Certificate in Black Church Studies

This certificate program is presented by the H. Eugene Farlough Program of San Francisco Theological Seminary. Modules/classes consisting of 12 contact hours each will be held on Saturday mornings. This certificate is for highly motivated individuals specifically interested in African American studies who are already in ministry and desirous of seminary training. Admission to this certificate does not require an undergraduate college degree.

To improve and develop the participants’ competence in these five essential areas of ministry:

  • Proclamation or preaching;
  • Biblical hermeneutics and teaching;
  • Church administration and program development;
  • Pastoral care; and
  • Outreach.


  1. Black Theology/Biblical Hermeneutics & Preaching. This course will introduce students to black theology, womanist theology and African American biblical hermeneutics which they will reflect upon and integrate through written sermons and class discussions. [Requirement: One 3-5 page theology paper; one three to five page biblical exegesis paper and one written sermon]
  2. The Basics of Ministry Supervision & Church Administration. This course introduces students to the basic principles of program planning, project management, budget development and monitoring and proposal writing. [Requirement: One three- to five-page program description and proposal]
  3. Holistic Pastoral Care/Visitation in the Black Church Context. This course introduces students to the dynamics of pastoral care and crisis counseling on the street, in the church, homes, hospitals, jails and other arenas in the black community. [Requirement: One three- to five-page paper and presentation applying a pastoral counseling theory to a counseling situation the student is engaged]
  4. Practice & Theology of Ministry and Outreach in the Black Church Context. This course introduces students to an overview of the histories and theologies of the black church with particular focus on the outreach ministries and community organization efforts they carried out in the San Francisco Bay Area. [Requirement: One 3-5 page paper integrating black theology and/or womanist theology with a social analysis of a problem or issue in the black community]

In some cases a particular course will be augmented by weekend intensive, all-day workshops conducted by invited scholars, church leaders, and experts for which there may be an additional but modest registration fee.

Distinguished list of faculty leaders/participants:

  1. Rev. Dr. Martha C. Taylor, Adjunct Professor San Francisco Theological Seminary; Convener, SFTS Womanist Symposium; Historian, National Progressive Baptist Denomination.
  2. Bishop Ernie Jackson, candidate for the D. Min. degree San Francisco Theological Seminary.
  3. Professor, Rev. Laurie Garrett-Cobbina, San Francisco Theological Seminary, Shaw Chair of Clinical Pastoral Education.
  4. Rev. Ruth T. West, Program Manager, Christian Spirituality Program, San Francisco Theological Seminary; Associate Minister of Spirituality & Discipleship, New Liberation Presbyterian Church.
  5. Rev. Dr. Annette Weissenrieder, Associate Professor of New Testament, San Francisco Theological Seminary.
  6. Rev. Dr. Scott Sullender, Professor of Pastoral Counseling, San Francisco Theological Seminary.
  7. Rev. Dr. Virstan Choy, Director of Advanced Pastoral Studies/Associate Professor of Ministry, San Francisco Theological Seminary.
  8. Rev. Dr. Dwight Hopkins, Professor of Theology, University of Chicago School of Theology.
  9. Rev. Dr. Matthew V. Johnson, Professor of Theology & Proclamation, United Theological Seminary.
  10. Rev. Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Professor of Religion & Director of Women’s Studies, Shaw University Divinity School.
  11. Rev. Dr. Raymond Carr, Associate Professor of Theology, Pepperdine University.