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dukeI will be one of the plenary speakers at the Summer Institute for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.  It is going to be an exciting event.

Monday, June 6, 2016 – 3:00pm to Friday, June 10, 2016 – 9:00pm
Duke Divinity School
(919) 660-3594

Come expand your theological imagination, grapple with practical problems, and be equipped to continue a journey of reconciliation within a wider community.

Our focus on reconciliation is grounded in a distinctively Christian vision and a framework that is richly practical, contextual, and theological. Rooted in Duke Divinity School’s conviction that reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel, the Summer Institute for Reconciliation draws on the strengths of a faculty of world-class scholars and practitioners. The institute is nurtured by the deepening formation, teaching, and content of a biblical vision of reconciliation that inspires and ferments a movement of transformed communities and relationships. This formation of communities is nurtured by each other’s witness that Christ is strengthening us to the end, affirming us so that we do not “lack any spiritual gift” in our life together (1 Corinthians 1: 4-9).

Institute Overview

The Summer Institute for Reconciliation blends plenary talks given by preeminent scholars and practitioners in the fields of theology and reconciliation, small group seminars led by world-class educators and practitioners, and ecumenical Christian worship to create a rich, vibrant week focused on growing together as scholars and practitioners of reconciliation. Plenary speakers, seminar teachers and worship leaders use scriptural interpretation, theology, and story-telling to weave a rich tapestry of reflection that is theological, contextual and practical.

The Summer Institute for Reconciliation is intended for:

  • Pastors with a desire for their congregations to become communities that live out alternatives to the destructive conflicts and social divisions that fragment our world
  • Christians who are committed to the ongoing training and equipping of others, calling forth the gifts of the community to inspire, form, and support people to become ambassadors of God’s movement of hope; that foster a life together that is a witness to now being “the acceptable time,” now being the “day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
  • Grass-roots ministers and Christians living and working among people who suffer or are marginalized
  • College, university, and seminary faculty and administrators training young Christians to live in the way of the Kingdom
  • Denominational and organizational leaders seeking to guide their organizations into new practices and structures that enable the flourishing of communities living out God’s vision of peace and justice
  • Every follower of Jesus Christ seeking to become an ambassador of God’s healing and wholeness


Morning & Evening Prayer
Participants begin and end each day with vibrant Christian worship, held in Duke Divinity School’s beautiful Goodson Chapel.

Morning Common Journey
All participants gather to learn from and dialogue with plenary speakers about a theological vision and practice of reconciliation.

Afternoon In-Depth Seminars
Participants select one afternoon seminar for the entire week, going in-depth with one or two faculty members and a small group of peers in a format of rich teaching and interaction.

Other Activities
Shared meals, one-on-one conversations with faculty, some free evenings, some evenings with community-building events, and access to the many gifts of Duke University’s campus.

Faculty & Speakers

Dr. Ellen DavisEllen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. Additionally, she currently serves as interim dean until July 1, 2016. The author of nine books and many articles, her research interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their response to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations. Her most recent book, Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry was published in the fall of 2014 (Westminster John Knox). Her bookScripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production. Her other publications include Wondrous Depth: Old Testament Preaching; Who Are You, My Daughter? Reading Ruth through Image and Text, an annotated translation accompanying woodcuts by Margaret Adams Parker; Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament; and The Art of Reading Scripture, co-edited with Duke Divinity School Dean Richard Hays. She has long been involved in inter-religious dialogue and in work with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan to develop theological education, community health, and sustainable agriculture.

Ellen will be co-facilitating the plenary sessions with David Anderson Hooker.

Drew G. I. Hart is a Ph.D. candidate in theology and ethics at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, part-time professor, writer, and activist. His academic research and writing is at the intersection of Black theology and Anabaptism. In addition to his doctoral work, he earned his M.Div. degree with an urban concentration from Biblical Theological Seminary, and a Biblical Studies degree from Messiah College. His blog ‘Taking Jesus Seriously’ is hosted by Christian Century and he enjoys utilizing twitter (@DruHart) when he doesn’t have time to write posts. He speaks regularly in churches, universities, conferences, and seminaries, and his first book, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism (Herald Press, January 2016), combines theological ethics, antiracism theory, and personal experiences together to challenge the church towards a more faithful way. He and his wife, Renee, have two young sons, Micah and Dietrich, and live in Philadelphia.

Drew will be teaching the Subverting White Supremacy seminar.

