2009-2010 Online Courses

Updated: 02/28/13

Please note: Early Registration is strongly advised.

  • Fall 2010 Early Registration: Apr. 12–23, 2010
  • Fall 2010 classes begin September 7, 2010

View the Academic Calendar for Online Education.

For fee information, see Course Fees.

(See archived Summer/Fall 2009 course listings)


Spring 2010 

HIV/AIDS Ministry ~NEW!!
Vilius Rudra Dundzila
Course Closed: Late registration has ended
A Unitarian Universalist perspective will be used to address the pastoral, ethical, political, religious, and spiritual challenges of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The course will include local, national, and global points of focus. It will look at HIV/AIDS-related social justice issues such as stigma, poverty, racism, homophobia, sexuality, disenfranchisement, and classism, as well as pastoral care concerns of grief, suffering, disease, and death. Students will formulate their own informed responses to HIV/AIDS and create a project for their area ministerial concern. / Dr. Vilius Rudra Dundzila is a Unitarian Universalist minister in preliminary fellowship and Professor of Humanities and Comparative Religion for Harry S. Truman College (City Colleges of Chicago). On a volunteer basis, he has served various HIV/AIDS service organizations for most of his adult life, both in the United States and in Europe. This includes the now defunct AIDS Pastoral Care Network of Chicago, co-sponsored by the UUA Central MidWest District. Dr. Dundzila wrote his Doctor of Ministry project on HIV/AIDS pastoral care at Meadville Lombard. It documented a Hindu-based, interfaith HIV/AIDS ministry called The River Fund in Sebastian, FL. It is the only Hindu HIV/AIDS Service Organization (ASO) in the country.
RSPS 8401
3 units
Minimum: 8     Limit: 15            PIN Required

Our Theological House: An Introduction to Theology for Unitarian Universalists ~NEW!!
John Buehrens
Course Closed: Late registration has ended
Many progressives do not realize that they even have a theology, much less that there is a systematic theological worldview that is characteristic of the liberal/progressive tradition. This course, developed by Starr King President and Professor of Theology Rebecca Parker, has now resulted in a book, to be published in early 2010, co-authored with the instructor of this course, John Buehrens. Students will have access to advance copies of A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion [Beacon, 2010]. Using readings from the history of American liberal theology and contemporary progressive sources, those enrolled ~ ministers, lay leaders, and seminarians ~ will have a chance to deepen their theological competency and creativity, to reflect on the emerging post-modern context, and to engage in online discussion with others exploring a progressive approach to the classic issues of systematic theology (from the nature of religious community to its mission, from issues of salvation to worship, God and humanity, Christology and Spirit). / The Rev. Dr. John A. Buehrens is Minister of the First Parish in Needham, MA. President of the Unitarian Universalist Association from 1993 to 2001, he is author of Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals [Beacon, 2004] and co-author, with Forrest Church, of A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism [Beacon, 1989, 1997]. He was a Visiting Professor of Ministry at Starr King in 2001 and is currently an adjunct instructor and counselor at Harvard Divinity School. / The Rev. Dr. Nicole C. Kirk will act as Section Instructor for this course. Prof. Kirk holds a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary and is currently working on her dissertation for a Ph.D. in American Religious History.
ST 8402           3 units       
Minimum: 8     Limit: 24             PIN Required

Unitarian Universalist History  ~NEW!!~

Emily Mace
Course Closed: Late registration has ended
The course begins with an examination of the (alleged) antecedents to Unitarianism and Universalism in pre-Reformation Europe. We move on to trace the theological and then institutional emergence of Unitarianism out of the Radical Reformation. The Unitarian churches in Poland, Transylvania, and England will be considered in detail with attention to issues of sameness and difference in their development and declines. Special focus will be given to the relationship of these communities to their Jewish and Islamic contemporaries. We will also look at the universalism of 18th century England, and the current state of Unitarianism in Europe. Then we cross the ocean to examine the emergence of Unitarianism from developments within Puritan Congregationalism. We explore the uniquely North American institution of Universalism as response to the same cultural setting. Next:  the major themes and developments of North American Unitarianism through its classical age, the Transcendentalist development, and the various crises of identity and purpose that develop into and through the late 19th and 20th centuries. Then we turn our attention to Universalist ascendency, decline, and then consolidation with Unitarianism (perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of Unitarian/Universalist history). Careful attention will be paid throughout to the Unitarian/Universalist social location in relationship to class, race, and gender identities, and how these sometimes enabled and sometimes impaired social justice advances. / Emily Mace is a doctoral candidate in religious studies at Princeton University, where she specializes in the Religion in America subfield. Before coming to Princeton, she received her MTS from Harvard Divinity School and her BA from Amherst College. Her work focuses on religious liberalism in ways that move beyond Protestant theology towards issues of practice, ritual, gender, and pluralism. Her dissertation, “Cosmopolitan Communions: Practices of Religious Liberalism in America, 1880-1930,” explores how radical religious liberals sought to embody cosmopolitanism in their religious practices, looking a dedication ceremonies, religious education courses, holidays, and compiled bibles. For the year 2008-9, she received a Unitarian Universalist Scholars’ grant from the UUA’s Panel on Theological Education in support of her dissertation research.
HS 8423          3 units
Minimum: 8    Limit: 18             PIN Required

