SommervilleJanice_PacificSchoolOfReligionThis program of special courses and seminars provides progressive, accessible Christian theological education year-round for clergy, laity, and spiritual seekers from diverse racial/ethnic communities. TEL is multicultural in its design and focus. It may be engaged at the level that works for you—for personal spiritual formation, lay leadership training, professional growth, or continuing education.

Using PSR’s “flexible learning” approach, TEL fosters a strong and supportive community environment while enabling participation at a distance through online learning. A carefully selected curriculum of online experiences may be engaged individually, or as part of a non-graduate-level certificate.

We hope that you will join our growing TEL community. Check us out on Facebook here.

Rev. Janice Sommerville
Program Coordinator, TEL and Community & Continuing Education
510/849-8284 / jsommerville@psr.edu

Meet Carla: Certificate of Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible from Pacific School of Religion on Vimeo.

cottieSheldon_DavidVasquezLevy_2015TELCommencement_PacificSchoolofReligion“I had a wonderful TEL experience. I began in the middle of the TEL year (January’s ‘I’m Gonna Preach’) but I’m glad I didn’t wait to get started! You can really begin at any point and still get the full TEL experience.

“I met new friends and came to love each professor and the way they interacted with us both in class and online. I was sad every time we said our goodbyes in our final class. The sharing can be very intimate as well. Beyond just discussing the material, instructors gave us opportunities to pray for one another, to offer praises and discuss side topics like how we were affected by world politics. Aside from meeting people from around the world, you have the opportunity to learn from Doctor-level professors and all at a very affordable price for each class.

“The TEL experience could be all you are looking for in your work as a leader in your faith community, or it could be a jumping off point into deeper theological study.”

—Scottie Shelton, Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership (CTEL), 2015

TEL Learners

TEL learners come from many different faith communities and backgrounds, creating rich opportunities for in-depth dialogue. The minimum age for enrolling in TEL courses is 21.

Spiritual Seekers & Laity

Individual courses and certificate programs are open to all adults who seek to increase their knowledge of theological principles. You are invited to dip your toe into the water of spiritual education and formation, or immerse your whole self. Courses are affordable, compact, and expose you to a range of exciting progressive theological ideas. You may engage in a year of study to complete the CTEL certificate; take seven months to study Gender, Sexuality & the Bible, or simply take a seminar or course that interests you. A bachelor’s degree is not required.

TEL provides high quality adult education programming for individuals and groups from congregations. It also provides focused ministry formation for individuals seeking positions of congregational leadership.  Those who earn the CTEL certificate get exposure to a broad range of theology and ministry skills that can deepen biblical understanding, and build new skills.

Lay Ministers & Alternate Paths to Ministry

PSR is working with a number of denominations to provide learning experiences appropriate for ministry preparation. We are in collaboration with UMC’s California Nevada Conference CLayM lay ministry program and the Metropolitan Community Churches’ L.E.A.D. program.  Consult with your local denominational representatives to see how TEL can be a part of your formation.  See the TEL Certificates page for information about the CTEL and other ministry preparation programs.

Clergy

TEL offers CEUs for clergy and other professionals.The course offerings are fully accessible online, affordable and engaging for clegy looking to deepen their skills in targeted areas. The instructors are PSR and GTU professors and occasional guest instructors providing opportunities to discuss and explore current global topics.

Those Considering Seminary

Faith seekers and prospective ministers who are discerning their call to serve God in their churches or faith communities and want to explore theological studies will find riches in the program. In TEL you get to know and learn with PSR and Graduate Theological Union (GTU) faculty. Completion of the CTEL certificate entitles graduates already possessing an associate’s degree or above to apply three elective credits toward PSR graduate programs.

Congregational/Regional Groups

Learning in community is rich. We encourage groups to gather together to share a meal and engage with TEL courses and seminars. Perhaps part of the TEL program may serve your congregation’s adult education needs. Or perhaps there are a number of people in different churches in your area who want to move more deeply into progressive Christian ministry. The TEL Program Coordinator can help you form a group in your community.  Congregations are invited to consider becoming a TEL Host Site.

Host Sites

Becoming a TEL Host Site is more than simply providing space and access to a virtual classroom experience.  As a host site, your congregation can become a community center for gathering adult learners who want to deepen their theological and spiritual knowledge, and explore new avenues of learning and sharing a progressive perspective of Christian faith and practice. Our hope is that TEL host sites will build a community of learners within a regional cohort context.

