Elective: Signs of the Kingdom: Exploring the Significance of Image and Body in Ministry
To say that we exist in a visual world is not surprising. While some Christians often raise questions about what to watch or not watch, how much time should we spend in front of screens or with our Bibles, we often forget that Christianity itself is a profoundly visual and sensory faith. This session will explore how images and senses shape us as well as how these dynamics are inherent to us as creatures, and to God’s redemptive work in Israel and in Christ. By beginning to see the visual world as a critical aspect of our formation, we can begin to imagine a Christian discipleship that embraces the fullness of who we are and can begin to more faithfully navigate the many diversities that mark our communities.
Dr. Brian Bantum is Associate Professor of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. A black bi-racial son of Wendy and Joseph, husband of Gail Song, a Korean American pastor, and father to three mixed race children, Brian’s theological questions emerged from a life knit from many communities, their struggles, their transgressions, and their practices of resistance. Writing, teaching, and speaking on theology, embodiment, and Christian life, Dr. Bantum asks students to cultivate disruptive spaces of in-between in their lives and calling.
Nancy Lammers Gross is the Arthur Sarell Rudd Associate Professor of Speech Communication in Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned both her MDiv and PhD from Princeton Seminary. She is a member of the Academy of Homiletics, the National Communication Association/Religious Communication Association, and numerous academic administration professional organizations. Her areas of teaching interest include speech communication, preaching, worship, and hermeneutics. An ordained Presbyterian minister, she has served churches in California and New Jersey. She has been deeply involved in curriculum development at Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary), in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, where she previously taught, and in ministry in local congregations.
Rev. Aqueelah Ligonde
Elective: Pics, Posts, and Pods…Oh My!
In a world where our young people are inundated with constant stimulation, visually and verbally, where does their own story and faith life fit in? Together, we will explore ways to help young people understand their own faith journey and be able to articulate that as a form of spiritual formation and evangelism. Through interactive story sharing and conversation, we will examine strategies and tools to walk alongside young people as they learn to confident in who they are and who they are made to be in the world.
Rev. Aqueelah Ligonde is an enthusiastic speaker and leader with a passion for today’s generation of youth, women, and leaders. She has worked with organizations such as: The Princeton Theological Seminary Institute for Youth Ministry’s Certificate in Youth and Theology Program, DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, and Youth Specialties. She serves on the Executive Board of GenOn/Logos Ministries. She is an ordained Teaching Elder with PCUSA and a Staff Consultant with Ministry Architects. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Louisville Theological Seminary. Aqueelah served, for over a decade, as the Youth Minister and Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens,NY.
Extended Seminar: Restoring the Image
This seminar explores images from art history that can meet the challenge of youth ministry in an image saturated age. In session 1, we will explore “Seeing the Son,” and answer: Do images of Jesus belong in discussion of spiritual practices for emerging adults? Can icons of Christ offer a fulcrum of theologically grounded seeing? Is there theological and practical basis for them? In session 2 we will explore “Minding the Mother,” and answer: Does Mary have a place in 21st century Protestant Youth Ministry? Do icons of Mary offer neglected resources for youth ministers today? In session 3 we will explore “Depicting the Heart,” and answer: If the heart is the locus of genuine Christian transformation, what can historic depictions of Christ indwelling the heart offer to this discussion?
Dr. Matthew J. Milliner is Associate Professor of Art History at Wheaton College. After serving as Director of Youth Ministries at Media Presbyterian Church (Media, PA), he received an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University. His forthcoming book is “The Last Madonna: Origin and Insight of a Global Icon,” and he is a current member of the Curatorial Advisory Board of the United States Senate.
Extended Seminar: Created in the Image(s) of God? Media and the Future of the Bible in Youth Ministry
M. John-Patrick O’Connor [J. P.] is a PhD student in Biblical Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary and BA from Northwest University (Kirkland, WA). His research and teaching interests include Second Temple Judaism, Pauline anthropology, and the Gospel of Mark. Prior to seminary, he served as a family pastor in Lakewood, WA.
Extended Seminar: Imaging God
This seminar will equip leaders with tools to use encounters with art, and art making, to build interpersonal connections within their ministries, invite youth to express their faith (and doubt), and challenge youth to open up to seeing God’s image in people who are of a different gender, race, class, or ability in new ways. Theologically, we will consider the difference between seeing each person as valuable because of the reality that they bear the image of God and bearing the image of Christ. We will use our new ways of seeing, informed by Scripture, to consider how we move youth toward living lives marked by the image of Christ, which will shift their perspective from simply valuing those who are different to being “with and for” them.
Elective: Confirming the Faith of Youth
This workshop will share the findings of The Confirmation Project Research, which visited 24 congregations and camps and surveyed over 2,000 congregations in the United States to understand how confirmation and practices of faith formation are effective for strengthening discipleship in youth. This workshop will focus on the role of parents and mentors in confirmation as well as teaching practices that are culturally responsive.
Katie Douglass is an Assistant Professor of Ministry at Seattle Pacific University. She is an ordained minister in the PC(USA) and served, with her husband John, at the American Protestant Church: An International Congregation, in Bonn, Germany before returning to doctoral studies.
Since 2013, Dr. Douglass has directed The Confirmation Project, a $1.1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., that researches confirmation and equivalent practices that form disciples of Jesus Christ in five denominations (PC(USA), UMC, Episcopal, AME, and ELCA) through a national survey of youth, parents, and ministry leaders, as well as congregational visits. The findings from this research and related events are available at www.theconfirmationproject.com.
