SKSM Online Courses 2007-2008
 

2007-2008 Online Courses


Click for Starr King course fees.

Updated: 02/28/13

Fall

Our Theological House: An Introduction to Theology for Unitarian Universalists
Fall Semester                          
Roy Phillips

Traversing the classical topics of systematic theology (the nature of God, humanity, Christ, Spirit, sin and salvation, and the purpose of the church), this course will introduce Unitarian Universalists and interested fellow travelers to the distinctive theological perspectives that give our theological house its shape and character. The course will include readings in the history of theology and contemporary sources, combined with online discussions and reflection papers. The goal is to deepen Unitarian Universalist theological competency and creativity in our emerging post-modern context. This course, developed by Starr King President and Professor of Theology Rebecca Parker, is open to Unitarian Universalist seminarians enrolled in schools outside the Graduate Theological Union, ministers, lay professionals and interested lay people. / The Rev. Roy Phillips served for 37 years as U.U. minister in congregations in Arizona, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Florida. He has a degree in philosophy from Boston University and in theology from Meadville/Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago.
SKOL 4005
3 units       
Limit: 15

Unitarian Universalist History
Fall Semester
Roxanne Seagraves
This is a graduate course in Unitarian Universalist history. The course will follow Unitarianism and Universalism from the Renaissance, Reformation, Radical Reformation and their development in Europe to their history in America, and critically examine contemporary issues. This is a semester-long course designed for Unitarian Universalist seminarians who don't have access to courses in denominational history at or near their seminaries. / Dr. Roxanne Seagraves received her Ph.D. from the GTU and Starr King in 2002. She received her M.Div. from Starr King in 1995. She continues her research into American Religious History, and the roots of 20th century Humanist/Spiritualist debates among UU's and Quakers. She lives and teaches in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
SKOL 4009
3 units
Limit: 15

Theology and Reproduction CANCELLED
Fall Semester

Kathryn Lyndes
This course will address theological, ethical and pastoral issues in reproductive decision-making from feminist and historical perspectives.   Intended for ministry, religious studies and women’s studies students, we will examine the socio-cultural contexts of contemporary debates about reproductive choices as well as the construction of such debates from varied religious perspectives on moral theology, theological anthropology, sexual ethics and the nature of authoritative sources and norms for theology, public policy and church-state relations.  Integration of theological and socio-cultural concerns with pastoral care approaches will be addressed through case studies.  This course is co-sponsored by Starr King School for the Ministry and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. / During her time at Chicago Theological Seminary, Kathryn Lyndes, M.Div, Ph.D. completed CPE internship and residency programs, worked as an on-call chaplain and managed the emergency services of a community mental health center in Gary, Indiana. The interdisciplinary program at CTS allowed her to combine her experience and interests in chaplaincy and social work by researching the possible intersections between theologies and psychologies, particularly around the development of “self” in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, and class oppression, as well as ethical considerations of reproduction facing ministers today.
SKOL 4012
3 units
Limit: 15
CANCELLED

Andalusia: Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Part 1
Fall Semester
/ Course open to GTU students
Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé
This online course invites the student to engage in an interactive, multi-media process of beginning to reconceptualise the ways in which Judaism, Islam and Christianity have been heretofore studied.  We are only now beginning to acknowledge the radical importance of studying Judaism, Islam, and Christianity together.  Islam is often constructed as a problematic Other and therefore seen as having nothing in common with and nothing to do with anything outside of its own realm.  The histories and processes of interaction between the three traditions in Muslim Andalusia will be studied through text, music, architecture, graphic art, ecology, etc.  Instead of looking exclusively at three discreet and distinct traditions, we will examine how the three informed each other within the context of al-Andalus.  This will provide a paradigm which we will then interrogate as we look at how historiography, geography, bodies, genders, identities, notions of race and fictions of purity, relationships of class and power intersect in the development of these religious traditions.  This will lay the groundwork for further collaborative study of the three religious traditions.  In the Spring Semestre, in addition to the work on Andalusia proper, we will also look at the implications of these intersections in the post-1492 Americas, as well as in the history of Islam in Bosnia.  Where is East?  Where is West?  / Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé received his doctorate in Theology for groundbreaking work on the spiritual connection between the African Diaspora and Africa. Farajajé has researched Islam with an emphasis on the African American experience and Moroccan Sufism, as well as the Yoruba and Maria Lionza religions in the Caribbean and Latin America. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Farajajé will lead the school's Andalusian Project. He is applying his work in postcolonial/Diaspora studies, cultural studies, critical theory and video technologies to an investigation of 21st century Islam, the development of Islamophobia and questions of identity and diversity in Muslim communities.
HR 4800
3 units
Limit: 20

