Additional Information for Seminarians

Seminarians who participate in CDF’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry for course credit will attend the Seminarian Pre-Session on Monday, July 15th from 9:00 a.m. ̶ 5:15 p.m. and will meet with our 2019 Proctor Professors-in-Residence each evening during dinner to discuss and reflect on the day’s sessions and for further engagement.  There is also a seminarian post-session immediately following the formal conclusion of the Proctor Institute.

Seminary students who are interested in registering for the credit-bearing graduate course should sign up through their seminaries (to pay for and receive credit hours) and register for CDF’s Proctor Institute (including the seminary sessions) at the discounted price of $200.00 .

Participating seminaries include:

Candler School of Theology
Chicago Theological Seminary
Christian Theological Seminary
Columbia Theological Seminary
Drew Theological School, Drew University
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Hood Theological Seminary
Louisville Presbyterian Theological School
Memphis Theological Seminary
New Brunswick Theological Seminary
School of Theology, Sewanee University
Wake Forest University School of Divinity

Union Presbyterian Seminary at Charlotte
Union Theological Seminary
Vanderbilt Divinity School
Wesley Theological Seminary
Yale Divinity School

There are opportunities for scholarships for seminarians ages 35 and under. Click the button below to apply.

Apply for a Scholarship

Seminary Faculty and Co-Facilitators

2019 Faculty Teaching Team

Faculty Co-facilitators:

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Course Description & Core Components

This course offers an immersion experience for students who wish to engage and cultivate necessary prophetic voices with communities on the margins – communities contending against systemic injustices that directly impact children and youth. Biblical and theological assumptions justifying institutional complicity with oppressive systems will be challenged. Theological education in collaboration with public theology and contextual practice allow for direct engagement in communal struggles for social justice. This course will include contextual learning to facilitate collective organizing of churches and communities for justice-making.

Learning Goal and Learning Objectives:

To reframe and to transform religious leadership in view of the sacrality and integrity of children and youth in our commitments to justice-making. By the end of this immersion experience students will: 

  1. Be able to articulate theological, biblical, and historical mandates and frameworks for child advocacy ministries.
  2. Identify theological foundations for justice and preaching ministries in the effort to build partnerships among faith communities and traditions; including interfaith communities.
  3. Demonstrate contextualized learning that includes social analysis, interdisciplinary approaches, (e.g. theological, biblical, historical, political, and experiential studies) and practices of ministry through a final project.
  4. Be able to describe models of nonviolent direct action organizing that lead to collective action for the justice of God through congregational praxis and public theology.

Questions we will explore include:

  1. Who are we in justice work, God’s work, in our communities? How are we advocates for a plumbline of justice in our communities? Calling for the plumbline of justice requires measurement; does it measure to a plumbline of justice?
  2. What structures perpetuate poverty? Mass incarceration?  Systemic oppression?
  3. What theologies perpetuate poverty, mass incarceration, racism, oppression?
  4. How can we move faith communities from charity to justice?
  5. How can we develop strong and effective interfaith partnerships to seek justice for all of our children?
  6. How do we listen to and learn from and with young people? What can we learn from their stories and leadership?
  7. How can we work through collective nonviolent direct action organizing to disrupt and dismantle the cradle to prison pipeline?
  8. How do we become partners WITH instead of planning programs FOR young people who are wounded by the structural violence of poverty, racism, inadequate public education, zero tolerance discipline policies and the juvenile justice system?

Course Requirements and Evaluation:

  1. To engage voices of children and youth, especially those most impacted by systems of oppression  ̶  this includes conference experiences but also concrete work to listen to and learn from children and youth in your community before you frame your final project (25% of grade)
  2. To engage the required texts through critical reflection. For each of the 5 required books,* please turn in a two page reflection paper by the date set by the instructor of record at your institution. What surprised you?  Challenged you?  What did you find most helpful?  Disturbing?  Prophetic?  How does the reading push you to change, to work in new ways?  Bring your notes and books with you and be prepared to engage the class and speakers.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Children’s Defense Fund website and the assigned articles/videos. (20% of grade)
  3. To develop and to present an Action Plan/Project Strategy – at the discretion and date set by the instructor of record at your institution. (10% of grade)
  4. To produce a final project framed by the course core components, learning goals and objectives, questions we explore, and discussions. This can be a collaborative group project or individual. Due on the date set by the instructor of record at your institution. (45% of grade)

Final project must emphasize:

  1. Listening to and learning from and with children and young people
  2. Working/partnering with those struggling with oppression vs. programs for or to
  3. Addressing systemic, structural oppression vs. individuals only
  4. Engaging in justice rather than charity

Examples of past projects include:

  • Initiating a listening circle and restorative justice process, including a website, to deal with conflict around race/class bias against youth in neighborhood
  • Creating a triptych of paintings with a companion narrative exploring experiences of young people, structures of oppression and possibilities for hope as model for listening to young people and redefining youth ministry
  • Creating an ongoing listening circle process for transgender youth in partnership with a community youth center
  • Designing partnership for work around gardens, food culture, memories and art with young folks and their families near Latino community center
  • Creating booklist, training curriculum and support process for work with parents considering transracial adoptions through local adoption agency

Required Texts

All seminarians will read and review the five required texts and become familiar with the Children’s Defense Fund website, as well as the articles/videos listed.  Some seminaries will include the four recommended texts as part of their required texts. 

