A journey to SOCAP provides enrichment on the intersection of money and meaning
November 2023 – In a departure from traditional classroom learning, Drew Theological School Doctor of Ministry students enrolled in the Social Impact cohort embarked on a unique immersive learning experience that brought them closer to their spiritual journeys.
The immersive learning experience, organized by the Rev. Dr. Sidney S. Williams, Jr., affiliate professor, president and CEO of Crossing Capital Group, and pastor of Bethel AME Church in Morristown, New Jersey, took students to the Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP), held annually in San Francisco.
The conference focuses on the intersection of money and meaning, with a specific emphasis on impact investing, social entrepreneurship, and social innovation. It brings together a diverse group of attendees—including investors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and thought leaders—to discuss and collaborate on how to drive positive social impact and environmental change through business and investment. It’s a space for individuals and organizations interested in harnessing the power of social capital for both financial returns and community well-being.
The journey provided an opportunity for students to grapple with questions of how faith can be a force for social impact. Students were encouraged to engage in theological and ethical reflection about the role of their respective faith communities and the moral imperative of developing a deeper understanding of their faith’s call to social justice.
“The Social Impact Doctor of Ministry cohort experience focuses on practical, innovative approaches to some of the toughest questions religious leaders are facing today,” said Director of Doctoral Studies Meredith Hoxie Schol. “This cohort is bringing together leaders who truly see the world as their parish and who are eager to carry out the mission of God in their changing communities.”
Students found access to valuable networks with diverse attendees, potentially leading to collaborations and partnerships that could amplify their social impact efforts. At the conclusion of the conference, students shared their thoughts and reflections.
“Such a unique and transformative experience is an imperative for grounding the gospel ministry of justice, righteousness, and compassion in praxis,” said Kendrick Curry T’26. “If we truly want to employ our Christian faith to address the conditions of existence in extant society, those in the academy must engage some other thought partners who have the means and resources to radically alter the way ministry is conceived and carried out. SOCAP is just the place to encounter thoughtful leaders who desire to solve problems for the soulful and societal good.”
The immersive learning experience was a powerful and transformative experience, bringing together individuals who are not only passionate about their faith but also committed to making a positive difference in the world, and understanding one’s faith is a journey that extends beyond the classroom.
“We are called to the work of ministry, not only for our local faith-based institutions but for the Common Good locally, nationally, and globally,” said Crystal James T’26. “My attendance at SOCAP undoubtedly rekindled and strengthened my commitment to my calling and was a reminder of how we can embody God’s mission in this world.”