Multicultural Contexts for Ministry

One of the aims of the School of Divinity is to encourage global perspectives. Through theological reflection, critical inquiry, and ministry formation, the School of Divinity encourages students to explore diverse religious, cultural, and ethnic perspectives within both national and international contexts. All students are required to complete one course focused on specific ministries in a diverse context. Each course includes a required travel component. The application is located at the bottom of this page.

The following travel courses will be offered in 2016-2017:


MIN 592 Multicultural Contexts for Ministry: Appalachia
Fierce Landscapes: Listening to the People of Appalachia
Elizabeth Gandolfo
Travel dates: December 30, 2016 – January 8, 2017
Spring 2017 course, 3 credit hours, MIN 592 Appalachia
Cost: $750. With scholarship your cost is $400 plus travel to western North Carolina
Area Requirement: Race and Class

This travel seminar offers an introduction to Appalachian religion and culture through a 10-day immersion among the people and ministry resources of western North Carolina.  The class includes graduate and undergraduate students from the School of Divinity, Wake Forest University, and other theological schools and is organized around three major segments: 1) Preparatory reading and response drawn from selected texts that survey major elements of Appalachian society with special emphasis on religious communities, including Latino/a religious communities; 2) A 10-day immersion experience during which students engage in on-site interactions with local organizations, congregations, and religious and community leaders, to discover the context, content and challenge of ministry in specific segments—including Spanish-speaking segments— of the Appalachian region. Common meals, daily worship, and evening discussions encourage participants to experience a sense of community during the travel portion of the course; 3) Class gatherings, conducted after the trip (online or in conference calls for non-WFU students), allow students to reflect on the travel experiences and discuss their specific research projects.  Students taking the course for WFU undergraduate credit in Latin American and Latino Studies will be required to focus their course readings and research project on the presence, reception and experiences of Latino/a immigrant communities in central Appalachia. 12 scholarships available.

The Holy Land (Israel)

MIN 598a, MIN 598b Multicultural Contexts for Ministry: Israel
Neal Walls
Travel dates: December 27, 2016 – January 9, 2017
Fall course, 1 credit hour: MIN 598a Reading course for the Holy Land Trip
Spring course, 2 credit hours: MIN 598b Israel
Cost: $2,765, plus airfare (double room). With scholarship, your cost is $1,765 plus airfare.
Area Requirement: Religious Pluralism

This year’s focus, “Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Holy Land,” will introduce students to the history and religious traditions of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities in the land of Israel and Palestine from ancient times to the present. Participants will “walk the pilgrim’s road” together through these contested lands to examine historic successes and failures of religious pluralism.

The class will visit Jewish, Christian, and Muslim places of worship and historical remembrance as we explore the rich religious heritage of this land. We will examine the historic origins of Judaism and its development through the medieval period and the modern Zionist developments of the twentieth century. In addition to Jerusalem, site visits include synagogues and rabbinic tombs in Sepphoris and Tiberias; the town of Safed, where Kabbalistic mystics led by Isaac Luria established a community after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492; Masada; and the Holocaust History Museum (Yad Vashem). Students will follow the life of Jesus in Nazareth, the Galilee, on the Mount of Olives, and along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem’s Old City. We will visit diverse Christian communities in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and witness Eastern Orthodox (and other) liturgical traditions at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We will consider the violent history of the Christian Crusaders at Akko and the 1400 year history of Muslim communities and culture in this region. We will tour the medieval Islamic mosque of al-Jazzar in Akko, and the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. We will visit Baha’i shrines, a Druze village, and the (heterodox) Ahmadiyya mosque in Haifa as we also consider diversity within each of the Abrahamic traditions. As a result of meetings with local religious leaders and our own interfaith conversations, our group will return from this pilgrimage with an increased awareness of the diverse religious sensitivities that claim Israel and Palestine as “holy land,” the difficult position of minority religious communities, and the value of interfaith cooperation. 12 scholarships available.

Note: The class will need to book their flights together. Instructions will be forthcoming from the professor.

U.S./Mexico Borderlands

MIN 790 Multicultural Contexts for Ministry: Tucson, AZ
Ecotones of the Spirit: Food Justice, Climate Change, and Desert Spirituality in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands
Fred Bahnson
Travel dates: March 4 – 12, 2017
Spring course, 3 credit hours
Cost:  $1,628 plus airfare. With scholarship, your cost is $300 plus airfare.
Area Requirement: Science and Ecological Wellbeing

Traveling over Spring Break 2017 (March 4-12) to Tucson, AZ, this course will explore the theological significance of the ecotone, the meeting place between two ecosystems. The borderlands region of southern Arizona is a complex ecotone, culturally, religiously, and ecologically. The valley around Tucson has been continuously cultivated for 4,000 years, and that city was recently named UNESCO’s first City of Gastronomy in the U.S. The borderlands area is also fraught with challenges—immigration policy, hotter and drier summers due to climate change, and food insecurity among migrants and local indigenous peoples such as the Tohono O’odham, Diné (Navajo), and Hopi. How are churches working on these issues, and what does the Christian desert tradition have to teach in this context? These are some of the questions and issues this course will explore. This course counts toward the Food and Faith concentration. 10 scholarships available.

Note: This course will require a certain level of physical exertion. Each day the class will be walking on farms, visiting orchards, walking around downtown Tucson to and from meals, or taking desert hikes.

Iona, Scotland (Summer Session I)

MIN 790 Multicultural Contexts for Ministry: Iona
Pilgrimage to Iona
Chris Copeland and Michelle Voss Roberts
Travel dates: June 8-18, 2017
Spring course, 1.5 credit hours, Summer Session I course, 1.5 credit hours
Cost:  $1,200 plus airfare. With scholarship, your cost is $700 plus airfare and summer school tuition.

“Pilgrimage to Iona” is a travel course on the historic island of Iona in Scotland. In the preparatory portion of the course, which will occur during the second half of the spring semester, students will encounter the history, major figures, and contemplative practices of the Celtic tradition. During the week-long stay in the monastery of the Iona Community (June 10-16), students will participate in worship, common meals, and shared chores; experience programs around course themes led by Iona staff and WFUSD professors; and take a pilgrimage tour of the island. Written assignments for the travel portion of the course will be due before the end of Summer Session I. Passport required. 13 scholarships available.