Transcendentalism & Sufism CANCELLED
Fall Semester / Course open to GTU students
Nayer Taheri
The focus of this class is “respect for the interdependent web of all existence,” by exercising academic studies in four different fields of: History, Theology, Comparative Literature and Comparative Religion. To achieve this goal the class will provide a vast collection of reading materials that include primary works of Hafiz, Sa’adi (Persian Sufi poets) as well as works of Emerson, articles of history of Orientalism in the East and history of the United States in the 19th century.  The variety of reading materials will allow the students to creatively travel in four fields of study and examine making bridges by finding similarities and differences between Transcendentalist ideas through the works of Emerson and comparing them with the Sufi theology in the works of Hafiz. The students will roam through the history of the United States in the 19th century, along with a glance on the history of Orientalism in the East and setting of life of Hafiz in 14th century Persia. Finally they will weave a connection between Emerson and Hafiz by studying the Perennial Wisdom that exists in all world religions. / Nayer Taheri, MASC, is a graduate of Starr King School and a student of Sufism. Her studies at SKSM focused on Islamic studies and its relation to Unitarian Universalism. She has taught online classes as a part of the World Religions sequence, and has taught a semester long course on Islam. She is a frequent guest speaker at UU congregations across the Pacific Northwest region. She is a Muslim hospital chaplain and a steering committee member of the Religious Coalition for Equality, an organization advocating for equality for GLBT people.
HR 4812
3 units 
Limit: 15
CANCELLED

The Life, Work, and Trans-national Communities of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
Fall Semester / Course open to GTU students
Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé
Very few records exist of the early life of Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. In the early 1900s, religious pilgrims travelling through the jungles of Sri Lanka encountered him.  Some time later, someone invited him to a nearby village and that is where he began his public teaching.  Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Jews of all ethnic backgrounds gathered around him to learn from him.  A Muslim community that was called an ashram grew up around him.  In 1971, he visited the United States for the first time and soon settled in Philadelphia where he developped a community that is still in existence today. He continued to live both in Sri Lanka and in Philadelphia.  The Fellowship that he founded has published more than 20 books by him.  To my knowledge, a course has never been taught anywhere on him, his thought, his anti-oppression message of non-violence and vegetarianism.  He is considered by many to be one of the greatest Muslim thinkers and spiritual leaders of our time.  He also produced an incredible body of art.  His community in Philadelphia, much like that in Sri Lanka brought together people of many religious and racial/ethnic backgrounds.  The Fellowship was particularly remarkable in that it provided community for many African American Muslims. Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, African American womanist Muslim scholar and activist talks consistently about the impact that Bawa's teaching has had on her on work as an anti-oppression activist in the world.  In his words, "True Islam has never discarded anyone." What were his teachings and how did his community grow out of them?  What can we learn today from how he lived Islam as a space of loving encounter for people of all religious identities?  We will read his principal works, listen to him teaching, hear him chanting, study his art work.  Those who are near the East Coast or able to travel there, will be able to visit his community in Philadelphia and the place of his burial in the Pennsylvania countryside.  It has become a pilgrimage site for people from all over the world. / Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé received his doctorate in Theology for groundbreaking work on the spiritual connection between the African Diaspora and Africa. Farajajé has researched Islam with an emphasis on the African American experience and Moroccan Sufism, as well as the Yoruba and Maria Lionza religions in the Caribbean and Latin America. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Farajajé will lead the school's Andalusian Project. He is applying his work in postcolonial/Diaspora studies, cultural studies, critical theory and video technologies to an investigation of 21st century Islam, the development of Islamophobia and questions of identity and diversity in Muslim communities.
HR 4817
3 units
Limit: 15

