A hearty welcome to Dr. Fred Smith who will soon join the faculty of HGST as Professor of Public Theology and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program. Dr. Smith is well suited for his new role. He has earned degrees from Harvard (BA in Economics), Perkins School of Theology at SMU (MDiv), and Emory University (PhD in Practical Theology). He has served as an educator, mentor, facilitator and strategist in the field of Faith and Health for 30 years. He has traveled extensively and worked in a variety of contexts connecting faith to life. Most recently he retired as Professor of Urban Ministry and Associate Director of the Practice of Ministry and Mission at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC. He is the author of several books including Black Religious Experience: Conversation on Double Consciousness and the Work of Grant; A Prophetic Religious Education for the Twenty-first Century; and Black Boys Shall See Visions: Afrocentric Christian Education: A Historical Perspective.
One of things we are most excited about is that Dr. Smith has agreed to direct a new center established by the trustees of HGST: The Center for Leadership in Public Theology. The mission of the center is to equip leaders for incarnational theology in every arena of public life. Look for the center to engage leaders in initiatives that serve the common good through a pedagogy that is contextual and attentive to the dynamics of our social systems. The center is committed to praxis, that is, the ongoing interplay between theory and action. Again: where faith comes to life. All the training from the center will be based on the biblical and theological foundations of practical theology and will draw from a wide variety of other disciplines. Modes of leadership development will include public service, advocacy, training, and community organizing and development.
HGST is committed to practicing deep reconciliation and preparing leaders to embrace God’s mission of reconciliation. Forgiveness and reconciliation seem like good ideas but they are hard to achieve, especially in the critical arenas we find ourselves in today of race/ethnicity, diversity, economics, gender and politics.
We will have more to say about the Center for Leadership in Public Theology in the days again. But we are confident that the center is in good hands, with Dr. Fred Smith. Welcome Dr. Smith to HGST. We look forward to all you have to bring, and we pledge to add to you as well.