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 16th from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and will meet with our 2018 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 here.  

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 is an opportunity for scholarships for seminarians age 35 and under. For more information on scholarships and course credit please contact Janet Wolf at

Seminary Faculty and Co-Facilitators


Faculty Teaching Team

Reginald Blount, Assistant Professor of Formation, Youth and Culture, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; pastor of Amett Chapel AME Church, Chicago;

Derek Hicks, Associate Professor of Religion and Culture, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, and author, Reclaiming Spirit in the Black Faith Tradition;

Virginia Lee, Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary;

Rodney Sadler, Associate Professor of Bible, Union Presbyterian Seminary at Charlotte; associate pastor, Mount Carmel Baptist Church;

Teresa Smallwood, Associate Director, Vanderbilt Divinity School Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative;

Shively Smith, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Wesley Theological Seminary, author of Strangers to Family: Diaspora and I Peter’s Invention of God’s Household;

The Rev. Dr. Janet L. Wolf, Children’s Defense Fund,, 615-260-2894

Faculty Co-facilitators

Victor Anderson, Oberlin Theological Professor of Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt Divinity School; Professor of the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies and Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University; author, Creative Exchange: A Constructive Theology of African American Religious Experience;

Carmichael Crutchfield, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Spiritual Formation, and Youth Ministry and Associate Director of Methodist House of Studies, Memphis Theological Seminary,

Sarah Farmer, Adolescent Faith and Flourishing Program at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, Yale Divinity School;

Greg Ellison II, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Candler School of Theology, and author, Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice and Cut Dead but Still Alive: Caring for African American Youth; see

Elaine Enns, adjunct professor at St. Andrews College, and co-founder of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, co-author with Ched Meyers, Ambassadors of Reconciliation: New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice and Peacemaking;

Mary Love, Adjunct Professor of Christian Education, Hood Theological Seminary, author of Learning through Symbolism and Celebration, An Annotated Bibliography of Afrocentric Resources;

Ched Myers, activist theologian, popular educator, author of many books, including Sabbath Economics and Binding the Strong Man; partner in Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries; 5th generation Californian;

Lorena Parrish, Dirk Romeyn Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry and Director of the D.Min. program and the Masters of Arts in Ministry and Community Leadership program, New Brunswick Theological Seminary;

Patrick Reyes, Director of Strategic Partnership for Doctoral Initiatives, Forum for Theological Exploration, author of  Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community and Surviving to Adulthood.

Christophe Ringer, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Society, Chicago Theological Seminary, “Necropolitics: The Religious Situation of U.S. Mass Incarceration”

Charlene Sinclair, Union Theological Seminary, and founding director of the Center for Race, Religion and Economic Democracy,


Course Description & Core Components

Course Description and Core Components

This course will be an intensive Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) immersion experience for seminary or divinity/theological school students who wish to engage and cultivate necessary prophetic voices with communities on the margins of theological education—in particular, those communities contending against systemic injustices perpetuating the intersectionalities of racist and economic struggles that directly impact children and youth. The CDF immersion conference provides an alternative or liminal space to study justice ministries. We will consider and challenge Biblical and theological assumptions justifying institutional complicity with oppressive systems that create insular maintenance of churches quite disconnected from folks on the margins. We will examine the present nature of theological education and consider pressing questions regarding public theology and contextual practice. The foci of this course underscore partnerships with local communities working with CDF, collaborating with those who are engaged directly in the struggles for social justice. We study, “How do we construct narratives of learning and justice ministries at the center of our theological training?” We also explore, “What is our theological voice in the public square; what are the possible roles of public theology?” This course will include contextual learning and research in forming public leaders to facilitate collective organizing/re-organizing of churches as justice-making communities to extend beyond the immediate concerns of philanthropy.

Learning Goal and Learning Objectives

To reframe and to transform religious leadership in view of the sacrality and integrity of youth in our commitments to justice making—that is:

  1. To build our understanding of the range child advocacy and to articulate theological, biblical, and historical mandates for child advocacy ministries
  2. To explore the theological foundations for justice and preaching ministries in the effort to build partnerships among faith communities and traditions, including with interfaith communities, and to build theological frameworks for these partnerships
  3. To cultivate contextualized teaching and learning that includes social analysis and interdisciplinary approaches involving theological, biblical, historical, political, and experiential studies, and practices of ministry (e.g. black preaching, pastoral and prophetic care ministries)
  4. To introduce to students a range of nonviolent direct action organizing principles and to equip students with organizing models for collective action in congregational praxis and public theology

Questions we will explore include

  • Who are we in justice work, God’s work, in our communities?
  • What structures perpetuate poverty?  Mass incarceration?  Systemic oppression?
  • What theologies perpetuate poverty, mass incarceration, racism, oppression?
  • How can we move faith communities from charity to justice?
  • How can we develop strong and effective interfaith partnerships to seek justice for all of our children?
  • How do we listen to and learn from and with young people? What can we learn from their stories and leadership?
  • How can we work through collective nonviolent direct action organizing to disrupt and dismantle the cradle to prison pipeline?
  • 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 & 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 9 required books, please turn in a two page reflection paper by July 10th.  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/video. (20% of grade)
  3. To develop and to present an Action Plan/project strategy – initial ideas will be presented during the Institute and final draft is due July 30th so that you can get feedback before completing your final project. (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 August 15. (45% of grade) 

The emphasis must be on:

A. Listening to and learning from and with children and young people
B. Working/partnering with those struggling with oppression vs. programs for or to
C. Addressing systemic, structural oppression vs. individuals only
D. 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 & Recommended Reading

Required Texts

Those who are presenting at Proctor 2018 are listed in bold     

Branch, Taylor. (2013) The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (Book 1)

Burton, Susan and Cari Lynn. (2017) Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women. (Book 2)

Edelman, Peter (2017) Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America (Book 3)

Ellison, Gregory (2017) Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice (Book 4)

Janssen, Denise, ed. (2015) Educating for Redemptive Community: Essays in Honor of Jack Symour and Margaret Ann Crain (Book 5); note especially essays by Reginald Blount, Leah Gunning-Francis and Evelyn Parker

Khan-Cullors, Patrisse, asha Bandele and Angela Davis. (2018) When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. (Book 6)

Lightsey, Pamela. (2015) Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology. (Book 7)

Reyes, Patrick. (2016) Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood. (Book 8)

Wong, Kent, Ana Luz Gonzalez and James M. Lawson Jr. (2016) Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. (Book 9)

All students are to become familiar with the CDF website:

with special attention to Child Watch Columns by Marian Wright Edelman 

Extra Credit Reading

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

Sadler, Rodney and Emerson Powery. (2016) The Genesis of Liberation: Biblical Interpretation in the Antebellus Narratives of the Enslaved.

Students are encouraged to watch two documentaries before arriving

Dolores,­ Delores Huerta is one of our speakers for Proctor 2018

I Am Not Your Negro,

Suggested Readings and Resources  

Those in bold indicate author will be at Proctor 2018

  • Video: Civil Rights | Watch Makers: Women who Make America on Women in the Civil Rights
  • 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.
  • Black, Daniel.  (2016) The Coming.
  • Brueggemann, Walter.  (2001, 2nd ed.)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. 
  • 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 ed.). 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 Ed.) 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