Immersion Courses

Contextual Learning at PSR seeks to make it possible for all interested students to engage with immersion courses that stretch their awareness and strengthen their theological and multicultural capacities as leaders and change agents.

Upcoming Immersions

These immersions are open to students, alumni/ae, and the general public. For more information, contact


Sexuality Issues for Religious Professionals /
Sexualities Immersion: July 14-25, 2014

These two courses taught by Debra Haffner and Dr. Justin Tanis are together designed to offer students (a) knowledge and skills they need to address sexuality issues in future ministries and (b) opportunities to engage face-to-face with people who are part of the rich sexual geography of the San Francisco Bay.

The class will visit sexually-affirming spaces, and will consider sexual health through conversations with professionals providing reproductive health care and HIV and STD prevention, harm-reduction, and treatment efforts. This is a unique opportunity to consider our theological and ministerial response to real-world sexual cultures and practices.

For additional information, see the Summer Session web page:

Special Immersions


Changemaker Fellows Immersion 2014: Colombia

In a first time immersion partnership with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, PSR is bringing together change makers from North and South America. During the spring break March 21-29, 11 PSR Changemaker Fellows, along with faculty Dr. Randall Miller and Rev. Odette Lockwood-Stewart, will have the opportunity to experience and practice empathy, solidarity, and accompaniment and will learn creative strategies through direct interaction with grassroots leaders of peace and change in Colombia.

Participants will visit the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó and the Caribbean coast, where SERPAJ and ecumenical groups use the tools of active nonviolence to address the impacts of the armed conflict and contribute to reconciliation.

They will visit communities—forcibly displaced from the countryside to urban areas—that are rebuilding their lives, schools, houses and connections.

They will also meet ecumenical leaders engaged in peace building and with promotores de paz - youth peacemakers trained in active nonviolence.

Engage with their experience through the immersion blog:

La Trinidad

Semester-long Immersion: La Trinidad

Last fall two lay leaders from La Trinidad United Methodist Church, Sonya and Letitia, came to PSR with their Pastor, PSR alumna Brenda Vaca. Rev. Vaca was to leave the congregation for a Western Jurisdictional Global Ministries position at the end of December. In a time of transition and visioning, they proposed a pilot program. They proposed a semester-long immersion program that will begin this month.

A PSR student will learn and lead in the laboratory of this faith community engaged in social transformation. The student will offer creative leadership in community organizing, education and preaching, and might involve other students and faculty in the experiment. Conversations continued with Interim President and lead faculty for the pilot, Steve Sterner, and congregational and denominational leaders. And now, Changemaker Fellow Karla Perez-Cordero has responded to the invitation!

Previous Immersions

2014 Immersion - Christianity in India: An Historical Overview

Twelve students and Dr. Bernie Schlager, PSR Dean and Associate Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies, participated in this travel seminar and immersion course from January 13 to January 30. The course introduced them to the histories, cultures, as well as the religious and economic/ecological diversities of India.

The best way to engage their experiences is to read the immersion blog: Participants will continue to update this blog as they reflect on their immersive learning individually and in post-trip classes.

Read the Blog from the 2013 NYC Immersion

During a two week immersion trip in January 2013, graduate students at Pacific School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley explored the contested ways public memory is (re)constructed in urban space. With the streets of New York City as their laboratory, Devin Zuber, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Literature, and Swedenborgian Studies led them as they explored various cultural institutions (museums, historic houses) and memorials (the African Burial Ground Monument, the Irish Hunger Memorial) to investigate how various religious and ethnic communities have chosen to inscribe themselves into the city. Special attention was given to the fraught layers of memory surrounding the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan.

Over the course of the trip and upon returning to Berkeley, the students posted blog entries relating their experiences while visiting the various sites, museums, performances and interactions with the people of New York City. Through creative writing, innovative video blogging and interviews, the students share their interactions with cultural memory in urban space.

You can read their blog entries here:

Other blogs from past immersions:

Taiwan Immersion, January 2012

Akko Archaeology Immersion, Summer 2010

2014 Application for Immersion.pdf424.02 KB