romised Lands and Immigrants                      
Hugo Córdova Quero
Course Closed: Late registration has ended
This online course will focus on the cases of Latina/o immigrants in the United States and Japan in relation to their experiences of faith, ethnicity and gender. The approach is interdisciplinary as we will draw from several fields for the analysis of the class topics. The goal of the course is to provide grounds for students to acquire tools for understanding the different realities of immigrants. Issues of faith, race/ethnicity, gender and migration will be constantly connected to pastoral reflection throughout the course, especially since our world is increasingly becoming multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious.

Listen to an introduction to this course by the instructor:

Instructor Hugo Córdova Quero holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He is also visiting researcher at the Center for Lusophone Studies at Sophia University, in Tokyo. He has worked both pastorally and academically in Argentina, United States, Hong Kong and Tokyo. During 2006 to 2008 he conducted fieldwork in seven Roman Catholic parishes, interviewing Japanese Brazilian migrants who are currently residing in Tokyo Metropolitan Area. He has published in several journals and books, and he is currently editing books in the areas of migration and theology, gender, queer theology and queer theory.
RSHR-8427    3 units
Minimum: 5     Limit: 15         PIN Required

World Religions
Tawna Nicholas Cooley, et. al.

Course Closed: Late registration has ended
This online World Religions course is focused on major living religions. A scholar/practitioner in each religion will teach most sections, so students will learn from the experience and expertise of several professors in this course. After an introduction to the study of world religions, we will explore Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto and Sikhism, including multiplicities within traditions. Due to wide availability of other courses, Christianity is not included. We will discuss the lens we bring in encountering world religions. Weekly participation in online discussions required. / The Rev. Tawna Cooley, a Starr King School graduate, is overseeing this online course, and will be present for students throughout the semester.
HR-8400         3 units
Minimum: 8     Limit: 15         PIN Required

Congregational Polity
Mark W. Harris

Course Closed: Late registration has ended
This is an online course in the history and development of Congregational Polity in the Unitarian Universalist tradition. How did Congregational Polity evolve and what were the differences in the Unitarian and Universalist approaches to governance? How have we handled issues of centralized authority and bureaucracy? We'll look at how religious communities make decisions, support their leaders and define ministry. With ministry we will ask about power, gender and ethics, the call, and the meaning and context for worship and rites of passage. / The Rev. Mark Harris is a 1978 graduate of Starr King. He has served congregations in Palmer, Milton, and currently Watertown, MA, and has had brief acting ministries in Sheffield and London, England. He also teaches at Andover Newton Theological School. He is a former Director of Information for the UUA, and is the author of the Historical Dictionary of Unitarian Universalism.
FT-8420           3 units
Minimum: 8     Limit: 15            PIN Required

Introduction to Liberal Religious Education
Sheri Prud’homme

Course Closed: Late registration has ended
This online seminar course provides a broad introduction to the theory and practice of liberal religious education, with an emphasis on Unitarian Universalist congregations. Topics include the philosophy of UU religious education, teaching and learning, developmental theories, the congregation as an educating community, social justice visions for religious education, current approaches and innovations in religious education for all ages, collegial relationships and professional standards for religious educators, and curriculum resources. The course draws from on one by the same name developed by Betty Jo Middleton, Roberta M. Nelson, Eugene B. Navias, and Judith Mannheim with support from a grant by the St. Lawrence Foundation. / The Rev. Sheri Prud'homme is a Unitarian Universalist Minister of Religious Education. Her professional experience includes serving the Pacific Central District (UUA) as the Lifespan Religious Education Consultant, working with congregational leadership throughout the district to broaden their vision and strengthen their capacity in religious education and ministry with children and youth. She has served two interim ministries in religious education at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland and at the Davis Unitarian Universalist Church. For the past five years, she has taught one of two courses annually at Starr King, “Topics in Liberal Religious Education” and “Ministry When Children and Youth Are Part of the Community.” This will be her third time teaching online. She is the co-creator of Chalice Camp I and II, two week-long summer day camp curricula that teach elementary children UU history, theology, and spiritual grounding for anti-racism and anti-oppression work. The development of both curricula was funded by the Fund for Unitarian Universalism and both are implemented throughout the country by congregations and districts.
ED-8465          3 units            
Minimum: 8     Limit: 15         PIN Required

