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dukeI look forward to speaking at the Summer Institute for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. The Summer Institute will be held Monday, June 5, 2017 – 3:00pm to Friday, June 9, 2017 – 9:00pm
Duke Divinity School
Valerie Helbert
(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 learning and formation that take place at the Summer Institute for Reconciliation build on critical questions that frame our content and design. These questions address the heart of the journey of reconciliation. Our methodology, which we call “Word Made Flesh,” explores the theological, contextual, and practical dimensions of this movement of hope.

The questions are:

  • New Creation — “Toward what?”: This question addresses our goal, the end toward which the movement leads, and invites participants to form a vision of new creation grounded in Scripture.
  • Lament  —  “What is going on?”: Through this question, we seek to develop a clearer and deeper understanding of the specific challenges participants face through seeing, naming, and standing in the brokenness. This question invites participants to develop the gift and discipline of lament.
  • Hope  — “What does hope look like?”: This question engages the hopeful lives, models, stories, experiments, initiatives, visions, and practical skills that can shape and sustain a new future.
  • Spirituality for the journey — “Why me, and why bother?”: This question explores issues of personal vocation, calling,and formation. The question highlights practices, rhythms, lifestyles, and convictions that sustain people and communities even in the face of challenges and obstacles, and invites participants to form a deep and lively practical spirituality to support leadership over the long haul.

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

Schedule (pdf)

Morning & Evening Worship
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.

In-Depth Seminars
Participants select one 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 evenings with community-building events, a free evening in downtown Durham, and access to the many gifts of Duke University’s campus.

Faculty & Speakers

Abdullah AntepliAbdullah Antepli

Abdullah Antepli completed his basic training and education in his native Turkey. From 1996-2003 he worked on a variety of faith-based humanitarian and relief projects in Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia with the Association of Social and Economic Solidarity with Pacific Countries. He is the founder and executive board member of the Association of College Muslim Chaplains (ACMC) and a board member of the Association for College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA). From 2003 to 2005 he served as the first Muslim chaplain at Wesleyan University. He then moved to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, where he was the associate director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program & Interfaith Relations, as well as an adjunct faculty member.

He previously served as Duke University first Muslim chaplain from July 2008 to 2014. In his current work at Duke, Antepli engages students, faculty, and staff across and beyond campus through seminars, panels, and other avenues to provide a Muslim voice and perspective to the discussions of faith, spirituality, social justice, and more. He also serves as a faculty member in the Duke Divinity School, teaching a variety of courses on Islam and Muslim cultures.

Antepli will be co-teaching the Religious Peacemaking for Christian and Muslim Leaders seminar with Ellen Davis.

Vince BantuVince Bantu

Vince Bantu is professor of missiology at Covenant Theological Seminary in Creve Coeur, MO. He also serves as teaching pastor at Jubilee Community Church in the North Side of St. Louis, Mo., and as an adjunct professor of urban ministry at North Park Theological Seminary and church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Bantu’s academic interests include missiology, Near Eastern Christianity, community development, church history, and racial reconciliation. He earned a B.A. in theology from Wheaton College, an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education, a Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary in church history, and a Ph.D. in Semitic and Egyptian Languages from The Catholic University of America.  He is an active member of the International Congress for Coptic Studies, the North American Patristics Society, the Society of Biblical Literature, the St. Shenouda Society for Coptic Studies and the Christian Community Development Association. His current book project—No Further Burden: Exploring the Multiethnic Roots of Christianity (InterVarsity Press)—will engage the origins of Western captivity and explore the diverse spectrum of early Christianity.

Bantu will be teaching the Cultural Appropriation and Christian Origins seminar.

Christopher CarterChristopher Carter

Christopher Carter is assistant professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego. His teaching and research focuses on theological ethics, black and womanist theology, environmental ethics, and animals and religion. He is currently completing a book tentatively titled “The Spirit of Soul Food: Faith, Food Justice, and Liberation” which explores the relationship between religion, food, and cultural identity among African American Christians. The central argument of the text is that African American Christians ought to view food justice as an essential element of liberatory Christian practice. He has been a United Methodist pastor for eight years and most recently served as the senior pastor of First UMC of Compton. Currently he is completing the ordination process and hopes to be commissioned as a probationary elder in the Cal-Pac annual conference.

Carter will be co-teaching the Incarnating a CreatureKind Church seminar with Christine Gutleben and Sarah Withrow King.

Ellen DavisEllen Davis

Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School.

The author of ten 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 recent book, Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship and Ministry (Westminster John Knox, 2014), explores the prophetic role and word across both Testaments of the Christian Bible. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production. Preaching the Luminous Word, a collection of her sermons and essays, will be published in 2016.

