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Author: Harald Neervoort

Memorial tribute by Pamela Couture, Oslo, April 2017.

Memorial tribute by Pamela Couture, Oslo, April 2017.

Memorial tribute by Pamela Couture in honor of James W. Fowler

James W. Fowler III is known to many of us as one of the originators and promotors of practical theology as an academic discipline and the International Academy of Practical Theology as an organization (even though he was not able to attend the Princeton meeting, didn’t make the picture of the “original eight,” so is not counted as a “founding father” as such.) He was famous for his classic work Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Development and the Quest for Meaning, a book that most people with any interests in religious education have read. For many of us in this room, including me, he was a colleague, or a mentor, or a friend, or all three.

Jim was born October 12, 1940 in Reidsville, North Carolina, the son of a Methodist minister and Quaker mother. As a child he loved the North Carolina mountains. But he was a country boy with a big intellect–he took his initial degrees from Duke University and Drew Theological Seminary, and his PhD from Harvard University in religion and society in 1971. In the early 1970s he published his work on adapting Lawence Kohlberg’s moral development theory to faith development, the work that launched him into national and then international fame. Though he taught at Harvard and Boston College, he spent most of his career at Emory University. In 1987 was awarded the distinguished chair, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Theology and Human Development. In the 1990s he helped to develop and then directed Emory’s Center for Ethics. He received the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association and the William James Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science. During all of this time, he found the North Carolina mountains a place of renewal and retreat, where he eventually retired. Sadly, in his mid sixties he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and he died at age seventy-five on October 16, 2015. He and his wife, Lurline, were married 53 years and had two daughters and four grandchildren.

When I taught with Jim at Emory, I was richly rewarded not only by his scholarship and intellect, but by his character–his openness, his willingness to have a friendly and sympathetic conversation, and the sparkle in his eye. When I attended my first IAPT meeting in Bern, and the discussion of organizing the next meeting in Korea arose, I naively volunteered, and Jim, knowing I was already in over my head, offered to help. We worked together, along with the President, Hans van der Ven, to develop the program on globalization and difference. The kind of relationships that Jim established with many people in IAPT—myself included—was the kind that makes this organization so special. Jim’s partook of the every two year ritual of “catching up”—intellectually and personally—and engaging in meaningful conversation, rather than small talk. Many of us will remember our connection with Jim as we think of the crinkle of his eyes when he smiled, his kind and genuine warmth, his coyboyish walk, and the genuine bond he felt with many of us.

For my fortieth birthday party, Jim wrote me a poem around the central metaphor of canoeing, which I did a lot of in those days. So in return, Jim, I’m offering you and your friends this poem by North Carolina Kathryn Stripling Byer from Mountain Time–about faith.

Mountain Time (excerpt)
Kathryn Stripling Beyer,
Black Shawl, 1998

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Memorial tribute by William Storrar, Oslo, April 2017.

Memorial tribute by William Storrar, Oslo, April 2017.

Memorial tribute by William Storrar in honor of Duncan Forrester

Duncan Forrester came both early and late to practical theology.
As the son of the professor of practical theology at St Andrews University in his native Scotland, he grew up in a family immersed in the ministry of the Church of Scotland and the concerns of the ecumenical movement. His own university studies in politics and divinity took him abroad to do postgraduate work in political thought at the University of Chicago, before serving as a professor of politics at a Christian College in India. He then returned to the UK as Chaplain at the University of Sussex, where he also continued teaching in political science.

It was in mid-career that he came to work in our field, when he was appointed to the Chair of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at New College, University of Edinburgh in 1978. He joined a strong department in pastoral theology that had developed a distinctive approach to hospital and practice based pastoral education and applied ethics under his predecessor, Professor James Blackie, and senior colleague, Alastair V. Campbell. Duncan’s distinctive contribution to the field was evident from his inaugural lecture. There he set out a larger vision for practical theology to include the practice of justice in an unequal society and mission in a changing culture, both practices rooted in his concern for worship and ethics.

As generations of grateful students appreciated about this gifted teacher and caring supervisor, Duncan had been profoundly influenced by his encounter with the human face of poverty in India and his conversations with social scientists in a secular university. The distinctive research methods of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI), which he founded within the Department of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at Edinburgh University in 1984, were in turn shaped by these transformative experiences in Duncan’s earlier life as an educational missionary and university chaplain.
Duncan believed that practical theologians should never talk about poverty behind the backs of the poor. And he thought that practical theology had much to learn from dialogue with social policy experts who did not share his faith. When CTPI did research on poverty or on penal policy, for example, it always included the expert views of people from poor communities, and prisoners in the penal system, as well as social scientists. This way of doing practical theology is his lasting gift to our field. Yet Duncan’s commitment to including marginalized voices and expertise did not diminish the importance of making his own distinctive theological contribution, as his major writings on justice, equality and the public relevance of theology testify.

Duncan Forrester may have come late to the professional field of practical theology, but he came early to the global issues that rightly concern practical theologians around the world today, especially issues of injustice and inequality. His distinctive way of addressing them is his enduring legacy in the International Academy of Practical Theology, of which he was a proud and committed member.

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Full Professorship at Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, 0,8 – 1,0 fte

Full Professorship at Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, 0,8 – 1,0 fte

Job opening: Full Professorship at Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, 0,8 – 1,0 fte

Tilburg School of Catholic Theology is looking for female candidates for a Full Professorship at Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, 0,8 – 1,0 fte for 5 years with the possibility of a tenured position

This five-year professorship, as part of the Philip Eijlander Diversity Program, is assigned to an outstanding female academic from any country. The professorship is also open for employees currently working at Tilburg University.

Tilburg University is committed to diversity as a self-evident value within its organization. Diversity, inclusion, and equality are important key priorities of the university’s HR policy. Under the Philip Eijlander Diversity Program, Tilburg University offers talented women with a passion for teaching and research a wonderful opportunity to design research and courses on important themes at the various Schools. Appointees will receive a start-up grant for their research and will participate in a networking and mentoring program. Read more about the Philip Eijlander Diversity Program:

Job description:
The successful candidate is expected to research, teach, and supervise (under)graduate and PhD students in the field of her specialization. She is expected to develop new ideas in research and education, and acquire funding (independently or jointly with other colleagues) for future research. A more specific description of job responsibilities will be drawn up in discussion with the successful candidate and will depend on her field of specialization and qualifications.

Candidates are expected:
– To have a PhD degree in Theology or a related discipline;
– To be specialized in one of the disciplines within Theology (e.g., Historical Theology, Biblical Exegesis, Systematic Theology and Practical Theology);
– To meet the criteria of their specific appointment in terms of research quality, teaching quality, management responsibilities, valorization of their research and active role as member of a department;
– To have experience in acquiring additional funding for their research (e.g., ERC grants, VENI, VIDI, VICI grants, indirect funding and contract funding);
– To be able and be prepared to take an active role as role-model or diversity agent in the university (e.g., by delivering a public lecture during the course of their tenure track; by making – their research available for a larger audience; by mentoring other junior women faculty; by incorporating gender as an integral part in the teaching and research programs);
– To meet the requirements for a missio canonica from the Chancellor of the TST, and a nihil obstat from the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Procedure and Information
For more information on the positions, please contact the dean of the School, Prof. Dr. M. Sarot (, +31134663839).

Candidates can apply by submitting:
– A brief research proposal for five years that is embedded in one of the research programs of the TST (see ): The proposal should include an abstract, aim of the research, deliverables, study design and methodology, planning, budget.

– A Curriculum Vitae: Diplomas; Relevant experience; Publication records; Teaching evaluations; Grants and Prices, etcetera;
Personal details (publication criteria will be weighted by special circumstances such as leaves for caring for dependents, pregnancy leave etcetera);

– A motivation letter including: How the professorship contributes to the development of the research program and ambition of the school;
Activities to support diversity and inclusion including an explanation why the candidate can be a role model in the organization.

Applications and accompanying documents should be submitted by February 12, 2017.
The only way to apply is online by following this link:

Terms and conditions of the Philip Eijlander Diversity program
The Philip Eijlander Diversity Program is a program of five years during which the professor is expected to focus on research; yet the professor also participates in teaching and managerial activities of the department and/or school. This is important for the further career and the integration of the professor in the academic community of Tilburg University. Allocation of research time and teaching time follows the school’s specifics for academic positions.

The professor will be incorporated in the organizational structure of a particular department and is expected to develop her own line of research fitting within the research ambition of the school. Following a positive evaluation at the end of a maximum of five years, the professor will be awarded tenure on the basis of the criteria applicable to this process. Dependant upon the track record of the candidate, immediate tenure may be negotiable. Having been awarded tenure, the professor will follow the regular career path for academics at a specific school for TiU.

The head of the department will be the supervisor of the professor. The role of the supervisor is to provide the professor with regular feedback about her performance and progress. The professor furthermore will be provided with a mentor from the ambassador network (see below) of the Philip Eijlander Diversity program.

The five-year Philip Eijlander Professorship comprises:
– A gross annual salary commensurate with experience and in accordance with Dutch national standards for the respective level of professorship;
– A start-up research grant of max € 10.000;
– A mentoring /coaching program to facilitate the career path of the professor in her career;
– A networking program for professors. This networking program includes an inspirational writing seminar.
See also :

Conditions of Employment
Tilburg University is rated among the top of Dutch employers and has excellent terms of employment. The selected candidate will be assigned a position that is in accordance with her previous education and experience. She will be appointed for a fixed period of five years. Based upon an evaluation after 5 years, an open-ended contract is possible. Selected candidates will be ranked in the Dutch university employment system (UFO). Depending on the candidates’ experience, the starting gross salary for a fulltime appointment will vary between € 5.260,- and € 7659,- per month (€ 73.000,- – € 106.000,- , gross, all-in per year), based on scale hoogleraar 2 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) Dutch Universities. Researchers from outside of the Netherlands or long-term Dutch expats may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. The university will apply for such an allowance on their behalf.

Tilburg School of Catholic Theology
Tilburg School of Catholic Theology (TST) focuses on scholarly training and research in Catholic theology for the benefit of all those interested and in particular for those preparing for an office or position requiring a canonical mission. TST is the only school of Catholic theology in the Netherlands that is recognized by the Church. Besides offering scholarly education, preparing students for ecclesiastical office, the school also offers a research-masters programme in theology and a master programme Christianity and Society. The faculty’s main offices are located in Utrecht, but a full programme of studies is also taught in Tilburg.

Recruitment code
Tilburg University applies the recruitmentcode of the Dutch Association for Personnel Management & Organization Development (NVP).

The text of this vacancy advertisement is copyright-protected property of Tilburg University. Use, distribution and further disclosure of the advertisement without express permission from Tilburg University is not allowed, and this applies explicitly to use by recruitment and selection agencies which do not act directly on the instructions of Tilburg University. Responses resulting from recruitment by non-contractors of Tilburg Universities will not be handled.

Click here for the vacancy link