Concentrations in the M.Div. degree

Date: May 23, 2022

Since 2017, VTS has offered concentrations in the M.Div. program, allowing students to shape their degree requirements around a particular focus that is guided and animated by particular questions. This year, the faculty reviewed and edited our current concentrations and added another.

The concentration in New Mission Practices seeks to equip leaders with critical and constructive competencies for Christian witness in local, national, and international contexts at the edges of traditional ministry.

Questions that guide and animate this concentration focus on the issues of continuity, contextualization, and creativity, and include:

*What patterns of thought and practice must continue for the sake of faithful witness?
*How is the Gospel articulated in dialogue with the resources of particular cultures?
*How is ministerial creativity enriched today?

The concentration in Christian Spirituality asks students to develop a theological account of the cultivation of virtue and growth in holiness as the foundation for contemporary Christian spiritual practices. Against the background of biblical and classical texts and schools of Christian spirituality, special attention is given to the Anglican ascetical tradition and, where relevant, its enrichment through ecumenical and interfaith engagement.

Questions that guide and animate this concentration include:

*What are the classical traditions of prayer and practice that shape Christian faith?
*What rule of life sustains me for my relationship with God and my ministry to God’s people?
*What is the relationship between prayer and action, contemplation and mission?

Beginning Fall 2022, VTS will offer a concentration in Intercultural Ministry. Learning to center cultures and voices traditionally marginalized and minoritized, and voices from beyond the U.S. context, students will study scripture, theology, history and contextual practices with an intercultural/international lens. Students will reflect on the complexity of issues present for faith communities that value diversity of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, (dis)ability, theology and faith tradition.

Questions that guide and animate this concentration include:

*What does it mean to have an intercultural orientation towards communal life?
*How might individuals and communities cultivate an intercultural approach to building relationships?
*What gaps in cultural perspective are present in your own life, ministry, and community(ies), and how might you appropriately go about addressing those gaps?

I’m very grateful for the faculty who took a leading role in shaping these concentrations: Altagracia Perez-Bullard, Joe Thompson, Robert Heaney, and James Farwell.

The Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Old Testament

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