Meet Two Members of the Class of 2020

Catherine A. Bowser, Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry

Authorized Pastor: United Church of Christ

I came to know PTS through its high-quality continuing education offerings. ​Highlights of my certificate program include Dr. Tucker Ferda’s course Teaching Bible Study in the Church, the Rev. Dr. Drew Smith’s informative Urban Ministry class, and especially the Rev. Dr. John Welch’s Metro-Urban Ministry course, which grounded my understanding of the influence of immigration and the industrial revolution in Pittsburgh.

With a heart for the plight of African Americans in the communities of Pittsburgh, and feeling called to share what I have learned with the White communities in which I am involved, I aim to be part of an interracial worship program and discussion groups. I am enrolled in the Seminary’s Graduate Certificate in Church Planting and Revitalization program and continue to serve on the Transformation and Renewal Team for the PennWest Conference of the UCC. 

The Rev. Dr. James W. Kirk (M.Div. ’08), D.Min./Parish Focus

Ordination: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

As pastor of a small church that includes seniors and families, I’ve found that the ministry of caring for surviving spouses and adults who have lost a loved one is challenging. During the current pandemic, ministry in the local parish has become more creative, unique, and adaptive. To grow in my pastoral ministry, I researched the Seminary’s D.Min. program and classes. After also speaking with the director and students in the program, I enrolled in its Parish Focus.

A useful highlight of my experience was the tying together of the program from beginning to end: the same faculty member led the Introduction to the Doctoral Program course and the final Proposal Lab. I am now continuing in my ninth year as pastor of Valencia (Pa.) PC and beginning some new ministries with my congregation.