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B.A., University of California, Berkeley
M.Div., Harvard Divinity School, cum laude
Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif.
Postgraduate study, Kantor Family Institute
As a pastoral theologian, Brita Gill-Austern has a passion for teaching and creating a community of learning where the care of persons is embodied in a pedagogy that engages head and heart. For many years her academic interests and specializations have centered around: the integration of faith, health and spirituality, the psychology and spirituality of women, ecclesial models of care, the study of depression, and developmental psychology. In a co-edited volume, Feminist and Womanist Pastoral Theology, she and Bonnie Miller McLemore lift up the contributions of feminism and womanism to the discipline of pastoral theology. She has contributed many articles and chapters to the field of pastoral theology.
In the last several years her teaching, research and writing have turned to examine the intersection of love and justice in relation to the care of those made poor by practices of exclusion. This has led to working with students to cross geographical and conceptual borders to enhance their understanding of the forces that deepen poverty and create divisions between us. She is Faculty Director of Border-Crossing Immersions and has led border crossing trips to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, and Myanmar over the last six years. She has been committed for more than two decades to interfaith dialogue and work between Jews and Christians, and for the last several years with Muslims as well. An underlying theme that weaves through all her work is the centrality of connection to all healing, and fostering those practices of connection that can bring healing to individuals, communities and society as a whole.
As a board member of Communities Without Borders, she is active in work to stop the spread of global AIDS and to educate AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children in Zambia and India, to ensure a more hopeful future for them and our world. She is an ordained United Church of Christ pastor, and served in three parishes in Pennsylvania and California for eight years before joining the faculty at ANTS in 1988.
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