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Elizabeth Walker accepts call to teach pastoral care and counseling at LPTS

Dec 21, 2005
Elizabeth WalkerLouisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Johnson Walker has accepted the call to join the LPTS faculty as Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling. Currently a professional counselor with the Georgia Association for Pastoral Counseling in Decatur, Ga., and an adjunct professor in the area of Persons, Society & Culture at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Walker has balanced a counseling career with teaching courses such as “Pastor and Family Life,” “The Theory and Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy,” “The Expanded Family Life Cycle,” “Spirituality and Sexuality,” and “African American Context for Ministry: Focus on the Family.”

Walker earned a Bachelor of Science in religion and philosophy from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., and the Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. She earned her doctorate in theology from Gammon Theological Seminary and the ITC, where she completed her dissertation on “A Model of Pastoral Counseling with African American Women.” Her clinical training was received at the Georgia Association of Pastoral Care in Atlanta. She is a licensed marriage and family counselor (LMFT), a Member Associate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology.

“Louisville Seminary will be deeply enriched by the addition of Elizabeth Walker to our faculty. Her experience as a practicing pastoral counselor and as a teacher brings a fullness to her role as Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling that will be invaluable to our students. The unique voice that she offers as an African American woman is also of vital importance to students and to our whole community. She is a fine scholar with clear and provocative insights in her field, and we look forward to conversations with her as a member of our collegium,” said Seminary Dean David Hester.

LPTS Professor Carol J. Cook, who served on the search committee, added, “her commitments to continuing her scholarship will serve our program and the fields of pastoral counseling and of marriage and family therapy well. The fact that she is already both a member of AAPC and a clinical member of AAMFT means that she joins us as a full member of the pastoral counseling/MFT faculty team.”

Walker’s experiences as a pastor add to her exceptional professional counseling and teaching qualifications and distinguish her as one whose gifts will enhance the mission of LPTS to educate men and women for ministry in an environment that values learning in a diverse community.

Following several years of service as an active duty staff sergeant in the United States Air Force, during which she was recognized with several awards, Walker enrolled in seminary. A member of the United Methodist Church, she served as the student pastor of three churches in Alabama. After earning her MDiv, she became the pastor of Saint Paul United Methodist church in Montgomery, Ala. While there, she founded and served the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry at Alabama State University. Walker continued to minister in Alabama congregations until she relocated to Georgia to work on her doctorate. In Georgia she served as the resident chaplain for the Covenant Counseling Institute in Snellville and continues to serve in extension ministry appointments with the Alabama West Florida Conference. She is the first African American woman to be ordained and hold membership in this Conference.

In the church, the classroom, and the counseling field, Walker’s service has consistently addressed ministry in the world. She has traveled to various countries in Africa with the Global Board of Higher Education and Ministry to help promote transcontinental dialog among campus ministers in higher education. Closer to home, she has consulted in juvenile justice screening hearings for community placement of juvenile offenders, and from that experience has developed counseling models to support the families of troubled youth. Some of her publications in these areas include “Counseling African American Youth” in the Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center (2003), “Counseling African American Women” in the Journal of Pastoral Counseling (2001) and the Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center (2004), and “Called to Parent: Parenting as Vocation and Gift” in Working With Black Youth: The New Generation, edited by Dr. Ann Streaty Wimberly (Abingdon Press, 2005).

“I am inspired by the richness of Dr. Elizabeth Johnson Walker’s ministry as a teacher, pastor, counselor, chaplain, and juvenile justice advocate. Her diverse vocational experiences and commitments have prepared her to nurture our students and future pastors, teachers, counselors and chaplains in remarkable ways,” said President Dean K. Thompson.

When Walker joins the LPTS faculty June 1, 2006, she will teach in an award-winning marriage and family program that is only one of two accredited, seminary-based programs in the nation. The program was begun in 1993, and currently there are 44 students in the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT), the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling degree programs. LPTS also offers a Certificate in Pastoral Counseling Supervision.

The MAMFT degree program is composed of courses in theology and Biblical studies, training in marriage and family therapy, at least 500 hours of client contact, and 100 hours of supervision. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), which has ranked the program one of the most outstanding in the nation.
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