Kersten Nominated to Lead North Park Theological Seminary

CHICAGO, IL (February 13, 2012) – David W. Kersten has been nominated to serve as dean of North Park Theological Seminary, following approval of the North Park University Board of Trustees on Saturday.

Kersten currently serves as executive minister of the Department of the Ordered Ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church, a position he has held for the past decade. He holds degrees from both the university and seminary.

His nomination will come before the ECC Executive Board in March and if approved, Kersten’s nomination will come before delegates to the June Annual Meeting in Irvine, California.

If approved in June, Kersten will assume his new duties on August 1.

“I join the search committee in carrying a real sense of excitement at the recommendation of David Kersten as the dean of North Park Theological Seminary,” said search committee chair Paul Hawkinson. “I am thrilled that we have identified someone who can so effectively and immediately connect with the seminary and the university community, the broader church and its ministerium and broader lay leadership. Dave is a very gifted leader who will join an incredibly rich faculty and staff as well as a deeply talented leadership team at the university. Now the real work begins, but we look forward with great hope.”

ECC President Gary Walter also expressed his gratitude for the thorough process and Kersten’s selection, noting the opportunities that lie ahead. “Given all of the clarification of denominational priorities through Organizing for Mission, this is an especially important and opportune moment for even greater alignment between the church and seminary. Dave is uniquely qualified to maximize that partnership.”

Describing the search process as “a long journey,” Kersten said he spent considerable time in his own discernment process. “I thought about my connections with the pastoral community and what it takes for a pastor to begin and sustain the vocation,” he related. “The longer I prayed about it and talked with others, I realized that given my past experience, I do have a voice and something to offer. Over time, I realized that this had become the center of a call.”

Kersten sees this transition as coming at an opportune time, with four key areas of focus clearly in mind as he contemplates his new role.

“I want to work hard on strengthening the financial base of the seminary, which serves as the face of the denomination as part of the university,” Kersten says. “I am hoping to do that quickly and then turn my focus to strategic issues involving the future of theological education, lifelong learning opportunities for the pastoral community, and theological education for whole church.” He sees delivery systems as a vital component in achieving these goals.

Kersten also sees the role of the seminary as critical in helping to maintain a sense of Covenant identity and cohesion as the denomination continues to grow and diversify.

“I come with both the endorsement and long-standing connection and cooperation with conference superintendents, the pastoral community, the Executive Board of the Covenant Ministerium and others,” Kersten points out. “I would like to help more fully connect the university and seminary to those bodies.”

Looking back on his 10 years leading the Department of the Ordered Ministry, Kersten noted several advancements. “We’ve moved the department from the very focused roles of credentialing and crisis intervention to a full-service ministry that is welcoming and inclusive, through things like orientation, pastoral development and creating significant resources through the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program and other endeavors. The department has a much broader portfolio today.”

North Park University President David Parkyn asked for prayers on behalf of Kersten and his wife, Sandra, as Kersten completes the appointment process and prepares to transition to his new role. Click here to read a related story from the university website.

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