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Loren L. Townsend to be installed to pastoral ministry professorship at Spring Convocation

by Louisville Seminary | Jan 18, 2009
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will begin the spring academic semester with an opening Service of Convocation, February 5, 2009, at 10 a.m. in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel on the Seminary campus. The public is invited to attend.

As part of the service, Dr. Loren L. Townsend, Professor of Pastoral Counseling, will be installed as the Henry Morris Edmonds Professor of Pastoral Ministry.

Dr. Henry Morris Edmonds was a 1907 graduate of Louisville Seminary and the founding pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Ala., where he served from 1915 to 1942. The professorship in pastoral ministry was established in 1995 by Independent Presbyterian Church and by family members in tribute of Edmonds' long pastorate at the church and his progressive leadership as a pacifist and civil rights activist.

The Edmonds professor helps train seminarians in many practical functions of ministry, including preaching, worship leadership, pastoral care, and administration. Last year, Townsend was introduced to the Birmingham congregation during a weekend of events, which included a course on preventing suicide taught by Townsend during the education hour on Sunday.

The celebration of Townsend’s appointment to the Edmonds Professorship will come full circle at Convocation as the current pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church, Louisville Seminary Alum and Trustee Rev. Conrad Sharps, participates in the installation ceremony.

Townsend, a tenured member of the faculty, began teaching at Louisville Seminary in 1996. He is the first professor to be named to the pastoral ministry chair.

“As a professor and pastoral counselor Loren Townsend approaches research and scholarship with utmost compassion and consideration for individuals and for the church. His contributions to theological education and the pastoral counseling profession have been innovative, helping to shape the field of pastoral ministry for the twenty-first century,” said Seminary President Dean K. Thompson in his announcement of Townsend’s appointment.

Townsend’s Convocation address will explore “what’s pastoral about pastoral counseling?” He said the address will look at how pastoral counselors and pastoral counseling have changed since 1990; what pastoral counselors “look like now; what continues to be pastoral about pastoral counselors; and theological questions that arise as a result of changes in pastoral counselors and their identity.”

The topic is based research that Townsend has conducted over the past several years, which included a portion of his sabbatical leave covering more than 7,500 miles of northeastern highway on a motorcycle to gather personal interviews of pastoral counselors across the United States. Partially supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. and a Mission Advance Program grant from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), Townsend collected the richest sampling of data ever gathered from pastoral counselors and about pastoral counseling.

In a 2006 interview about his study, Townsend said he took on the project with the hope of bringing “a clear public—and theological—voice and definition of pastoral counseling for the future and simultaneously illustrate how pastoral counseling relates to the work of the church.” (Mosaic, Summer/Fall 2006)

Townsend has published numerous articles on religion and psychotherapy, supervision, and integrational method. He is the author of Pastoral Care in Suicide (Abingdon Press, 2006), Introduction to Pastoral Counseling (forthcoming, summer 2009), and his book, Pastoral Care with Stepfamilies: Mapping the Wilderness (Chalice Press, 2000), is one of the first of its kind to address the myriad issues of ministering to stepfamilies.

To learn more about Dr. Townsend, visit www.lpts.edu/faculty.

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary was founded in 1853, in Danville, Ky. Its mission is to serve the church and the world by educating men and women for participation as pastors, chaplains, pastoral counselors, and leaders in the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ. The Seminary is one of ten theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and offers an inclusive and diverse community, welcoming individuals from wider ecumenical backgrounds.

For more information about this event, contact the Office of Communications at 800.264.1839 or 502.895.3411, ext. 362, or by email at lpts@lpts.edu.

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