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General Theological Seminary offers new evening courses for Fall 2007


General Theological Seminary in the heart of Manhattan will be offering a diverse lineup of evening courses this Fall. Open to all, evening courses may be taken for personal enrichment, to further the aims of ministry, or as part of a degree or certificate program. Offerings in the areas of Scripture, Christian spirituality, liturgy and congregational ministry typically meet for 2 to 3 hours weekly. Brief descriptions follow. For more information contact Jim Murphy at 212-243-5150 x461 or by e-mail at

“Growing a Congregation: Opportunities and Challenges” with Adj. Prof. Roy Cole, Monday 6:30-9:30 p.m (PT110) -- Churches exist throughout the world substantially because Christians have intentionally planted new congregations and nurtured their growth. In the 20/20 initiative the Episcopal Church committed itself to doubling its membership by the year 2020, and many dioceses are calling for skills in establishing new congregations and growing existing parishes. This course focuses on contemporary Anglican and ecumenical models of church planting and church growth and develops perspectives and skills for this important ministry.

“Keeping Silence” with Adj. Prof. Clair McPherson, Tuesday, (9/4/07-10/30/07) 7:30-9:30 p.m. (AT110M-1/510) -- Six week module course. Silence is in a sense simple-but by no means is it easy to find in this 21st century, and even more difficult to keep. And yet it is a prerequisite for the deeper kinds of prayer -- for meditation, for healing, for centering, for contemplative prayer. This course is designed to serve as a catalyst for silence. First, by tracing its history, in Scripture and tradition, including the great practitioners of silence such as Elijah, the Virgin Mary, St. Benedict, and the author of the Cloud of Unknowing. Second, by experimenting with various classic practices for entering stillness. And third, by working out a theology of silence.

“Praying the Daily Office” with Adj. Prof. Clair McPherson, Tuesday, (11/6/07-12/4/07) 7:30-9:30 p.m. (AT111M-2/511) -- Six week module course. From the Apostles to Archbishop Tutu, faithful Christians have found strength, inspiration, and comfort in the practice of the Daily Office. The course will investigate the history, theory and practice of this most versatile and flexible of prayer forms, from its pre-Christian roots in Judaism and the Old Testament to the present day, with emphasis on the Patristic, Benedictine, Orthodox and Anglican traditions.

“Alcoholism: The Pastor’s Role in Recovery” with Adj. Prof. Stuart Hoke, Wednesday, (10/24-12/05/07) 7-9 p.m. (PT137M2) -- Six week module course. The course addresses the dynamics of alcoholism and addictive illness, its impact on parish life and ministry, and the history, spirituality and practice of recovery. In addition to didactic presentation of materials, students hear first-hand stories from recovering individuals; attend a sampling of 12-step meetings; and acquire an understanding of strategies for intervention and rehabilitation. The course is designed for lay ministers and other interested persons as well as for pastors. It is a six-week module offered in the first half of term.

“Christian Spiritual Practice” with Professor Elisabeth Koenig, Thursday, 6:30-9:30 p.m. (AT117) -- An introduction to Christian spirituality as the integration of theological understanding, faith, and practice. The course will explore classical texts, traditions, and models for guiding others in long-term transformative practice, especially the Jesus Prayer, and Lectio Divina. Emphasis is placed on conscious embodiment, forgiveness, and the social-redemptive value of ongoing spiritual practice.

“Nurturing Worship for Children” Adj. Prof. William Gordh, Thursday, (9/6/07-10/11/07) 7-9 p.m., (PT142M) -- This six-week module in the first half of Michaelmas Term explores the effective structuring and presentation of an Early Childhood Chapel gathering. Storytelling is central to this ministry, and time is spent on developing the ability to craft and tell stories with young children. The use of storytelling, music and visuals in the retelling of Bible stories in a simplified (not simplistic) form is discussed, demonstrated and developed, as is inclusion of non-Bible stories and picture books, and creating songbooks. Since many church centers and schools invite other faiths, creating an inclusive chapel is addressed.

“Introduction to the Old Testament: Pentateuch and Former Prophets” with Prof. Robert Owens, Thursday, 6:30-9:30 p.m. (OT1-Foundation Course) -- This is the first of a two-semester sequence that introduces the literature of the entire Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Nine books, Genesis through Kings, are studied, along with the history of Israel, the transmission of the text, and the development of the canon. The course approaches the books from three perspectives: historical, literary, and theological. Each writing is explored on the basis of what current historical-critical scholarship believes to be its cultural and historical setting. Literary considerations include the process of authorship or compilation, audience and genres. Much attention is given to the major themes, religious beliefs, and theological intentions of individual O.T. books and the larger complexes, with some notice of their history of interpretation within Judaism and Christianity.

Cost: $450 per class to audit, or $700 per graduate-level credit.

If you have any questions about the classes listed above, please contact Jim Murphy at 212-243-5150 x461 or by e-mail at To register, visit A full list of classes is available here. Registration deadline: 2 weeks prior to start of class. Further information on other Fall programs is available here.

The General Theological Seminary is located at 175 Ninth Avenue, between West 20th and West 21st Streets in New York City and occupies the full block between 9th and 10th Avenues.


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