By action of the Board of Directors, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has named the Rev. Dr. Donna Giver-Johnston as the new director of the Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry Program, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Dr. Giver-Johnston has served in pastoral ministry for more than 20 years as an Ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and currently serves as the pastor and head of staff at Community PC of Ben Avon in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she has been since 2013. She is also a theological educator, having taught in the areas of liturgy and worship, homiletics, and field education in a variety of settings, including at PTS.
“Dr. Giver-Johnston is a gifted and proven leader and administrator in both theological education and pastoral ministry. We believe she is the right person to continue strengthening our Doctor of Ministry Program as we discern how to best meet the needs and challenges of ministry in the 21st century. Students, faculty, staff, and the wider Seminary community will be blessed by her gifted intellect and extensive experience.”
Dr. Giver-Johnston earned a B.A. from Westminster College (Pa.), M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and both an M.A. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Her areas of expertise include homiletics and liturgics, practical theology, feminist scholarship, and theological education.
She is the author of Claiming the Call to Preach: Four Female Pioneers of Preaching in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford University Press, 2021) and Writing for the Ear, Preaching from the Heart (Fortress Press, 2021), in addition to several published journal articles and book reviews. Her newest book, which she co-authored with Beverly Zink-Sawyer, is For Everything a Season: Preaching for Special Occasions, due out later this year.
In addition to her educational and teaching experience, Dr. Giver-Johnston is a gifted administrator. While a student at Vanderbilt, she served as a writing consultant for students, a field education supervisor, a ministry candidate supervisor, and a preaching coach for students. In 2013, Vanderbilt Divinity School named Dr. Giver-Johnston the Field Education Supervisor of the Year. From 2014-2020, she served on the Executive Committee of the Pittsburgh Presbytery. And most recently, as moderator of her church session, she led an adaptive change process resulting in a new beginnings initiative and a transformation campaign toward a more vital church.
“I am very excited to join the distinguished faculty and dedicated staff and administration committed to furthering the Seminary’s mission of equipping students for the work of ministry,” said Giver-Johnston. “I look forward to directing a Doctor of Ministry program that provides a space for students to engage in theological reflection, spiritual renewal, and vocational re-commitment in becoming who they are called to be and seeking to change the world for good.”