Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

Pastoral Care Cohort

Contact: Jenny McBride, Associate Dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs and Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics,, 773-947-6332

Schedule of Courses

  • Where Two or More Are Gathered: Group Dynamics and Leadership
    This is the first course in the schedule of courses and has two primary foci. First, the course involves students in building a learning community of shared values and purpose. Our time together will afford students the opportunity to get to know one another, share hopes and dreams for this program, and establish a foundation for the work that you do—much of which will be together. Second, the course concentrates on learning and reflection about group process, team building, and leadership.
  • Psychological & Theological Perspectives in Pastoral and Spiritual Care
    This course addresses key epistemological and methodological questions such as what makes caregiving pastoral and spiritual? How should we approach and work with biblical--theological and behavioral-social science and psychotherapeutic perspectives and foundations in specific ministry situations (congregations, chaplaincy, etc.)? It also considers the practical issues of goals, content and process, in diverse instances that call for caregiving interventions, such as discernment and guidance, nurture and support, reconciliation and healing. Special attention is therefore given to the task of integrating theological and psychological resources in pastoral and spiritual care and counseling, and in pastoral theology as a distinct discipline within practical theology.
  • Ritual, Faith, and Care Giving Over the Life Cycle
    Ritual is at the heart of what it means to be human. Throughout the life cycle, humans mark transitions with ritual. But why? And how? This course makes connections between our work as pastoral caregivers and rituals that put us in touch with the rhythms of our human life course. Key questions include: What is ritual? What does ritual communicate? Who are we to lead ritual?  We will examine how well-crafted and creative ritual experiences might help us to engage the deepest experiences of being human, including meaning-making, life-cycle transitions, and responses to violence, oppression, and pain. Students will pay attention to these guiding themes when reading for the course as well as explore particular areas of interest that arise as they integrate these readings with their own practice of ministry.

    The course will explore some “occasional services” and creative rituals in a variety of cultural and Christian religious traditions. We will examine the pastoral implications of these services as well as their historical and liturgical history.  We will further address questions of how and why ritual might provide healing or comfort in times of transition. This course will employ lecture, discussion and ritual participation to broaden our views of how and why we might use rituals to care for God’s people throughout the life cycle.
  • Pastoral Care in Times of Crises & Trauma
    Gun violence, natural disasters, or simply waking up and listening to the news can stimulate traumatic and crisis events within the lives of people. Crises occur daily within our churches, families, communities, and society.  As with secular emergency response teams, both pastors and faith leaders are also expected to provide faithful leadership and responses in times of trauma and crises. What is a faithful pastoral response that provides effective strategies for care, intervention and prevention? What would effective pastoral care, preaching, teaching, advocacy, justice making, and evangelism consist of in times of crisis? This course is a seminar that will explore various types of crisis and facilitate creating models of pastoral care, responses and strategies for personal and communal intervention to provide healing, hope and wholeness both within our faith institutions and society.
  • Culturally Attentive Pastoral Leadership: Interfaith/Intercultural Pastoral Care and Counseling
    (Description coming soon!)
  • Research Methods in Ministry
    Explores the work done by practical theologians using congregational and contextual analysis, strategy, and evaluation to enhance ministry. Focuses on the theory and application of practical theology, and on the development of a specific thesis project.
  • Thesis Residency
    A twelve-day, on-campus retreat in January where substantive research on the thesis project is undertaken, guided by a faculty advisor. This course assists students in developing a thesis proposal and gathering research that relates specifically to their context of ministry.
  • Thesis in the Practice of Ministry
    The final course credit every DMin student completes is the thesis project: a summative, research-based, 40-page article of publishable quality that, in the language of the Association of Theological Schools, makes "a contribution to the understanding and practice of ministry." McCormick asks students to construct a comprehensive research project integrated fully into their course of study and place of ministry. Students have an opportunity to engage a critical challenge in their ministerial settings, discover new insights about the challenge and its context, develop robust theological frames and practical approaches that address the challenge, and evaluate their learning. Upon completion of the final thesis draft, students will attend an oral presentation of their research, along with a review committee composed of their thesis advisor, another member of the faculty, a peer, and a DMin alumn. This presentation is a chance to get feedback before creating the final version of the thesis article.
    Read award-winning DMin Theses here!  
  • Students will take two more classes to complete their course of study, with a choice of two courses for each:
    • Course Options 1:
      • When Life Doesn’t Seem Worth Living: The Role of the Congregation in Suicide Prevention
  • OR
      • Depression in (Economically) Depressed Communities
    • Course Options 2:
      • Sexual and Domestic Violence
  • OR
      • Pastoral Theology and Mental Illness