Summer 2024 Semester

Graduate Courses

Summer Semester runs May 5 to August 17, 2024. Insights course dates are noted below.

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M5900 The Art and Craft of Sacred Speech: Homiletics — Pagan clergy, as all clergy, are called to speak to, for and about the religious community. An exploration of authentic preaching as a ministry of exhortation, encouragement, teaching and working with energies always present in ritual, we aim to cultivate these ministries and the individual gifts of the preacher. Emphasis is placed on identity, presence, as well as the power of story within narrative and nonnarrative preaching. Explore the preparation and delivery of messages in sacred context and the understanding of what it means to speak and proclaim truth from an authentic sense of the community’s values that inspires, edifies, and challenges others. 
Instructor: Robert Patrick, MDiv. Ph.D.
Day/Time of class meeting: Tuesdays, 7-8:30pm ET
Text: Newborn Bards: A Theology of Preaching for Unitarian Universalists

Pick One More: These titles will give you some additional approaches to the act and art of preaching. Most are from a Christian author, though I’ve tried to focus on progressives theologically and those that highlight certain homiletical art forms. Choose at least one of these and focus on the art and craft of preaching/proclaiming even if working within a very different religious context than yourself.  These are entirely for your own use and exploration which will enrich class discussion when you bring them in and will be helpful for you as you analyze a preacher/proclaimer and create your own in-context homily.

  • (rooting preaching and its theology in human context) Storied Witness: The Theology of Black Women Preachers in the 19th Century, by Kate Hanch
  • (liberation; queer context) Queer Preaching and Exegesis for Revolution and Resistance by Donovan Ackley III (includes sermons used in various contexts as well as rituals)
  • (critical analysis of similarities and differences in theology, method, style) Contemporary African American Preaching: Diversity in Theory and Style, by L. Susan Bond
  • (Narrative preaching) The Homiletical Plot: Expanded Edition, by Eugene L. Lowry
  • (best of collected works) Craddock on the Craft of Preaching by Fred Craddock
  • (storytelling; doubt; questioning) Secrets in the Dark, by Fredrick Buechner; there are a dozen titles by Buechner that might work just as well. I am including him here as examples of sermons that root in human doubt and questioning along with story telling.
  • Each student will also be required to select a pagan blogger to read and analyze throughout the course.

M5998 Special Topics: Eco-Theology
With climate change impacting all aspects of the world today, many ask why more people are not engaging in or advocating for changes that are eco-focused. Ecotheology focuses on the interrelationships of spirituality and nature, particularly in the light of environmental concerns. This course explores a wide range of ethical, theological, and spiritual  views about the environment, especially regarding the place of the ecosystem within ethical or spiritual contexts. It examines how different understandings shape moral choices on issues such as ecology, sustainability, the rights of nature and animals, and moral responsibility in relation to the ecosystem.
Instructor: Deirdre Sommerlad-Rogers, PhD
Day/Time of class meeting: Thursdays, 7 pm ET
Text: materials provided in course

P5301 Introduction to Chaplaincy 
What is the difference between a minister and a chaplain? This is an opportunity to explore an overview of the range of venues for ministry, and the unique interfaith role of the chaplain in institutional settings. Students will become familiar with the global and historical context for chaplaincy, the community circle of chaplaincy, interfaith dialogue and its meaning for modern Pagans. Students will learn how to effectively function in this specialized ministry by sharing knowledge, understanding, acceptance and respect, as well as working to protect and promote free expression of religion for all faith formations, collective and individual
Instructor: Shane Nelson, Mdiv, MA, BCC, LPC, NCC
Day/Time of class meeting: Mondays, 8 pm ET
Text: Stephen B. (2011).  Professional Spiritual and Pastoral Care: A Practical Clergy and Chaplain’s Handbook. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Path Pub.  ISBN 978-1594733123. 

T6808 Heathenry 
Heathenry can be seen as a development of North European and Eurasian understandings of the relationships between humans, place, and other-than-human people or wights of land, rivers, houses, gardens and so forth. The focus in this course is on Britain and North Europe, though the worldview shares much with accounts of indigenous animist religions elsewhere. We will discuss the re-emergence of seidr, its descriptions in lore and historic and present-day performance, and we will investigate understandings of “ancestors” conceptualized as those who have involved themselves with that landscape on which today’s practitioners now dwell. 
Instructor: Angela Farmer, Ph.D.
Day/Time of class meeting: Fridays, 7:00-8:30 pm ET
Text: All materials provided in course 

T6475 Indigenous Religion & Culture 
This course is a survey of indigenous, place-based and land-based traditions that are not part of the contemporary Pagan movement. Native American religions, Afro-Caribbean traditions, shamanisms around the world, Hinduism, Australian aboriginal traditions, and more. 
Instructor: Stacy Brooks, Ph.D.
Day/Time of class meeting: Sundays, 7pm ET
Text: Cajete, Gregory. Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence. Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishers, 2000.
 Hillman, James. Archetypal Psychology: A Brief Account. Washington DC: Spring Publications, 1983.
Levine, Lawrence. Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom. New York: Oxford UP, 1977. 

Insights (4-week courses)

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Successful Pagan Groups– The Long Haul
Class Meetings: July, Tuesdays 6 pm ET
Instructor: Sandy Costa
Treibh na Tintean was born when an existing Pagan circle (formed in the early 1990s) shifted. People were coming, going, moving and changing—I somehow found myself in a leadership position. Along with some trusted friends, we re-established ourselves circa 2003 and have been growing steadily ever since. We follow a traditional Wheel of the Year, and our rituals are conventionally structured—except when they are not. We hold sabbats, full moons, workshops, and social events. We expect our members to ask and help design their own rites of passage. We expect members who really care to help plan and execute rituals. We expect our Treibh to support the costs of providing a forum for spiritual growth. We clearly have a lot of expectations… so, how does that work? Ah, that’s the mystery! Come and learn how we nurture the mundane and magickal in Treibh na Tintean (tŕy.v na tin.táwn).