Graduate Theological Urban Studies

Graduate Theological Urban Studies at SCUPE

Scripture is the starting point for the Graduate Theological Urban Studies (GTUS) program. In particular, a biblical theology…

…of the powers serves as our lens for understanding the city. However, seminary students are also themselves immersed in the urban environment and engaged with those very powers. Here they learn to discern ministry in the city, frame social analysis and come to a deeper self-understanding.

At its very beginning, SCUPE developed the GTUS program in partnership with schools of theology to link traditional theological education, largely conducted in the classroom, with the concrete experience of ministry in urban communities.

The GTUS program helps seminary students deepen their understanding of what it means to work within urban realities and beyond the traditional church setting.

To register for any GTUS courses OR for more information, please contact Dody Finch,

Registrar at the SCUPE office, (312) 626-1215,

Graduate Theological Urban Studies

ACTS School Students

All GTUS offerings are listed in the catalog of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools and are available to students at ACTS schools through cross-registration. The application, registration and payment procedures for ACTS school students are the same as for member schools, but the student must first obtain permission from the seminary administration to participate in the GTUS program.

Students from other non-member schools

Seminary students from non-member schools from outside the Chicago area are welcome to inquire about integrating GTUS coursework into their graduate theological program. Special permission will need to be obtained from the student’s seminary to accredit the coursework and to facilitate payment of tuition.

Graduate Theological Urban Studies at SCUPEGTUS Registration

Admitted GTUS students register for their GTUS coursework at their seminary according to that school’s normal registration policies and procedures. This being the case, there is no SCUPE registration form for the GTUS spring or summer terms. Contact the registrar at your seminary or SCUPE’s registrar with questions about registration.

Students wishing to enroll in individual GTUS courses instead of completing the full spring or summer term program register at their seminary according to that school’s registration policies and procedures. In addition the enrollee must print and complete the SCUPE Individual Course Registration Form and mail it so the SCUPE office: 205 W. Monroe Avenue, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606.

All GTUS application and registration forms are available in the registrar’s office of your seminary.

For more information OR to register for classes please contact our Registrar, Dody Finch at 312-626-1215 or email

Auditing GTUS courses

Students may audit GTUS courses for non-credit at a cost of $250 per course. Register for audits using the GTUS Individual Course Registration Form.

Paying for GTUS

Since GTUS functions as an adjunct department of urban ministry for SCUPE member seminaries, the cost of a GTUS course (three semester credit hours) is the same as the cost of an equivalent course at your seminary.

The student pays for the course at their seminary according to the institutions policies and procedures for tuition payment. SCUPE will bill your seminary for payment.

Students from non-members schools must first obtain permission from the seminary to facilitate the payment of tuition. SCUPE will bill the seminary for tuition for courses taken.

Holy Family Lutheran Church Chicago

GTUS Internship

Internship is the neighborhood classroom, where seminarians learn urban realities and issues through first-hand experience. It is where they develop critical and theological skills through integrating these experiences with academic theory and course content. Internship is a place where the student’s gifts and calling are tested, where specific professional skills are developed, and personal growth is facilitated through learning how to care and be cared for.

Placement sites are typically urban churches, para-church agencies, or other community organizations. To be effective training laboratories, they must be places where:

  • Interns are assigned significant tasks and leadership roles
  • Competent and active supervision is provided
  • In-depth experiences with people facilitate the intern’s learning
  • Living expenses are provided, allowing the intern to focus on ministry and growth

How does the internship work?

  • Students schedule interviews with placement supervisor in advance of internship.
  • Final placements are determined by agreement and signed contract between placement supervisor and student intern.
  • SCUPE interns reside in the community where they minister, and commute downtown to classes (normally two days per week, except orientation intensive).
  • During fall or spring term, interns work at their placement sites 20 hours per week. During summer term, interns work 40 hours a week for half the number of weeks.
  • Written evaluations are requested at mid-term and at the conclusion of the semester.
  • Placement sites provide the intern with housing and a modest living stipend for the duration of the internship.

Sampling of SCUPE internship ministry sites:

Trinity Episcopal
Bethel New Life
Faith Community of Saint Sabina
Lawndale Community Church
“The House” Covenant Church
Erie Neighborhood House

To register for any of the below courses, please contact Dody Finch,
Registrar at the SCUPE office, (312) 626-1215,

Fall Courses

SCUPE S-H 307:     Eco-Justice: A Vision for a Sustainable City
The church has a significant role in developing a holistic vision for a sustainable city as an outworking of the concept of shalom, a just peace.  The course will evaluate the three components of sustainable community development: the three E’s of economics, environment and equity (or social justice).  Participants will explore the course topic via readings, panel discussions and site visits.  Students will have the option of developing a project or ministry proposal that explores a key issue such as energy policy, food production, environmental justice or pollution, and how these challenges relate to the central course themes.  Central to the course is the question, “What does it mean to be a sustainable urban community?”
Credit: 3 semester hours
Faculty: Dr. Clinton Stockwell
Course Schedule: *SCUPE’s Eco-justice course has been cancelled for the fall of 2014. We look forward to offering it in the fall of 2015.
RSS Religion in Society Studies

SCUPE S-H 303:     Public Issues in Urban Ministry
We will learn public theology by doing theology. Doing theology begins by identifying the theological issues that underlie urban culture, economy, politics and society.  The class will practice a process of theological reflection rooted in an interaction of biblical insight, as it relates to Christology, principalities and powers and social justice. Exercising prophetic imagination and using the city of Chicago as a learning laboratory the class will explore what it means to pursue and advance substantive Christian moral values in the midst of systemic injustice and secular society.
Credit: 3 semester hours
Faculty: Dr. Shanta Premawardhana & Dr. Clinton Stockwell
Course Schedule: October 17-18, November 7-8; December 12-13 (Fridays 1-9 pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm)
RSS Religion in Society Studies

SCUPE B-TH 303:     Public Theology and the City
Public theology in the city is an art form that brings the separate elements of diversity together in a way that images the kingdom of God on earth. Public theology, in contrast with private or individual theology, is a collaborative process best learned in the context of urban diversity where public concerns or issues are found. Together, in partnership with an urban church, the class will learn the basics of the art of doing public theology that leads to redemption and transformation of social sin.
3 semester hours
Dr. Raymond Pickett
Course Schedule:
TBA (Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm)
*Location: Taught in context in Louisville, KY (in partnership with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary)
TS III. Topics in Theology (Cross list MS I, RSS)

Winter Courses

SCUPE M 302:     Interfaith & Intercultual Ministry INTENSIVE 
The world has come to the city. Using the city as a global classroom, this two week intensive provides students with interfaith understandings, cultural competencies, tools for dialog, and practical theology for ministry in a multicultural and interfaith context.
Credit:  3 semester hours.
Faculty:  Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
Course Schedule: January 5-9, 12-16, 2015; Mondays – Fridays 9am-5pm
MS I Nature and Practice of Ministry

SCUPE S-H 306:    Non-Violence in a Culture of Violence; Formerly: Urban Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence
Skills in non-violence are critical in ministry today whether in direct action and intervention or restorative justice and conflict resolution. Active listening, circle process, and non-violent practice will be introduced. The pedagogy of this course will involve interplay between the biblical witness of gospel nonviolence, narrative theology, and the experience of practitioners and students.
Credit: 3 semester hours
Faculty: Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann
Course Schedule: January 12-17, 2015; Monday to Saturday 9am – 5pm
RSS Religion and Society Studies

SCUPE B-Th 302:     Urban Principalities and the Spirit of the City
Drawing on the theological work of Walter Wink and William Stringfellow on the biblical language of “principalities and powers,” this course examines the profound spiritual realities foundational to understanding and transforming the social, economic and political structures of our urban world.
Credit:  3 semester hours
Faculty: Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann
Course Schedule: February 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 2015; Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm
TS III. Topics in Theology (Cross list MS I, RSS)

SCUPE M 304:     Christology and Culture
Employing a narrative hermeneutic, this course explores Christology from a global, cultural and liberation perspective as well as its significance for urban ministry. Through theological and historical analysis, students engage in an in-depth study of the meaning of Christ’s life, death and resurrection throughout significant periods in Western history.
Faculty: Dr. Jim Perkinson
Course Schedule: March 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, 2015; Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm
TS III. Topics in Theology (Cross list: NT III)

Spring Courses

SCUPE M 306: The Art of Prophetic Preaching in the Urban Context
Freedom to preach in the spirit of the prophets requires preaching with the mind, body and spirit. This course engages a biblical and theological framework of prophetic imagination while exploring homiletic tools for transformative preaching. Attention to women and preaching will also be part of this course.
Credit: 3 semester hours
Faculty: Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III; Rev. Martha Simmons, J.D.; Dr. M. Susan Harlow
Course Schedule: April 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 (Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm)
MS V. Preaching and Communication

SCUPE S-H 305:     Restoring Urban Communities
Field-based in one of the nationally renowned Christian community development organizations, this course introduces the principles and practices of congregational-based community development. It examines the relationship between biblical faith and community development practice through site visits to exceptional Chicago development models, and indentifies leadership competencies, organizing principles, skills and resources necessary for an asset-based approach to sustainable community building.
Faculty: Dr. Mary Nelson
Course Schedule: May 1-2, 8- 9, 15-16, 2015; Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm
RSS Religion and Society Studies

Summer Courses

SCUPE M 305: Dimensions and Dynamics of Urban Ministry
Organized as a sequence of city-wide experiential learning opportunities, the course introduces students to congregations and faith-based organizations that bring good news through prophetic ministry. Students have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with urban ministry leaders who offer vision, courage and hope. Course methodology includes contextual experience, theological reflection, social analysis and dialogue with significant church leaders and the instructor.
Credit: 3 semester hours
Faculty: Dr. Yvonne Delk; Dr. M. Susan Harlow
Course Schedule: June 6 (Saturday 10am-5pm) June 8-12 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm)
MS I. Nature and Practice of Ministry

SCUPE M 402:    Interfaith Intensive: Dealing with Diversity and Preparing Religious Leaders for a Multi-Religious World
This course will survey the major developments of the last several decades within the theology of religions and the comparative approaches taken by different theological traditions inside Christianity. The fundamental questions we face are: What are Christians to make of the sheer fact of religious diversity? Are religious traditions independently efficacious means to one and the same goal, many paths to the same divine reality? Or is salvation only possible through the Word made Flesh in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit?  We will not only engage these questions on their own merit, but we will also ask whether they must be reformulated, and if so, how? Do the central loci within Christian theology have to be re-imagined in light of this growing religious diversity? These questions impinge on our foundational Christology, pneumatology, trinity, eschatology, missiology, etc.
Credit: 3 semester hours
Faculty: Dr. Paul Knitter, Dr. Shanta Premawardhana & Dr. Charles Amjad-Ali
Course Schedule: June 1-6 (Monday to Saturday from 9am-5pm)
MS I Nature and Practice of Ministry

SCUPE Supervised Ministry Practicum
Required for students actively engaged in a summer ministry internship, the practicum focuses on personal formation for ministry by integrating work in the ministry setting with SCUPE’s summer academic curriculum. Using a case study approach, it provides a forum for faith sharing, personal self-awareness of gifts and skills for ministry, theological reflection on experience, and peer group reflection on actual ministry in response to the Gospel. It is also the course vehicle for SCUPE’s full-time summer internship field education/ministry credit.
Credit: Varies by seminary.
Faculty: TBD
Schedule: TBA

To register for any of the above courses, please contact Dody Finch,
Registrar at the SCUPE office, (312) 626-1215,

GTUS Faculty

  • Dr. Yvonne V. Delk, Founding Director, Center for African American Theological Studies (CAATS) program at SCUPE, former Executive Director, Community Renewal Society (Chicago) — D.Min. New York Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Paul F. Knitter, Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture, Union Theological Seminary (Emeritus) — Ph.D. University of Marburg (West Germany)
  • Dr. Otis Moss III, Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago) — D.Min. Chicago Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Mary Nelson, Founding President, Bethel New Life (Chicago), Executive Director, Parliament of the World’s Religions — Ph.D. University of North Texas
  • Dr. Jim Perkinson, Professor of Ethics and Systematic Theology, Ecumenical Theological Seminary (Detroit) — Ph.D. University of Chicago
  • Dr. Raymond Pickett, Professor of New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago — Ph.D. University of Sheffield
  • Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, President, SCUPE — Ph.D. Northwestern University
  • Dr. Clinton Stockwell, Director, Graduate Urban Theological Studies (GTUS) program at SCUPE – Ph.D.  New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Pastor-in-Charge, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Detroit) — M.Div. Union Theological Seminary

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Up-Coming Classes

Urban Principalities & the Spirit of the City (GTUS)
Rev. Bill Wylie Kellerman
February 6-7; 13-14; 20-21, 2015
Fridays, 1pm – 9pm; Saturdays 8:30am – 4pm
B-Th 302

History of the Latin@ Church in the U.S. (ALTE)
Dr. Carmelo Alvarez
February 6-7; 27-28; March 13-14; 27-28, 2015
(Friday/viernes 6pm - 9pm y Saturday/sábados 8:30am - 4pm)

Proctor Conference Course (CAATS)
Faculty TBA
February 7-12, 2015
Time & Location TBA
Eth 431

Christology and Culture (GTUS)
Dr. Jim Perkinson
March 13-14, 20-21, 27-28; 2015
Fridays 1pm-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm
M 304

The Art of Prophetic Preaching in the Urban Context (GTUS)
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III; Rev. Martha Simmons, J.D.; Dr. M. Susan Harlow
April 10-11, 17-18, 24-25; 2015
Fridays 1pm-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm
M 306

Restoring Urban Communities (GTUS)
Dr. Mary Nelson
May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16; 2015
Fridays 1pm-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm
S-H 305

Support SCUPE

Go to the E-Giving Online Transaction System