Centers, Initiatives, and Programs for Student Formation
The Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition
The Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition was founded in 1979 and has come to stand at the heart of the mission of Duke Divinity School. The center is focused on staffing, supervising, and enriching the curricular and extracurricular offerings in Methodist and Wesleyan Studies; developing and supporting significant educational outreach programs designed for the school’s United Methodist constituencies and beyond; developing and providing access to outstanding research resources for students and scholars of the broad Wesleyan tradition around the globe; and supporting the production of critical editions of the texts of John and Charles Wesley in print and online formats.
The Duke Center for Reconciliation
As an integral part of the Divinity School and rooted in a Christian vision of God’s ministry of reconciliation, the Duke Center for Reconciliation (CFR) aims to serve the academy, the church, and practitioners in the fields of conflict transformation and peacebuilding, among others. The center hopes to act as leaven that helps Duke Divinity rise as a school for the formation of Christian reconcilers around the world. The CFR reaches out for this goal through four strategic objectives: by embracing the gift and brokenness of the Divinity School, Duke University, and Durham, NC; by promoting a vision of Christ-like reconcilers; by supporting teaching and research on conflict transformation and reconciliation; and by partnering with fellow institutional pilgrims on the journey of reconciliation. In order to prepare Christian leaders in the field of reconciliation, the CFR draws on theological, interdisciplinary, and ministerial resources to engage real-world conflicts, and social and economic problems. The center’s initiatives reflect Duke University’s strategic priorities of inquiry across disciplines, commitment to both the local community and global impact, and preparation of students to use interdisciplinary theological and practical knowledge in the service of society. Therefore, the CFR aims to equip students, pastors, and leaders of denominations and nonprofit organizations for faithful Christian leadership while engaging critical issues in the church and society and creating opportunities for mutual learning between the Divinity School and other ministries and institutions.
During the academic year, the CFR offers an advanced spiritual formation group called the Berean Cohort inviting student participants to deepen their theological understanding of reconciliation and to explore practices that support transformation and reconciliation within communities. The CFR also collaborates with other initiatives and Houses of Study at the Divinity School to host worship, lectures, workshops, and other training opportunities connected to themes of reconciliation and justice. In addition, the CFR is the home of the Certificate on Faith-Based Organizing, Advocacy, and Conflict Transformation. A core program offered by the CFR is the annual Summer Institute for Reconciliation, which is held on Duke’s campus. This institute provides in-depth teaching and learning for both clergy and laity about the theological and practical aspects of reconciliation.
The CFR actively partners with international initiatives to promote reconciliation around the world. The African Great Lakes Initiative (GLI) engages with African church leaders and organizations to strengthen their theological formation and work for reconciliation in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. In Northeast Asia, the Christian Forum for Reconciliation (NARI) contributes to the development of theologically equipped Christian leaders from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and North and South Korea. The Americas Initiative for Transformation and Reconciliation (AITR) focuses on developing interdisciplinary theological and practical tools to cultivate shalom in the Americas. The AITR offers an online Institute for Transformation and Reconciliation in Spanish, Portuguese and English for participants from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela. For details about the Center for Reconciliation, visit divinity.duke.edu/initiatives/cfr.
Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA)
Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts (DITA) promotes a vibrant engagement of Christian theology and the arts at the Divinity School and beyond. This engagement is a two-way activity, aiming to demonstrate both what theology can bring to the arts and what the arts can bring to theology.
Through an integrated program of teaching, research, and artistic engagement, DITA seeks to contribute toward transformative leadership in the church, world, and academy, and especially with respect to the role of the arts in these spheres; engage with pressing issues of faith in culture and society that are articulated through the arts; and strengthen the academy with respect to the arts as media of faith.
The program is committed to fostering and encouraging artistic practice integrally linked to its research and teaching. It organizes, sponsors, and promotes a wide range of events including concerts, exhibitions, and multimedia commissions within the Divinity School, in partnership with other departments of the Duke University, and wider afield through its establishment of the Duke-UK Collaboration. Information on DITA’s past and future events, and its teaching and research activities, can be found at sites.duke.edu/dita.
A certificate in theology and the arts is available for students who fulfill certain course requirements during their time at Duke.
The Everything Happens Initiative
The mission of the Everything Happens Initiative is to bear Christian witness to the power of empathy and to foster Christian wisdom about living alongside our fragility. Through a national podcast, spiritual formation curricula, weekly newsletters, and daily social media, the project seeks to foster gentle dialogue in a harsh environment, offering an anchor where people find themselves attached to the virtues, attitudes, and behaviors that will make them stronger and their communities healthier. To learn more, visit katebowler.com/about-the-everything-happens-initiative.
The Friendship House
Friendship House is a residential ministerial formation opportunity in which Duke Divinity School students and persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (core residents) live together in community. The Office of Ministerial Formation at the school collaborates with the program in which three students share a four-bedroom apartment with one person with an intellectual or developmental disability. Students gain through lived experience a deeper understanding of the image of God in persons, a broader understanding of belonging, an increased empathic capacity, and an enlarged picture of the kingdom of God. Students quickly learn that persons with disabilities are actually “differently-abled” and have gifts to contribute to any community, especially the church.
The transformational experience Friendship House offers is encouraged through the intentional community commitments of eating together, praying together, and celebrating together. Student resident advisors provide resources for student and friend residents and support the organization of life together.
