Rosell, Tarris - Ph.D., D.Min.

Professor of Pastoral Theology--Ethics & Ministry Praxis

Phone: (913) 667-5741


Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
D.Min., Colgate Rochester Divinity School
M.Div., Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
B.A., Bethel College

Rev. Dr. Tarris (“Terry”) Rosell has been on Central’s faculty since 1999. He is Professor of Pastoral Theology in Ethics and Ministry Praxis, in an academic “job share” since 2004 with spouse, Rev. Ruth Rosell, PhD.

As of 2009, Dr. Rosell holds the endowed Rosemary Flanigan Chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, MO ( In contractual relationships with the Center, Terry retains appointments in two medical schools: University of Kansas Medical Center, Clinical Associate Professor (Ethics) in the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine, School of Medicine; Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Adjunct Professor and Chair, Department of Bioethics, College of Medicine.

After graduating from Bethel College in Minnesota, Terry completed the M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He received a D.Min. from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1990, having focused on pastoral care. In 2002, Terry graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Ph.D. in Ethics and Society. While at Vanderbilt he was a Fellow in Clinical Ethics at the Center for Clinical and Research Ethics, and the VUMC Transplant Center. Additional professional training was obtained at the Summer Institute of Linguistics, the Center for Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence, the ABC-USA Church Planters Institute, and the Gordon D. Hoople Institute at Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Center.

Terry was ordained in 1983 and has served American Baptist churches in several states, for many years in co-ministry with Ruth. In metro Kansas City, they did refugee resettlement ministries for six years, and cofounded in 1992 the Lao American Baptist Church in Lenexa. Rev. Rosell has served two congregations as interim pastor.

Special areas of vocational interest currently include: clinical ethics, medical futility, disparities of health and healthcare, palliative care, advance care planning, transplantation ethics (organ, tissue, stem cells), ethical nonviolence, professionalism and ministry ethics—and these in light of the responsibility ethics of H. R. Niebuhr.

Dr. Rosell does public presentations, guest lectures and workshops on a variety of topics, mostly in the field of bioethics. He gave ethics lectures in June 2009 and 2010 in conjunction with Central Philippine University in Iloilo and Bacolod, the Philippines. His writings are found in numerous print and online journals or other periodicals, with many ethics articles posted at,; and other articles, plus blogs, podcasts, and video lectures, posted at Rosell contributed a chapter to the 2008 Cambridge University publication, Complex Ethics Consultation: Cases that Haunt Us, and another on “The Ethics of Bodily Repose” in a book from Johns Hopkins University Press (2011), Controversial Bodies: Thoughts on the Public Display of Plastinated Corpses.

From 2006-10, Tarris Rosell was active regionally as co-director of Sabbaths of Hope, a grant-funded project with Mental Health America of the Heartland (, which empowers faith leaders to address the stigma of depression and inequitable access to treatment. He recently directed another disparities initiative ultimately incorporated as MetroCARE (, a referral network of volunteer healthcare providers for low income uninsured persons.

In late 2010, Dr. Rosell helped a Kenyan seminarian launch a project called the Kenya Peace Initiative, aimed at prevention of intertribal post-election violence. This has expanded to become a nongovernmental organization (NGO) based in Nairobi under the name Peace, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation Initiative (

Dr. Rosell provides ethics consultation for the University of Kansas Hospital, where he co-chairs the Hospital Ethics Committee and directs the ethics consultation service. He has served as co-founder and facilitator of Compassionate Caregiver Rounds at Saint Luke’s Home Care and Hospice, the Schwartz Center Rounds at Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute and Hospital, and Human Values Rounds for internal medicine residents. He has served on the Saint Luke’s Health System Bioethics Committee, their Institutional Review Board, and a Data and Safety Monitoring Board for research involving human subjects. For three years, Rosell was a consultant for Duke University’s Institute on Care at the End of Life for the St. John Health—Duke Collaboration for Palliative Care in metro Detroit. That project engaged faith communities regarding palliative and end-of-life care.

Terry is married to Ruth Lofgren Rosell. They have four young adult children—Karis, Nehemiah, Hannah, and Josiah—and live in Johnson County, KS. Ruth is on the faculty at CBTS and serves on the pastoral staff of Prairie Baptist Church.

Reading is one of Terry’s favorite things to do in spare time. He is an avid iPhone user, and enjoys listening to podcasts on topics in moral philosophy. For leisure, Terry goes biking or hiking, composes and performs or records original music, creates YouTube videos, orchestrates family outings, and completes home improvement projects. In 2013, Terry resurrected interest and skills in wheel-thrown pottery, and currently is passionate about creating “Amani Lamps” which are available for a donation to for support of AIDS orphans in rural Kenya.

Academic and Professional Affiliations:

American Society of Bioethics and Humanities

American Baptist Ministers’ Council

Baptist Peace Fellowship

Center for Practical Bioethics

Society of Christian Ethics

Society of Pastoral Theology

NEW PROD: 1600683599