TEL Host Site FAQ

The TEL program includes courses and seminars in a variety of lengths and formats. All courses are open to any learner, and are available entirely online. They may be taken individually, or as part of a certificate. Because courses are not taught at graduate-level intensity, TEL courses do not count toward graduate-level academic credit (see Credit for exception/details).

Courses provide in-depth, introductory explorations of topics that comprise the core of theological understanding and ministerial competence. Each course includes twelve hours of learning over eight days, including two live online seminars surrounding a week of self-paced online learning.

Seminars address a wide variety of topics in one- to three-hour live interactive sessions. Some seminars are offered occasionally, some annually. For professionals seeking certification of continuing education, CEUs are available. Learn more under the “Credit” tab.


Explore our upcoming courses:

Let the Church Say Amen: An Introduction to Christian Worship

Beginning:
October, 11
Concluding:
October, 18
Dr. Sharon R. FennemaCourse Description 

Coming Soon!

Schedule
This is a course.
Opening live seminar: Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PDT
Closing live seminar: Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PDT
This course will feature live, Zoom opening and closing seminars.
The interim section of the course will be self-paced.

About the Instructor 
Dr. Sharon Fennema is Pacific School of Religion’s Assistant Professor of Christian Worship and Director of Worship Life. Her research and teaching addresses the intersections of critical and gender theories with Christian worship as a practice which forms identity, performs theology, and shapes engagement in the public and political sphere. Drawing on the work of Judith Butler and queer theory, as well as performance theorist Richard Schechner, she has engaged in an historical ethnography of the worship practices at a San Francisco community of faith during the height of the early AIDS crisis in the United States, using it as the source for the creation of what she calls “a liturgical theodicy in practice,” which she is currently developing into a book manuscript. Her essay, “Practicing Purity: The Colonizing Force of Invisible Whiteness in Christian Worship” will appear in the collection Liturgy in Postcolonial Perspectives: Only One is Holy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

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Human Sexuality: Histories, Theologies and Politics of the Flesh

Beginning:
October, 17
Concluding:
October, 24

Schmian Evans

with Schmian Evans, MDiv

 Course description

The majority of Biblical passages that address those who are different because of their gender or gender presentation are quite positive. Isaiah declares an ever-lasting covenant, one of the first people baptized is the Ethiopian eunuch, and Jesus speaks of the variety of genders. In this course, we will consider these passages, plus a couple of negative ones, with an eye towards how the Bible contributes to a theology of liberation for transgender and gender variant people. We’ll also discuss how an anti-trans* discourse is being fostered within conservative religious groups and how that might be addressed through the Biblical witness. 

Learning Outcomes:

This course aims to help students to: 

  • Learn the ways in which the Bible and its authors understand and address a range of genders;
  • Discuss how these Biblical stories can support the spiritual and social liberation of transgender and genderqueer people;
  • Express their thoughts and beliefs about the connections between gender and spirituality.

Schedule
This is a course.
Opening live seminar: October 17, 2016, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PDT
Closing live seminar: October 24, 2016, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PDT
This course will feature live, Zoom opening and closing seminars.
The interim section of the course will be self-paced.

About the instructor

Schmian Evans holds a Master of Divinity, Certificate of Sexuality and Religion, and a Certificate of Ministries Studies from PSR, as well as a a B.A. in Gender Studies from California State University Stanislaus. She recently served as the student member of the Board of Trustees and as the student representative on the Inter-Cultural Justice and Campus Consolidation Committees.  Schmian has served as an advocate for those considered at-risk and marginalized, for several years, as an educator, mentor and organizational leader. A poet, performer, and City of Refuge Minister, Schmian remains dedicated to the work and service of creating a more just world.

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Transgender Liberation

Beginning:
November, 7
Concluding:
November, 14
With Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis
Course Description
The majority of Biblical passages that address those who are different because of their gender or gender presentation are quite positive. Isaiah declares an ever-lasting covenant, one of the first people baptized is the Ethiopian eunuch, and Jesus speaks of the variety of genders. In this course, we will consider these passages, plus a couple of negative ones, with an eye towards how the Bible contributes to a theology of liberation for transgender and gender variant people. We’ll also discuss how an anti-trans* discourse is being fostered within conservative religious groups and how that might be addressed through the Biblical witness.