Unitarian Universalist Identity/Identities?
Susan Ritchie

Course Closed: Late registration has ended
At numerable points in our history—one poignant example being right now—Unitarian Universalism has experienced extraordinary anxiety in relationship to its self-identity.  This course will examine the historical and institutional currents that prompt such crisis, and the resultant attempts towards coherence. What is it that Unitarian Universalists share? We will examine the suggested and various answers: theology, ethical principles, class location, culture, polity, history, demographics, racial identity, political alliances, covenantal community, national identity, geography, personality, statements of faith, and affirmations of common principles. Special attention will be paid to the history of the profession of liberal ministry in this context. Ministers have oftentimes been in conflict with the larger movement’s understanding of identity, especially as it is played out in changes to the minister’s role.The ability to negotiate the connection between personal and collective religious identity is essential to effective ministry, and will be developed throughout this course. / The Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie has served as the minister of the North Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Lewis Center, Ohio since September of 1996. During that time, the congregation has more than doubled in size, purchased not only its first building but a religious education center, and added three professional staff positions. Ritchie is published widely on the topic of Unitarian Universalist history and identity, and also religious cultural studies. Her research demonstrating religious toleration to be an outgrowth of Islamic-Unitarian cultural exchange has been published in the Journal of Unitarian Universalist History, the Journal of the Zaytuna Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, and has been republished in Turkish. Ritchie’s work on “The Promise of Postmodernism for Unitarian Universalist Theology” was published by the Journal of Liberal Religion, and was also translated into Hungarian.
FTHS-8425     3 units            
Minimum:  1    Limit: 12        PIN Required

Buddhist Traditions of East Asia
Lisa Grumbach

Introduces the Buddhist Traditions as they originated in India and developed throughout South and Southeast Asia. Second half of the required year long introductory survey of the entire Buddhist tradition. Course format: Online Lecture. Evaluation method: Participation/Term paper. This course is co-sponsored by Starr King School for the Ministry and the Institute for Buddhist Studies.
HRHS-8152    3 units
No Limit           NO PIN Required

Psychological Aspects of Buddhism I
Gordon Bermant

An examination of the development of psychological theories in the abhidharma, Yogācara and tathāgatagarbha systems of thought, particularly through the reading of primary sources in translation. May be repeated for credit when different primary texts are being studied. Course format: Online discussion. Evaluation method: Participation/term paper. This course is co-sponsored by Starr King School for the Ministry and the Institute for Buddhist Studies.
HRPH-8320    3 units
No Limit           NO PIN Required

History of Shin Buddhist Tradition
Galen Amstutz

This course takes the history of the Shin Buddhist Tradition forward from the seven masters, examining the formation of tradition by Shinran and its revitalization by Rennyo, as well as further developments into the Tokugawa. Required of IBS ministerial aspirants. HRHS-3250 History of the Pure Land Tradition recommended as background. Class format: Online discussion. Evaluation method: Participation/term paper. This course is co-sponsored by Starr King School for the Ministry and the Institute for Buddhist Studies.
HRHS-8370    3 units
No Limit           No PIN Required

Topics in Japanese Religions: Buddhism and Landscape
Lisa Grumbach

This course explores Japanese Buddhism and kami worship (Shinto) through the theoretical lens of landscape. Topics will include: the influence of geography (islands, mountains, plains, oceans) on the conceptions of kami (gods) in early Japan; ideas about landscape and space in Japanese Buddhism; how Buddhist doctrine is taught trhough landsapce art; the practical and theoretical roles of temple and shrine architecture, grounds, and gardens; pilgrimage as movement through religious space/landscape; and changing ideas about religion and nature in modern Japan. Course format: Online Lecture. Evaluation Method: Participation/ Term paper. This course is co-sponsored by Starr King School for the Ministry and the Institute for Buddhist Studies.
HRHS-8450    3 units
No Limit           No PIN Required

Early Registration is strongly advised. Fall 2010 Early Registration: Apr. 12–23, 2010. Fall classes begin September 7, 2010.

Click for “How to Register for an Online Course.”

Click to see all 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 Starr King School for the Ministry courses.


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