Friendship House is embedded within a disabilities-supportive neighborhood, the North Street Development, in Durham, North Carolina. The program is owned and operated by Reality Ministries, whose mission is to create opportunities for teens and adults with and without developmental disabilities to experience belonging, kinship, and the life-changing reality of Christ’s love. Friend residents, and students as they are able, participate in this mutually supportive ministry. Experienced altogether, Friendship House offers a unique opportunity to grow into one’s calling authentically, with integrity and deeper faithfulness. For more information about Friendship House, visit divinity.duke.edu/admissions/admitted-student-resources/housing-resources or friendshiphousepartners.com.
A relaunched initiative at Duke Divinity School, the Ormond Center seeks to foster the imagination, will, and ability of congregations and communities to be agents of thriving. The center does this by equipping practitioners with the mindset, skills, and tools they need to serve their field, place, and neighbors. It pursues its mission through five key focus areas: Thriving Congregations, Placemaking, Work for Common Good, Transformational Enterprise and Investment, and NC Thrives. Across these five concentrations, the center equips congregations and communities through translational research, teaching and training, convening, consulting, and storytelling.
The Ormond Center serves faculty, practitioners, and students across Duke Divinity School and Duke University more widely. Enhancing the capabilities of Duke Divinity, the center acts as a vehicle for teaching, scholarship, community engagement, additional learning opportunities, and engagement with the broader university, the state of North Carolina, and the world.
For more information on the Ormond Center’s vision, its latest projects with the Houses of Study at Duke Divinity School and national partners, and ways to get involved, visit ormondcenter.com.
The Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative (TMC)
Drawing on resources and relationships distinctive to Duke University, the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative (TMC) seeks the renewal of health care by bringing in-depth theological formation to the church’s health care practitioners, inviting them to reimagine and to reengage contemporary practices of health and health care in light of Christian tradition and the practices of Christian communities. As a project in the university, TMC focuses on intellectual formation. As a project of Duke Divinity School, TMC serves the church’s vocation in the world.
Building on the unique strengths and commitments of Duke Divinity School, the TMC initiative pursues two primary goals:
to invite seminarians, clergy, students in the health professions, and practicing clinicians to deep theological study and formation in the context of a community of shared prayer, dialogue, and friendship at Duke Divinity School; and
to cultivate faithful and creative practices regarding health and medicine that emerge from a scriptural imagination, engagement with the living Christian tradition, and attention to and reflection on contemporary contexts.
The Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellowship offers scholarships and an invitation to health care practitioners and others with full-time vocations to health care to one- and two-year programs of full-time residential study and Christian formation at Duke Divinity School, equipping participants to engage their callings to health care wisely and faithfully.
The certificate in theology and health care (CTHC) is a fully accredited one-year course of study, which offers robust and practical theological formation for any health care practitioner seeking to inhabit contemporary medicine and health care faithfully and creatively. The CTHC can be completed in-residence or in a flexible hybrid format combining two weeks in- person and eight months of online learning. The program combines foundational courses in Christian theology, scripture, and church history with courses engaging the practical issues that health care practitioners encounter in contemporary culture.
The certificate in theology, medicine, and culture prepares degree seeking (MDiv, MTS, and ThM) students for robust theological and practical engagement with contemporary practices in medicine and health care.
Medical and occupational therapy students in Duke University School of Medicine have approved pathways to study at the Divinity School.
TMC Virtual Seminars are twice-monthly online gatherings of students, faculty, and practitioners from Duke University, Duke Health, and beyond to explore questions at the intersections of theology, medicine, and culture.
The annual Practice and Presence conference brings Duke Divinity faculty and resources, as well as partners and collaborators, from across the nation together with health care practitioners for a gathering designed to help them imagine and engage their vocations with clarity, faith, and joy.
The Advanced Care Planning and Healthy Living Through Faith program aims to reduce racial disparities in advance care planning and to nurture the capacity of the African American Advance Care Planning/Palliative Care Network to lead efforts to overcome racial inequities across healthcare.
The annual Catena Lecture in Medicine, Faith, and Service invites speakers whose work displays innovative scholarship, service and institution-building at the intersection of theology, medicine and culture.
The annual Payne Lecture in Faith, Justice, and Health Care invites speakers whose work and research embody whole-person care in the spirit of the late Dr. Richard Payne.
TMC faculty members conduct scholarship and research on a wide range of topics, including the impact of religious commitment on medical decision-making; theological approaches to mental health and mental illness; the practices of Christian hospitals; theological approaches to pain and addiction; the human body in Paul’s letters; end-of-life care policy; social ethics and health care equity; the intersections of religion, gender, and bioethics; and theology and disability.
For details about TMC, visit tmc.divinity.duke.edu.
Thriving Rural Communities
The Thriving Rural Communities initiative works to foster thriving rural North Carolina communities by cultivating faithful rural Christian leadership and fruitful rural United Methodist congregations. Thriving Rural Communities seeks to fulfill its mission by: (1) training new leaders through the Rural Ministry Fellowship/ Scholarship program and the monthly Rural Ministry Colloquia at Duke Divinity School; (2) resourcing rural church partners through leadership development gatherings and community development grants for partner thriving rural congregations; (3) connecting rural clergy and churches through teaching and learning events, workshops, and rural leadership conferences; and (4) inspiring positive change in partner institutions by working in partnership with leaders from Duke Divinity School, The Duke Endowment, and the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church. More information on the Thriving Rural Communities initiative can be found on its website at divinity.duke.edu/initiatives/trc or by calling (919) 660-0049.
Thriving Rural Communities, Hispanic House of Studies, and the Clergy Health Initiative are programs operated by the Divinity School in collaboration with The Duke Endowment and the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church in an effort to form communities that work with and are enriched by local United Methodist congregations.