Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Clifford Berger, DMin
Carlos Jermaine Richard, DMin
This project addresses what I perceive to be an opportunity for some aspects of African American spirituality to become more holistic. It is noteworthy that many African American communal worship experiences are powerful and dynamic. I hypothesize that many African American Christians can enjoy an even more enhanced spiritual experience by integrating contemplative spiritual disciplines into present dynamic communal practices for spiritual formation. In Section One, I look at the genesis of the circumstances that necessitated communal solidary for enslaved Africans in the New World. I follow the path of their religious journey from being a clandestine group of ecstatic Christian worshipers, to eventually establishing their own Christian churches with a distinctively black culture. In Section Two, I examine the spiritual experiences of traditional African American Christian churches and some multi-ethnic churches to ascertain to what extent contemplative spiritual disciplines play a role in spiritual formation, if at all, and note alternatives. In Section Three, I propose my hypothesis as a way forward to fill a gap in some areas of African American spirituality. I argue that practicing the contemplative spiritual disciplines will further enrich the corporate spirituality of many African Americans and replicate that same dynamic encounter with God in their private lives. I present the benefits of consistently practicing the disciplines through the experiences of some leading practitioners. Section Four is a brief, summarized description of the content and structure of the Artifact. Section Five describes the mechanics of bringing the Artifact into fruition. Section Six provides a review of the overall process and discusses further research needed.
The Artifact is a resource for an upcoming focus group discussion, in preparation for a subsequent online presentation of spiritual disciplines in a program called, “The Gathering,” in which this group will participate in as a panel. The purpose is to discuss the value of practicing contemplative spiritual disciplines for an enriched Christian spirituality.
Appiah, Claire, "Capitalizing on my African American Christian Heritage in the Cultivation of Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spiritual Disciplines" (2019). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 288.