School of Restorative Arts
North Park’s School of Restorative Arts offers a MA in Christian Ministry and Restorative Arts allowing free and incarcerated students to study together. This unique degree program is designed to prepare individuals for ministries of restoration in contexts susceptible to violence and includes courses in trauma, race relations, nonviolent communication, conflict transformation, restorative practices, and transformative justice, in addition to Bible, theology, and history. In partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections, this four-year degree is currently offered at Stateville Correctional Center with 80 incarcerated men and a first cohort of 20 women at Logan Correctional Center.
SRA Student Spotlight: Michael Simmons
“Without this course I would still be wondering what’s going to happen with me…I have so much hope that this is getting me prepared for something that God has in store for me.”
Hear some of Michael’s powerful story in this interview.
North Park Theological Seminary strives to make sure our students are prepared for whatever ministry God has called them to. This unique degree is no exception. Our 4-year Master of Arts in Christian Ministry with Restorative Arts degree program, you will deepen your biblical and theological foundation and develop your own model for ministries of restoration through an integrated classroom experience at Stateville Correctional Center, a maximum security prison.
Transformative Justice Certificate
Housed in Stateville Correctional Center and run through NPTS, the SRA offers an MA in Christian Ministry with a Restorative Arts track allowing free and incarcerated students to study together. The foci of the program include positive race relations and cultural differences, non-violent communication, deepening of one’s faith, servant leadership, and much more.
North Park Theological Seminary has been awarded a grant that allows us to focus deeply in three areas that we want students and pastors to thrive. Thriving Prophetically is one of those three areas. It’s focus is to connect individuals who are working in justice-related areas of ministry and equip them through peer-led, group mentoring cohorts. The various cohorts are the Juvenile Justice Leadership and Covenant Justice Coalition.
Church Without Walls
The Church Without Walls (CWOW) Is a collaborative movement between free and incarcerated individuals whose vision is to be a Christian community who transform their surrounding communities through restorative justice practices.
[re]story Performing Arts
[re]story is a cohort of free and incarcerated students focused on redemptive storytelling. The goal of [re]story is to use the telling of stories through theater performance to change the narrative around mass incarceration in a way that leads to restorative justice being enacted in our criminal justice system here in Illinois and beyond. A two-hour performance piece written and developed by incarcerated students of North Park University’s School of Restorative Arts will be performed by outside actors at the Victory Gardens Theater in August 2021.
This video was produced for Holy Week 2020, a time when many around the world were isolated, alone, and confined to homes due to the global pandemic. Could there be a better time to reflect upon the modern day equivalent of the cross and the experiences of those who know it best. Join us in this journey through the Stations of the Cross and the stories of those who sit closest to where Jesus would be if Good Friday were today. This video was curated by [re]story in collaboration with NPTS alumnae Alicia Reese and Cheryl Lynn Cain.
Feather Bricks Newsletter
In the fall of 2020 SRA students launched a bimonthly newsletter called “Feather Bricks.” Damen Price, SRA student, proposed the title which comes from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and explains the meaning behind the title in the first issue. The newsletter is a way for the students to stay connected with the Chicago campus, circulate internally as an inspiration to other men incarcerated at Stateville, and to share themselves with the outside world. it also represents the amazing collaborative work of North Park University’s Writing Center and undergraduate writing advisors under the leadership of Melissa Pavlik.
For over 60 years the Evangelical Covenant Church has produced materials for a week of prayer and the 2020 guide, titled Reconciling Grace, showcases the writings of SRA students. This guide is intended to be used both individually and small groups and can be used at anytime through out the year. Reconciling Grace can be downloaded in English and Spanish.
In July 2019, Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, IDOC Director Rob Jeffreys, and several Illinois state legislators visited Stateville Correctional Center to engage in a listening circle with 15 North Park inside SRA students.
Professor Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom reveals the power of the integrated classroom of free and incarcerated students as it teaches individuals to think beyond walls and to pursue liberation in the act of learning.
This video was produced by InterVarsity for Urbana 2018 and shares the story of the SRA and the impact it has had for our students, as told through interviews with students and faculty in the program.
In August 2020, North Park Theological Seminary alum, Pastor Jeff Hunter preached a sermon at North Park Covenant Church, Chicago, IL prepared by SRA third-year student Alex Negron.
In January 2021, North Park Theological Seminary alum, Rev. Alicia Reese preached a sermon at Trinity Evangelical Covenant Church, Oak Lawn, IL prepared by SRA third-year student Jamal Bakr.