Schedule

This is a course.
Opening live seminar: November 7, 2016, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PDT
Closing live seminar: November 14, 2016, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PDTThis course will feature live, Zoom opening and closing seminars.
The interim section of the course will be self-paced.

Cost

About the Instructor

Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis is Managing Director of the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) at PSR.  He has worked in the LGBT non-profit field for over 20 years as a community organizer, manager, educator and program specialist. He holds degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Harvard University, and San Francisco Theological Seminary, as well as certificates in graphic design and multimedia design. He is the author of Transgender Ministry, Theology and Communities of Faith. Prior to working at PSR he served as Community Education and Outreach Manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality and Director of Leadership Development for the Metropolitan Community Church.
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Dr. Katy Valentine

Biblical Interpretation: An Ancient Text for Today

Beginning:
November, 8
Concluding:
November, 15
This course will introduce learners to the basic tools and strategies for interpreting the Bible.  The Bible is a huge book—or rather collection of books—that shapes our religious communities, our political landscapes, as well as our personal lives; therefore, learning strategies for interpretation is important.  The course will build on what you already know concerning the Bible and give you constructive tools and strategies for expanding your understanding of the Bible. In our time together we will focus specifically on historical interpretation (who wrote it, when, where and why) and literary and metaphorical interpretation (what is this story about? what are its features?).  We will also take into consideration our own social locations to see how our own lives, and those of our communities, become part of our interpretations. By the end of the course, you will have a toolbox for doing Biblical exegesis, which will lead you to your own interpretation of Scripture.

Schedule

This is a course.
Opening live seminar: Tuesday, November 8, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PST
Closing live seminar: Tuesday, November 15, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PST
This course will feature live, Zoom opening and closing seminars.
The interim section of the course will be self-paced.

About the Instructor

Katy E. Valentine, PhD has lectured at St. Mary’s College of California (Moraga, CA) and at the Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, CA) and is a frequent guest teacher at local churches.  Katy is a passionate teacher of Biblical Studies who engages students in the relevance and importance of the Bible in our culture today.

Katy’s work embodies the following:
“I am a teacher in every sense of the word. Committed to my undergraduate students, I design courses to help the Bible come alive in its ancient context and also become relevant to our modern society.  In the seminary context, I work closely with graduate students so that they become informed theological leaders.  With other adult learners, I partner with individuals and groups so that they become passionate about the relevance of the Bible to their communities.”

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Gender, Sexuality & the Hebrew Scriptures (January, tbd)

Beginning:
January, 1
Concluding:
January, 31

Rabbi David Dunn Bauerwith Rabbi David Dunn Bauer
January 2017

So many of our foundational understandings of identity, gender, and sexuality derive from Hebrew Scripture. The stories of Creation, the commandments and laws given to Moses, the passionate visions of the Prophets, and the poetry of the Song of Songs all leave an imprint on contemporary life and consciousness. Some of these texts instantly bring us comfort. Others have been used (occasionally by ourselves) to intimidate or shame us and may awaken anxiety within us. Honoring these texts and learning from them does not mean taking them literally. It means trusting in our own strength as readers and interpreters to find in them what is inspiring and edifying and to address forthrightly those passages we find most challenging. We will make space in this class both to be compassionate to our concerns and fears and to be open to new inspirations and inquiries.We will study texts that convey both the force and nuance of Hebrew Scripture as we focus on themes of identity, desire, and power. Who are humans meant to be? Whom and how are we meant to love? What rights do we have over our own sexuality and what rights do we have over others’?

Schedule

This is a course.
Opening live seminar: Monday, 5:30 – 7:30 pm PDT
Closing live seminar: Monday, 5:30 – 7:30 pm PDT
This course will feature live, Zoom opening and closing seminars.
The interim section of the course will be self-paced.

