As you may know, I’ve been the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew since 1996. I take great delight in knowing that over 350 pastors and community leaders completed the program and received their doctorate on my watch. And that the DMIN program developed from a standard ‘one size fits all’ program to a program with six concentrations, including pastoral care and counseling, ecological ministries and an online program in postmodern leadership development. And that this year has the highest number of incoming students in the DMIN program in recent years: 45

But, after 12 years, its time for something new.

Announced in October but beginning yesterday, I’m now National Director of the Shalom Initiative at Drew University that will offer community development training, consultation, relational support, seed grants, and student internships in support of the growing international network of shalom sites, also known as “shalom zones>”. See

I’m incredibly motivated and enthusiastic about this new role which allows me to 1) return to my roots in urban ministry and international relief and development work, 2) continue teaching in the college and seminary at the intersection of spirituality and social justice, and 3) incorporate the pastoral training program I developed in Malawi into the shalom network (there are already five shalom sites in Africa).

Let me know if you want to receive shalom news and views from time to time.

The announcement below was sent today by the Dean to Drew Faculty and staff about my new job at Drew:

Shalom Zones Come to Drew

Faculty and Staff,

Beginning January 1, Drew is the new home-base for Communities of
Shalom– a grass-roots, faith-based, community development network of
200+ shalom sites in the USA and Africa. Previously coordinated by the
General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, these
community transformation sites, often referred to as “shalom zones” now
will be resourced by the Theological School of Drew University in
collaboration with the National Shalom Committee and the General Board
of Global Ministries.

Drew was chosen as the new National Partner of Communities of Shalom
after a six month request-for-proposal process with United Methodist
institutions. The new partnership was announced jointly in October by
Bishop John Schol of the Baltimore-Washington D.C. Annual Conference and
chair of the National Shalom Committee, and Dr. Maxine Beach, vice
president and dean of Drew University Theological School. (see news

Dr. Michael J. Christensen, Director of the Doctor of Ministry program
at Drew since 1996, was named as the National Director of the Shalom
Initiative and will assume responsibilities for the new position on
January 1, 2008. Dr. Carl Savage, currently Associate Director, will
become interim Director, and a search for the position of Director of
the D.Min. program will be conducted in Fall 2008.

In addition to his administrative and teaching experience at Drew in
the area of spirituality and practical theology, Dr. Christensen has
expertise in urban ministry, disaster response, international community
development, and community mental health. Most recently, he designed and
implemented a psycho-social training program for Chernobyl victims in
Ukraine and a pastoral and congregational care training program in
response to HIV/AIDS in Malawi, Africa.

The Communities of Shalom initiative at Drew will offer training,
consultation, relational support, and student internships in support of
the growing international network of shalom sites. What this means for
the Drew community, according to Dr. Christensen, is that there will be
many new active learning sites for prophetic ministry, social
justice and community development in and beyond the local church.

Beyond developing ministry relationships with churches and community
organizations, the Shalom Initiative also lets Drew relate to the
General Conference and Annual Conferences of The United Methodist
Church with our best foot forward-our social justice and prophetic
witness work in the world. Shalom also connects directly with President Weisbuch’s call for University-wide civic engagement and interfaith involvement in culture and conflict in the world today.

For more information on Communities of Shalom, including summer
internships, visit
or contact Dr. Christensen at

We hope that interested faculty from all three schools will find way to
participate in this initiative and invite you to contact Dr. Christensen
with that interest.

Maxine Clarke Beach, Dean/VP