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Denominational leader Clifton Kirkpatrick to serve as visiting professor at LPTS

Mar 05, 2008
President Dean K. Thompson announced yesterday the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick as Visiting Professor of Ecumenical Studies and Global Ministries at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, beginning next fall.

Kirkpatrick, who is currently stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is also the president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. He serves on the governing boards of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., the World Council of Churches, and the Council of Presidents, United States Chapter of the World Conference on Religion and Peace.

The announcement was made during the “Voices of the Church Dinner,” which was held March 4 in conjunction with Louisville Seminary’s annual Festival of Theology and Alum Reunion. Kirkpatrick was the guest speaker.

In September 2007, Kirkpatrick announced that he would not seek a fourth three-year term as stated clerk in the 2.3-million-member denomination. In a published statement addressed to friends and colleagues, he cited a desire for “more quality time with my family, to be able to devote myself more fully to the responsibility I have undertaken since 2004 to serve as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and to share in the life of the church, both locally and globally, in new and creative ways.”

Kirkpatrick’s term as stated clerk will conclude at the end of the 218th General Assembly (2008) in San Jose, Calif., in June. He was first elected to the office in 1996 and is only the second General Assembly stated clerk elected since Presbyterian reunion in 1983.

In January 2009, Kirkpatrick will begin teaching up to two courses per year at Louisville Seminary in areas of his expertise, including the ecumenical church; the global church; Presbyterian polity and governance; the history, ministry, and mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); congregational leadership and ministry; and practical theology.

“We at Louisville Seminary are deeply grateful for Cliff Kirkpatrick's wise, humble, and unselfish service in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and among ecumenical and Reformed communities throughout the world. We look forward to his new and promising relationship with our dedicated faculty and students,” stated President Thompson.

Kirkpatrick’s appointment will run three years and will also allow him to offer his services in Doctor of Ministry degree seminars and in Lifelong Learning events, which address the ecumenical and global church, middle governing body leadership, and church leadership.

Kirkpatrick said he will welcome the opportunity for interaction and conversation with faculty and students and of becoming an active member of the Louisville Seminary community.

As stated clerk, Kirkpatrick has been responsible for interpreting the denomination’s Constitution, promoting the unity of the Church, conducting the sessions of the General Assembly, and preserving the historical records of the denomination. For the past twelve years, he has communicated the actions of the Assembly and represented the denomination among worldwide organizations of religion, peace, and faith.

Previously, he served 15 years as Director of the Worldwide Ministries Division, where he led the Presbyterian Church’s ministries in the United States and in more than 80 other nations in the areas of evangelism, education, health, world service, and development.

He earned his degrees at Davidson College (BA), Yale University (MDiv), and McCormick Theological Seminary (DMin). He was awarded the Merrill Fellowship for post-graduate study at Harvard University. He also has received honorary doctorates from Westminster College (Pennsylvania), Hannam University (Korea), and Silliman University (Philippines). He is co-author with Louisville Seminary alum William Hopper of What Unites Presbyterians: Common Ground for Troubled Times.

In addition to extensive service to the wider church, Kirkpatrick is an active participant and affiliate member of Springdale Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky., a member of the advisory committee for Americans United for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba, and chair of Successful School Age Youth Community Investment Team and member of its cabinet.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is called by God through the church to educate men and women to participate in the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ in the world. For information on course offerings and registration, visit LPTS degrees.

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