Cost

About the Instructor

Rabbi David Dunn Bauer serves as Director of Social Justice Programming for Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in NYC, the world’s largest LGBTQ synagogue.  Rabbi Bauer brings to his work over 20 years of professional theater experience, nine years in the congregational rabbinate, and 20 years of yoga practice, as well as academic study on sexuality and spirituality and many years of work as a touch healer. He earned his B.A. in Theatre Studies and English Literature at Yale University, studied Talmud at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and received his rabbinical ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. In 2011 he became the first Jew to earn the Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, writing on “Blessings for the Erotic Body” and “Jewish Queer Sexual Ethics.” He was voted one of the Hottest Rabbis of 2013 by Jewrotica.com and was profiled in Tablet Magazine for his work in Queer Spiritual Counseling. He teaches and writes regularly on Judaism, Erotic Theology, and Queer Theology, and has contributed essays to Queer Religion (Praeger) and The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality (CCAR Press).

I’m Gonna Preach: Finding Voice in Church and World

Beginning:
January, 10
Concluding:
January, 24

essexThe Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) records words of the prophets who spoke challenging and hopeful words to the people of Israel and Judah. In the New Testament Jesus teaches in the synagogues and preaches to the masses who gathered around him. Early church leaders like Peter and Paul proclaim the good news to the crowds. And, as the early church developed, teaching and preaching the word became an important and formative part of Christian worship.

In our differing traditions and denominations preaching has developed in sometimes unique and interesting ways. What is a sermon in your tradition? Are sermons based on scripture – why or why not? What do you hope for when you listen to a sermon?  What is a good process for sermon writing?  What forms do sermons come in and why does it matter?  What does your tradition think about prophetic preaching that engages community, social and political concerns?

Together we will explore these historical and contemporary issues related to proclamation in worship.

This course approved for the MCC L.E.A.D. program.

Schedule

This is a course.
Opening live seminar: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 | Online, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PST
Closing live seminar: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 | Online, 5:30 – 8:00 pm PST
The interim section of the course is self-paced.

About the Instructor

The Rev. Barbara J. Essex is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ (UCC), author, consultant, and retreat and workshop facilitator. As founder of Barbara J. Essex Ministries, she has established strong relationships with diverse congregations, regional and national judicatories, colleges, universities and seminaries. Her work is ecumenical, biblically-based, and theologically and socially progressive.

Rev. Essex is currently the Executive Director of the United Protestant Campus Ministries in Cleveland (UPCaM), a Christ-centered, ecumenical and progressive voice on the three campuses. She provides leadership and support for student-led activities and spiritual support for students.

Before moving to Cleveland, she served as the Minister and Director of Pastoral Services at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, providing pastoral care and campus life leadership. Also at PSR, Rev. Essex was an adjunct faculty member in preaching, Womanist studies, church administration, and congregational leadership.

While living on the West Coast, Rev. Essex was also professor of philosophy and comparative religion at Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo, CA. In addition, she serves as adjunct faculty for the Hartford Seminary’s Women Leadership Institute in Connecticut.

The best-selling author received a Pilgrim Press Mayflower Award for Spirituality for her book, Bad Boys of the Bible: Exploring Men of Questionable Virtue. Her other titles include: Bad Girls of the Bible; Krazy Kinfolk: Exploring Dysfunctional Families in the Bible; Misbehavin’ Monarchs; More Bad Girls of the BibleBold and Brazen: Exploring Hebrew Prophets. Her latest book by The Pilgrim Press is Girlfriends: Exploring Women’s Relationships in the Bible. Her books are making a difference in how we study the Bible and in how we view ourselves as children of God.

Before entering the ministry, Rev. Essex was a high school teacher for the Chicago Public School System. She has earned degrees from Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, both in Evanston, IL. Rev. Essex is a member of Mt. Zion Congregational UCC in Cleveland, and an associate member of Sycamore UCC in El Cerrito, CA.

Registration coming soon

Gender, Sexuality, and the New Testament: Texts, Controversies, and Interpretation (February, tbd)

Beginning:
February, 1
Concluding:
February, 28

LiewBenny200x300February 2017

What is feminine vs. masculine? How should Christians understand sexual orientation? What about divorce or remarriage? For centuries, people have drawn on certain infamous texts from the New Testament to answer these questions for Christian communities and in philosophical and theological debates. In this course, we will be focusing on these texts and the debates they have sparked while considering the complicated issues of interpretation including language, historical context, and authority/agency.

Schedule

This is a course.
Opening live seminar: Monday, February 2017, TBD, 5:30 – 7:30 pm PST
Closing live seminar: Monday, February 2017, TBD, 5:30 – 7:30 pm PST
This course will feature live, Zoom opening and closing seminars.
The interim section of the course will be self-paced.

