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The Department of the Church's Ministry

The Department of the Church's Ministry engages in practical theology, which consists of critical and constructive theological reflection on the practices of the community of faith. God calls people through the church to engage in a number of diverse practices in the course of Christian ministry. This department organizes these practices into the following areas: Christian Education, Leadership and Administration, Mission and Evangelism, Pastoral Care, and Preaching and Worship. Each of these areas of theological inquiry finds its roots in scripture, its foundational doctrines articulated within the tradition, its practices changing throughout history, and its methods in conversation with the social sciences. Consequently through biblical and historical study, theological analysis, and interdisplinary dialogue, this department assists students to gain the understanding and skills necessary to being faithful participants in the ministry of the church.


To view videos from each of the professors in the department, click on their “profiles” below.

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Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel

Faculty Information
Department(s) Church's Ministry Department, Faculty
Title(s) Assistant Professor of Homiletics
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Listen to Dr. Helsel's sermons here



BA, Whitworth University, 2001 summa cum laude, Religion

MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2004

ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2010

PhD, Emory University, 2014, Graduate Division of Religion, Area: Person, Community, and Religious Life. Dissertation: "The Hermeneutics of Recognition: A Ricoeurian Interpretive Framework for Whites Preaching about Racism."


Carolyn Browning Helsel joined the faculty of Austin Seminary in 2015. Prior to her appointment she was a transitional pastor for The Presbyterian CHurch in Sudbury (Massachusetts). She also served as visiting professor at both the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and Wartburg Theological Seminary. She was a teaching assistant for Professors Tom Long, Teresa Fry Brown, and Luke Timothy Johnson; the title of her dissertation is “The Hermeneutics of Recognition: A Ricoeurian Interpretative Framework for Whites Preaching about Racism.”

Helsel was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and served as associate pastor at John Calvin Presbyterian Church (2005-2007) in San Antonio, Texas. While in Boston, she served on the Synod Work Group on Race for the Synod of the Northeast and on the Committee on Preparation for Ministry for Boston Presbytery.

Carolyn Helsel is the author of Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Race (Chalice Press, 2018).

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