Betty Jeanne Rueters-Ward

Research Scholar


M.A.S.C., Social Change, Starr King School for the Ministry
B.A. Institutional and Organizational Sociology, Ithaca College


Betty Jeanne Rueters-Ward’s Starr King journey began as a student, helping launch the school’s Master of Arts in Social Change program. As a student leader, she served in a range of capacities beyond the classroom, including co-leading the school’s reaccreditation and strategic planning team; coordinating marketing, recruitment, and advancement efforts; and co-teaching graduate-level courses. In her final year of seminary, she was awarded the Jonathan Daniels Fellowship from Episcopal Divinity School for her leadership in social justice movements. 

Betty Jeanne has served on the adjunct faculty since 2007 and the advising faculty since 2014. She teaches courses on organizational leadership, functional theology, community organizing, religious-secular coalition building, education/pedagogy, multigenerational ministry, and more. Three things that distinguish her teaching approach: 

  • Linking theory, reflection and action within and beyond the classroom 
  • Customizable curricula that engage students’ unique passions, interests and goals 
  • Multi-faceted, interactive courses that bring virtual learning to life 

Betty Jeanne’s seminary studies have been integral to her careerHer graduate research centered on “Personal Sustainability in Social Movements” and “Constructive Theologies for Mental and Spiritual Health.” During a subsequent fellowship for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Networkher reflections on “Rethinking Work Culture and Complexifying Self Care in the Nonprofit Sector” were published by Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Betty Jeanne partnered with groups including PeoplesHub, Faith Matters Network, and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association to lead support groups for spiritual leaders, activists, community organizers, parents, and other caregivers and changemakers navigating this turbulent time. 

Beyond her faculty role at Starr King, Betty Jeanne is a social change practitioner and strategist whose work includes ministry, community organizing, public speaking, writing, coaching, teaching and training, fundraising, program management and more. Her leadership spans the non-profit, educational, religious, philanthropic, and socially responsible business sectors. She drives spiritually-rooted change through capacity building and by developing effective, sustainable leaders of all ages, with the goal of activating people, organizations and communities in pursuit of the common good. More about her work can be found at

Betty Jeanne is grateful for her religiously vibrant and diverse upbringing, having served as an active lay leader since her youth. Presently, she sings in the gospel choir and leads the “Revolutionary Parenting” group at Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village of Manhattan, and attends Grace Episcopal Church with her family near their home in Brooklyn. She recently served on the ministerial transition team of All Souls Church in Manhattan, leading a large and vibrant urban congregation through significant organizational change. 

When asked by her German relatives about her decision to attend and teach at a seminary, she expressed it this way: “Dieser Weg ermöglichte mir, meine tiefste Menschlichkeit einzuleben.” Or in English: “This path enabled me to live into my deepest humanity.”