Working Groups

“Political Theology and Church Leadership” – Room 1 (East section)
This working group will be a chance for those involved with congregations – pastors, congregational leaders, or just people who care about the role of the church in our world – to come and share how the themes of STN3 (political theology, radical theology, etc.) impact their ministry. How are congregations positioned to either advance or undermine the work of political theology? What are the opportunities and challenges for pastors whose theology is shaped by the authors and presenters whose work we are hearing about at STN3? Where do you find struggle, and where do you find “hope against hope” in the church today? Come ready to listen and to share.
-Facilitated by Robert Saler from the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis

“Confronting issues of Race and Gender in Postmodern Theologies and Church Practices” – Room 1 (West section)
Given this STN’s hope to bring to the fore issues of race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity – issues that have too often been eclipsed or marginalized in postmodern, political and postsecular theological discourse and church practice, this working group is tasked with the intentional questioning of such maginalization. In particular we might ask what insights and inquiries arise when we begin to take gender and race as central for radical theology and the church practices it influences and which influence it. The opening session of the group will be a chance for participants to both share past experiences in which they either felt issues of race and gender were eclipsed or inadequately addressed within postmodern theologies and church practices and to propose questions about and suggestions for how such issues might be better tackled within these fields. Participants will help to keep these questions at the fore throughout the conference and will return to a wrap up session to think through how the conversations of this STN addressed such issues, what new insights panels raised, and what remained marginalized or under theorized.
-Facilitated by Robyn Henderson-Espinoza and Karen Bray

“Negotiating Doubt and Disbelief in Church Leadership” – Room 2
Effective and faithful leadership requires integrity. Many of us live in the liminal space between the prevailing theologies of communities we serve and our own engagement with more radical approaches. How do we remain open to the agony and ecstasy of theological transformation while leading in contexts where theologies may be more compact and guarded? Where, when, why and how do we share our own doubts, disbelief or changes of belief with our congregations? Our work will take us deeper into the struggle; to identify other helpful questions; to be for each other in this moment more supportive companions on this theological journey.
-Facilitated by William Rose-Heim from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Mid-America

“Millennials, Nones and the Emerging Church” – Room 3
The millennial generation seems to represent a significant change in a generation that has recently come of age. The rise of ‘the nones’ is strongest among millennials constituting more than 1/3 of all millennials. Yet this rejection of institutional church may represent an opportunity for the kinds of experimental theological and liturgical expressions found at this conference. This working group seeks to bring together academics, practitioners and millennials in conversation about the kinds of productive (and unproductive) experiences that have sought to involve millennials. We will seek to outline the kinds of political, theological and liturgical issues that are vital to millennials and to involving millennials in religion and politics.
-Facilitated by Randall W. Reed, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Appalachian State University

“The Politics of Creating Radical Liturgies” – Room 4
This working group on post-modern, post-secular liturgies will address the political dimensions of how radical liturgical spaces are created. It will focus in particular on the potential of such spaces, times and practices for both individual or subjective and collective or social transformation. But we will also explore the interpersonal, inter-relational aspects of intentionally creating liturgical events in which people are asked to make themselves vulnerable – spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, etc. – often putting their beliefs and identities into question. This working group will benefit the whole (via each of the “parts”) of whoever shows up.
-Facilitated by Erin Schendzielos, seminarian and co-creator of Shelter50 Publishing Collective

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