Phileena Heuertz has spent her life in social justice work among the world’s poor. A member of the New Friar movement, for nearly 20 years she and her husband Chris served with Word Made Flesh in more than 70 countries building community among victims of human trafficking, survivors of HIV and AIDS, abandoned children and child soldiers and war brides. Author, spiritual director, yoga instructor, public speaker and retreat guide, Phileena is passionate about spirituality and making the world a better place. Phileena has led contemplative retreats for a number of faith communities including: Word Made Flesh, World Vision International, Compassion International, as well as non-faith and interfaith groups in leading cities across the nation. Phileena and husband,Chris, founded Gravity in 2012 to support the development of Christian consciousness by making contemplative practice accessible to individuals, communities and organizations who engage the challenging social justice perils of our time. Phileena’s work includes public speaking, teaching and writing on contemplative spirituality, facilitation of contemplative retreats, and spiritual direction. She holds a Masters of Christian Spirituality from Creighton University’s department of theology and is a certified spiritual director in the Ignatian contemplative evocative method.

Phileena will be leading a half-day mini-retreat on Thursday, June 9.

David Anderson Hooker is a mediator and peace builder with over 20 years of experience in the field. He is the former Senior Program Associate for the National Institute for Dispute Resolution (NIDR) in Washington, DC.  He is a graduate of Emory University’s School of Law (J.D.) and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (M.Div). Mr. Hooker’s consulting practice provides conflict transformation services, training and systems design to families, corporations and communities. He has specialties in managing complex, multi-party, and public policy conflicts and his work has taken him to Bosnia, Croatia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Cuba. As Adjunct faculty for the Institute for Church Administration and Management (ICAM) at the Interdenominational Theological Center (The ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia he teaches Conflict Transformation and Leadership Communications to clergy, episcopal and lay leadership of historically African American churches. He is also a member of the board of Directors of JustPeace, The United Methodist Church’s Center for mediation and Conflict Transformation.

David will be teaching the Discovering and Embracing Narratives of Reconciliation seminar.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim received her M.Div. from Knox College (University of Toronto) and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion.  Kim is a prolific author, having published 10 books, most recently, Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love and Here I Am: Faith Stories of Korean American Clergywomen. She has also written over 70 book chapters, journal articles and book reviews. She is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora”.  Kim has recently been elected to the American Academy of Religion’s (AAR) Board of Directors as an At-Large Director. She serves on the AAR’s “Research Grants Jury Committee, is a co-chair of AAR’s steering committee, “Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Group,” and is a steering committee member of AAR’s “Comparative Theology Group” and “Religion and Migration Group.”  She sits on the editorial board for the Journal for Religion and Popular Culture and is a referee for 3 journals: Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, and The Global Studies Journal. Kim writes for The Huffington PostSojournersEthicsDaily.com, Wabash Center, and Feminist Studies in Religion (co-editor). She has also written for TIMEThe Feminist Wire, Feminism and Religion, The Forum for Theological Education, 99 Brattle and The Nation. Grace Ji-Sun Kim is an ordained minister of word and sacrament within the PC (USA) denomination. More of her work can be found athttps://gracejisunkim.wordpress.com/

Grace will be the plenary speaker on Friday June 10.

Claudia May is an Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies at Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a specialist in Reconciliation Studies, African American, Black British, and Caribbean literature and popular culture, Biblical Studies, and Christian Hip Hop. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and has over 12 years’ experience teaching in higher education. Her work has been published by Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Walter de Gruyter, Lexington Books, and Routledge, among others. She is a regular contributor toPatheos, and the author of Jesus is Enough: Love, Hope, and Comfort in the Storms of Life (Augsburg Fortress Press, http://ow.ly/TAKJz). Dr. May has taught and presented papers at seminaries and universities in the United Kingdom and the United States on subjects that explore the relationship between biblical stories, literature, and popular culture. She lectures on how individuals can forge an intimate relationship with God through prayer and reflective writing. As a spiritual director (seehttp://www.claudiamay.org/), she also leads courses, facilitates workshops and one-on-one sessions that enable participants to discover how their practice of self-care strategies can benefit their vision for ministry and transform how they serve others. Dr. May is a passionate follower of Jesus, a woman of prayer, and a lover of biblical stories and wisdom. You can follow her on twitter @ClaudiaMayPhD.

Claudia will be teaching the Theology of Reconciliation seminar.

