Date of Award

January 1990

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

DMin

Abstract

An inquiry was made as to the cause for the alienated gender relations between men and women leaders at the Cathedral Of Faith Church Of God In Christ.

Cathedral is a large church located in the West End section of Atlanta, Georgia. Its members are black. The church is surrounded by Fort McPherson---(a United States Army base), A U C (the Atlanta University Center), and Cascade Heights, the most prominent black neighborhood in the city. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center For Social Change is also near by. The church sits in the midst of a lower-class to low middle-class community.

The Pastor's charismatic style of ministry attracts a diverse membership. This setting was ideal for the inquiry.

The purpose for the study was to reduce the alienation and to promote reconciliation between some of the leaders of the church.

Women and men are presently face to face with the challenges brought on by contemporary role reversals, in the home, in the church, and in the work place. These role reversals have prompted hierarchical social systems to retaliate against these changes in an abusive fashion. Alienated relationships are the result.

The Christian Tradition, established through the coming of Jesus Christ, has enabled us to meet these gender role challenges. Relationships can be reconciled through Christ.

A doctoral project was designed to get at the root of the alienation which the Cathedral members were experiencing. It was grounded in clinical pastoral educational methodology. Biblical, psychological, and Christian educational content and theories were foundational to the model. Principles of theology, sociology, and church administration were integrated with the basic structure of the project. The multi-disciplinary approach promoted objectivity and helped the group to view the conflictual issues in new ways. A group of eighteen leaders, all members of Cathedral, agreed to wrestle with the issues surrounding their alienated relationships. Six lively sessions were filled with: dialogue, role plays, a story, a movie, a game, and a live presentation by other administrative persons in the church. Dialogue related to issues of: abuse, social justice, sexism, reverse sexism, and hierarchical systems created turmoil at different times. Discussions and exercises related to family life, marital conflict, team work and fair play, created an atmosphere which was usually exciting, and educational.

The pastoral model which was assumed, confronted the alienation between the group members with empathy. The empathetic approach was instrumental in beginning a process of reconciliation between the Christian 'Women of Power' and 'Men of Power' at the Cathedral Of Faith Church.

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