Rites of Passage: Implications of the Change Process at Overcomers Alcohol Treatment Program and Its Relation to the Change and Transition with the Wiconi Organization

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Doctor of Intercultural Studies

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Lingenfelter, Judith


This study will focus on the change process in relation to understanding personal and organizational changes and transition issues that impact many ministries. The research will first concentrate on the changes that Native men experience during the liminal stage of the Brethren in Christ Overcomers alcohol treatment program in Farmington, New Mexico. This study also takes Victor Turner’s concepts relating to the “Rites of Passage” and compares the transitional issues in two Native American ministry case studies. I further explore how in the Native world, Rites of Passage are closely connected to the rituals and ceremonies they have developed in order to cope with a world full of continual change and transition.

My research is a subjective, qualitative analysis which reveals a unique approach to change and transition in the clients’ lives at the Overcomers program. The findings are also organized into themes related to the transitions the Wiconi International ministry is encountering following the passing of the president and cofounder, the late Dr. Richard Twiss.

The methodology for this study is conducted using quantitative and qualitative analysis of data collected from interviews and survey questionnaires. The change and transition models are adapted from Everett Rogers, William Bridges, and Victor Turner. The purpose is not to be prescriptive but to describe several consideration of the potential actions ministry leaders can employ when faced with change and transition.

It is my hope that the section describing the praxis involved in contextual ritual and ceremony—and the comparison of the ministry approaches used by the Navajo Brethren in Christ Overcomers program and Wiconi International—stimulate the use of these ideas in other ministries and increase their effectiveness. Based on this data, the reader can use the findings and adapt them to changing situations in their unique ministry areas. I specifically address the issues leaders face as they encounter change dynamics. It is my desire that this study be a useful tool for leaders and organizations going through transitions.

Mentor: Judith Lingenfelter


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