Spring

Children's Literature: A Religious Education
Spring Semester
Keith Kron
A spider saves the life of a pig. A teenage girl integrates a high school in the South. Children make cranes for a sick classmate. A mouse holds memories for its community. A boy learns about the differences between his choices and his abilities. "Charlotte's Web," "Warriors Don't Cry," "Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes," "Frederick," "Harry Potter." These books for children and many others contain the stories of meaning, of life, of death. Immersing ourselves in the words and pictures of books for and about children, this course will examine the religious, theological and pastoral themes found in the wide world of children's literature and how these might be of use in ministry to others. Participants will be asked to read several children's books a week, participate in online discussions, and complete reflection papers and projects. / The Rev. Keith Kron is a Starr King graduate and Director of the UUA's Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns.
SKOL 4000
3 units
Limit: 15

Introduction to Liberal Religious Education
Spring Semester
Sheri Prud’homme
This online seminar course provides a broad introduction to the theory and practice of liberal religious education, with an emphasis on Unitarian Universalist congregations. Topics include philosophy of UU religious education, teaching and learning, developmental theories, the congregation as an educating community, social justice visions for religious education, current approaches and innovations in religious education for all ages, collegial relationships and professional standards for religious educators, and curriculum resources. The course draws from on one by the same name developed by Betty Jo Middleton, Roberta M. Nelson, Eugene B. Navias, and Judith Mannheim with support from a grant by the St. Lawrence Foundation. / Rev. Sheri Prud'homme is a 1999 graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry. She has served interim ministries of religious education at the UU churches in Oakland and Davis, California, and also as the Pacific Central District Lifespan Religious Education Consultant. Supported by a grant from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, she co-created Chalice Camp, a summer day camp curriculum now being used across the country to foster UU identity and understanding of UU history and theology in elementary aged children. She has also taught for four years on the associate faculty at Starr King.
SKOL 4010
3 units
Limit: 15

Congregational Polity
Spring Semester
Mark W. Harris
This is an online course about the history and development of congregational polity in the Unitarian Universalist tradition. How did congregational polity evolve, and what were the differences in Unitarian and Universalist approaches to governance? We'll especially address issues of authority. Where does the congregation/denomination find its sources of authority? Where does the minister find his/her authority? How do we feel about hierarchies? We'll look at how religious communities make decisions, support their leaders and define their roles for ministry. In the context of ministry, we'll especially focus on issues of power and gender, the call, as well as the meaning and context for worship and rites of passage. How does the minister answer the question, who's in charge? / The Rev. Mark Harris is a 1978 graduate of Starr King. He has served churches in London and Sheffield, England, and in Palmer, Milton, and currently Watertown, MA. He also teaches at Andover Newton Theological School. He is a former Director of Information for the UUA, and is the author of Historical Dictionary of Unitarian Universalism.
SKOL 4006
3 units
Limit: 15

World Religions
Spring Semester
Tawna Nicholas Cooley et. al.
The online World Religions course is focused on major, centuries-old, but living religions.  A scholar/ practitioner in each religion has been invited to teach most sections, so the students will learn from the experience and expertise of several professors in this course. In most sections, students will be required to purchase a soft-cover book, recommended by the professor.  Every effort is made to choose books that are easily available and low in cost.  Students will be expected to post a one-page reflection paper each week, as well as interact with their peers in the course.  Lectures will be available for some sections.  A final paper of 10–12 pages is required.  More information about expectations will be available to those who register for the class. / The Rev. Tawna Cooley, a Starr King School graduate, is overseeing this online course, and will be present for students throughout the semester.
SKOL 4007
3 units
Limit: 15