Bold indicates author will be participating in Proctor 2019: 

Baldwin, Lewis and Victor Anderson, editors.  (2018) Revives My Soul Again: The Spirituality of Martin Luther King, Jr. (2018) (Book 1) 

Blount, Reginald and Virginia Lee, editors. (2019)  Let Your Light Shine: Mobilizing for Justice with Children and Youth, A Reader. (Book 2) 

Day, Keri. (2012) Unfinished Business: Black Women, the Black Church and the Struggle to Thrive in America (Book 3)

Wolf, Janet. (2018) Practicing Resurrection: The Gospel of Mark and Radical Discipleship (Book 4) – available from the Children’s Defense Fund’s store:
United Methodist Women also offer the book as well as a free Leader’s Guide available online

Wong, Kent, Ana Luz Gonzalez and James M. Lawson Jr. (2016) Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. (Book 5)

All students are to engage the following: 

CDF website:

Romal Tune’s poem

“Something Inside So Strong” CDF Freedom Schools at

I Am Not Your Negro,

James Baldwin’s “Letters from a Region in My Mind” in the New Yorker, 

Recommended for all seminarians/required by some seminaries:

Daley-Harris, Shannon.  (2016) Hope for the Future: Answering God’s Call to Justice for Our Children.

De La Torre, Miguel. (2018)  Burying White Privilege: Resurrecting a Badass Christianity

Ellison, Gregory. (2017) Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice

Reyes, Patrick. (2016) Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood. 

Suggested Readings and Resources:  Those in bold indicate author will be at Proctor 2019


  • Eyes on the Prize documentary series.
  • Allen, Ronald, Dale P. Andrews, Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm. (2011, 2012, 2013). Preaching God’s Transforming Justice, Lectionary Year[s] A, B, and C.
  • Anderson, Victor. (1999). Beyond Ontological Blackness.
  • Anderson, Victor. (2008). Creative Exchange.
  • Andrews, Dale P. (2002). Practical Theology for Black Churches.
  • Andrews, Dale P. and Robert London Smith Jr., editors. (2015). Black Practical Theology.
  • Barber II, William J. (2016) The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.
  • Brooks, Adrian. (2015) The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQ Activism.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. (2001, 2nd) Prophetic Imagination.
  • Douglas, Kelly Brown. (2015) Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God.
  • Edelman, Marian Wright. (1993). The Measure of Our Success.
  • Ellison, Gregory. (2013). Cut Dead but Still Alive.
  • Harding, Vincent. (2010). Hope and History.
  • Harding, Vincent. (2008). Martin Luther King Jr.: The Inconvenient Hero.
  • Heschel, Abraham. (1962, 2001). The Prophets.
  • Hicks, Derek S. (2012). Reclaiming Spirit in the Black Faith Tradition.
  • Lindner, Eileen. (2006) Thus Far on the Way: Toward a Theology of Child Advocacy.
  • Lomax, Tamura. (2018) Jezebel Unhinged: Loosing the Black Female Body in Religion and Culture.
  • Marbury, Herbert. (2015). Pillars of Cloud and Fire: The Politics of Exodus in the African American Quest for Freedom.
  • McMickle, Marvin. (2006). Where Have All the Prophets Gone.
  • Moss III, Otis. (2015)  Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair
  • Myers, Ched. The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics, 4th printing.  Oak View, CA:  Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, 2006.
  • Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988.
  • Myers, Ched, Marie Dennis, Joseph Nanble, Cynthia Moe-Loebeda and Stuart Taylor. “Say to This Mountain” Mark’s Story of Discipleship.  Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996.
  • Myers, Ched and Elaine Enns. Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Volume I:  New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.  Volume II:  Diverse Christian Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.  Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009.
  • Myers, Ched. With Matthew Colwell. (2012) Our God Is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice.
  • Otfinoski, Stephen. (1991). Marian Wright Edelman: Defender of Children’s Rights.
  • Parker, Evelyn. (2010). The Sacred Selves of Adolescent Girls: Hard Stories of Race, Class, and Gender.
  • Pearse, Angie. (2010). Doing Contextual Theology.
  • Pierce, Yolanda. (2005) Hell Without Fire: Slavery, Christianity and the Antebellum Spiritual Narrative.
  • Ross, Rosetta E. (2003). Witnessing & Testifying.
  • Sheppard, Phillis. (2011). Self, Culture, and Others in Womanist Practical Theology.
  • Salvatierra, Alexia. (2014) Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World
  • Smith, Linda T. (2012, Revised 2nd). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples
  • Stevenson, Bryan. (2014). Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.
  • Taylor, Mark Lewis. (2015, Revised and Expanded, 2nd) The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America.
  • Thurman, Howard. (reprint, 1949) Jesus and the Disinherited.
  • Tubbs Tisdale. (2010). Prophetic Preaching: A Pastoral Approach.
  • Wallis, Jim. (2016) America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.
  • Washington, James M. (2001 ed.). A Testament of Hope.
  • Wimberly, Anne. (2005). Soul Stories: African American Christian Education.

Questions about the seminarian course for graduate credit at the Proctor Institute? Please call Dr. Janet Wolf at (615) 260-2894.

Register Now

Hear what seminarians from years past have said about their profound experiences:

Owing to this experience I’m recognizing a much more powerful and necessary intersection between my ministry and the necessary labor for children in my community. Gifts? Validation and confirmation that my work matters and that I’ve got committed allies in the struggle.

I was invited deeply into the lives and experiences of others in a way that forever changed my lens and my life.

This is some of the best teaching I’ve ever been a part of. I’m better and changed from being here. I will work towards embodying non-violence as a way of life.

This week is a summer intensive course, a summer camp, and tent revival all in one! Nowhere else is the truth spoken so boldly, so openly, so beautifully by all.

My experience at Proctor has made me wake up and see the true priorities regarding children. Anyone who is in education, education administration, or policy, and anyone who is in a child-serving career, must come to the Proctor Institute. Proctor puts children and their well-being at the forefront of all we do.