Ventures course to focus on ‘Reformations Past and Present’

By Kendra Flory

The March offering from the Ventures in Christian Discipleship program at McPherson (Kan.) College will be “Reformations Past and Present,” to be held online March 13 at 9 a.m. to 12 noon (Central time), presented by Bobbi Dykema.

As an opportunity for deepening engagement with this topic, there will be a talk-back session offered on the following Monday evening, March 15. Information for joining that call will be emailed to course registrants.

In church historian Phyllis Tickle’s book The Great Emergence, Tickle quotes Anglican bishop Mark Dyer as saying that “about every 500 years, the church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale.” Past such “rummage sales”–the shift into monastic Christian spirituality with the fall of the Roman Empire around the year 500, the Great Schism between the Eastern Orthodox churches and Western Christianity around the year 1000, and the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s–have all contributed mightily to our current understanding and practice of the Christian faith, which itself is undergoing upheaval in the present time.

What can we learn from these past reformations, and what can we observe already about the current time of change, that will help us to navigate? This course will examine the history of the three earlier times of reformation and lift up what scholars are observing about the present shifts, with an eye toward equipping church folks to listen faithfully to and live out the Spirit’s calling of the church of the future.

Dykema is serving pastorates at First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Ill., and the online congregation Living Stream Church of the Brethren. She also serves on the steering committee of the Womaen’s Caucus. She completed her master’s degree at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and a doctorate in Art and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, with a dissertation on early Lutheran woodcuts. She has written a number of scholarly articles on the visual culture of the Protestant Reformation, including most recently one on “Protestant Visual Art” for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion and the Arts, as well as a recent Bible study on compassion in Messenger. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Strayer University, Hamline University, Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, and Pacific School of Religion.

Continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. During the registration process, there is an opportunity to pay for CEUs and give an optional donation to the Ventures program. Go to

— Kendra Flory is advancement assistant at McPherson (Kan.) College.


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