Small Town Unitarian Universalist Ministry
Spring Semester
Beatrice Hitchcock
This course is designed for ministers/interns contemplating service in a small town Unitarian Universalist church, ministers currently struggling to apply mid-size and large church models of ministry in a small town U.U. church, and interested ministerial students who have taken at least one practical ministry course.  It will focus on the unique dynamics of small-town ministry as a liberal minister.  It will also address aspects of ministry common to small churches (100 or fewer congregants).  Students will assess their own suitability for small town ministry and gain insight into which regions they could best serve.  Students will address the challenges of social action in conservative circles and apply research, experience, and brainstorming, to tackle a variety of theoretical or real problems.  They will complete the course with a collection of practical ideas, an extensive resource list, and inspiration for this particular form of cross-cultural ministry. / The Rev. Beatrice Hitchcock is a 1994 Starr King graduate. Her knowledge of small town U.U. ministry was gained first-hand, and gleaned from a wide variety of sources, while she served seven years as Organizing Minister to Seward Unitarian Universalists, (Seward, Alaska, population 2,600). She lives in a log cabin in Alaska.
SKOL 4013
3 units
No Limit

Words and Spirit: Writing as Spiritual Practice
Spring semester
Roxanne Seagraves
In this course we will explore themes and practices related to spiritual direction.  We will examine the role of prayer as a faith practice from a liberal religious perspective.  We will study prayer from several religious traditions, and reflect on what elements of these traditions make prayer practice meaningful.  In addition, congruent with the study of prayer as a religious practice we will explore how writing can serve as a tool for group and individual spiritual direction. / Dr. Roxanne Seagraves received her Ph.D. from the GTU and Starr King in 2002. She received her M.Div. from Starr King in 1995. She continues her research into American Religious History, and the roots of 20th century Humanist/Spiritualist debates among UU's and Quakers. She lives and teaches in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
SKOL 4014
3 units
Limit TBA

Andalusia: Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Part 2
Spring Semester
/ Course open to GTU students
Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé
This online course invites the student to engage in an interactive, multi-media process of beginning to reconceptualise the ways in which Judaism, Islam and Christianity have been heretofore studied.  We are only now beginning to acknowledge the radical importance of studying Judaism, Islam, and Christianity together.  Islam is often constructed as a problematic Other and therefore seen as having nothing in common with and nothing to do with anything outside of its own realm.  The histories and processes of interaction between the three traditions in Muslim Andalusia will be studied through text, music, architecture, graphic art, ecology, etc.  Instead of looking exclusively at three discreet and distinct traditions, we will examine how the three informed each other within the context of al-Andalus.  This will provide a paradigm which we will then interrogate as we look at how historiography, geography, bodies, genders, identities, notions of race and fictions of purity, relationships of class and power intersect in the development of these religious traditions.  This will lay the groundwork for further collaborative study of the three religious traditions.  In the Spring Semestre, in addition to the work on Andalusia proper, we will also look at the implications of these intersections in the post-1492 Americas, as well as in the history of Islam in Bosnia.  Where is East?  Where is West? / Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé received his doctorate in Theology for groundbreaking work on the spiritual connection between the African Diaspora and Africa. Farajajé has researched Islam with an emphasis on the African American experience and Moroccan Sufism, as well as the Yoruba and Maria Lionza religions in the Caribbean and Latin America. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Farajajé will lead the school's Andalusian Project. He is applying his work in postcolonial/Diaspora studies, cultural studies, critical theory and video technologies to an investigation of 21st century Islam, the development of Islamophobia and questions of identity and diversity in Muslim communities.
HR 4801
3 units 
Prerequisite:  Fall Part 1 class is required. 
Limit: 20

