What does the church mean when it speaks of ‘pastoral’ care? what does it look like in practice, and how does it connect with a living Christian Faith? This unit offers a robust theological foundation for the practice of pastoral care. Drawing on the core theological resources of the Christian tradition it disrupts common understandings of pastoral care both within and beyond the church, clearing the ground for a fresh approach to a theologically informed pastoral ministry. Various contemporary issues and diverse life experiences provide a stimulating context for this pursuit.

Unit code: DP1500P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of the Christian foundations of ‘pastoral’ care.


Articulate connections between Christian theology and pastoral practice


Begin to integrate theology and skills in pastoral practice


I take the view that the process of learning and formation takes place relationally, in the mutual interaction of those who make up the learning community as we engage together in particular issues, themes and questions. The best way to do that will be to take seriously these things: scholarly tradition and sources, what you already know through experience and learning, the context in which you are located, the issues and questions which you bring, and the dynamics of our learning community.

Indicative Bibliography

No textbook is required for this unit.

  1. Burns, S. Pastoral Theology for Public Ministry. New York: Church Publishing, 2015
  2. Van Deusen Hunsinger. D. Pray Without Ceasing: Revitalizing Pastoral Care. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.
  3. Doehring, C. The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach. Rev. ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press 2015.
  4. Dykstra, R. Images of Pastoral Care. St Louis, US: Chalice Press 2005
  5. Lartey, E. Pastoral Theology in an Intercultural World. Rev. ed. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013.
  6. Pembroke, N. Renewing Pastoral Practice: Trinitarian Perspectives on Pastoral Care and Counselling. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006
  7. Ramsey, N., ed. Pastoral Care and Counseling: Redefining the Paradigms. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2005.
  8. Swinton, J. Raging with Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the problem of Evil. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 2007.
  9. Thornton, S. Broken Yet beloved: A Pastoral Theology of the Cross. St Louis: Chalice Press 2005
  10. Woodward, J. and S. Pattison. The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Journal - Reflective Journal, kept weekly, under two guiding questions: What have I learned about my theology of pastoral care; What are the implications of this for my pastoral practice? 1500 30.0
Essay - A paper on the integration of theology and pastoral ministry in a particular context 2500 70.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 17 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-17 13:22:21 +1000