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Online Matthew 25 curriculum will help church communities engage civic life in a principled and theological way

Course offers foundational principles of community formation to nurture faith communities

by Melody K. Smith | Presbyterian News Service

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LOUISVILLE — Continuing their partnership, Stony Point Center and Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary have developed another online curriculum to support the Matthew 25 vision.

This third course is titled “Civil Initiative and the Engaged Church” and is designed to introduce basic principles for faith-based community formation that will help church communities engage in a principled and theologically grounded way in civic life and grass-roots justice movements.

The course will be offered Monday evenings from 7–9 p.m. (EST) beginning Nov. 9 and finishing Nov. 30. Each class recording will be posted online within two days and will remain online for course participants’ review and for those who may wish to take the course on their own. Participants should expect to spend approximately one hour per week on homework assignments. There is a sliding scale from $40 to $160 for the four-week course — however, no one is turned away for inability to pay.


You can register at

“As a Christian, what fuels my civic engagement is the desire to be a witness for Jesus,” said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Our faith is not separate from our commitment to justice and peace in society; in fact, it should be a formative part of how we practice our theology.”

This class will emphasize the thinking of Quaker philosopher Jim Corbett, co-founder of the church-based movement to support Central American refugees during the 1980s, an author and a visionary in pioneering land covenants for environmental protection.

“Jim was a very important mentor and friend to me, so focusing on the teachings in the New Testament that parallel the principles of civil initiative feels natural,” said Rick Ufford-Chase, co-director of Stony Point Center. “This course is designed to nurture faith communities that have the capacity and resilience to respond to entrenched systems of oppression in creative and liberating ways.”

The Bible studies will be offered by Ufford-Chase, and other course content providers will be practitioners who have years of experience in building durable communities that have the capacity and the resilience to respond to systemic poverty, racism and human rights abuses.

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