. Faith in counseling.
4. Pastoral counseling.
5. Counseling various ethnic groups.

Readings for the day:

1. Ethnicity and Family Therapy

Required work for the day:

1. Presentation in class of one or more ethnic group other than one’s own, its issues, and most effective ways in dealing with them.

2. Discussion of one’s own experiences with a specific culture and the learning outcome.

Day Four (January 15, 2004)

1. Religious groups in therapy.
2. Refugees in the United States.

Readings for the day:

1. Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Diversity.

Required work for the day:

1. Presentation in class of one or more religious group other than one’s own, its issues, and most effective ways in dealing with them.

2. Discussion of one’s own experiences with a specific culture and the learning outcome.

Day Five (January 16, 2004)

1. Catching up
2. Practical Skills.
3. Presentations
4. Locating resources
5. Final Exam
6. Evaluation of the course
7. Conclusion

Required work for the day:

Research paper is due.

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