Cheryl Miller is the Executive Director of Perpetual Help Home in Victoria, Texas where she oversees a housing program for women seeking to move from poverty, addiction, homelessness, and prostitution to healthy independence through innovated practices, including social enterprise opportunities.  She has a BA in Education from the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) and a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Nonprofit Leadership and Communication, also from UHV.  She is a Credentialed Advanced Mediator through the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association and has been a volunteer mediator for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue program for fifteen years specializing in mediation between victims of violent crime and their offenders. Miller is the author of a practical handbook for introducing and exploring the intersections of restorative justice, Christian community development, and mediation: The Language of Shalom: 7 Keys to Practical Reconciliation.

Cheryl will be teaching the Language of Shalom seminar.

Soong-Chan Rah is the Milton B. Engebretson associate professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago and the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (IVP Books, 2009) and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody, 2010).  Soong-Chan is formerly the founding senior pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church (CCFC)—a multiethnic, urban ministry-focused church committed to living out the values of racial reconciliation and social justice in the urban context. Soong-Chan has previously been part of a church planting team in the Washington, D.C. area, worked for a number of years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston (specifically at MIT), and mobilized CCFC to plant two additional churches. He currently serves on the boards of World Vision, Sojourners, the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), and the Catalyst Leadership Center. He has extensive experience in cross-cultural preaching, especially on numerous college campuses. Soong-Chan received his bachelor’s in political science and history/sociology from Columbia University; his Master of Divinity degree from GCTS; his Master of Theology degree from Harvard University; and his Doctor of Ministry degree from GCTS. He’s currently in the doctor of theology program at Duke University.

Soong-Chan will be the plenary speaker on Wednesday June 8.

Ismael Ruiz-Millan is originally from San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference, serving as pastor for  “Unidos por Cristo” in Grimesland, NC and the Brookland-Brooksdale United Methodist churches in Roxboro, NC from 2004-2010.  Since 2011, Ruiz-Millan has served as the Director of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School.  In that role he has developed and taught courses on pastoral care to pastors and laypersons from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Peru. He also directs different programs within Duke Divinity School that target students and non-Hispanic clergy and laity who are passionate and want to serve the Hispanic and Latino (H/L) population in the US. He has developed seminars, workshops, and learning opportunities for current pastors serving the H/L community in the United Methodist Church in North Carolina and has been actively involved in increasing awareness among clergy and laity around the needs of farm workers and immigrants in North Carolina. Ruiz-Millan regularly leads pilgrimages to the Mexico-U.S. border.

Ismael will co-teach the Rural Church as Prophetic Institution seminar with Brandon Wrencher.

Louis D. Threatt directs Project TURN, a partnership between School for Conversion and Duke Divinity School to teach courses inside North Carolina prisons in which half the students are from Duke and half are from the prison. Rev. Threatt also helps coordinate the Prison Studies Certificate at Duke Divinity School and Pastors at Messiah Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Winston-Salem, N.C. Rev. Threatt is a veteran of the United States Air Force, and holds degrees from North Carolina Central University (B.S. in Physics and Mathematics) and Duke Divinity School (M.Div. with a certificate in Prison Studies).

Louis will co-teach the Justice in Our Changing Cities seminar with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a celebrated spiritual author and preacher. A native of North Carolina, he is a graduate of Eastern University and Duke Divinity School. Co-founder of the Rutba House, a house of hospitality in Durham, NC, he directs the School for Conversion, a popular education center that builds up beloved community by “making surprising friendships possible.” Jonathan’s books include Common Prayer, New MonasticismStrangers at My Door, and, most recently, The Third Reconstruction with Rev. William Barber.

Jonathan will co-teach the Justice in Our Changing Cities seminar with Louis Threatt.


Brandon Wrencher hails from a small town in the Sandhills area of North Carolina. Since 2013 he has been serving in rural Western North Carolina as pastor of Blackburns’ Chapel United Methodist Church, a once dying rural church that in a few years has nearly doubled its congregation and has a major missional impact in the wider community. The growing vitality of the church is owed in large part to its partner ministry, Blackburn House, an intentional community program and community development organization. Brandon serves as Chaplain & Executive Director of Blackburn House. He is currently pursuing a Th.M. degree at Duke Divinity School, researching and writing on the politics of identity (race, class, gender, etc.), drawing from the fields of Christian theology and ethics, black studies, cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and political philosophy. Brandon writes for several Christian blogs and magazines, including Sojourners. He edits the CCDA Theological Journal. Brandon has served in a host of parachurch and church settings, as a campus minister at UNC Chapel Hill and with InterVarsity at the University of Chicago, and in discipleship and missional ministry roles with the AME Zion Church and other local churches in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Brandon will co-teach the Rural Church as Prophetic Institution seminar with Ismael Ruiz-Millan.


