SLT Seminars

Schedule | Seminars | Keynotes and Events | Registration | Logistics |

Participants may choose FOUR seminars. Six are offered on Tuesday morning, and five on Wednesday mornings; five are offered on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Tuesday seminar times are 11 am – 12:15 pm, and 3:45 – 5:00 pm. Wednesday seminar times are 11:00 am – 12:15 pm, and 1:45 – 3:15 pm)

Morning seminars

Rebirth of a White Nation

No one was white before he/she came to America. What affect did this national new birth have on Christianity in the United States? And how might Jesus’ mandate for rebirth reorient American Christians to God’s beloved community? In this workshop, we will work together to explore these questions so that we might more deeply understand the implications of being born again in the context of the United States of America.

Presenter: Dr. David Evans, EMS faculty

“Will you be my friend?”

Persons living with intellectual and developmental challenges are often marginalized by the general population and thus are often “unseen.” When “they” are seen, they are viewed as a drain on society, with nothing to contribute to the greater good. This workshop will turn that perception on its head. Through stories and interactive engagement, participants will learn to recognize the gifts inherent in this community, and that “they” are “us” in every sense of the word. Those living with I/D challenges bring a unique skill and perspective on building connections across differences.

Presenter: David Gullman, chaplain for Pleasant View Communities

Seeking the Peace of the City

How are people in urban communities impacted by multiple forms of violence and injustice? Can those outside of these communities work with those inside to seek the peace of the city? This workshop will highlight ways in which both Scripture and science give us insight into these questions.

Presenters: Dr. Johonna Turner Faculty, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, EMU, Julian Turner, Graduate student, EMU

Understanding the ‘other’ through the mirror/window of popular culture

Popular culture often takes the role of the ‘other’ by representing ideas and perspectives that are not familiar to our own. While popular culture can never replace relationships with our neighbors, popular culture ‘texts’ such as novels, movies, and music can provide different perspectives of the world. In addition, they can also present alternative ways of being in the world, and give hopeful suggestions for engaging the other as neighbor.

This seminar will allow participants a chance to interpret novels, music, and movies and to explore what insights can be gained from the perspectives presented in popular culture. This seminar will be particularly useful for pastors connecting with younger audiences.

Presenter: Ben Bixler, Ph.D student, Drew University

Practical Bridge-Building

Three things are necessary for connecting authentically with “the Other”. Indeed, four are needed: a true intention to connect; an understanding of how to connect; and the skills to connect effectively. Finally, we need God’s spirit to uphold and guide us in this effort. This seminar will focus on useful approaches to communication across differences and the skills needed for those approaches. Bring your own true intention; we’ll invite God’s spirit to be present as we work together.

Presenter: Bob Gross, church consultant.

Reconsidering Barabbas (Tuesday morning only)

For many, when they think of the character of Barabbas in the Bible they think of a foaming at the mouth serial killer that roamed town to town savagely killing anyone and everyone. What if this characterization misrepresents how the gospel narratives portray Barabbas? Furthermore, what if our lack of empathetically identifying with him also gestures us away from faithful discipleship in the way of Jesus and away from embracing our shared humanity with oppressed and vulnerable people groups in our society? Together we will take a closer look at how understanding Barabbas’ violent struggle can open us up to be more Jesus-shaped and truly human in the midst of people facing death-dealing social realities.

Presenter: Drew Hart, Theology professor, Messiah College

Afternoon Seminars

Power, Privilege, Promise: Hagar and Sarah in Scripture and Tradition

In the relationship between these two women, Sarah seems to have all the power, all the privilege, and all the promise. Barren but not without options, she forces her servant to bear a child for her. Later, at an impossible age, Sarah miraculously conceives herself and gives birth to a child “of the promise” (Gal 4:28), making her an example of faith for Christians throughout history. In contrast, the Egyptian slave-girl Hagar, treated harshly by her mistress and finally cast out into the desert, becomes a condemned example of “works-righteousness.” However, there is much more to the story than this.

Participants will explore themes of power, privilege, and promise in the biblical stories of Hagar and Sarah and interpretations of these texts in Christian tradition. The lives and legacies of these women witness to God who is both wholly Other and “not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

Presenter: Dr. Andrea Saner, EMS faculty

Restorative Justice at work in the community

Restorative Justice is a victim-centered approach to conflict that builds on the power of story to bring justice, healing, and hope for both the victim(s) and the offender(s). In this interactive workshop, Lt. Boshart will share from his experiences in learning about restorative justice, introducing the concept to his department, and applying restorative justice in policing efforts. Participants will learn how restorative justice works within the criminal justice system. They will also be introduced to basic restorative justice principles, and how they can be applied to a wide range of conflictual situations (congregations, staff, family). Beyond resolving conflict, Lt. Boshart will demonstrate that restorative justice principles can be an effective tool in strengthening relationships and team identity.

Presenter: Lieutenant Kurt Boshart, Harrisonburg Police Department

Combat to Communion, Coming Together at God’s Table in the Aftermath of War.

Description: This workshop is designed for congregational leaders who are looking for ways of reaching out to active duty military members, veterans and their families. In recent years there has been a spike among service members and veterans in the occurrence of Post-Traumatic Stress and Moral Injury, stemming from experiences of severe trauma or life-threatening events. This workshop will help to open up understanding that, it is normal for the mind and body to react after such events, but this normal response becomes harmful when individuals feel trapped in a cycle of shame, disconnecting from relationships of family and community. Leaders will be given practical and achievable tools for engaging and inviting soldiers, veterans and their families back to the table of fellowship.

Presenter: Darin Buse, EMS grad, pastor, veteran.

Celebrating Differences in a Multi-Cultural World

“To be religious today is to be interreligious”. In today’s increasingly religiously plural social contexts, a failure to engage pluralism, including in this case to engage in multiculturaism, is an act of self-marginalization within our own social contexts. Without some understanding of the faith and culture of our neighbor, the religious person (or community) living in a religiously and culturally plural society cannot even understand oneself (or itself). Participants will be challenged to explore ways they can be proactive in increasing their interreligious awareness.

Presenter: Dr. Syafaatun “Shafa” Almirzanah (visiting Indonesian Islamic scholar)

How Do You Measure Life Change? The Role of Data and Measurements in Community Engagement

When we’re working for change rather than participation points, knowledge makes a big difference! This seminar will discuss where and how data should inform decision-making in churches. We will highlight successful models and explore relevant technologies for expanding awareness of the needs and resources in a community, choosing and adapting strategies, and measuring outcomes.

Presenter: Wes Furlong, Director of Church Development, EVANA network

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