The Seminary Saturdays program at Drew offers churches and individuals the opportunity to gain perspectives beyond the local church. Each Saturday morning session will offer one workshop on a spiritual topic and one on a theological topic. The workshops for this session are as follows:
Prison’s Collateral-Impact: Ministering to the Children and Family of the Incarcerated
Elias Ortega-Aponte, Assistant Professor of Afro-Latina/o Religions and Cultural Studies
The high rates of incarceration in the United States, often justified by the rhetoric of “making communities safe” and “tough on crime policies,” punish not only those accused and convicted of a crime but also their families. Through the various stages of the justice process, from arrest to conviction, children are particularly vulnerable and often neglected by police authorities. Police authorities at the moment of arrest, often take their charge to “Serve and Protect” as limited to carrying out “a bust” and not as also including the safety of minors present at the site of a raid. Children of color, whose parents are disproportionately represented in the prison population bear the brunt of this reality. Families of the incarcerated often see meager resources stretch to the limit as they become responsible for the caregiving of children of family members incarcerated, the cost involved in prison-visitation, and the emotional, spiritual, and religious energy depleted in the attempt to pull through the incarceration of a loved one. In this course, we will engage the various ways in which congregations could not only minister to the families of the incarcerated but also be agents of change as it concerns incarceration practices in the United States.
We will discuss among other themes:
* How to raise awareness of incarceration dynamics
* Varieties of ministry inside-and-outside of prisons
* Developing support structures for families of the incarcerated
* Theological responses to the high-rates of incarceration.
Christian Sacred Space
Jun Yoshimatsu, United Methodist clergy, Scholar in Art & Religious Studies
What is Sacred Space? Who creates it? This workshop introduces an existential approach to sacred space and to comparative studies between Japanese religious philosophies and Christian theology and practice. An example of sacred space will be shared in the Japanese Tea Ceremony, which symbolizes the aesthetics of the everyday. People, not only Japanese but many other peoples, such as American, British, Chinese, French, Thai, and Vietnamese have tea daily. Drinking tea is a common habit seen in everyday. However, the tea ceremony is a sublime form or ritualized form of drinking tea, which creates a sacred space in everyday space and time. The tea ceremony reflects the spirit of Zen Buddhism and has many forms, movements, and traditions. While experiencing the world of tea ceremony, one will be inspired and guided to reexamine the Christian notion of sacred space. Students are invited to participate in the tea ceremony and discuss the essence of sacredness.
For more information about Seminary Saturdays, contact Nancy VanderVeen, Director of Lifelong Learning, firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 973-408-3084. Also, please follow link: