|Sullender takes over as interim director of Advanced Pastoral Studies
With a place in his heart for pastors in need of renewal, R. Scott Sullender, PhD, has taken over as interim director of the San Francisco Theological Seminary Advanced Pastoral Studies Program, which administers the Doctor of Ministry degree.
Sullender serves as associate professor of pastoral counseling and is director of the Lloyd Counseling Program. He replaces Dr. Lewis Rambo, APS interim director since January 2009 and former Tulley Professor of Psychology and Religion for 32 years.
“Scott brings years of experience in pastoral psychology and counseling, and a big heart for ministers and preparation for ministry,” said Dr. Elizabeth Liebert, SFTS dean, vice president for academic affairs and professor of spiritual life. “His years of administering counseling centers and his leadership in the Pastoral Care and Counseling Doctor of Ministry emphasis prepare him admirably for leading the APS program in this crucial transition.”
For more than 50 years, the Advanced Pastoral Studies Program has been providing dynamic scholarship to enrich and expand the quality of a variety of ministries. Areas of emphasis include Multidisciplinary, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Spiritual Direction, Pastor as Spiritual Leader and Urban Ministry/Black Church Studies.
“I have always been impressed by the dual foci of the Doctor of Ministry degree, which emphasizes scholarship and also the application of that scholarship to the practical needs of the church today,” Sullender said. “The interplay of theory and practice, theology and ministry is at the heart of the D.Min. experience.”
Raised in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Sullender received Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. After serving a congregation in Pennsylvania, he returned to Southern California, where he earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Personality: Pastoral Counseling at the School of Theology at Claremont.
For 35 years Sullender has specialized in pastoral counseling and psychotherapy. He has studied with two of the pioneers of the pastoral counseling movement, Seward Hiltner at Princeton and Howard Clinebell at Claremont.
Sullender is active in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and twice received the Pacific Region's Distinguished Service Award. He holds the rank of Diplomate in AAPC, which qualifies him to supervise and train pastors and pastoral counselors.He is licensed as a psychologist, and prior to that, as a marriage, family therapist, providing psychological assessment work and personal therapy for ministers for a variety of Protestant denominations. Among his numerous published works, Sullender wrote Losses in Later Life, which established him as an authority on aging and spirituality.