Beyond Diakonia

Continuing learning opportunities designed primarily for graduates of thediakoniaTM program and rostered personnel.

In the early fall diakoniaTM graduates participated in a survey in which they told the diakoniaTM leadership of the Northern Illinois Synod in which courses they would like to participate as they continued their studies “Beyond diakoniaTM.” The following courses were selected as pilot offerings. Other courses that received substantial support will be made available in the future.

It is also our intent that rostered persons be invited to use these courses for their own continuing education. The accompanying registration form provides entries that such persons can use to register.

Please note that the first course, “Shalom Church,” begins on Thursday, January 24. Consequently, we request that you respond promptly so that we can be sure that there are a sufficient number of registrants.

Tuition per course: $60.00 (checks payable to “diakoniaTM”). Note that the tuition and payment method are the same as for regular diakoniaTM courses.

Minimum participation: There must be a minimum of eight (8) registrants for a course to be viable. Beyond diakoniaTM is totally self-supporting; we have no other resources from which to draw other than participant registrations.

Registration procedure: Please complete and submit the registration form. You should also contact the instructor so that the instructor knows of your intention to participate. While it is possible also to register at the first class session, do not go to the first class session if you have not registered and/or you have not informed the instructor. The course could be canceled if there is an insufficient number of registrants.

Texts: The texts needed to participate meaningfully in each course are listed following the course description. These texts can be purchased from the publisher or from other booksellers, including Amazon, Abe Books, Alibris, Christian Book Distributors, and Dove Booksellers. Many of these distributors also have used copies available at usually reduced prices.

For further information about the courses, meeting location, etc., please contact the instructor listed for each course.

Winter, Spring, and Summer, 2019, Offerings

Shalom Church: Striving for Peace and Justice

Based on Professor Craig Nessan’s book Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as a Ministering community, this class will help the participants to learn how faith communities may practice a more authentic faith by engaging in peacemaking, social justice, care of creation, and respect for human dignity. The book description is as follows: “… this work retrieves biblical metaphors of the body of Christ and, following Dietrich Bonhoeffer, sees church today as “Christ existing as community.” To theological probing Nessan then adds contextual analysis and describes the four chief imperatives that mark Christ’s presence in the world today: peacemaking, justice-making, care for creation, and engagement with the other. He then unfolds the real-life implications of this paradigm of Christian community for the local church structure, strategies for partnering, public witness, and interreligious engagement.”

  • Text: Nessan, Craig. Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as a Ministering Community. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8006-6327-8. Instructor: The Rev. Kenneth Storck;
  • Location: Rockford, United Lutheran Church
  • Dates: Thursdays, January 24, 31; February 7, 14, 21; 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

Between the Testaments

For many Christians, the period between the return of the Jews from exile (as described, especially, in Ezra and Nehemiah) and the beginning of the New Testament is a blank slate. However, the events of this period provide the background for understanding the mission and ministry of Jesus and the development of the New Testament. This course will include the conquests of Alexander the Great and the Hellenization of the Mediterranean world, the rebellion of the Maccabees, the expansion of the Roman empire, the rise of Herod the Great and his family, the development of Second Temple Judaism, the translation of the Old Testament into Greek (the Septuagint), and the discovery and importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls.


  • Bible that includes the Apocrypha (preferably a study bible).
  • Biblical Archaeology Society & Society of Biblical Literature. The Dead Sea Scrolls. Washington, DC, & Atlanta, GA: Author, 2007. ISBN: 978-1-58983-270-1.
  • Kaiser, Otto. The Old Testament Apocrypha: An Introduction. Peabody, MS: Hendrickson, 2004. ISBN: 1-56563-693-7.
  • Russell, D. S. Between the Testaments. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1960. ISBN: 9780800618568. Instructor: Dr. Trenton R. Ferro; (724) 762-0305;

Location: Joliet (Actual location TBD; can be adjusted depending on registrations)

Dates: Thursdays, March 7, 14, 21; April 4, 11; 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

Basic Greek for Everyone I

Any number of diakoniaTM participants have expressed an interest in learning Greek so that they could make use of reference materials that incorporate the Greek New Testament as well as to be able to work with the original text itself in their studies. This course is intended to acquaint participants with the basics of New Testament Greek, to provide a refresher for pastors and others who have studied Greek previously, and/or to provide an introduction for those who intend to pursue more serious study of New Testament Greek in the future. Unlike other diakoniaTM and “Beyond diakoniaTM” offerings, this course will require multiple, five-session segments (working around the schedules of both the instructor and participants); for purposes of registration and payment of tuition, each five-session segment will be treated as a course.

Text: Found, James. Basic Greek in 30 Minutes a Day: A Self-Study Introduction to New Testament Greek. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2012 (originally published 1983). ISBN: 978-0-7642-0985-7. Instructor: Dr. Trenton R. Ferro; (724) 762-0305;

Location: Joliet (Actual location TBD; can be adjusted depending on registrations)

Dates: Saturdays, (a) March 16, 23, 30; April 6, 13 or (b) March 16, 30; April 6, 13, 27 (Session I); 9 a.m.-12:00 noon

Basic Greek for Everyone II

Continuation of Basic Greek for Everyone I. See above for description.


  • Found text used in Basic Greek for Everyone I (see above).
  • Fullmer, Paul, & Smith, Robert H. Greek at a Glance: Summary Reference Sheets for Readers of New Testament Greek. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006. ISBN: 978-1-55635-101-3. Instructor: Dr. Trenton R. Ferro; (724) 762-0305;

Location: Joliet (Actual location TBD; can be adjusted depending on registrations)

Dates: Saturdays, July 13, 20; August 3, 10, 17 (Session II); 9 a.m.-12:00 noon