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Reverend Dr. Esther Acolatse appointed as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology

Esther Acolatse

Knox College’s Board of Governors is pleased to announce the appointment of the Reverend Dr. Esther Acolatse as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Knox College, beginning July 1, 2017. Dr. Acolatse brings strengths in teaching experience, scholarship, commitment to ongoing learning, ability to be a role model for students, and compatibility with the Knox College community. 

Dr. Acolatse is a life-long member of the Presbyterian Church, first in Ghana, and more recently as ordained clergy within the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has been Assistant Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and World Christianity at Duke Divinity School (Durham, N.C.) since 2010.

Dr. Acolatse graduated with a bachelor’s degree (with honours) from the University of Ghana with a religion and psychology major, followed by a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University. She then earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Princeton Theological Seminary; her doctoral thesis is entitled “Cosmology and Pastoral Diagnoses: A Psycho-theological Anthropology for Pastoral Counseling in Ghana.”

Dr. Acolatse has demonstrated a deep commitment to research and is strong in her knowledge of intercultural values and practices. In 2014 she published her first book, For Freedom or Bondage: A critique of African Pastoral Practices. Her second book, Fleeing from the Spirit? Biblical Realism and the Demands of Contextual Theology, is under contract.

An experienced teacher, Dr. Acolatse has taught courses including Method in Practical Theology, Cross Cultural Pastoral Care and Counseling, Pastoral Care and Gender Issues, Psychology of Religion, and Death and Dying. She says, “My goal in teaching is to engage in serious theological reflection and dialogue with students…. My pedagogical approach encourages students to question the sometimes pre-formulated answers and lead them gradually to the place where their new answers are solid enough to invite even newer and deeper questions and answers…. Such an approach, I believe, best prepares students for appropriate pastoral interventions, especially in our increasing multi-ethnic and multi-faith family contexts.”

As Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Knox College, Dr. Acolatse will equip students to serve the church through specialized areas of pastoral ministries, spiritual care/therapy, and social service. She will focus on integrating Christian life and practice with theological insight and spiritual depth, preparing students to be leaders in lay and diaconal ministries in faith communities, pursue careers in the non-profit sector, and work as institutional chaplains, spiritual care practitioners, psycho-spiritual therapists, and community workers.