As Director of Contextualized Learning, I help Master of Divinity students determine the kinds of ministry learning experiences they need to prepare for their vocational calling, whether that is congregational ministry, chaplaincy, justice advocacy, nonprofit leadership, or another type of ministry. I help students find their contextual learning sites and supervisors and then teach the courses that facilitate their learning during these internship experiences. My work with students continues as they do their final capstone projects. As Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling, I also teach pastoral care in the Caring Ministries course. It is satisfying to watch students grow into readiness for ministry through these courses and experiences. And it is good to be able to give individualized attention to each student’s calling and ministry interests.
Recognizing the suffering that people endure because of injustice and violence, I have become increasingly concerned about peace, justice, and climate crisis issues. Recently, I was named the Dianne C. Shumaker Chair of Peace and Justice. This connects well with my role at Central Seminary as the Director of the Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence, whose mission it is to theologically engage, educate, and connect people of faith for seeking justice, nurturing peace, and caring for creation.
For most of the time I have taught at Central Seminary, I also was serving as an associate pastor with an emphasis on pastoral care and counseling. This enabled me to be a practitioner of what I teach. Other ministry experiences have included pastoring a small church, resettling refugees, new church development, small group ministry, and psychiatric nursing.
Graduate studies occurred at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Vanderbilt University (Ph.D.). Further training in pastoral counseling resulted in credentialing as a Certified Pastoral Counselor and Fellow with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.