ET 41 Prison Ministry
ET 41 Prison Ministry
This course will focus on the spirituality and practice of bearing others’ burdens as a necessary part of prison ministry and the reconciliation process. The premise of the course is that while grace is a gift from God, and therefore never under human control, there is an extent to which we can put ourselves in the way of grace by ministering to offenders and victims in the processes of incarceration. Therefore, there is an extent to which grace can be taught by those who give us models of ministering to offenders and victims. The premise is not that this happens in the classroom only, but that grace is taught and learned by the active practice of reconciliation, and that the practice of reconciliation always involves bearing others’ burdens in some respect. We will study the ministries and beliefs of people who have spent a significant part of their lives entering into the suffering of others and bearing others’ burdens. We will learn about the work of people such as Brother Roger Schutz (who is best known for founding the ecumenical Community of Taize, but who began his reconciliation work by sheltering people persecuted by the Nazis), Jonathan Daniels, (a seminarian killed while doing Civil Rights work), Mother Antonia of Mexico (a U. S. citizen who lives and ministers in a Mexican prison) and Jackie Pullinger (who founded the St. Stephen’s Society to serve drug addicts in Hong Kong). We will also study the ministries and writings of others whose reconciliation work is more widely known, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his successor, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop Romero, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen. We will begin the course by studying Jean Vanier’s teachings about the human need for identity, belonging and community, and we will reflect throughout the course on the relationship that these needs have to our willingness to enter into bearing others’ burdens.
The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Battle. 3 credits or Audit.
Michaelmas term (September 4 - December 14, 2018). Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:30 pm.