Immersion Courses

Contextual Learning at PSR seeks to make it possible for all interested students to engage with immersion courses that stretch their awareness and strengthen their theological and multicultural capacities as leaders and change agents.

Upcoming Immersions January 2015

For more information about any of these, contact



FTRS 3835 
Immersion dates: January 10-22, 2015

Faculty: Odette Lockwood-Stewart and Carlos Correa

San Ysidro/Tijuana is an area where the historical and contemporary issues of the U.S./Mexico border come together dramatically. Students will be introduced to the complex border context, including social, economic, environmental and religious issues. Students will develop theological depth, critical ethical analysis and historical insight. Emphasis will be on building relationships and skills for spiritual leadership and work for justice.

Applications due by Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

More information:
Border Immersion Info Sheet  2015 Border Immersion Application


Transformation Through Transcendence

FTRA 3781
Immersion Dates: January 20-31, 2015

Faculty: Dr. Rossitza Schroeder, Dr. Devin Zuber

This contextual immersion course explores intersections between different forms of spirituality and the arts, and the kinds of social transformation engendered by various artistic practices. We will visit various Bay Area museums, galleries, artists' residencies, pop-up art and performance spaces, and houses of workshop (synagogues, churches, mosques), to experience how the arts have incubated both transcendence and social change.

The course is integrated with Pacific School of Religion’s 2015 three day Earl Lectures series, Be|Arts|Now, and course participants will be expected to participate and collaborate with various Earl Lecture Events at the end of January. Though portions of the course are invested in contemporary art’s engagement with different strands of social justice (land art and environmentalism; art-as-social-practice and the slow-food movement, for example), we will also explore San Francisco’s rich heritage of historic faith communities and sacred spaces that have long sustained the arts.

Application due by Friday October 31.

More information:
 Arts Immersion Info Sheet  2015 Arts Immersion Application


Refuge in the City

FTRA 2450
Immersion Dates: January 5-16, 2015

Faculty: Bishop Yvette Flunder

Get on the ground with theology through experiences of practical, pastoral and non-profit management skills and direct engagement with a range of marginalized populations in San Francisco and Oakland.

This two-week intensive course will immerse students in hands-on learning in ministries with the most marginalized people in the inner city: ministries with people who are homeless, in recovery from substance abuse, and living with HIV/AIDS. We will also visit hospital and juvenile hall chaplaincy programs and feeding programs. Students will learn about the City of Refuge theology and model for ministry development and will reflect on praxis each day. Class generally meets three days at PSR, but may meet off-site at various Bay Area cities at various times for the remainder of the course.

No applications are required for the Refuge in the City Immersion. Participants can register during the November 10-21 early registration period

City Ministry

Ministry in the City /
Cross Cultural Spanish Language Immersion

Immersion dates: January 8-25, 2015
Faculty: Dr. James Lobdell and teachers from CETLALIC

MINISTRY IN THE CITY (FT 2522): Jan 8-12, 2015
This 5-day course provides the opportunity for experiential learning among the eight urban congregations of the New City Parish and to develop a set of principles for urban ministry.

This 2-week course provides the opportunity to experience the reality of Latino and African descent families who live in Los Angeles. Includes training in Spanish language with professional teachers from CETLALIC, Cuernavaca, Mexico.

For PSR MDiv students, both courses are necessary to fulfill your immersion requirement.


2014 Changemaker Immersion


Changemaker Fellows Immersion 2014: Colombia

In a first time immersion partnership with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, PSR brought together change makers from North and South America. During spring break 2014, 11 PSR Changemaker Fellows, along with faculty Dr. Randall Miller and Rev. Odette Lockwood-Stewart, had the opportunity to experience and practice empathy, solidarity, and accompaniment and learned creative strategies through direct interaction with grassroots leaders of peace and change in Colombia.

Participants visited the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó and the Caribbean coast, where SERPAJ and ecumenical groups use the tools of active nonviolence to address the impacts of the armed conflict and contribute to reconciliation.

They visited communities—forcibly displaced from the countryside to urban areas—that are rebuilding their lives, schools, houses and connections.

They also met ecumenical leaders engaged in peace building and with promotores de paz - youth peacemakers trained in active nonviolence.

Engage with their experience through the immersion blog:

Previous Immersions


2014 Immersion - Christianity in India:
An Historical Overview

Twelve students and Dr. Bernie Schlager, PSR Dean and Associate Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies, participated in this travel seminar and immersion course from January 13 to January 30. The course introduced them to the histories, cultures, as well as the religious and economic/ecological diversities of India.

The best way to engage their experiences is to read the immersion blog: Participants will continue to update this blog as they reflect on their immersive learning individually and in post-trip classes.

Read the Blog from the 2013 NYC Immersion

During a two week immersion trip in January 2013, graduate students at Pacific School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley explored the contested ways public memory is (re)constructed in urban space. With the streets of New York City as their laboratory, Devin Zuber, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Literature, and Swedenborgian Studies led them as they explored various cultural institutions (museums, historic houses) and memorials (the African Burial Ground Monument, the Irish Hunger Memorial) to investigate how various religious and ethnic communities have chosen to inscribe themselves into the city. Special attention was given to the fraught layers of memory surrounding the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan.

Over the course of the trip and upon returning to Berkeley, the students posted blog entries relating their experiences while visiting the various sites, museums, performances and interactions with the people of New York City. Through creative writing, innovative video blogging and interviews, the students share their interactions with cultural memory in urban space.

You can read their blog entries here:

Other blogs from past immersions:

Taiwan Immersion, January 2012

Akko Archaeology Immersion, Summer 2010

Border Immersion Info.pdf568.25 KB
Arts Immersion Info.pdf711.24 KB
2015 Arts Immersion Application.pdf113.96 KB
2015 Border Immersion Application.pdf482.49 KB