Unitarianism and Ottoman Islam
Spring Semester
/ Course open to GTU students
Susan Ritchie
This course explores religious toleration as the lived result of mutual attractions, persecutions, and historic interactions between Ottoman Muslims and Unitarians. We begin with the basic theology, religious and cultural traditions of Ottoman Islam (13th-18th centuries), developing in more detail the affinities between Unitarianism and the progressive theology of Ibn-al-‘Arabī  (whose thought characterized Ottoman literature and the sufi order of the poet Rumi).  We pause to reacquaint ourselves with the traditional Eurocentric accounts of religious toleration. We then travel into the hidden history of actual relationships between Unitarians and Ottoman Muslims in 16th century Transylvania, Renaissance England, and Enlightenment Europe.  This is an Intermediate Graduate Level class.  General but not specific acquaintance with religious history, Unitarian Universalist history and belief, and comparative religious traditions helpful, but not strictly required. / The Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie has served as the minister of the North Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Lewis Center, Ohio since September of 1996.  Rev. Ritchie was ordained by First Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbus, Ohio in May of 1995 and subsequently served as the congregation’s first (interim) associate minister.  She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Ohio State University, and a Divinity degree from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, where she very occasionally teaches UU History and Theology.
HRHS  4824
3 units
Limit: 15

Islam in India: Islam in a Context of Religious Pluralism CANCELLED
Spring Semester / Course open to GTU students
Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé
This online course will examine the history of Islam in India, with a particular emphasis on its interactions with other religious traditions.  We will look in particular at the dynamics of religious interactions in contexts that challenge notions of religions in neatly defined and oppositional relationships.  How are religious identities articulated in colonial/post-colonial contexts?  What are their implications?  We will also look at how this plays out in the South Asian diaspora.  For example, how are contemporary "Hosay" traditions of Trinidad connected to Shi'i Muslim practices in India? / Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé received his doctorate in Theology for groundbreaking work on the spiritual connection between the African Diaspora and Africa. Farajajé has researched Islam with an emphasis on the African American experience and Moroccan Sufism, as well as the Yoruba and Maria Lionza religions in the Caribbean and Latin America. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Farajajé will lead the school's Andalusian Project. He is applying his work in postcolonial/Diaspora studies, cultural studies, critical theory and video technologies to an investigation of 21st century Islam, the development of Islamophobia and questions of identity and diversity in Muslim communities.
HR 4829
3 units
Limit:  15

Most online courses are open only to students not enrolled at a Graduate Theological Union member school.

Seminary for the Laity Courses

During the 2007-2008 academic year, Starr King has offered 7-week Seminary for the Laity online courses. With enormous gratitude to Dr. Helen Bishop, we are announcing that the Seminary for the Laity certificate program will not continue into the 2008-2009 academic year. In light of Starr King School's new educational model, our approach to theological education for the laity is under further development. Students currently enrolled in the Seminary for the Laity certificate program who wish to receive a certificate may complete it by taking SKSM online courses for the SftL rate fees. For more information, SftL Certificate students should contact Cathleen Young at cyoung@sksm.edu. 

Dr. Bishop’s leadership in this capacity has been outstanding and we are grateful. Thank you, Dr. Bishop for your generous commitment, educational imagination, wisdom, and collegial spirit. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Fall Semester

Working with Transition and Change
Helen Bishop

(7 weeks, Sept. 4-Oct. 19, 2007)
The world we live in presents constant change at an ever-increasing rate, and those who lead faith communities, congregations and nonprofit organizations are faced with the necessity of working effectively with transition and change. This course will present methods of change management, guidance on self-management, information on how groups respond to transition, and case studies for analysis.
SKSL 107 | 1 module | Limit: 20

