The Experience

Students live and train with a small cohort for two years under the guidance of a resident director. Training consists of an ongoing combination of intentional community living, study, work, service, mentoring, worship, and play. Participation in community life is a vital component, as the students’ academic work and personal reflections will be related to the larger experience of discipleship. The ability to offer and receive hospitality with grace will also be an important value. Students will actively engage in the community life of Church of All Nations (CAN), and will also connect with and learn from other communities and organizations.

Course of Study

The period of study will be full-time for two years with three eight-month tracks, with each track building on the previous.

The three tracks of study are:

1)   UNVEILING: Exposing the Workings of Empire (Sept-Apr)

Material History: Geopolitics, Economics and Theology

2)   REIMAGINING: Reading the Bible as a Counter-Imperial Witness (May-Dec)

Socio-Political Hermeneutics: Empire, Mythology and the People of God

3)   BIRTHING: Nurturing Sustainable Community Life (Jan-Aug)

Transforming Embodiment: Community Building, Hospitality and Public Witness

A manageable amount of reading will be assigned each month, with seminar discussions facilitated by CAN staff, by other local pastors, and occasionally by professors and activists who share our vision—both local and from around the country. Readings and discussions will be interdisciplinary in nature, so that students learn to make connections across a wide range of fields. Students will host Wednesday night lectures and discussions open to anyone in the broader community as a way to share what’s being learned.

Monthly integrative reflections and a larger integrative project will be shared among the whole cohort within each track. The final project will be an in-depth engagement with the life and times of a historical figure who serves as an example for the student (e.g., Gandhi, MLK, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day), narrating their context, analyzing their action, and then articulating how this speaks to the student’s own life and sense of call. Students will present these projects to one another at a final retreat.

Upon Graduation

Underground Seminary will offer a non-accredited M.Div. degree based on academic work, group participation, and personal formation. Vocational calling and options for additional training after seminary will be discerned with the students individually as they near graduation. We will commend seminary graduates to our extensive network of local and global relationships, in the church and beyond.

Potential Students

The seminary is for those who sense a call to be radical advocates for the world today. Our socialization into the forces of empire requires a process of decolonizing the self, which at times can be painful. Our program requires a readiness to participate in this journey of resocialization through intentional community life and intensive discipleship under the supervision of a mentor. We expect this journey to unleash great joy and liberation of spirit in our graduates.

Underground Seminary will launch September 2014. For more information, contact Laura Newby: laura@undergroundsem.org.