The Damascus Project

An initiative of the Wisconsin and Minnesota Conferences to form spiritually grounded leaders for a changing church


Join us as we walk the road of faith together

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The Damascus Project

The Damascus Project is an Initiative of the Wisconsin and Minnesota Conferences to form spiritually grounded leaders for a changing church. We envision the Damascus Project as a hub in the network of resources and learning opportunities available to individuals and congregations, clergy and laity, seeker and lifelong church member alike.

In a world where fewer and fewer congregations can afford full-time clergy leadership, we are developing an approach to ministry formation, leadership development and theological education that will equip the entire church to do the work of ministry both within the congregation and in the wider world. Our approach is grounded in the wisdom of the Christian tradition; encourages and nurtures the ministry of the laity; is outcome based; and incorporates a challenge/response model of teaching and learning that focuses learning on the real life ministry contexts of our congregations and communities. We are committed to being agile and responsive to the actual needs of today’s congregations. We are also committed to being an expression of church for those who have left the institutional church but have not left behind their spiritual hunger or their faith.

We are called to re-think the purpose of theological education in a changing church and to feed all who are hungry for theological and spiritual food. We are inspired by the story of Paul’s transformation on the road to Damascus during which he was compelled to re-think everything he thought he knew about what it meant to be a faithful disciple. We are called to follow Paul’s example and reconsider all we believe we know about how to equip the saints for ministry to build up the body of Christ. As we engage in re-imagining theological formation we envision vibrant learning communities and safe learning spaces in which questions are encouraged, wisdom is drawn from real life contexts and experiences and God’s people are empowered to develop their spiritual gifts for ministries of all kinds in the church and throughout the world.

The Crux: Engaging the Wisdom of the Wilderness for Today’s Changing Church

September 3 – October 14, 2019
Online and in-person (Sept. 26-29 Wisconsin River trip)

Through the Crux, wilderness is experienced and explored as a source of wisdom for the challenges of facing unfamiliar terrain. Biblical narratives of transformation along with other spiritual practices and disciplines equip participants to move through change courageously and with less anxiety. Paddling through an undeveloped stretch of the Wisconsin River provides space to connect with the earth, with each other, and with one’s own heart, at an unhurried pace, leading toward renewal and greater resilience.
More information and registration

Exploring God’s Call in a Changing World

September 13-November 16
Online and in-person
In-person weekends: September 14-15, 2019 and November 15-16, 2019

This course will help participants learn how to fully engage in theological reflection and how to share this engagement with others. Beginning and ending with a weekend retreat, the course will also include 4 “online sessions” that focus on mindful listening and self-awareness as well as the ways in which others have explored their own sense of call throughout history and in the contemporary world.
More information and registration

What Does it Mean to be UCC? United Church of Christ History, Polity, and Theology

September 13-November 16
Online and in-person
In-person weekends: September 14-15, 2019 and November 15-16, 2019

The United Church of Christ has always been an eclectic mix of theologies, traditions and practices woven together by Jesus’ prayer that “all may be one.” (John 17:21) This course features a survey of the diverse European and American churches that are woven into the fabric of the UCC. It will include an exploration of, shared and diverse theological viewpoints, and the covenantal polity (form of governance) in the UCC. There will be readings, conversations, and brief written papers in this ten-week online course, with face-to-face retreats at the beginning and end of the course.
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A Flavor of the Old Testament

October 2-November 13, 2019
Online course

This 6-week online course is a sample buffet of the Old Testament. It will cover some of the who, the what, the where, the when, and the why of the Old Testament. Some of what you learn will be like salt and pepper—you know it and have tasted it before, but some morsels you will taste for the first time. We will study the Torah (the Pentateuch, the first 5 books), the Nevi’im (the Prophets) and the Ketuvim (the Writings-the poetry, the wisdom, and the history). We will taste the savories in Genesis, the bitterness in Job, the sweetness of the Song of Solomon, the frustration of the wilderness, the sourness of the prophets, and the honey of the Psalms. Come and find a new flavor in the Old Testament!
More information and registration

 

For registration questions, please contact Nola Risse-Connolly. For programmatic questions, contact Tisha Brown.

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(608) 846-7880