Tending the Branches: Cross-Cultural Ministry Studies

Hardly any corner of America has been unaffected by the influx of new ethnic groups and the multiplicity of cultural perceptions that accompany them.  With their arrival, life changes from the supermarket to the church.  How does a counselor offer pastoral care in times of grief and loss in a multi-cultural context?  How does a pastor proclaim the good news in language that grips and invites, rather than offending or confusing?  How does a minister work to resolve conflict between persons of differing value systems and communication styles?  These are the types of challenges that face today's minister in our multi-cultural society.  Thus, Cross Cultural Ministry becomes a priority in a curriculum dedicated to excellence in theological education and ministry preparation.

Cross-cultural issues are not limited to local neighborhoods that have experienced demographic shifts.  Cross-cultural ministry is also about going to other lands, and engaging in ministry under the supervision of capable mentors.  Consider the impact of spending a semester serving as a chaplain in an African hospital overseen by Quaker administrators.  Imagine the value of working with the mentally challenged in an English mental hospital founded by Quakers.  Think of the impact of practicing pastoral ministry in a Hispanic setting in Mexico or Central America, and of the preparation it might give for integrating a local meeting in the United States in a community where Hispanic populations live and work alongside Caucasian populations.  This is cutting edge ministry preparation that recognizes that current populations shifts and cultural trends have lasting impact on local congregations, and that any faith group that hopes to remain vital over the next century will have to determine how to address these changes.

It will be the faculty's task to finalize the design of the program, but three general options can presently be imagined.

  1. A full year abroad as part of a student's Field Education,
  2. One semester abroad; or
  3. A two week travel seminar.

Funds raised for this project will cover expenses related to securing sites and student stipends for the duration of their cross-cultural experience.

Philanthropic Goal: $60,000 annual support – $1,500,000 endowment