The CM program's underlying theory comes from these theological and experience based understandings:

  • "Public ministry”–serving the world’s needs – is the proper work of the Church.
  • Successful public ministry requires leaders who can motivate church members to become involved in such ‘external’ work.
  • This motivation will require the leader to be able to nurture the members adequately so they are able to look beyond their own needs.

Thus, to be successful, “public ministers” must have two sets of skills – in parish work and in social change work – and know how to integrate them in practice. Standard theological seminary training does not provide this type of training, nor is it currently being provided in this form by any other training program in the United States of which we are aware.


2018 Community Ministers

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Hyungkoo Kang is in the third year of the Master of Divinity program at Drew University. His  Methodist Christian family background led him to come to this seminary. He is from South Korea and has now been in the U.S. for two years. Before coming to this country, he studied Atmospheric Science at Seoul National University. He is interested in the history of the Church and its social concern and the comparative theology of religions and society. He has a growing concern for immigrant issues in the world and hopes to contribute to immigrant communities in his country in the future.

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David Black has a hard time answering the question, “where are you from?” He grew up moving around Eastern Europe (Bonn, Warsaw, Rome, Belgrade) and has lived in five states since moving to the US. His parents retired in the area of Harrisburg PA, so when he’s tired he’ll tell you that’s “home.” His spiritual heritage is Evangelical-Protestant and Quaker. Recently he decided to put down roots in the Presbyterian Church (USA), where he’s pursuing ordination. David is in his final year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He spends his free time playing flamenco guitar, looking up plane tickets for trips he dreams of taking, and impressing his friends by flambéing their salads.

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Barbara Becker is a newly-ordained interfaith minister, having graduated from One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in June 2017. For over 20 years, she has worked professionally with human rights activists from across the globe, developing campaigns to advance their sensitive work. She is also a writer and is working on a book about her interfaith experiences.  Barbara and her husband Dave are the proud parents of two teenage sons. A lover of the great outdoors, she will hike the pilgrimage route El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain later this fall..


Erica Poellot is a mother, maker and since 1998, has been engaged in the work of social justice and sacred activism, with a particular interest in the intersections of practical theology, trauma/gender based violence and substance use. She has managed a domestic violence shelter for Orthodox Jewish women, coordinated crisis lines and a team of first responders handling sexual assault, stalking and intimate partner violence, and developed a specialized counseling center for LGBT IPV survivors in Southern CA. With joint MDiv/MSW degrees from Union Theological Seminary (2010) and Columbia University (2007), Erica currently works as the Director of Institutional Giving for the Harm Reduction Coalition in NYC. Erica and her partner Allan and their 3 year old daughter recently moved to Spuytin Duyvil and fill their time together with picnics in the park, art making and cooking/dining with friends.

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André Daughtry is a contemporary artist who works in photography and film. He holds an MFA in Photography & Media from the California Institute of the Arts (Calarts)and is currently a MA Candidate at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York in the Theology and the Arts Program. “I am interested in the so-called line between the Sacred and the Profane and where the higher meaning of Art is to play a prophetic role in modern society”



Soon after Donna Schaper was called as Judson Church’s Senior Minister in 2006, she proposed a new program to train a small group of seminarians in the kind of progressive, inclusive, world-serving ministry that both she and Judson Church had been doing for many years: a “Training Program on Public Ministry from a Parish Base”. Judson’s lay leaders agreed to try this idea and created a pilot program for the 2006-07 academic year, with five students, financed by spending down a donor-designated fund from the church’s small reserves.

That pilot program, which is now familiarly called the “Community Ministry” program, proved successful and Judson was eager to continue it, but could not, without significant outside funding. The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation came to the rescue with a generous grant that completely underwrote the 2007-08 academic year, and 10 students were trained that year. In subsequent years, the Community Ministry program has tried varying formats and class sizes – all with continuing partial funding from the Carpenter Foundation, plus gradually increasing funds from additional sources – for all of which Judson is immensely grateful.

The Judson program assigns the students to work at least 15 hours a week, including attending Judson worship on Sundays and participating in a weekly three-hour seminar led by Judson’s two clergy and two lay leaders, at which a combination of formal instruction and mutual discussion helps students solidify their learnings from their experiences of the prior week. The rest of their time is spent on their assigned tasks, both standard pastoral tasks (which can include aspects of worship leadership, education, pastoral care, and administration) and also external ministry tasks. Students are paid a small monthly stipend for the academic year. They receive regular individual supervision from the clergy, and each student is also provided with a lay mentor from the congregation.