Proposed Instructor- Course: IYM 1101
Princeton Theological Seminary’s enrolled students have the option to take the Forum on Youth Ministry as a 1 credit course. Kermit Moss is our proposed instructor for the Spring 2018 Forum on Youth Ministry Course. If you are a college or seminary professor, and you would like to bring a group to the Forum on Youth Ministry for credit, please contact us here so that we can provide hospitality and discounted rates for your group.
Kermit Cornell Moss, Sr. is a Ph.D. student in the area of Practical Theology (Christian Education and Formation), and the interim Director for the Center for Black Church Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and has research interests in the intersection of theology, identity, spirituality, pneumatology, urban youth and hip-hop/ pop culture. Prior to matriculating to the Ph.D program, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Long Island University-Brooklyn campus, where with a B.A. in Political Science and also graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity.
Kermit has served on pastoral staff in congregations in Virginia, and New Jersey, and served as senior pastor in a congregation in the South Bronx New York. Kermit has also spent six months in the Philippines as a missionary. He is married to Antoinette Gaboton-Moss and they have three wonderful children: Kermit Jr., Sebastian, and Chloe.
Elective: Getting Unstuck
Do you ever feel like the constraints around you are getting tighter? Are your once reliable resources disappearing? The virtuous cycles that once sustained our ministries are fractured, leaving us looking for innovative and sustainable ways to do ministry. Asking the right questions at the right time of the right people can help us see our constraints as opportunities and lead our communities in transforming ministries specific to context. In this elective you will experience valuable tools, learn how to ask the right questions (to get unstuck), and expand your ministry’s horizons.
Victoria White is the Director of Grants at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity where she encourages traditioned innovation among Christian institutions and their leaders through teaching, writing, networking, resourcing, and grant making. A native Texan, Victoria is an ordained Baptist minister, a pastor’s wife, and mother to 2 hilarious and mischievous children. You can find her working in her home office overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with a gigantic Great Dane named Minnie, or on one of the 5 million sports fields her kids play. She loves to laugh, mostly at herself.
The Sacredness of Individuality: Introspection for Refuting States of Total Conviction in Boys and Young Men
Drawing from the work of psychologist William James and psychotherapist Adam Phillips, this elective examines the role of introspection in countering experiences of shame, self-loathing, and melancholia—states of “total conviction”—in boys and young men. This elective will hold James’s work against the backdrop of the workshop leader’s own youthful struggles, encouraging youth workers to assist boys and young men, against considerable odds, in practicing more generous self-acceptance as their path to greater tolerance of the idiosyncrasies of others.
The Unedited Self: Spontaneity and the Souls of Boys and Young Men
This elective explores cultural trends and intrapsychic struggles that join to bolster vigilant self-screening or self-editing at the expense of spontaneous self-expression among contemporary American boys and young men. The Internet and extensive use of social media contribute to the crafting of highly edited but interpersonally awkward renderings of the masculine self. As societal factors narrow the range of face-to-face opportunities for boys and young men to experience pleasure in looking and in conversing, abundant empirical evidence confirms that archaic psychological desires to see and to be seen, to know and to be known, have not been extinguished. By way of constructive response, youth workers will be shown how to assist boys and young men in seeking out the unmanifest in self, other, and God.
Robert C. Dykstra is the Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his PhD and MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his BA from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Dykstra’s academic interests include pastoral care and counseling, psychoanalytic theory, developmental psychology, contemporary issues impacting children and adolescents, human sexuality, pastoral preaching, and the integration of biblical and theological precepts with research in the human sciences. He is on the editorial boards of Pastoral Psychology and the Journal of Childhood and Religion and is the author of several books, including the forthcoming “Finding Ourselves Lost: Ministry in the Age of Overwhelm.”
A native of Minnesota, Dykstra is a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and an ordained Presbyterian minister. He served for a number of years as a minister, youth minister, hospital chaplain, and pastoral counselor.
Megan DeWald is the Assistant Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry, managing the Certificate in Youth and Theology Program and overseeing digital content. Prior to this, she served as the Site Coordinator of the PCUSA’s Young Adult Volunteer program in Nashville, Tennessee. A fifteen-year veteran of youth and young adult ministry, Megan has served a wide spectrum of contexts and traditions, and she credits this breadth of experience with cultivating her radically inclusive theology. Believing in the transformative power of story, Megan is also a writer, poet, social activist, and musician.
Abigail Visco Rusert
Abigail Visco Rusert is the Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. She has had the opportunity to work with youth on three continents and in six churches. Ordained in the PC (USA), she served most recently as the Associate Pastor at Carmel Presbyterian Church in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Abigail is a graduate of Valparaiso University (music/theology) and Princeton Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Thomas, live in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with their daughters, Dorothy and Solveig.
Rev. Annie A. Lockhart-Gilroy
Rev. Annie A. Lockhart-Gilroy, PhD is Assistant Professor of Christian Education and Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Drew University Theological School where she teaches courses on liberating pedagogies, youth ministry, and youth studies. She has worked with youth for over twenty years as a teacher, coach, and youth minister. Annie earned her MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary and her PhD in Christian Education from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her book,Transforming Cities: Nurturing the Sanctified Imagination in Urban Youth is due to be published by Urban Loft Publishing in the Spring of 2018.
Lecturer & Faculty
Preacher & Faculty
J. P. O’Connor
Annie A. Lockhart-Gilroy
Abigail Visco Rusert
Faculty & Pastor-In-Residence