The Association of Theological Schools, has awarded the Institute of Pastoral Studies and Dr. Dan Rhodes with an innovative projects grant to aid in a new approach to Contextual Education. This project will form equipped leaders to serve the church and society in the twenty-first century and will pioneer a model of theological education based on the process of action research teams.
The long-term goal is to implement a thoroughly reimagined approach to CE based on a model of Theological Action Research Teams (TART). This expanded and more thoroughly integrated approach to CE engages students from their first semester forward. It shifts to a 30-week placement accompanied by coaching, learning communities, skill-focused workshops, and practical instruction. Working with community partners, students will engage in discerning community-identified issues and, subsequently, organize community-based, co-creative, and theologically informed initiatives for addressing these issues. Additionally, this approach aims to develop a program of theological education that attracts and retains underserved and underrepresented students as well as engendering new faculty scholarship across theological/ministerial specialties rooted in community collaboration.
This year, the CE program will begin research and preliminary steps toward instituting the TART model, building infrastructure, strengthening community partnerships, and developing programmatic components aiming to launch the first IPS student cohort to engage the TART/CE model in Fall 2018.
The Association of Theological Schools, has awarded the Institute of Pastoral Studies a formation grant to aid in a major initiative to “develop and implement an innovative and nationally-recognized integrated formation program for students and faculty that includes intercultural competency” – which will fulfill part of IPS’ strategic plan.
The goal of the formation program is to incorporate opportunities for personal and spiritual formation in high quality theological ministerial education by developing a variety of personal capacities required for pastoral leadership. Two major components of the grant include engaging faculty in their own personal and spiritual formation and researching best-practices with regard to total integrated formation, specifically attending to intercultural competency.
The formation period begins with a two- day faculty/staff retreat in mid-August as a way to launch the academic year. In conjunction with the retreat, the faculty will continue to focus on the process with readings and discussion at monthly meetings. The process will culminate with a second retreat in April, where faculty and staff will reflect on key learnings discussed throughout the academic year. The outcome will be a pilot integrative formation program for students and faculty incorporating intercultural competencies to begin in the fall of 2018.
Lilly Endowment Inc, has awarded the Institute of Pastoral Studies a planning grant as part of Called to Lives of Meaning and Purpose, a new initiative. Dr. Dan Rhodes, IPS Faculty Coordinator of Contextual Education, and Mark Bersano, IPS Coordinator of Continuing Education, will lead the planning process. The grant will fund the planning of an “innovation hub” at Loyola’s IPS, which will seek to help congregations learn more about their calling and purpose within their parish communities.
The goal of the planning process is to listen to members of congregations in the Chicagoland area to distill the challenges they are facing and to learn how their communities may be able to work together to engage their faith and God’s call more deeply. The planning process will have three parts. The first step will include individual meetings with clergy and staff from the congregations. The second step will include regional meetings, discussions and listening sessions for the clergy and lay ministers in congregations. The final step will be a large central assembly on July 19 where all of the above participants will come together.
The planning period will be devoted to gathering perspectives, insights and other information that will help IPS create an “innovation hub” for congregations. The hub will seek to offer resources and opportunities for collaboration to help faith communities strengthen their role as places where people at every stage of life – including youth – find ways to discern and live lives of calling and purpose more deeply.