A hallmark of McCormick’s Doctor of Ministry Program is the opportunity to make an almost immediate impact on one’s own ministry. As part of his D.Min. thesis and course work, the Rev. Jonah Salim (Class of 2010) has helped connect members of First Presbyterian of Bay City, Michigan, to the lives, needs and cultural richness of international communities. In particular, as an Iraqi native, he has shared with the church a more just, nuanced understanding of Islam and Iraqi culture than stereotypes advanced by mainstream Western media.
Missionary in Peacemaking at First Presbyterian, Salim was formally recognized for his cross-cultural work in early March, having been named one of 11 recipients of the Great Lakes Bay Region’s 2010 RUBY (Recognizing the Upward, Bright & Young) Awards for innovation in his field.
Salim chose the Building Beloved Community concentration of McCormick’s D.Min. Program, which is designed for those who seek to broaden and nurture within their church or agency a vision of the common good that promotes justice, compassion, and faithfulness to a religious heritage. In addition to core courses required in any concentration, there are several elective courses unique to Building Beloved Community. They include Who is My Neighbor: Reading the Community; Community Organizing, Understanding and Working the Political System, Religious Pluralism, Racial Identity and White Privilege.
A native of Nineveh, Iraq, and the first Iraqi Presbyterian pastor to transfer membership to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Rev. Salim holds the equivalent of a Master of Divinity degree from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt and the B.S. in Business Administration. His ministry background includes a student pastor internship at Egypt Presbyterian Church in Cairo, chaplaincy for foreign prisoners, pastoral internship at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, and peacemaking for programs in Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey.