Pamela D. Couture has been named the inaugural Jane and Geoffrey Martin Chair in Church and Community at Emmanuel College. As chair, her teaching and research will be charged with the purpose of connecting theological interpretation to the formation of Christian leaders who can contribute to the renewal of the mainline church’s ministry and mission. Couture will join Emmanuel College as the Jane and Geoffrey Martin Chair in Church and Community on July 1, 2010.
“Dr. Couture brings an exciting variety of gifts, all of them devoted to making connections between church and community,” says Emmanuel College principal Mark G. Toulouse. “In her work, she has sought to bring the practices of ministry into active conversation with social conflict, global Christianity, and issues that especially affect women, children and poverty. Her appointment represents an outstanding addition to our faculty.”
“I am delighted by the opportunities the Geoffrey and Jane Martin Chair of Church and Community presents. It holds the potential to address the current challenges facing church and community in Canada and the world around it,” says Couture. “I am thrilled to bring my interests and scholarship to the conversations and issues that will emerge as a result of this academic chair.”
Couture is an accomplished pastoral theologian and scholar, as well as a United Methodist ordained minister and community leader. She comes to Emmanuel College from the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., where she has held the position of vice-president of academic affairs, dean and professor of practical theology. In the resurgence of interest in practical theology, she became the first person to receive a PhD in practical theology from the University of Chicago, where she worked to combine ethical reasoning with critical correlation of the social sciences and practical theology, thinking broadly about the specialized practices of ministry, the role of ministry and theology in community and society.
Couture’s life work has been to bring together pastoral theology and social responsibility. In her scholarship, she addresses the question of church and community through the lens of issues affecting women and children, impoverished communities, families, social conflict and global Christianity. She has made several trips to Africa in an effort to examine the question of how the church might best contribute to peace through an active and ecclesial practice of caring for human beings in the midst of their particular needs. As part of her research, she worked with an interfaith coalition that brought a major gift of pharmaceuticals to 11 different hospitals and clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a pastoral theologian, Couture has been active in both community and church outreach, fostering new understandings of evangelism and mission, and in developing skills among students in areas associated with public theology and community leadership. She is currently working on a project documenting the peacemaking practices of Luba Congolese in the Democratic Republic of Congo.