The Border Crossing Project, an initiative of the Divinity School, is designed to bring students preparing for ministry, students preparing to teach, and congregations together to help all the participants better understand their vocations and commitments. One program of this initiative gives M.Div. and Ph.D. students the opportunity to team up as theologians in residence in a congregation. This collaboration will allow the congregation to benefit from the differing perspectives of the students, and help the students learn how to create resources for congregations both from their different academic and vocational experiences and from the rich wealth of congregational experience and theological reflection.
Past Theologian-in-Residence Teams
Rebecca Anderson (M.Div. student) and David Mihalyfy (Ph.D. student, History of Christianity) at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, Chicago
Anderson and Mihalyfy will lead an adult education class on “Historical Perspectives on Sex and Christianity.” Through 8-10 sessions participants will read together a set of Early and Medieval Christian texts that bear on issues of contemporary relevance, followed by lecture and discussion. The leaders expect that the sessions will help participants to encounter and reflect on the breadth of the Christian tradition and the meaning of the revelation of Christ for one’s faith and conduct.
Shannon Copp (M.A. student) and James Hoke (M.Div. student) at Rockefeller Chapel
Copp and Hoke are planning a discussion series at the University of Chicago’s chapel entitled “Religion & Sexuality: An Interreligious Conversation.” They will invite participants from a variety of religious traditions (or none) across the campus to engage each other. Each of the seven sessions will focus on a particular area or issue related to sexuality. The goal is to address each of these issues from the vantage point of “What can these questions mean in diverse religious and spiritual contexts?”
Mark Franzen (M.A. student) and Michael Le Chevallier (M.Div. student) at St. Clement Roman Catholic Church, Chicago
Franzen and Le Chevallier will teach a six-session adult education class at St. Clement, exploring the devotional practices of the Catholic tradition. Through talks, discussion, and practice, the class will expose parishioners of St. Clement to a variety of spiritual disciplines of the Catholic tradition. Their goal is developing of a group of parishioners who will become more conversant in the actual spiritual disciplines of the Catholic church, and who are better equipped to make one of these spiritual practices a more consistent part of their lives.
David Messner (M.Div. student) and Myriam Renaud (Ph.D. student, Theology) at Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Oak Park
Messner and Renaud will collaborate with the religious education staff of Unity Temple to develop and lead a constructive theology workshop for the congregation’s high school-aged youth. This five-session workshop will go beyond national UU materials to explicitly discuss and learn about God. Sessions will include content presentations on topics such as traditional conceptions and images of God, sharing of personal reflections in an interactive way among the youth, and games and creative exercises using a range of verbal, visual, and musical elements.
Tim Peebles (Ph.D. student, Theology) and Drew Strait (M.Div. student) at Living Water Community (Mennonite) Church, Chicago
Peebles and Strait are planning a set of initiatives at this congregation in the diverse Rogers Park neighborhood, where members daily confront aggression, threat, and violence. The program will give the peace-making congregation ways to practically and peacefully engage neighborhood violence. Initiatives will include classes in self-defense and conflict transformation and theological reflection.
Alda Balthrop-Lewis (M.Div. student) and David Newheiser (Ph.D. student, Theology) at Brent House and Saint Paul and the Redeemer Episcopal Church, Chicago
Balthrop-Lewis and Newheiser will work with a team of people from Saint Paul and the Redeemer and Brent House (the Episcopal campus ministry at the University of Chicago) to create new liturgical materials. These materials will grow out of a series of discussions focused on particular biblical themes or narratives. This process will result in more intentional Christian practice and a strengthened relationship between the parish and the campus ministry.
Adam Frieberg (M.Div. student) and Garry Sparks (Ph.D. candidate, Theology) at University Church, Chicago
Frieberg and Sparks will work with the Worship Ministry at University Church to discover some of the history, theology, anthropology, and practical workings of worship as they plan this year's post-Lenten liturgical seasons of Pentecost and Ordinary Time. The leaders will bring their theological and ministerial resources to this process of worship planning.
Allison Gray (Ph.D. candidate, New Testament and Early Christian Literature) and Adriene Zedick (M.Div. student) at Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Chicago
Gray and Zedick will lead a series of discussions over four months linked to an ongoing class at Old St. Pat's, "Theology 101." These discussions will build on the lecture series, with the aim of connecting the lectures to the lived experience of lay Catholics in a relevant and intellectually stimulating way. Zedick and Gray's sessions will include summaries of the lectures and small group discussions, drawing on their special interests at scholars.
James Hoey (M.A. student) and Tristan Orozco (M.Div. student) at Wicker Park Grace, Chicago
Hoey and Orozco will plan and lead an adult education class on faith and politics for the community of Wicker Park Grace, an emergent congregation on the city's northwest side. The class will equip the community's members with the theological foundation to vocalize their commitments to both faith and politics.