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Dr. David Steere, 81, Seminary Professor Emeritus, dies

by Louisville Seminary | Oct 22, 2012

Dr. David Alden Steere, Louisville Seminary Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Care and Counseling and a Distinguished Alumnus, died Friday, October 19, 2012 at his home. A pioneer in pastoral counseling, Dr. Steere led the Seminary to national recognition through its Marriage and Family Therapy Program (MAMFT), which he helped found and for which he served as the first director.

A memorial service for Dr. Steere was held on Thursday, Oct. 25, at Caldwell Chapel on the Seminary campus. A reception followed at the Winn Center.

“David was a vital member of this faculty and an important scholar representing Louisville Seminary nationally and beyond,” said Louisville Seminary President Dr. Michael Jinkins.

Steere, 81, whose teaching career spanned 34 years, was the leading force in establishing the Seminary’s MAMFT program, based on the integration of secular psychology and theology. Today, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) recognizes this program as one of the top seminary-based, accredited programs in the nation. Since the first graduating class of marriage and family therapists in 1993, the program has become one of the most popular degree programs at Louisville Seminary, enrolling near-capacity numbers each year. It remains one of the most ecumenically representative and diverse programs on the campus.

“David was one of the pioneers of pastoral counseling,” said Dr. Loren Townsend, who became the Seminary’s Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling upon Dr. Steere’s retirement in 1996, and also serves as the director of the MAMFT program. “He had a vision for pastoral counseling training that moved outside of established paradigms and into new territory. One result was the MAMFT program. He was responsible for our initial accreditation. This had a significant impact on the stature of our program today and on the field of pastoral counseling.”

Throughout his teaching career, Steere was recognized as a preeminent scholar who produced cutting-edge work in the fields of mutual supervision and the relationship of clinical life and teaching. He is the author of Bodily Expressions in Psychotherapy (1982), The Supervision of Pastoral Care (1989), and Spiritual Presence in Psychotherapy: A Guide for Caregivers (1997). He was a Diplomate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and an approved Supervisor and Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, from which the Seminary’s MAMFT program is accredited.

Born in Akron, OH, Steere held degrees from Centre College (BA), Louisville Seminary (BD ‘56), and Union Theological Seminary (PhD), where he also served as supervisor of field education. In 1962, Louisville Seminary called Steere as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and as the director of its field education program. When he joined the faculty, he also brought experience as pastor of rural churches near Lebanon, KY and Faith Presbyterian Church in Louisville.

Following his retirement from the Seminary in 1996, Steere continued his ministry in private counseling. Louisville Seminary established the David A. Steere Scholarship Endowment Fund that same year in honor of his retirement and exemplary contributions to the study of pastoral counseling at the Seminary. At the 2006 Kentucky Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Annual Conference, Steere also was honored for his outstanding contribution to the field of Marriage and Family Therapy in Kentucky. In 2007, Steere was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Louisville Seminary. Dr. Steere is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Margaret Enos; children Andrew Steere, Tevis Steere, and Elizabeth Monroy; and four grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Louisville Seminary or the donor’s charity of choice.

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