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Community Engagement & Ministry


Year-long Specialized Training Program in Community Engagement & Ministry

Churches are integral to the wellbeing of neighborhoods and communities. By listening to residents in our neighborhood, working alongside community partners, and building strong networks and coalitions, the gifts of all can be harnessed to strengthen the whole community. 

Upon completion of the four-units that comprise the Specialized Training in Community Engagement and Ministry, you will have the skills to help your congregation move outside the walls of the church building and better engage with your neighbors and neighborhood. You will be equipped to guide your church to deepen its connection to your community and discover a renewed sense of purpose.

Using a "flipped" classroom experience, students will engage online content, apply the content in their context, and then meet with facilitators to engage the content more deeply alongside peers. Read about the four units in the tabs below. The four units of the program build upon one another and must be taken in succession. Participants must enroll in Unit One to enroll in subsequent units. 

Cost per Unit: $250 ($1000 for full course)
Dates and Times for Interactive Zoom Meetings: Tuesdays, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm (Central)

  • Unit One: September 3 & 17, and October 1
  • Unit Two: October 22 and November 12
  • Unit Three: January 21, February 11, and March 4
  • Unit Four: March 25 and April 22

Inquiries regarding scholarships should be directed to Sean M. Watkins, Associate Dean of Lifelong Learning.
Please reach out to Amy Moritz with questions regarding participation and content of each unit.

Who Should Attend?

This specialized training is designed with religious leaders (lay and clergy) in mind. However, the tools and practices are applicable to staff and volunteers in any sector who desire to partner with their communities to create deep and lasting change. This program is eligible for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Austin Seminary.

Meet the Instructors

Following a successful corporate career, Amy C. Moritz began a distinguished consulting practice working with organizations that serve the community and the common good.  The consulting led her to found and lead two faith-inspired nonprofit organizations – Uptown Alliance Community Economic Development Corporation (2001-2004) and Center for Transforming Communities (2008-2018).  At Center for Transforming Communities  (CTC), Amy was both practitioner and coach in authentic community engagement that leads to healthy and more vibrant neighborhoods. She trained and coached eight neighborhood coalitions in Memphis, Tennessee, and facilitated Asset-Based Community Development with over 40 congregations. Amy has developed nationally available curriculum for Communities First Association, where she was certified as a trainer/coach, and for Communities of Shalom, where she was certified as a National Trainer. Alongside training and coaching at the grassroots level, she has been sharing the practices that lead to deep, sustainable change with institutions such as Memphis Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School/Turner Center, Tennessee Episcopacy of the UMC and Texas Rio Conference of the UMC.

Rev. Annie Allen is an Ordained Minister who also serves as a consultant to churches and social-profit organizations. Her ministry includes community development initiatives, teaching, training, group facilitation and retreats. Rev. Allen is currently serving as Interim Pastor of the Rutherford Congregational Church, UCC in New Jersey. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Ramapough Lenape Community Center in Mahwah, New Jersey. Previously Rev. Allen worked at Drew Theological Seminary, where she served as Director of the National Shalom Resource Center. Communities of Shalom is an international faith-based community development ministry, providing training in underserved communities. Annie has been on the Council of Higher Education of Newark (CHEN) and helped re-develop the neighborhood known as University Heights. She has also served as the New Jersey State Chairperson for the Commission on Racial and Religious Violence. She Chaired the Bergen County Rainbow Coalition, worked with the National Council of Christians and Jews, the U.S. Justice Department, served as Director of Human Services for Bergen County, New Jersey, and has worked for two state Senators, helping to write some of the state's Bias Crime and Education Laws.