Theology of Reconciliation
At the heart of the gospel is the invitation to the ministry of reconciliation. It is a ministry that remembers creation’s original goodness and harmony, wrestles deeply with how sin causes that harmony to be distorted, and anticipates the day when every tribe, tongue, people and nation will sing in symphony with the Triune God. Jesus is the way to reconciliation. His life, humility, his radical love, and teachings provide us with essential insights and strategies on how we can embody the ministry of reconciliation. By reflecting on Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation as revealed in Scripture and lived in community we will better understand the significance of diversity in the world. This seminar grapples with the tensions, costs, and joys that come with following Jesus’ example of reconciliation. The relationship between the observance of spiritual disciplines and the practice of reconciliation will also guide our discussions. This seminar hopes to stir a holy restlessness in participants so that we will “run with perseverance” the race set before us in tune with God’s call in ever changing, diverse, and multicultural societies.

Dr. Claudia May (Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University) will teach Theology of Reconciliation.


Subverting White Supremacy: An Anti-Racism Theory and Theological Ethics Approach
Though the church is supposed to be the visible manifestation of Christ’s presence on earth, in America such a witness has been vandalized by the church’s ongoing entanglements with racism. Seeking quick fixes, American Christians have frequently sought to jump too quickly to proclaiming unity, assuming that we overcame these old problems a long time ago. In actuality, the church has continued to unconsciously perpetuate racial hierarchy in its theology and gatherings, and has persisted in embodying racialized patterns, habits, and logics when it scatters throughout society. In this seminar, we will bring anti-racism theory into conversation with theological ethics, believing that Jesus’ call to discipleship can and will transform the church’s witness. By naming white supremacy and sharing stories that unveil the ways the church has been plagued by racism, we will shine a light on things that have remained in the dark for too long. And while confessing the anti-lording over others reign of Jesus, we will move forward toward concrete practices that foster a new life together alongside those that have followed Jesus on the underside of our racial hierarchy in America.

Prof. Drew G I Hart (PhD candidate in theology and ethics at Lutheran Theological Seminary) will teach Subverting White Supremacy.


Discovering and Embracing Narratives of Reconciliation
We live our lives within conscious and unconscious narratives.  The narratives that structure our lives have been passed to us through children’s literature, folk tales, myths, and traditional stories, family and cultural histories, and Scriptural narratives.  Conflict and broken relationships can often be understood as a clash of narratives; injustice can be understood as worldly realities that clash with the prophetic narrative of the realm of God; and reconciliation can occur when individuals and communities can build and live into preferred shared narratives. As theologians (both professional and lay) it is helpful to understand the source of the narratives that are structuring conflicts and informing our sense of justice. In this course we will draw on Scripture, children’s stories and other folk literature to understand how narratives shape our lives. Through a series of guided self-reflections, journal writing, and co-counseling exercises, participants will begin to uncover their own hidden and competing narratives of justice and reconciliation.

Dr. David Anderson Hooker (Adjunct faculty for the Institute for Church Administration and Management at the Interdenominational Theological Center) will teach Discovering and Embracing Narratives of Reconciliation.


The Language of Shalom: Keys to Practical Reconciliation
Issues in our society are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate through dialogue. Often times, our language seems inadequate to create a space where powerful and emotional topics can be addressed in a healthy manner. We may understand and acknowledge the call to be reconcilers, but often lack tools to even know where to start. This seminar will offer insight and practical application of facilitative dialogue and restorative justice processes. Participants learn principles from restorative justice mediation from a biblical perspective. There will also be time and activities for participants to practice using the tools and processes discussed.

Cheryl Miller (Executive Director of Perpetual Help Home, Inc.) will teach The Language of Shalom.


Justice in Our Changing Cities
Many urban ministries and community development efforts were founded on the premise that Jesus loves the city, even if America loves the suburbs. But America’s cities are changing. Gentrifying neighborhoods are pushing people to first ring suburbs even as “stop and frisk” policing sends others into our carceral system. What does biblical justice demand of the church in America’s changing cities? Join Jonathan and Louis to gain historical and analytical tools for understanding the changes in your city plus practical tools for 21st-century organizing and community-building.

Rev. Louis Threatt (Director of Project Turn) and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Co-founder of the Rutba House and Director of the School for Conversion) will co-teach Justice in Our Changing Cities.