Cost

Wells of Living Water: Spiritual Practices for the Journey of Life

Beginning:
February, 7
Concluding:
February, 14

NewtonChristy200x300All around us, there are messages of scarcity that claim there is simply not enough. Not enough time, energy, or money. Not enough creativity, intelligence, beauty, hope, wonder… Not enough to share. These messages deplete our spirits on multiple levels and leave many of us as faith leaders trying to quench our spiritual thirsts with the dust of dry wells. This course will introduce a selection of spiritual practices capable of replenishing dry wells and quenching the deep spiritual thirsts of individuals and communities of faith. Students will engage in experiential spiritual practices and critical reflection on those practices. Together we will explore why certain spiritual practices resonate with us and how these spiritual practices might be incorporated into the life of a community of faith.

Schedule

This is a course.
Opening live seminar: 5:30 – 8:00pm PST, Tuesday, February 7, 2016
Closing live seminar: 5:30 – 8:00pm PST, Tuesday, February 14, 2016
The interim section of the course is self-paced.

About the Instructor

Rev. Dr. Christy Newton is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who has served local Disciples and United Church of Christ congregations in Arkansas and California and worked in campus ministry/church relations at Chapman University in Orange, California. An alumna of Texas Christian University (BA), Nanzan University (Nagoya, Japan), Monash University (Melbourne, Australia—MA Art History/Film), and Pacific School of Religion (MDiv), Christy also received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in May 2011. Her soon-to-be-published dissertation, entitled Saving at Wal-Mart: Theology and Relationships in Consumer Culture, reflects her sincere passion for connecting the world of ideas with the everyday lives that people lead. Currently, Christy serves as the Senior Minister at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Vallejo, California, and teaches courses on spirituality, ethics, and theology for Lexington Theological Seminary, as well as Pacific School of Religion.

Registration opens soon

Politics, Sexuality & the Bible (March, tbd)

Beginning:
March, 1
Concluding:
March, 31

Bishop Yvette Flunderwith Bishop Yvette Flunder
March, 2017

Bishop Yvette Flunder is an international leader working to destigmatize human sexuality and recognize everyone as a child of God.  Her politics and her ministry are one and the same whether she is keynoting at the White House’s World AIDS Day, speaking out for LGBTQ equality, supporting orphanages in Zimbabwe, or speaking from the pulpit.

This unique eight-day experience will give you the chance to deeply consider the Biblical context of political activism and the Biblical imperative to act for change.  You will explore ways – large and small – to make a difference via the public square.  You will have the opportunity to find or amplify your own political voice and learn from the experience of Bishop Flunder and others sharing the journey.

Politics, Sexuality and the Bible will include two live, interactive webconference sessions with Bishop Flunder, as well as a week of guided learning with online Facebook-style conversation.  Reading, reflection, participation in online forums, and some writing is expected, as well as active presence in opening and closing live online sessions.  1.6 CEUs are awarded for full participation.

Schedule

Opening live seminar:
Closing live seminar:
This course will feature live online opening and closing seminars.
The interim section of the course will be self-paced.

Cost

About the Instructor

Rev. Dr. Flunder is the Founder and Senior Pastor of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ and the Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. She describes herself as, “disciple and proponent of the radically inclusive Christ, who has raised her voice for justice from the church house to the White House and steps of the Supreme Court.”

Ordained in both the United Church of Christ and the Metropolitan Community Church, Bishop Flunder has served her call through prophetic action and ministry for justice for over thirty years. Her call to “blend proclamation, worship, service and advocacy on behalf of those most marginalized in church and in society” led to the founding of the City of Refuge UCC. Based in San Francisco for 22 years, the City of Refuge grew into a thriving inter-city congregation with influence stretching from the local to the international. In 2013, City of Refuge relocated to Oakland, continuing to preach a message of “extravagant welcome, restoration and action within God’s “Beloved Community.””

In June 2003, Rev. Dr. Flunder was consecrated Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship (renamed The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries in 2011), which is a multi-denominational coalition of over 100 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity representing churches and faith-based organizations from across the US into Mexico, three African countries, and in Asia.

