BMP Retreat Brings Distance and Local Students Together

March 12, 2024

Last weekend was the final Black Ministries Program (BMP) retreat for the 2023-24 academic year. The retreat is a new implementation that fulfills the residency component of the BMP Leadership Certificate, made possible by the Lilly Endowment's Pathways for Tomorrow project. The overarching retreat theme was "From Faith to Fulfillment." 

Associate Director of the Howard Thurman Center Beverne Cordner said, “Through the Lilly Endowment's Pathways for Tomorrow project, participating theological schools and seminaries across the country are developing exciting opportunities to support the growth and development of theologians entering ministry from more nontraditional pathways.” 

Under the auspices of the Howard Thurman Center, in the 2022-23 academic year, the BMP was redeveloped into a hybrid program where students study in-person locally and national students join synchronously online for course lectures.

Each retreat features explorative activities and workshops. This year, the students and auditing alumni completed individualized mapping and advising on further theological study, personal strategic planning to fulfill their calls to ministry, and opportunities to sit at the feet of the distinguished faculty to learn about more specialized types of theological work. These include trauma-informed ministry, caring for clergy, and women's leadership in ministry.

“Building on a forty-year legacy, the BMP program invites our students to explore their own pathways into ministry. Our residency focuses exclusively on this aspect of the Black Ministries Program,” Cordner said. 



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