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 September 2021 Newsletter

Curriculum Highlights and Upcoming Exemplars

Director, Dr. Trisha Wheelock

The 2021-2022 cohort can expect many of the same great exemplars from past years and a couple new additions.

The Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Dean at Howard Divinity School, served as our keynote exemplar during the 2021 Kick Off Event. She spoke to our pastors about her book, In My Grandmother's House: Black Women, Faith and the Stories We Inherit. Dean Pierce shared with the cohort images of Black churches through the years, and connected them to this passage from her book. "This church was a place of life, not death. It may have been aging, but it was not dead. It was a stark reminder that small things, seemingly insignificant places, can be alive and well despite pronouncements of decline. In these small churches, never destined to grow into massive sanctuaries with professionally produced cable programs and revenue-generating online broadcasts, God was still moving." (81). Her words resonated with our rural pastors.


Click here to read her reflections on faith and doubt, race, learning from our elders, and the love of God written exclusively for The Moses Project. 

Along with Dr. Pierce, a new addition to our Moses Project curriculum this year includes spiritual discipline exercises authored by Moses Project chaplain Rev. Andrea Severson of Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. They include Lectio Divina, Gratitude, Silence and Contemplative Prayer. We hope these spiritual practices add depth to the curriculum and offer the pastors new/old ways of renewal. 

​A favorite part of all in person events is time spent in worship with Dr. Michael Elsbernd who serves as the Director of Worship for the Moses Project. Along with designing and leading all Moses worship services, he is the worship director at St. John's Lutheran church in Des Moines and a professor at Grand View University in the music department. After the Kick Off last month, Dr. Elsbernd reflected on leading worship and singing during a pandemic and how worship is the "perfect intersection of praise and lament." Click here to read his work.

Two exemplars return again in the Fall of 2021, Dr. Tod Bolsinger of Fuller Seminary and Rev. Dr. Leah Schade of Lexington Theological Seminary. Dr. Bolsinger will discuss his book, Canoeing the Mountains and talk about the necessity of adaption in leadership. In October, the cohort will read Dr. Schade’s book, Preaching in the Purple Zone, and discuss theologies of conflict and how to facilitate conversations about contentious issues. We look forward to our exemplar meetings and sharing their Moses Project blogs with you.

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