A lay Episcopalian, she is active as a theological consultant within the Anglican Communion and since 2004 has worked with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan to develop theological education, community health, and sustainable agriculture.

Davis will be co-teaching the Religious Peacemaking for Christian and Muslim Leaders seminar with Abdullah Antepli.

Christine GutlebenChristine Gutleben 

Christine Gutleben is senior director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Faith Outreach program.  Since joining the HSUS in 2007, Gutleben has drawn together and worked with hundreds of religious leaders and individuals around the cause of animal protection, facilitating gatherings for religious leaders at HSUS headquarters and across the country to form partnerships that address the widespread abuses of animals.  She created The HSUS Faith Advisory Council, The HSUS Dharmic Leadership Council, The HSUS Millennial Faith Leaders Council, and co-produced the film, Eating Mercifully, which examines Christian perspectives on factory farming.  Gutleben received her master’s degree from the Graduate Theological Union and its affiliate, The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, in Berkeley, Calif., where she studied theology and the interplay between food and faith.

Gutleben will be co-teaching the Incarnating a CreatureKind Church seminar with Christopher Carter and Sarah Withrow King.

Elaine A. HeathDean Elaine Heath

Elaine Heath currently serves as dean and professor of missional and pastoral theology at Duke Divinity School. She began her tenure as dean in July 2016. Previously she was the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Her scholarly work integrates systematic, pastoral, and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between the academy, church, and world. Her research interests focus on evangelism and spirituality, evangelism and gender, new monasticism, and emergence in church and in theological education. Heath holds a B.A. from Oakland University, an M.Div. from Ashland Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Duquesne University. She is the author of numerous books and monographs, including the forthcoming God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church (June 2016). Heath is also the co-founder of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, which provides opportunities for clergy and laity to learn how to live in intentional communities and how to develop missional communities and social enterprise in diverse social contexts. Her other publications include Missional.Monastic.Mainline (co-authored with Larry Duggins, 2014), The Mystic Way of Evangelism (2008), Naked Faith: The Mystical Theology of Phoebe Palmer (2009), Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Communities (co-authored with Scott Kisker, 2010), We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse (2011), and The Gospel According to Twilight: Women, Sex, and God (2011).

Heath will be the plenary speaker on the topic of New Creation on Tuesday, June 6.

David Anderson HookerDavid Anderson Hooker

David Anderson Hooker is professor of the practice of conflict transformation and peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Hooker is a mediator and peace builder with more than 30 years of experience in the field with specialties in managing complex, multi-party, and public policy conflicts, post-violence community building, and transforming historical harms. He is the former senior program associate for the National Institute for Dispute Resolution (NIDR) in Washington, D.C.  He is a Ph.D. graduate of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, a graduate of Emory University’s School of Law (J.D.) and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (M.Div.). Hooker’s work has taken him to Bosnia, Croatia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Southern Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar, and Cuba. He formerly served as faculty for the Institute for Church Administration and Management (ICAM) at the Interdenominational Theological Center (The ITC) in Atlanta, Ga., where he taught conflict transformation, legal principles for clergy and churches, and leadership communications to clergy, episcopal, and lay leadership of historically African American churches. He is also a member of the staff of JustPeace, The United Methodist Church’s Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation.

Hooker will be teaching the Discovering and Embracing Narratives of Reconciliation seminar and co-facilitating the plenary sessions.

Grace Ji-Sun KimGrace Ji-Sun Kim

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 in Richmond, Ind. 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 more than 70 book chapters, journal articles, and book reviews. She is a co-editor with Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora.” Kim serves on the American Academy of Religion’s (AAR) Board of Directors as an at-large director. She also serves on the AAR’s Research Grants Jury Committee, is a co-chair of AAR’s 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 writes for The Huffington Post, Sojourners, EthicsDaily.com, Wabash Center, and the Feminist Studies in Religion website, where she is also co-editor. She has also written for Time magazine, The 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 in the Presbyterian Church (USA). More of her work can be found at https://gracejisunkim.wordpress.com/

Kim will be the plenary speaker on the topic of lament on Wednesday, June 7.

Milcah Lalam

Milcah Lalam

Milcah Lalam is a development specialist with special expertise in trauma recovery, drama therapy, and theater for development. She is the Great Lakes Initiative (GLI) regional coordinator. Her work with GLI covers seven countries in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa. She held various positions in her ten years of work with RECONCILE International–a faith based organization in Sudan and later South Sudan. Living in countries experiencing the trauma of war, poverty, and violence, she worked closely with religious and civil leaders, displaced persons, women, youth, victims of rape and abuse, development and human rights workers in peace-building and trauma recovery. She facilitates strategic projects related to psychosocial rehabilitation, nurturing resilience, conflict resolution, and capacity development for small- and large-scale interventions in corporate, community, and international settings to promote relationship-building and social change. Lalam holds an M.A. in theater and development studies with an emphasis on post-conflict development and trauma healing from University of Leeds, a B.A. in drama from Makerere University, and specialized certificates in strategies for trauma awareness and transformation, theater, and peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University.

