Students Learn, Experience Pastoral Care

snapshot_bannersnapshot-20081015Rev. Susan Ritchie plays the shofar during Chapel service in the courtyard.
Surrounding photos of new visiting core faculty at Starr King School.

Delivering sermons may be the more public expression of ministry, but the quiet skill of pastoral care is the one that often leaves a lasting impression. Rev. Kurt Kuhwald has vast experience as a pastoral counselor and is sharing it at Starr King this fall in his new course, “One-to-One Pastoral Care Basics.”

Rev. Kuhwald, a longtime community minister, is one of six new visiting core faculty members at the school this year — a number that brings the faculty–student ratio at Starr King to 1:7. “It’s clear that when you have seven students, you can be available to them when they need support,” says Kuhwald.

One of Rev. Kuhwald’s students, Chris Long, agrees that the improved faculty–student ratio allows for greater “personal presence” by the faculty. By studying with Rev. Kuhwald, Long says, “I’ve gained a deeper appreciation and awareness of the scope of ministry.”

Another of the new visiting core faculty members is Rev. Susan Ritchie, who this fall is teaching “Unitarian Universalist History in Europe” and “UU Identity⁄Identities?” In her one–to–one and class work, she is encouraging students to “give ourselves permission to continuously re-invent our UU identity and allow different answers for different generations.”

Rev. Ritchie says she feels privileged to be part of Starr King’s new educational model that emphasizes interfaith engagement and multi–religious learning. “It has always been my dream that Unitarian Universalist theological education would … live at the intersection of Christianity, Islam and Judaism,” she says, “and Starr King’s educational model is at the intersection of these traditions.”

Sunshine J. Wolfe, a fourth-year M.Div student, is taking both of Rev. Ritchie’s courses this semester. “I really appreciate Susan’s love of knowledge,” says Wolfe. “She teaches us how to do the work of building multi-religious communities.”

The other four new visiting core faculty members are: Dr. Ghazala Anwar and Ayize Jama Everett, M.Div, who will focus on mentoring and advising students this academic year; Dr. Jo Sanzgiri (currently attending a conference in South Africa) will teach “Graduate Level Pedagogies,” and Rev. Michelle Favreault, who will teach religious education courses in the spring semester.

Read profiles of our new visiting core faculty.

Pictured above, clockwise from top right: Rev. Susan Ritchie, Dr. Ghazala Anwar, Rev. Kurt Kuhwald, Dr. Jo Sanzgiri, Rev. Michelle Favreault, Ayize Jama Everett. Center photo: Rev. Ritchie, who spent years training to play the classical trumpet, plays the shofar, a “natural trumpet” made from the horn of a ram; looking on is student Mary Sue Foster.

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