Photo: Alexandru PopoviciPhoto: Alexandru Popovici19–26 June 2016 • Campus Event

The Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Cohort, Class of 2017, met on campus from June 19–25, 2016, for intensive study in two courses: “Ministry to the Sick and Dying” and “Ministry in a Secular Age.” For the greater part of the academic year Cohort members meet and study online, but they gather on-site bi-annually to engage in robust discussion with faculty and classmates about the day-to-day challenges of their pastoral ministries.

Daniel B. Hinshaw, M.D., and his wife, Jane (Carnahan) Hinshaw, M.D., designed their course about illness and dying in a way that helps students gain a deeper understanding of the kinds of suffering sick and dying people experience—physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. They build on skills and experiences students already have had, in order to make them even more effective in their ministries.

“Often, the subject matter we discuss is directly relevant to challenging situations within their parish ministries, and the give-and-take among us—faculty and classmates—may help identify more beneficial ways to help their parishioners,” they explained.

“Moreover, we have been impressed with the trust and camaraderie built up within this Cohort of very bright and dedicated students,” they continued. “One student admitted he was ‘dreading’ having a course about sickness and death, but later said he has been pleasantly surprised to find the course both helpful and enjoyable.”

The Very Reverend John A. Jillions, D.Min., Ph.D., who teaches the course about ministering in a secular age, similarly noted, “I’m conscious that students in this Cohort are already theologically trained and experienced pastors and church workers, so my course is designed to be a laboratory for wrestling with the difficult, unresolved questions they have about the world in which they serve, as well as the cross-pressures we human beings experience as we seek to live out our faith in Christ.”

Father John recounted some of the wide-ranging topics he discusses with students: social justice, human rights, fundamentalism vs. relativism, inter-religious relationships, and gender and sexuality—issues which assail pastors daily. One of his main goals is to help students become adept at doctoral-level research in ministry, looking at an issue from all sides and deeply reflecting upon it.

“The D.Min. classroom functions as a protected space for full exploration of controversial topics,” he noted. “I’m struck simply by the range of questions the students are investigating, and their willingness to look at the difficult questions their own pastoral realities present.”

Students interested in the Doctor of Ministry Program may view full details of the program here, and contact Program Director the Reverend J. Sergius Halvorsen  shalvorsen@svots.edu. The Danilchick Family Endowment for Pastoral Studies offers need-based financial aid for Doctor of Ministry Students.

VIEW A VIDEO OF D.MIN. STUDENTS EXPERIENCES!