• St. Paul's United Methodist Church (map)
  • 5501 Main St
  • Houston, TX, 77004
  • United States

St. Paul’s is curating a means for moving theology and theory from academic classrooms and churches into the streets — CURATE, a Center for Urban Reconciliation And Theological Education.

Pilot funding has been provided through grants from the United Methodist Church’s General Commission on Religion and Race and Texas Annual Conference’s Center for Missional Excellence.

Learning to Cross Boundaries
This 12-month learning experience will bring together diverse communities for monthly gatherings engaging theologically and relationally to cross boundaries and build ties across divides. Those communities include St. Paul’s, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Esperanza Church, a transitional living community, and Newspring, a 501(c)3 Christian art community that inspires “at risk populations ... to define and achieve a bright economic future.”

“Our hope,” said Rev. Dr. Matt Russell, “is that some innovative ministries might begin to take root and flourish out of this pilot. We are organizing around four modules: 

  • a contextual theology that starts with the city of Houston 
  • a new scriptural imagination for the city 
  • peace-building competencies 
  • systemic issues in the city.  

“We will also be doing a ‘pilgrimage of pain and hope’ in each community. These pilgrimages are based on Trevor Hudson’s work in South Africa’s post-Apartheid.”

To learn more about CURATE and how to be a part of it, please contact Dr. Russell at mrussell@stpaulshouston.org

Participants must be able to commit to a monthly Saturday meeting, starting January 24, and be motivated to engage with learning between meetings via reading, journaling, video, reflection, or other means. 

In anticipation for replicating this project as a model for others, a MOOC is being created. A MOOC (Massive Online Open Communication) is basically a website populated with video, articles, and open forums for participant discussion and learning.

Academicians participating in CURATE in person or via video, will include:

  • Michael Emerson. Academic Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University.
  • Willie Jennings. Associate Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies, Duke Divinity School.
  • Elaine Heath. Professor of Evangelism, Perkins School of Theology, SMU.
  • Juan Martínez. Professor of Hispanic Studies and Pastoral Leadership, Fuller Theological Seminary.
  • Miroslav Volf. Professor of Systematic Theology, and Founding Director, Yale Center for Faith & Culture, Yale Divinity School.
  • Cornel West. Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary.