Inside the Classroom: Master of Divinity Synthesis

Written by Hannah Crivello
July 24, 2013

One of the most memorable and impacting experiences for Master of Divinity students is their Synthesis Studies course, taught by Dr. Mark Lloyd Taylor. The course is the capstone of their practicum and is designed to assist students in the integration and articulation of their gifts and limits in relation to their ministry as leaders. The course stresses the synthesis of theological study, ministerial experience, as well as personal and spiritual growth.

At the end of the Synthesis, students give a closing presentation, revealing just a corner of all they have learned throughout their experience in the Master of Divinity Program. Students articulate what is at the heart of their theology as a minister, along with the insights and convictions they have explored throughout their studies. As they explore their own theological grounding, they share themes and topics that make up their "ministerial identity." Students express their personal spiritual experiences and wrestling, alongside the knowledge that key theologians have given them over time.?

Faculty, staff, and students along with family members are invited to come watch these moving, inspirational and meaningful presentations. The presentations uniquely express, in the voicing of each individual student, the school?s "three-legged stool" or "core of the curriculum" of academic excellence, spiritual rootedness and professional competence.

Some of this year?s presentations included:

  • Maggie Breen, also the school's 2013 Leo Standford Leadership Award winner, expressed the central claim that ?we belong to each other? and used a motif of the stars and how they remind us of who we are as a people connected to God and each other.?
  • Sue Grady spoke on the transition from pre-Vatican II to Vatican II. She shared during her presentation ?that in most cases she found herself teaching my classmates about a transition they, for the most part, knew nothing about", as she has lived through and wrestled through the transition in the past several decades.?
  • Alfredo Feregrino articulated his value of hospitality and inclusion as rooting his "ministerial identity." Alfredo ended his presentation with an original song. Some quotes here from his presentation:
    ?"Hospitality and inclusion are the strongest theological connections in my ministerial identity." - "When we experience grace, we experience the reality that we have the ability to give ourselves to others." - "Faith is a gift, but faith is not automatic. Faith is a practice, an exercise."??

Congratulations to our Master of Divinity Class of 2013. We celebrate each of your hard work, as well as those family and friends that have supported you along the way.?

MDiv Synthesis, students