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Columbia Theological Seminary appoints professor of Practical Theology, Pastoral Counseling

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes lauded for work healing the legacies of racial and gender oppression

by Columbia Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes has joined the faculty of Columbia Theological Seminary. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Theological Seminary)

DECATUR, Georgia — Dr. Love Sechrest, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Columbia Theological Seminary, has announced the appointment of Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes by the seminary’s Board of Trustees as Professor of Practical Theology and Pastoral Counseling.

“As an institution that serves the church in contemporary society,” said Sechrest, “we must ensure that our students are equipped to address all areas of pastoral care, especially and including those of race and reconciliation. Dr. Walker-Barnes’ work on healing the legacies of racial and gender oppression will bring an important perspective to our students.”

In appointing Walker-Barnes, the Columbia Theological Seminary Board of Trustees recognizes that pastors must have the ability to deftly handle reconciliation issues that arise in the church and the world at large.

“Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes has woven together the best scholarship in clinical psychology with an incarnational faith grounded in justice and faith,” said the Rev. Dr. Millie Snyder, Executive Pastor of Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and Board of Trustee member. “She brings a grace and wisdom to equip ministry leaders for the work of pastoral care and counseling. In our broken and hurting world, the ministry of pastoral care becomes central to the work of the kingdom and Dr. Walker-Barnes’ gifts will be vitally necessary for the seminary as we seek to be faithful to our calling.”

Walker-Barnes has more than 20 years of experience in higher education, having served on the faculty at institutions including Mercer University, McAfee School of Theology, Shaw University Divinity School, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Florida, and Duke University. She earned a B.A. in Psychology/African American and African Studies from Emory University before going on to earn a master’s and a doctorate in Clinical Child/Family Psychology at the University of Miami. Her Master of Divinity degree, magna cum laude, is from the Duke University Divinity School.

She is the author of two books, “I Bring the Voices of My People with Me: A Womanist Vision of Racial Reconciliation” (Prophetic Christianity Series, Eerdmans, 2019) and “Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength” (Cascade Books, 2014.) In addition, she has authored numerous book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, and reviews. She currently serves on the editorial board for the Society of Pastoral Theology’s Journal of Pastoral Theology and is co-chair of their Embodiment Study Group. Walker-Barnes is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Psychological Association, the Association of Practical Theology, and the Georgia Psychological Association. She is a licensed therapist in Georgia.

“Bridging and bringing together diverse cultures and contexts is an important part of what we do at Columbia,” said seminary President Leanne Van Dyk. “Dr. Walker-Barnes will help us further our mission to nurture imaginative and faithful pastoral care leaders going forward.”

“One of the great joys of being a seminary faculty member is the privilege of shaping Christian leaders who will engage the Church and the world in ministry that transforms individuals, relationships, and society,” said Walker-Barnes. “I believe this is the type of work that Columbia Theological Seminary is doing, and I look forward to being a part of it.”

About Columbia Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary exists to cultivate faithful leaders for God’s changing world. As the most diverse educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church and the world. Columbia offers six masters and doctoral degree programs, and opportunities for continuing education through The Center for Lifelong Learning. 

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