Rhode Island Church to Offer Discipleship Training

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Todd Murphy is committed to bringing theological and discipleship training to New Englanders who can’t attend a traditional seminary because of the cost or because they do not have a college degree.

Murphy, who leads Sacred Journey Christian Reformed Church in Providence, R.I., is setting up the St. John Center for Discipleship. He hopes to teach students that discipleship is an everyday way of life. He wants show future leaders how to pursue accountable relationships in the community using the gospel as a foundation. He also tutors students as part of a pilot program for the center.

Nathaniel Koliyah, a Liberian immigrant, is trying to complete his seminary degree but is finding that extension programs lack hands-on discipleship. Murphy’s program meets his needs.

Another student, Joe Paravisini, is a native Rhode Islander who started a family and didn’t have the opportunity to go to college but has a deep desire to preach. “Going to seminary would take him a decade,” said Murphy. “He can’t afford that kind of time away from his family or professional life. Joe is a gifted future leader who could advance the church, and the center would help in his training.”

Sacred Journey CRC is working on a deal to purchase a 4,000-square-foot home to use as classroom and office space. Murphy hopes to eventually partner with a major Reformed theological seminary to offer accredited classes for ministers and students.

About the Author

Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.