As I write this I'm smack in the middle of my final Doctor of Ministry residency at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. This is the third year I've made this two-week pilgrimage to the Mississippi River for study.
The overall focus of UDTS' D.Min. program is Congregational Revitalization. And the particular emphasis has been in Mission Spirituality. During the first year we examined church renewal, sabbath, and compassion. Last year we studied the relationship between prayer and evangelism. And this year our focus has been on Justice.
This week we've studied Miroslav Volf, Howard Thurman, Nile Harper, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Geoffrey Wainwright, Gustavo Gutierrez, St John Chrysostum, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and several others. Saturday we visited Postville, IA, the small Iowa farm town which is also home to the largest kosher meat packing plant in the nation, and also experienced the largest immigration raid in US history.
By the end of this week I am required to have my doctoral project proposal approved. And after meeting with my advisors today, I believe I'm just a few small edits away. So next will come the actual implementation of the project. Tentatively, it will be titled "A Movement for Wholeness: Racial Inclusivity in Rural Ministry."
My bibliography so far consists of works by Anthony Reddie, David Shipler, Rodney Clapp, Paul Waddell, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan Davies and Sister Teresa Paul Hennessee, Douglas Sharp, Robert Priest, Alvaro Nieves, David Anderson, Joseph Barndt, Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp, Arthur Freeman, Marva Dawn, Michael Dixon, John Edwin, Yvette Flunder, Jennifer Harvey, Karen Case and Robin Hawley Gorsline, Mark Hearn, Elizabeth Hobgood, Jack Lundin, Gerardo Marti, Fumitaka Matsuoka, Wayne Meeks, Tex Sample, Jim Wallis, George Yancey, Ye Jung Kim and others.
And now I ask your assistance in two ways:
1. I would greatly appreciate your prayers in this endeavor, both for myself and my congregation.
2. A question: What other voices would you add to the litany of saints upon which my work will draw?