Bishop Flunder is dedicated to responding to the needs of the AIDS epidemic. Bishop Flunder with her staff founded the Hazard-Ashley House and Walker House in Oakland and Restoration House in San Francisco through Ark of Refuge, Inc., a non-profit agency providing housing, direct services, education and training for persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the US and three Africa countries. The Ark of Refuge transitioned into the Y.A. Flunder Foundation, which contributes to the work of social justice exemplified through service and public advocacy, including collaborative partnerships to support the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Mutoko, Zimbabwe.

She has served on numerous boards including as Chair of the National Sexuality Resource Center, Chair of San Francisco Inter-religious Coalition on AIDS, Chair of the Black Adoption Placement and Research Center, Founding member of the African American Interfaith Alliance on AIDS, and Co-Chair of the Religious Advisory Committee of the National Black Justice Coalition.

Bishop Flunder served as a Trustee of Pacific School of Religion for nearly ten years, and is an Adjunct Professor and speaker at PSR and at numerous other seminaries and universities including Auburn, Brite Divinity, Chicago Theological, Columbia University, Drew, Duke, Eden, Howard, Lancaster, New York Theological and Yale. She is a graduate of the Certificate of Ministry and Master of Arts programs at PSR, and received her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

In December 2014, Bishop Flunder served as the keynote speaker for the White House observation of the 26th Anniversary of World AIDS Day. She was named the 2015 Spiritual Hero in the January edition of the Science of the Mind, produced by the Centers for Spiritual Living. In 2011 she received the Robert C. Kirkwood Community Leadership Award from the San Francisco Community Foundation.

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For the Bible Tells Me So? An Introduction to Christian Ethics

Beginning:
March, 14
Concluding:
March, 21

Rev. Dr. Carol ManahanEarly in our lives we begin to discern right from wrong, fair from unfair. As we grow up, we discover the complexity and ambiguity that accompany our lives in the church and the world. When we can no longer find simple answers, we turn to ethical reflection, the spiritual practice of bringing life and faith together for making difficult choices.

“For the Bible Tells Me So?: an Introduction to Christian Ethics” will introduce learners to the tool and methods for choosing action in unfamiliar or controversial situations. Drawing on the Bible, Christian tradition, experience, and reason, we bring our own lives into the ongoing conversation about how to live as Christians in our families, churches, and communities. This course will allow students to explore methods of ethical reasoning which can help us act compassionately, wisely, and faithfully.

Schedule

Opening live seminar: 5:30 – 8:00pm PST, Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Closing live seminar:5:30 – 8:00pm PST, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
The interim section of the course is self-paced.

About the Instructor

Rev. Dr. Carol Manahan, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, received a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, an M.A. in Art from San Francisco State University, and an M.Div from Pacific School of Religion. An interdisciplinary scholar in green studies who draws on the fields of environmental and agricultural ethics, religious studies, art, and geography, Carol teaches environmental ethics and natural history at California College of the Arts in Oakland And San Francisco.

She completed her PhD in Interdisiplinary Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in 2006, where she brought together environmental ethics, biblical studies, and ecology. Her dissertation on the ethics of genetic engineering in agriculture considered the scientific, economic, political and ethical concerns raise by the introduction of genetically modified corn.

Rev. Manahan also served for five years as associate conference minister for the Northern California Nevada Conference of the UCC, and she continues to consult with congregations on transition issues and to lead workshops and retreats.

Registration

Registration will open in 2017.

The TEL program includes courses and seminars in a variety of lengths and formats. All courses are open to any learner, and are available entirely online. They may be taken individually, or as part of a certificate. Because courses are not taught at graduate-level intensity, TEL courses do not count toward graduate-level academic credit (see Credit for exception/details).

Courses provide in-depth, introductory explorations of topics that comprise the core of theological understanding and ministerial competence. Each course includes twelve hours of learning over eight days, including two live online seminars surrounding a week of self-paced online learning.

Seminars address a wide variety of topics in one- to three-hour live interactive sessions. Some seminars are offered occasionally, some annually. For professionals seeking certification of continuing education, CEUs are available. Learn more under the “Credit” tab.


