projectCURATE … The longterm goal is to open a Center of Reconciliation in Houston, TX. But in the short term, the UMC has stepped up and given us two grants (GCORR and The Center for Missional Excellence) to pilot the project with 6 congregations in the Houston Area. There will be plenty more about this project to come (also on its website projectCURATE.org once it goes live), to start you can read the initial info sheet we are sending out to the churches involved:
This project was born out of a deep hunger for a new Christian imagination to take root in our city. Houston is currently the most ethnically diverse city in the United States; it is also one of the nation’s largest and most rapidly expanding cities. As Houston emerges as a leading global city, economically, culturally, and even religiously, scholars project that Houston will be emblematic of what the rest of America will come to look like over the next few decades. We seek to discover and attend to the educational, spiritual and relational conditions that will allow the church to build bridges across divides that often occur with this growing diversity. We seek to cultivate deep kinship between the participants in an innovative learning environment that will spark and awaken new forms of redemptive action in our city.
As a project, we identified three key goals for nurturing this new Christian imagination in our city:
- Theological Learning in Context – Our goal is to bring together a cohort of 35-40 individuals from 6 racially diverse congregations within our city to learn from academics, activists and from each other. The cohort will meet monthly from February 2015 – April 2016 to worship, engage our communities, and enter into learning together.
- Theological Learning that is Practical – The cohort will work through 4 modules focused on contextual theology, scriptural imagination, peace-making, and specific intercultural issues related to our communities. In each section, renowned academics and local social activists will join the knowledge that the participants bring, to heighten our education and inform our innovative action in the city. Additionally, the cohort will come together for “Pilgrimages of Pain and Hope” within the different communities.
- Theological Learning that is Accessible – A MOOC (massive open online course) will be created to guide the cohort in the education process. The MOOC will be co-created by the participants and a broad range of communal and theological voices. This MOOC will be able to be assessed anywhere the participant has an Internet connection. Films, articles, forums will all be assessable on a computer or mobile device.
Our desire is to create an innovative learning process that spans the boundaries of our city, nurtures kinship among us and inspires us to learn from one another while we take creative action in our city towards redemption and reconciliation. We could not be more excited that you are joining with us!