Course Summary

Teaching Youth to Worship and Understanding Why We Worship

Planning-and-Leading-Transformative-Worship

In this course, scholars address ideas about what worship is and why we do it while offering advice on how to guide adolescents in questions exploring the role of worship in their own lives.

Dr. Alemda Wright Almeda M. Wright

Professor Wright’s research focuses on African American religion, adolescent spiritual development, and the intersections of religion and public life. Prior to her arrival at Yale, she served for four years as assistant professor of religion and youth ministry at Pfeiffer University and, before that, from 2004 to 2009, was an adjunct faculty member and teaching assistant at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. At Candler, she also served as program director of the Wisdom of Youth Project for one year and in various positions over four years with the Youth Theological Initiative. She has served as a consultant to the Women’s Theological Center in Boston and has taught at several schools in the Greater Boston area, including Shady Hill School, the Young Achievers Science and Math Academy, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Open School. Professor Wright’s publications include a book she coedited with Mary Elizabeth Moore, Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World, and an issue of Practical Matters Journal that she edited. She has given presentations at a number of conferences, including the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, and delivered the keynote address at the Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity conference in Washington, D.C., in May 2012. Professor Wright is an ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches and has been on the ministerial staff of several churches, including Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Victory for the World United Church of Christ in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Dr. Frederick Edie Frederick Edie

Fred Edie grew up on the Isle of Hope just east of Savannah, Ga. He holds a B.A. degree from Furman University, an M.Div. from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. from Emory University. Edie is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and has served congregations on both coasts in youth and educational ministries. At Duke Divinity School, Edie teaches courses in Christian Education, youth ministry, and practical theology. His research interests include exploring the relationships between Christian Worship and Christian identity, creating rich contexts for the formation of Christians, and constructing “full-bodied” epistemologies.

Edie’s book, Book, Bath, Table and Time, explores what goes on at Duke Youth Academy and, in particular, suggests how congregational youth ministries may benefit from attention to corporate worship as a crucial zone of formation for youth.

Edie is married and a parent to two teenagers. He professes something of an addiction to cycling.

Alaina Kleinbeck Alaina Kleinbeck

Alaina Kleinbeck is Director of Youth Ministry Initiatives for the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation. Alaina has served youth ministries and organizations in suburban St. Louis, urban Houston, and Norway. She holds degrees from Concordia University Nebraska and Duke Divinity School. Before her time with the Duke Youth Academy, she was a Director of Christian Education working with middle school students.

Jamie Smith James K. A. Smith

James K. A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. Trained as a philosopher with a focus on contemporary French thought, Smith has expanded on that scholarly platform to become an engaged public intellectual and cultural critic. An award-winning author and widely-traveled speaker, he has emerged as a thought leader with a unique gift of translation, building bridges between the academy, society, and the church.

The author of a number of influential books, Smith also regularly writes for magazines and newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, First Things, Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and The Hedgehog Review. He serves as editor-in-chief of Comment magazine.

He and his wife, Deanna, are elementary school (!) sweethearts with four children in college. Natives of Stratford, Ontario, they lived in Philadelphia and Los Angeles before settling in the Heritage Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids. They are committed urban dwellers who enjoy gardening, travel, wine with friends, and curling up on the couch with their two maltipoos, Daisy and Kirby.

Kyle David Bennett Kyle David Bennett

Kyle David Bennett is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Caldwell University in New Jersey, where he also directs the Spirituality and Leadership Institute, a think-tank and training center that focuses on spiritual formation and citizenship in North American democratic society. His first book, Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World (Brazos Press), is slated to release August 2017.

Discussion

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