Explore our upcoming courses:

Called to Lead: The Care and Administration of Church (February, tbd)

Rev. Barbara Essex with Rev. Barbara Essex
February, 2017

Every religious community or church requires management and administration. Management that is deeply rooted in the church’s vision of ministry and the church’s understanding of its own calling, moves beyond paper and numbers becomes a ministry itself.  This course is designed to help participants discern their own community’s vision and how it directs and impacts the various acts of administration, including finances,personnel, planning, volunteer management and leadership. Sensitivity to culture and context are critical as pastors and leaders create a theological and spiritual basis for the work of church management.

(this course approved for the MCC L.E.A.D. program)

 Registration

Registration will open in 2017.

Schedule

This is a seminar.
February 2017

Cost

About the Instructor

The Rev. Barbara J. Essex is best-selling author of such works as: Krazy Kinfolk: Exploring Dysfunctional Families in the Bible; Bad Girls of the Bible:Exploring Biblical Women of questionable Virtue; and Women in the Bible: Insights Bible Study for Growing Faith. She has served as Minister for Higher and Theological Education at the United Church of Christ, and for ten years as the Minister and Director of Pastoral Services at Pacific School of Religion. Essex also was professor of philosophy and religion at Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo, CA and has served as adjunct faculty for the Hartford Seminary’s Women Leadership Institute in Connecticut since the late 1990s.

Her other professional work includes serving as Program Director and Co-Convener for the National Religious Leadership Program, co-sponsored by Pacific School of Religion and Hartford Seminary. She has provided consultant assistance in the areas of leadership, education, spirituality, and program development and evaluation for individuals, diverse congregations, denominational agencies, seminaries and other institutions across the nation.  Rev. Essex was also the 2013 Earl Lectures’ Conference Preacher.

Beginning:
Wednesday, February, 1
Ending by:
Tuesday, February, 28

Loving God by Loving Ourselves: Self-Care for the Selfless (March, tbd)

Rev. Dr. Toni Dunbarwith Rev. Dr. Toni Dunbar
March 2017

How can we love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves?  Recent studies of religious professionals have found that Protestant clergy have the highest degree of work-related stress.  In another study, Lutheran clergy and lay leaders (ELCA) have self-reported problems with depression, relations with family and friends, finances, and personal devotional life.  Can we, the pastoral leaders in our churches, learn to love ourselves and care for ourselves as we love and care for our neighbors?  A topic not just for clergy – lay leaders who are concerned about the well-being of their pastors can benefit.

Schedule

This is a seminar.
March, 2017

Cost

About the Instructor

Toni Dunbar is a long-time resident of the Bay Area. She is an Associate Pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in San Francisco and a former Associate Conference Minister of the Northern California Nevada Conference. She earned her Doctor of Ministry degree from Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California. Toni is the author of Blessed! Sermons from the Edge, and believes that the voice of faith has a prominent place in the public discourse. She is a member of several alliances, boards and consortia promoting the role of communities—including communities of faith—in the reclamation of their most marginalized and highly at-risk members.

Return to TEL Course List

Beginning:
Wednesday, March, 1
Ending by:
Friday, March, 31

Certificates offered online through the TEL program provide recognition of achievement in general or focused areas of study.  If you wish to use a TEL certificate as part of a formal ministerial development plan, check with your denominational office first.  Because courses are not taught at graduate-level intensity, TEL courses do not count toward graduate-level academic credit (see Credit for exception/details).

CTEL: Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership

CTEL Brochure   A broad program of theological, spiritual and practical ministry topics for lay and clergy leaders, representing a progressive Christian perspective.
[1 year, 13 courses]

CLayM/TEL: United Methodist Church, California-Nevada Conference Certified Lay Minister program

The CTEL certificate program plus customized UMC content helps prepare you for certified lay ministry.
[1 year, 13+ courses]

CGSB: Certificate of Gender, Sexuality & the Bible

CGSB Brochure   A substantive exploration of sexuality and gender from a progressive theological perspective.
[6 months, 6 courses]

That They May All Be One: UCC Identity Series: United Church of Christ, Northern California Nevada Conference

Study UCC theology, polity, history and ethos from NCNUCC clergy.  With approval from your conference, may apply to
[4 courses offered by request.  email tel@psr.edu with inquiries]

Credit for TEL Courses

CEUs

TEL courses may be taken for continuing education units (CEUs). One CEU is awarded for each ten hours of contact and study. Foundations courses award 1.6 units and seminars award 0.3 units.

TEL courses do not provide academic (college or graduate school) credit, with one exception, as noted below.