The Rural Church as Prophetic Institution: The Practice of Listening with the Community
The contemporary challenges of rural communities threaten every area of rural life: education, housing, economics, culture, agriculture, communication, access to food and water, etc. The very foundations, the infrastructures of rural communities are at risk. Though there are similarities to the challenges faced by urban communities, many are unique to rural communities. Even more, the locus of attention around vitality and development efforts across all sectors is disproportionately on urban-surburban-regional environments. Rural communities and churches are largely ignored. The rural church has historically been an anchor institution for rural communities. Yet, rural churches are declining in membership, informed by the patterns of the larger rural community. With the fragmentation, displacement, segregation, and hurt being faced in rural communities, what role does the rural church play? Do rural churches matter? How? For whom? What opportunities are before us? In what ways are our urban and suburban church neighbors accountable? What’s the first step? These are the questions we wish to engage in this seminar, inviting rural practitioners to a renewal of reconciliation and justice ministry in their rural communities.

Rev. Brandon Wrencher and Rev. Ismael Ruiz Millan will co-teach The Rural Church as Prophetic Institution.

Cost, Registration & Scholarships

Due to a generous grant, registration fees for the 2016 Summer Institute for Reconciliation continue to be $500, which includes the cost of most meals. Please note that lodging, transportation and campus parking costs are not included in the $500 fee and are the responsiblity of the participant.

Participants who attend the seminars, lectures and worship services will receive Continuing Education Units (CEU). The intended purpose of these CEUs is to help fulfill continuing education needs of clergy and institutional leaders served by the mission of Duke Divinity School.


Registration for the 2016 Summer Institute for Reconciliation will be open through May 1,2016.Register now.

Before registering, please be sure that you have the following:

  • Seminar selection
  • Scholarship code (if applicable)
  • Visa or Master Card for payment (cannot accept AmEX)

Limited scholarship funding is available. Scholarship recipients will be eligible for reduced registration fees. We do not offer any full-fee scholarships or financial support for travel or lodging.

Scholarship priority will be given to leaders who are actively involved in reconciliation ministry and who have both financial need and significant influence, or to emerging leaders with financial need. We are looking for scholarship applicants who have a concrete plan to share what they learn at the Summer Institute for Reconciliation within their circles of influence. We are also particularly interested in applicants who have secured some funding from an outside source other than their personal funds.

A scholarship committee will review all applications on a rolling basis, and will notify scholarship recipients as funds are awarded.  If you are awarded a scholarship, you will be provided with a code to enter when you register for Summer Institute for Reconciliation. The code cannot be applied retroactively, so please be sure to complete the scholarship process before registering to attend Summer Institute.

Email valerie.helbert@duke.edu for a scholarship application form if you wish to apply.

Accommodations, Meals & Travel


All Summer Institute participants are responsible for making their own lodging arrangements. We have arranged for a special rate at the Millennium Hotel, a full-service hotel located 1.25 miles from the Divinity School. Participants in the Duke Summer Institute will be eligible for the rate of $80 (plus 13.5% sales and occupancy tax) per night for a single room (1 king bed) or $84 for a shared room (2 queen beds). To make a reservation, call 1-800-633-5379 or book online by May 16, 2016. If you make a reservation by phone, be sure to mention that you are a participant in the Duke Summer Institute. The Millennium Hotel offers:

  • Complimentary in-room high speed internet access
  • Several complimentary meeting spaces for informal or prearranged evening conversations and meetings among Summer Institute participants
  • Exercise room
  • Indoor pool
  • Complimentary shuttle service to and from Duke Divinity School
  • Free parking at the hotel
  • Airport shuttle (for an additional charge of $40 per person each way)

If you would like to share a room with two queen beds (reducing your housing costs to $42 per night per person plus tax) but do not have a roommate, please contact us atdukesummerinstitute@div.duke.edu.  We will gladly put you in touch with other participants who are seeking a roommate.


Lunch and dinner will be served buffet-style each day, Tuesday–Friday, with the exception of Thursday dinner, which is on your own. Monday’s dinner is also included in the meal plan. A light continental breakfast will be provided each morning, Tuesday–Friday. Additional options for purchasing a casual breakfast will be included in your participant packet.


Air Transportation

The nearest airport is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), a 20-minute drive to Duke University. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to and from the hotel.  Super Shuttle Serviceruns from RDU airport to Duke University and the surrounding area. You can make a reservation online prior to your arrival to Duke (provided you have a credit card). There will also be taxi cabs waiting outside each terminal of the airport.

Rail Transportation

The Durham Train Station offers Amtrak service to and from Charlotte, Raleigh, Washington DC, and New York City and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.

Ground Transportation

Directions to Duke University