Academic Programs 

Cutting Edge Social Ministries:
The Future of Community Witness

Churches, Mosques and Synagogues impact their communities and build membership strength through a wide variety of creative, contemporary ministries of care, justice and transformation. Through readings, research, field trips and conversations with leaders we examine examples of congregations and collaborations, including the shift in evangelical and mega churches from personal values to public issues; the range of creative Catholic ministries that flourish “outside the box;” impact of Islam in community ministries; Interfaith initiatives for social legislation; web-based organizing to challenge policies of torture; cultural arts as a weapon for justice; re-tooling mainline churches for 21st century ministry; and family mentoring and investing in the Black Community. We will visit these ministries on site at the regular class time, except for three special events that are optional with alternative assignments. We will examine how these ministries started, who keeps them going, where they get support, and what is their influence on the community and in the lives of congregations and their members. Carl Dudley, Faculty Emeritus in Church and Community

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Wednesdays from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. starting January 30th

Carl Dudley,
Faculty Emeritus in Church and Communitye

Contact Information:



Course Syllabus

The class will visit, interview leaders, and study the following eight social ministries --

1. What we can learn from Mega-Churches ministries with Prof Scott Thumma and Pastor Terry Wiles, in the expanding Crossroads Community Cathedral, East Hartford.

2. Faith-based Ministries that combine secular agencies with Black Church caring with Rev. James Walker and the staff of Phillips Metropolitan CME Church, Hartford.

3. Islam: How Mosques do ministry in their communities with Dr Reza Mansoor and other leaders in rapidly growing Muslim groups in Hartford area.

4. Revising Mainline Ministries for 21st Century: From “Center City Churches” to “Hands On Hartford” with Paul Christie et al. at Peter’s Retreat (HIV/AIDS program)

5. Catholic transformational ministry in the tradition Dorothy Day and Catholic Worker House in Hartford with Chris and Jackie Allen-Dolucot

6. Breakthroughs and barriers in legislative campaigns by the Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice with Margaret Steinegger-Keyser, lead organizer (action event).

7. Using culture arts to raise justice consciousness by Charter Oaks Cultural Center with Rabbi Donna Berman (action event)

8. Using the web as a weapon to “speak truth to power:” how Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice challenges policies of torture with John Humphries (action event)

Five additional class sessions at Hartford Seminary will provide background materials and an overview of the field to keep these particular ministries in perspective. The class may be taken for credit or audit, but participants should be able to use the internet for research and sharing materials.

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500