Dr. Kaye Cook
Fellow of the Center for Christian Studies
Kaye Cook, Ph.D., is currently a professor of psychology at Gordon College where she teaches courses in Developmental Psychology (including child development, focusing on spiritual formation), as well as courses for first year students and seniors. She is Senior Investigator in a three-year CCCU Initiative Grant and is co-Coordinator of the Fall 2005 Association for Moral Education conference. She is also a licensed clinician and is heavily involved in the spiritual formation of children and youth in her church.
Diego Mendes is a native of Brazil who began his undergraduate work at the University Center of Maringa before graduating from Gordon College with a degree in psychology in May 2005. He is bilingual in English and Portuguese and has worked as a translator. He is also involved in youth ministry at Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Boston, where his father is a pastor. His unique background and heart for ministry qualify him well for service on this CCS grant.
Virtue in Context: Conflict Resolution in Multicultural Churches
The face of the American church is changing due to the increase church members from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Along with these changes have come challenges on the national and international front that increasingly require us to witness to, communicate with and sometimes tolerate those from religious backgrounds different from our own. Modern cultural changes require us to become more and more responsive to the demands of Scripture's Great Commission.
Within psychology, efforts to understand these changes have focused on narrative and dialogical approaches that do not allow comparison across cultures and do not recognize the "moral landscape" of these cultures. As Senior Investigator of a CCCU Initiative Grant funded by the Christian College Coalition, I have been involved with a research group that is trying to broaden research approaches to include a hermeneutical approach that values the moral perspectives of people from various cultures. As a result, I have been carrying out interviews with Cambodian Buddhists and Christians in an effort to discern their moral landscape. My project as a Fellow of the Center for Christian Studies attempts to build on this work.
My work on this project has focused among multicultural churches in the Boston area. I seek to carry the hermeneutical perspective into understanding and resolving conflicts by identifying and addressing the values that underlie these conflicts. I began this work by connecting with Emmanuel Gospel Center's multicultural advisor, Rev. Gregg Detwiler, and by interviewing ten pastors of multicultural churches. Through my research in these interviews, I was asked to become part of the Multicultural Leaders Council (MLC), an organization that meets quarterly under the leadership of Rev. Detwiler. The MLC has proved a valuable experience to the project as we look for new avenues for disseminating our findings.
As a Fellow, I have involved a senior psychology major, Diego Mendes. Diego's interests and expertise lie not only in multicultural work but also in youth ministry. Diego is currently working in the Boston area and is seeking God's direction for further training in counseling and youth ministry.
Beginning in summer 2004, Dr. Cook and a student research assistant began the research phase of her project by interviewing the pastors of 10 multicultural churches in the area. In addition to the interviews, Dr. Cook reviewed literature available on conflict resolution, discovering a lack of literature available on this topic within multicultural churches.
Through the research phase of her project, Dr. Cook found that her original thoughts on how to best disseminate her research findings to multicultural church leadership may not be as effective as hoped. She continues to search for the best way to effectively reach people that can impact multicultural churches and is working closely with the Emmanuel Gospel Center, a Christian organization that provides research and support to inner-city churches.
Beginning in summer 2005, Dr. Cook and a student research assistant continued the research phase of her project by interviewing the youth pastors of 10 multicultural churches in the area. The results of her research during the two years of her grant have been shared with and greatly appreciated by the Emmanuel Gospel Center (EGC).
The culmination of Dr. Cook's project was scheduled to take place in May 2006 with a meeting of all the youth pastors she has interviewed. At this meeting, the leaders of these dynamic multicultural youth groups and the EGC will share ideas and mutual support. It is anticipated and expected that Dr. Cook's work in bringing this group together will continue to have an impact through quarterly meetings in the future. This meeting had to be delayed until September 2006.
Dr. Cook's project yielded several positive outcomes: increased knowledge of multicultural churches in the Boston area (made available to the EGC), increased knowledge of multicultural youth groups in the Boston area (made available to the EGC), a strengthened relationship among multicultural churches in the Boston area and their staffs and furthered the development of the Boston Center for Youth Services by the EGC.