Unitarian Universalist History for Lay Leaders I
Helen Bishop

(7 weeks, Oct. 29-Dec. 14, 2007 )
This course is a survey of Unitarian Universalist history from the sixteenth century to the present. Twentieth-century Unitarian Universalist historian Earl Morse Wilbur identified three fundamental premises within Unitarianism as freedom, reason, and tolerance. In addition to these, Universalism incorporates the concepts of universal salvation, and the human desire for the good. Both movements evolve from multi-stranded histories of dissent within European and North American Christianities. The Unitarian idea of God as one, and the Universalist concept of universal salvation, have surfaced and played across the histories of human belief for millennia. This class will explore some of the historical contexts of Unitarian and Universalist antecedents. We will also explore briefly how the roots of our current faith movement are informed by interchanges of ideas among Christianity, Islam and Judaism within complex European histories.
SKSL 104 | 1 module | Limit: 20

Systems Thinking for Unitarian Universalist Laity CANCELLED
Helen Bishop

(14 weeks with mid-semester break, Sept. 4-Dec. 14, 2007)
This course is designed to promote understanding among Unitarian Universalist lay leaders of how organizations operate on the systems level. “Systems thinking” is a methodology linking understandings of how individuals, dyads, small groups and large groups of people interact with the structure, policies, practices, and culture of an organization. Participants will read materials on various aspects of organizational life, analyze and prepare organizational diagrams, examine the ways in which components interact, discuss emotional and family systems theories and their implications for congregational systems, discuss implications of systems analysis and thinking on congregational leadership, analyze case studies for evidence of organizational frames, and prepare a case study of a nonprofit organization demonstrating systems thinking.
SKSL 103 | 2 modules | Limit: 20
CANCELLED

Spring Semester

Unitarian Universalist History for Lay Leaders – II (Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Concerns)
Helen Bishop
(7 weeks, Feb. 4-March 21, 2008)
This course inverts chronology, borrowing from Foucault’s statement:  “all history is a history of the present.” We will look at seven contemporary concerns within Unitarian Universalism as a movement. We will examine how these are linked to the principles and practices connected with this faith community, and to historical precedents within Unitarian Universalism.  Students are encouraged to raise their own concerns, and to reflect on how their roles as lay leaders within their congregations inform their responses.
SKSL 105 / 1 module / Limit: 20

Polity, Governance and Structure
Helen Bishop
(7 weeks, Feb. 4-March 21, 2008)
Unitarian Universalist congregations are grounded in polity – their authority rests in the congregation itself, rather than in an outside entity.  This course will describe organizational structures common to congregations of various sizes, relate governance practices to structure, staffing, and size, and provide models and tools related to congregational polity and authority.  Students will compare and contrast four structural models: Policy Governance (described by John Carver), independent, interdependent/collaborative, and team.  Each model will be considered in terms of lines of authority, staffing practices, and leadership.
SKSL 106 / 1 module / Limit: 20

Group Processes and Life Cycles
Helen Bishop
(7 weeks, March 31-May 19, 2008)
Congregations and nonprofit organizations are made up of interlocking circles of small groups, each of which goes through its own life cycle.  Leaders who can work effectively with group dynamics and processes can maintain focus on the larger organizational system while paying attention to the groups that make up the organization.  This course will describe group life cycles, dynamics and processes, present models of effective group leadership, and offer case studies and analysis of how groups function.  Students will practice group leadership skills with informal and formal task groups, committees, boards, and staff groups, and receive feedback designed to strengthen their skills.
SKSL 111 / 1 module / Limit: 20

Conflict Management for Lay Leaders I
Helen Bishop
(7 weeks, March 31-May 19, 2008)
This course will provide methodologies for assessing, analyzing and managing issues related to each of five levels and three types of conflict.  Emphasis will be on procedure- and resource-based conflicts.  Students will examine their own conflict management style preferences, analyze case studies, and utilize systems thinking to develop plans for managing conflict effectively.
SKSL 108 / 1 module / Limit: 20

Starr King onsite courses:

2007-2008
Fall / Intersession / Spring / Summer / Saturday Intensives

Click for 2008-2009 online courses

 


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