CTEL Students

CTEL graduates who already possess an associates degree or higher may petition to transfer up to 3.0 credits toward a PSR graduate certificate or degree program by the end of their first semester at PSR. CTEL graduates must apply and be accepted to PSR graduate programs separately from the TEL program. Request transcripts here and follow credit transfer procedures to apply CTEL credits to your PSR program. Credits must be transferred in students’ first semester of PSR graduate study. The maximum time allowed to complete the CTEL is seven years from program admission.

CMS Students

Certificate of Ministry Studies (CMS) graduates who wish to pursue further education at PSR may transfer up to 7.5 elective credits toward a PSR graduate certificate or degree program by the end of their first semester at PSR. No prior degree is required for credit transfer. Use the links above to request transcripts and indicate on your petition whether the program is CMS or CTEL. CMS students must complete their CMS by May 2016. After that period, the CMS program will be closed.

Denominational Recognition

Some denominations or conferences may recognize TEL courses or the Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership (CTEL) as fulfilling requirements for certification or other needs. For the Certified Lay Minister (CLayM) program of the California Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and the Metropolitan Community Churches’ L.E.A.D. lay leadership program, CTEL is a provider of online coursework. Speak with your conference ministers if you wish to see TEL become a formal part of ministerial or lay leadership formation in your area.

Faculty

Instructors include Pacific School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union (GTU) faculty, PSR and GTU doctoral students, and qualified professionals from a range of Christian denominations. These excellent instructors represent a variety of racial/ethnic backgrounds and many come from the same communities as TEL students.

Technology

TEL courses are about learning and community, not about technology. We want people across the country and around the world will have access to PSR’s excellent faculty, progressive theology, and a broad community of learners and ministry experiences. In keeping with our desire to make high quality theological education highly accessible, TEL technology requirements for individuals are very simple. As an additional means to remove potential technology barriers, we encourage churches to become a TEL Host Site for community and regional cohorts, taking on a large portion of the technical concerns.

Required technology

  • computer.  Most computers purchased within the past three years will meet all technical requirements.  Your computer should have:
  • high speed internet connection
  • webcam
  • computer headset with microphone
  • email account

See the TEL Technology Guide for details.

New TEL students are offered one-on-one tutorials from TEL staff, and step-by-step instructions through the TEL Technology Guide and within each course in order to smoothly access the simple learning technologies.

TEL staff will send students necessary instructions, web addresses, usernames and passwords in advance of the course start date.

Cost

Tuition costs are set as low as possible in order to encourage broad participation.  Although no scholarships are available from PSR for TEL, students may find support from their congregations or denominations.

Students registered for TEL certificates receive a 40% discount on registration costs, as indicated above.

Seminars

  • $20 – 40 for certificate & PSR students
    $30 – 60 for the general public

Courses

  • $120 for certificate & PSR students
  • $200 for the general public

Processing Fees

Non-refundable processing fees of approximately 6% are charged in addition to the base cost.

Certificate Costs

To complete the twelve-month CTEL program, online course registration costs total $1260 plus approximately $75.60 processing fees.  The cost of books is not included in the tuition total.  Students can anticipate spending $150 – $200 for required reading materials. There is a $30 CTEL application fee.

To complete the Gender, Sexuality & the Bible certificate program, online registration costs total $820 plus approximately $49 processing fees.  Students can anticipate spending approximately $140 for required reading materials.

Refund Policy

You may request a refund for the cost of a TEL course or webinar, not including processing fees, one day (24 hours) before the start time of the course or webinar.  Processing fees are determined by the vendor engaged to manage online sales and are not set by PSR.  No refunds are available within 24 hours of the start of the course or webinar, and no refunds are available after the course or webinar begins.  Requests must be made in writing and emailed to tel@psr.edu.

TEL program application fees are non-refundable.

CTEL Missed Course Policy

CertificateofGenderSexualityandtheBible
Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership
UMCConferenceLayMinisterProgram

“The scope and vision of Christian educational ministry is opened up by online possibilities. This has significance for the ownership of theology, formerly the preserve of the university, seminary, or specialist theologian. It suggests a different sort of theology, not derived from academics or church hierarchy but emerging from within the ordinary people of God.”

—Dr. Ros Stuart-Buttle, Journal of Education & Christian Belief, 2014