In summary: we consolidated the Shalom network based at Drew and resourced Shalom conferences and sites nationally; built a national Shalom team comprised of staff, interns, and consultants; organized regional and conference Shalom trainings; equipped conference coordinators to equip their local Shalom sites; identified and nurtured new national training partner; found new ways to communicate and promote the Shalom brand of community development; produced Fall Nexus newsletter; continued planning process and trajectory work with Duncan Associates; and found seed funding for two new sites.
Building the Team:
• Attended monthly meetings with staff at GBGM as our major national partner of Shalom at Drew, and attended their national leadership training conference in Phoenix focused on online presence and organizational development. Met with the Advance Office staff and Assistant General Secretary for communications to coordinate Shalom branding and promotion. Met with Health and Welfare staff of Methodist Healthcare ministries regarding a national training partnership.
• Worked with national trainers—Will Dent and J-P Duncan—on enhancing the training and systematizing the process from information meeting to application to training to evaluation.
• Recruited MDIV students, Annie Allen and Mike Oliver, to continue their summer internships as national site coordinators.
• Recruited Jessica Moore as GBGM liaison and communications consultant
• Supported Rev. Tanya Bennett, Director of Religious Life at Drew University and member of National Shalom Committee, in giving leadership to our Shalom presence in Newark through the Newark Interfaith Coalition and the newly formed mentoring program—Nine Strong Women.
• Continued to supervise CLA student, Christian Ciobanu, a political science major, in doing a major research project on Shalom initiatives in Zimbabwe and Ghana, offering relational support to these African-based Shalom zones, and promote the work through Shalom coffee sales.
• Held first information meeting to recruit new Drew students for next year’s summer internship program, and announced availability of summer interns for specific site placements.
Organizing the Training
On January 1, 2008, 78 Communities of Shalom found a new home base at Drew Theological School. Since then, we’ve trained, reactivated and added 14 new sites for a total of 92 in the USA and Africa, including Shalom zones in Baltimore, Richmond, VA, and Western North Carolina. New Training began on native reservations in the Dakotas Conference and is scheduled to begin in Mississippi Conference in January (see attached Site Update).
Hosted Bishop Felton May as the keynote speaker at Drew’s annual Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures in October during which he delivered an impassioned lecture on the radical and prophetic spirit of Shalom, especially in the early days of the movement.
Offered Accelerated Training and consulting in Madison (May) and Equipping for Shalom training in Memphis (Oct) for 25 Regional Shalom Coordinators with oversight of Shalom ministry in their Annual Conferences. The Madison event was facilitated by our national trainers, Will Dent and J-P Duncan. The Memphis event was hosted by Dr. Gary Gunderson, Senior VP of Methodist Healthcare, and his staff who also offered units of the training. Methodist Healthcare has agreed to become a training partner of Shalom, and has assigned program consultant, Dr. Fred Smith, to work with me on a proposal.
Personally, I’ve mentored eight student interns at Drew and visited 23 Shalom ministry teams in the field this year (see Site Update).
Communicating the Message
• Worked with Drew Publications Office on the Communities of Shalom logo, dove icon, and informational brochure. Also worked with Communications Consultant, Jessica Moore, on the Fall ShalomNexus newsletter.
• Worked with Mike Oliver to continue the development of the Shalom websites: www.communitiesofshalom.org ) and www.shalomNexus.org I continue using my personal blog site to include Shalom reflections http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com/search/label/shalom
• Worked with Dean’s Office and Development on implementing the Jessie Ball duPont Prophetic Leaders initiative. This program not only allows us to pay ministry stipends to our summer Shalom interns, but also provides funds to bring prophetic leaders to campus for a one-week teaching residency.
• Presented “Social Conflict and Communities of Shalom”, Presidential Leadership Summit on Conflict Resolution at Bacone College (Oct)
• Presented “Theology and Practice of Shalom” Seminar at the School of Officer Training, Salvation Army (Nov)
• Taught “Urban Anthropology: Theology and Practice of Shalom” DMIN course at New Brunswick Theological Seminary (Dec)
• Presented “Social Conflict and Communities of Shalom” PowerPoint lecture at the Aquinas Seminar at Drew (Oct) and to the staff of the Drew Development Office (Dec).
• Designed a new course on “Prophetic Leadership in Congregation and Community” to teach in Spring Semester in conjunction with Prophetic Leaders in Residence program at Drew.