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Addressing Racism from the Pulpit (POSTPONED)

A Four-Week Online Course | April 20–May 18

NOTE: This course has been postponed and will be rescheduled for later this year. Please check this page for updates.


Course Description

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When was the last time you preached about racism? When was the last time you heard a sermon that addressed racism? In a world where racism continues to evolve and wreak havoc on individual lives and whole communities, preachers need to name it as the sin that clings so closely. Join Dr. Carolyn Helsel, preaching professor and author of two books, Anxious to Talk about It  and Preaching about Racism, as she helps us unpack the challenges to preaching about racism and ways to tackle those challenges head on. Preaching about racism has never been easy, but this course will give you tools to make the task less daunting and give you the courage you need to address this important subject.


Who Should Enroll

This course is for preachers interested in exploring racism and how this difficult topic may be addressed in the preaching life of the church. Any curious Christian seeking deeper theological understanding and personal enrichment may take part in this online course but pastors are with regular preaching responsibilities are encouraged to enroll.


What to Expect

Learning community: You will be immersed with a community of learners. Just as you would in a traditional classroom, you will engage the course material with your peers, faculty, and teaching assistants.

Course platform: The inviting environment of the online course platform engages students in active learning. The weekly modules guide you, step by step, through videos, readings, written reflections, and peer discussions.

Book: Participants will need to have a copy of the primary text for the course, Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders, by Dr. Helsel.

Live sessions: Dr. Helsel will offer two one-hour live online sessions as part of the course. Participation is encouraged but optional. The two live sessions with Dr. Helsel will take place 8:00–9:00 p.m. eastern time on Mondays, April 27 and May 18, 2020.

Time commitment: Complete course material on your own schedule while meeting weekly deadlines.  Teaching assistants follow your progress and respond weekly to your work in the learning path.  You will exchange ideas with peers in the discussion board.  Expect to spend 6–8 hours per week on course modules and the live sessions.

Instruction and review: Written course work is reviewed by the instructor and teaching assistant.  Dr. Helsel will engage with students in the online discussions.

Successful Completion and CEUs: Those who satisfactorily complete all steps of the three modules will receive a notice of completion and earn three Continuing Education Units (CEUs).


About the Instructor

Carolyn Browning Helsel obtained her MDiv and ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary. After completing her PhD at Emory, she joined the faculty of Austin Seminary in 2015. Prior to her appointment she was a transitional pastor for The Presbyterian Church in Sudbury (Massachusetts). She also served as visiting professor at both the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and Wartburg Theological Seminary. She was a teaching assistant for professors Tom Long, Teresa Fry Brown, and Luke Timothy Johnson; the title of her dissertation is “The Hermeneutics of Recognition: A Ricoeurian Interpretative Framework for Whites Preaching about Racism.”

Helsel was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and served as associate pastor at John Calvin Presbyterian Church (2005–2007) in San Antonio, Texas. While in Boston, she served on the Synod Work Group on Race for the Synod of the Northeast and on the Committee on Preparation for Ministry for Boston Presbytery.

Helsel is the author of Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders (Chalice Press, 2018) and Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Race (Chalice Press, 2018)


Fees and Registration

The fee for the course is $95 per person.

Please read our registration and cancellation policies.

Interested in taking the course with a group at your church? Contact us at the email below for information on group rates for congregations.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church, Crystal City, Missouri

Joshua Noah, Class of 2015

“Through my field education placement at Trinity Presbyterian Church in East Brunswick, New Jersey, I discovered my gift to minister to all age groups.”