The Damascus Project Announces 2023-24 Line-Up

Coming in Fall 2023

Ministry Studies

Sunday by Sunday: Weekly Preaching and Worship Leadership
Sept 5-Oct 31, with Zoom sessions on Sept 5 and 19 and Oct 10 and 25

Participants will consider the “Four Pages of the Sermon” and learn a prayerful approach to sermon preparation and the sermon’s place in the wider liturgy. Instructor is the Rev. Dr. Melina Quivik, a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and editor-in-chief of the journal Liturgy.

Faith Foundations

Introduction to Theology and Introduction to Old Testament
Sept 11-Dec 15, with Zoom sessions on Thursday evenings

Learners will receive a six-week introduction to theology that exposes them to range of thinking and language about God and eight weeks’ instruction in the Old Testament that provides a deep dive into some of its narratives. Instructors are Dr. Patricia Zimmerman, associate professor of religion at St. Olaf College, and the Rev. Laura Wright, a UCC pastor who has taught the Bible to students of all ages and serves as minister of faith formation at First Congregational UCC in La Crosse.

Leadership Matters Series

Church Post-Doom: The Future of Spirituality and Congregational Life
6:30 to 8:30 pm, Oct 3

Many of us grapple today with a sense of foreboding stemming from the climate crisis, the rise of authoritarian movements around the world, and other threats to human flourishing. Futurist and author the Rev. Cameron Trimble will offer practical strategies for congregations seeking to find the Good News beyond these threats as they imagine their role in building a more just and generous world.

Clergy Continuing Education

Exploring Implicit Bias
Oct 12-Nov 16, with Zoom sessions on Oct 19 and Nov 2 and 16

Participants will learn how to recognize their own implicit biases and transform them in ways that promote healthy relationships and understanding of people with diverse life experiences. The course is open to all authorized ministers who need to meeting diversity, equity, and inclusion training requirements. Facilitators are the Rev. Jia Starr Brown, a longtime diversity trainer who works with the Minnesota Conference of Churches’ Truth and Reparations Initiative, and Ann Stamborski of Faith and Prejudice, a movement of Christians working across color and denominational lines to confront prejudices that limit the ability to listen and learn.

Coming in Winter 2024

Leadership Skills
Jan 11, 18, and 25 and Feb 1, all on Zoom

This discussion-based course aims to develop the leadership identity of pastors and lay leaders by reflecting on the ways clergy pivoted and led during the COVID-19 pandemic—and what the church learned from the experience that is important for today. Instructor is the Rev. Dr. Elena Larssen, the UCC’s minister for volunteer engagement.

Coming in Spring 2024

Leadership Skills: UCC History and Polity
Ministry Studies: Children’s and Youth Ministry
Faith Foundations: Theology and Ecology, Reading Paul

Interested? Email the Rev. Dr. Stephanie Perdew, director of the Damascus Project, at or go to

The Minnesota Conference UCC develops leaders for a changing church.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023