The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Bernier
The Department of Pastoral Theology is a truly unique feature at CTH. Unlike other seminaries today, which have done away with a “pastoral care” program in lieu of a “corporate CEO model,” courses taken through this department teach the approach to the discipline of pastoral care, or the “cure of souls,” which is taught from a Scriptural and sacramental perspective. Students are introduced to the historical and theological rationale for the classical versions of The Book of Common Prayer, as well as the pastoral, liturgical, and practical dimensions of parish administration.
PT 501 Spirituality: Survey of and introduction to various classical Christian works from the past with a focus on the spiritual life and well-being of pastors and other church leaders in the present. Special consideration will be given to seeking a balance between the place of the intellect, experience, this world, and the world to come with the goal to introduce students to an approach to ministry as spiritual director and not simply as program manager.
PT 502 Canon Law and Pastoral Administration: Introduction to the principles of Canon Law, the Constitution and Canons of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and the doctrinal foundations of these governing documents. The application of Canon Law in the governance of parishes is discussed in the context of parish by-laws, vestry oversight, pastoral ethics, parish budgets, and policies to reduce parish liability in legal matters.
PT 603 Marriage and Family: Exploration of the Biblical, liturgical, and pastoral aspects of Holy Matrimony and the Christian family. Special consideration is given to the examination of the whole range of relational dynamics, including engagement and pre-marital relationship, the service of Holy Matrimony, having and rearing children, the ethics of birth control, and spousal and parent/child relationships.
PT 604 Evangelism and Missions: Introduction to the Biblical and theological basis for parochial outreach, evangelism, and worldwide missions. Special consideration is given to the essential elements of evangelization and Christian initiation, involving not only the accurate proclamation of the Word, but also the acceptance of the Gospel claims entailing conversion, profession of faith, sacramental incorporation (Baptism, Confirmation), and admission to Eucharistic communion.
PT 705 Cure of Souls: Introduction to the content, skills, and responsibilities involved in a call to assume holy orders building upon the foundation of the “classical” sacramental economy. Other models of ministry will also be considered and contrasted with the classical approach in light of Scripture, theology, and history to show the unique role of the pastor in the care and nurturing of souls This is the how-to-pastor course.
DS 622 The Office and Work of the Deaconess: A study of the Biblical and historical foundations for the office of Deaconess and of the duties of an Anglican Deaconess. Of particular focus will be the qualifications and requirements for becoming a Deaconess along with a review of the Canons and Handbook in the REC. The course also includes an overview of the practical ministries to which a Deaconess may be called.
DS 722 Biblical Womanhood: Introduction to the biblical teaching on womanhood, including woman’s creation in the image of God, the effects of the Fall and its reversal through the work of Christ, and the implications of the Church as the Bride of Christ. This course will provide an overview of key women in the Scriptures and will lay the foundation for the biblical response to feminism.