Lalam will be co-teaching the Nurturing Leaders for Resilience seminar with Alice Petersen.

Claudia May

Claudia May is an associate professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University, St. Paul, Minn. She is a specialist in reconciliation studies and African American, Black British, and Caribbean literature and popular culture, as well as Biblical studies, multiethnic and culture expressions of faith, 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 to Patheos, and the author of Jesus is Enough: Love, Hope, and Comfort in the Storms of Life  (Augsburg Fortress Press). 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 the relationship between reconciliation and the power of story, and how individuals can forge an intimate relationship with God through prayer and reflective writing. As a spiritual director, she also leads courses, facilitates workshops, and leads 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. May is a passionate follower of Jesus, a woman of prayer, and a lover of biblical stories and wisdom.

May will be teaching the Theology of Reconciliation seminar.

Alice PetersenAlice J Petersen

The Reverend Dr. Alice Petersen earned her M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and her D.Min. from McCormick Theological Seminary.  During her 37 years as an ordained Presbyterian (USA) Minister, she served the local church in a variety of pastoral positions. Petersen also received the certificate for spiritual direction at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and has 17 years of spiritual direction experience. She served as a faculty member with CREDO, a renewal event for pastors within the Presbyterian denomination. For three years she taught a course in trauma recovery at the Reconcile Peace Institute in Yei, South Sudan. She and her husband, Bill Lowrey, manage Friendship Tree Consulting which focuses on “building resilient leaders for tomorrow, today.” Her passion is self-care for those working within the church and other caring professions.

Petersen will be co-teaching the Nurturing Leaders for Resilience seminar with Milcah Lalam.

Jim WilderJim Wilder

James (Jim) Wilder has a B.A. in psychology from Bemidji State University, an M.A. in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology.  Jim served ten years as an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and is currently an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. Jim has significant experience working in Christian counseling centers providing pastoral care and has served as a consultant for over 30 years. His current interests areas are neurotheology, neuroscience, attachment repair, trauma recovery, relational brain skills, emotional/spiritual maturity, spiritual interventions, men’s development, and community restoration. Raised in Colombia until his late teens, Wilder is bilingual in Spanish and English, and has great interest in cross-cultural applications of his work and research. He speaks and teaches frequently both nationally and internationally. He has authored and co-authored a number of books, most recently Rare Leadership, co-authored with Marcus Warner and published by Moody Press in 2016.

Wilder will be teaching the Trauma Healing in the Church: A Practical Model seminar.

Sarah Withrow KingSarah Withrow King

Sarah is the deputy director of The Sider Center of Eastern University and the co-director of CreatureKind. After college, King went straight to work in the nonprofit world, ensuring her lifelong material poverty. Wanting to combine her faith with her passion for advocacy on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized, she obtained an M.T.S. with a concentration in Christian faith and public policy from Palmer Seminary, where she realized that she wanted to reclaim the word “evangelical” from the people who were giving it a bad name. She is the author of Vegangelical: How Caring for Animals Can Shape Your Faith (Zondervan, 2016) and Animals Are Not Ours (No, Really, They’re Not): An Evangelical Animal Liberation Theology (Cascade Books, 2016). King lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son. They share their home with two rescued dogs and two former street cats and are covenant members of Circle of Hope.

King will be co-teaching the Incarnating a CreatureKind Church seminar with Christopher Carter and Christine Gutleben.

Cost, Registration & Scholarships


Due to a generous grant, tuition fees for the 2017 Summer Institute for Reconciliation continue to be $500 per person. This fee includes the cost of most meals throughout the week (breakfast, morning break, lunch, afternoon break, and dinner) with the exception of Thursday dinner, which is on your own. Please note that lodging, transportation, and campus parking costs are not included in the $500 tuition fee and are the responsiblity of the participant.

Participants who attend the entire program (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 2017 Summer Institute for Reconciliation is now open. We recommend reviewing the information on this website fully before beginning the registration process. Please contact program coordinator Valerie Helbert if you have any questions.

Please note: You will need to create an account to register. If you have attended any events at Duke University in the past, you may already have an account and will need to use it register. If you no longer know your password, please use the password recovery link, as our staff cannot access user passwords.

Limited scholarship funding is available through the Center for Reconciliation (CFR). Scholarship recipients will receive reduced tuition fees. The CFR does not typically offer any full-tuition 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 in their community or organization, and 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.

All scholarship applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and recipients are notified 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.