Warm greetings from San José, Costa Rica! I am Karen Shogren, a professor in the certificate program of ESEPA Seminary here. Next week we are beginning an entirely new program called Certificate with an Emphasis in the Prevention and Intervention of Sexual Violence.
This topic has been in the news recently, in many countries around the world. Most Christian leaders know that sexual violence is a problem, and yet were not trained in how to confront it. Since we don’t know what to say or do, and we don’t want to do the wrong thing, we don’t say or do anything. Unfortunately, that silence sends the wrong message: that we condone what is happening.
We are offering the training that Christian leaders need: what to say, what to do, and how to do it in your church context. Our Bible-centered, Spanish-language program consists of 9 courses, beginning February 6 and ending Dec 4. There are no pre-requisites to enroll in this program Each course is 4 weeks long, meeting once a week on Saturday mornings 8-11am Costa Rica time, and you can expect about 6 hours of homework each week. Each course costs $40 and can be paid through PayPal. The first few courses will be held on Zoom only (or a similar platform) and we will coordinate material and communication through Moodle. Once it is safe for everyone to resume classroom education, we will begin to offer the courses in a mixed platform of in-person and Zoom simultaneously, while continuing to use Moodle as our learning platform.
The course schedule is as follows:
Saturday mornings 8-11am Costa Rica time
Course 1: February 6, 13, 20, 27 – Consequences of Sexual Violence in the Individual and Culture.
Course 2: March 6, 13, 20, 27 – Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence, Part 1
Course 3: April 10, 17, 24 & May 1 – Inductive Bible Study Methods
Course 4: May 8, 15, 22, 29 – A Biblical Theology of the Family
Course 5: June 12, 19, 26, & July 3 How to Combat Pseudo-theological Lies with the Truth of God’s Word.
Course 6: July 10, 17, 24, 31 – Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence, Part 1
There is no course in August
Course 7: September 11, 18, 25, & October 2 – Redemptive Companionship of Those Involved
Course 8: October 9, 16, 23, 30 – Legal Issues
Course 9: November 4 13, 20, 27, & December 4 – Leading Towards Community Change
Free Saturdays between courses: April 3, June 5, August 7, and November 6
This program has two objectives:
- Give you the tools and experience to help individuals who are hurting from past violence
- Give you the tools to prepare your church to confront sexual violence in a healthy and holistic manner.
We believe firmly that adult education should be practical, so homework assignments will give you the opportunity to apply what you are learning, both in your own life and in your own church. By the time you finish the entire program, you should feel comfortable using our principles and tools in many ways in your ministry.
We have a team of teaching professionals who are qualified to cover every area of the subject: psychologists, child safety specialists, a theologian/pastor, and a lawyer. All have spent many years in Church leadership, and all but one are Costa Rican nationals. We have designed a program that is unique worldwide and perfectly appropriate for your ministry situation.
Of course, our primary focus is safety, and how that relates to today’s world full of sexual violence. In the first course we start by practicing some basic techniques for how to stay calm while we learn and talk about this challenging subject, then you will get a basic understanding of sexual violence in order to be able to confront it adequately. We have two courses that will prepare you to work with your church as an organization, helping it become the safest place for everyone, and readying it to respond to problems in the future.
We have 3 theology courses, starting with inductive Bible study methods. The other two courses will explore theology that is often misused to justify abuse, as well as an in-depth study of the theology of the family, an important part of the fight against sexual violence.
We finish the program by learning how to safely help individual survivors of sexual violence, and then guiding our churches to shine the light in our communities.
Here is an interesting testimony from one of my former students: as the local churches in another country began to apply the principles from these courses, the local government came alongside them and offered whatever help they needed and mentioned that they were deeply impressed that the churches were leading the way in the fight against sexual violence in their community. That became a way for the churches to be witnesses to the character and Gospel of Jesus Christ by their godly actions.
That is our goal: to help local churches represent Jesus Christ to the world around us by the way we promote safety and compassion.
If you or someone you know is interested in enrolling in this program, please go to our seminary website for instructions on how to sign up. If you need help or more information, contact Eduardo through WhatsApp: 506-7058-2010 o 506-8319-9691.