Steering Committee

Dipa H. Hart, Chair

Dr. Dipa H. Hart serves as the Director for Ministry Formation and Adjunct Faculty for Educational Ministries and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary. With over 18 years of field education, Dr. Hart’s background also includes hospital chaplaincy, spiritual formation, church planting, and missions. She is passionate about ecclesial and organizational leadership studies, Christian spirituality, intercultural engagement, and developing new field education directors. Dr. Hart is a 1.5 generation Indian-American and a licensed minister, procuring degrees from Regent University (Ph.D, Organizational Leadership), Dallas Theological Seminary, and the University of Texas at Austin. She formerly chaired and served with an ATFE caucus, the Evangelical Association of Theological Field Educators (EATFE), for several years before becoming the ATFE Vice-Chair from 2019-2022. Dr. Hart now leads as Chair, starting in 2022.

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Christina Zakar, Vice Chair

Christina Zakar fills the role of Director of Field Education at Catholic Theological Union while also teaching spirituality and pastoral ministry. Her research focus includes theological reflection as it intersects with justice and family spirituality. She previously served in parish ministry, campus ministry, university teaching and non profit management. Her book, Surprised by God: Teaching Reflection through the Parables, is a popular resource for field educators and their students. A member of ATFE for 8 years, Christina served as the chair of the Research & Publications committee until 2018, moving to the seat of ATFE Vice-Chair in 2022.

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John Senior, Treasurer

John Senior directs the Wake Forest University School of Divinity’s Art of Ministry program, which includes its field education curriculum. In addition to being an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), his academic research and teaching focus on the following: pastoral formation for ministry, field-based learning, ministry leadership in both ecclesial and public settings, and the role of theological education in preparing leaders for a wide variety of institutional contexts. Trained in Christian ethics and the sociology of religion, Senior also invests time in political theology and ethics as well as earth-centered approaches to apply in living the moral life and ministry.

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Thomas W. Elliott, Jr., Secretary

Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Elliott, Jr., is Associate Professor in the Practice of Practical Theology and Methodist Studies as well as Director of Contextual Education II, Teaching Parish Program, and Internships at Emory’s Candler School of Theology. An elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Elliott served as the pastor of rural, town and suburban churches for 26 years prior to joining the Candler faculty in 2013. Ties to local churches, campus ministries, and non-profits in the Atlanta area and beyond are beneficial as he assists students in their second year contextual education placements in ecclesial settings, directs the Teaching Parish program, and structures internship opportunities. Elliott frequently serves as guest preacher in churches and worships at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on Emory’s campus. Elliott serves on the board of directors for the Salem Campground, one of the oldest existing camp meetings in the nation, and sits on the board of directors of the United Methodist Children’s Home and Project Transformation North Georgia.

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Sung Hee Chang, Research and Publications Chair

Sung Hee Chang serves the faculty of Union Presbyterian Seminary as Associate Professor of Supervised Ministry and Director of Supervised Ministry & Vocational Planning, Charlotte campus. Previously, she provided expertise as an educator in several churches in Virginia and North Carolina. Her areas of special interest include curriculum theory with a particular attention to contextual education, postcolonial studies, intercultural theological education, ecumenical formation, interreligious education, and Asian theological education. She currently serves as moderator on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Intercultural Network. Her recent publication includes an edited book, Enlighten: Formational Learning in Theological Field Education, Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.

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Chris Arockiaraj, At Large

Father Chris Arockiaraj, P.S.S., is Director of Pastoral Formation at Theological College, Catholic University of America. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Madras, India, previously filling positions in chaplaincy and academia, and now serves as a certified pastoral counselor and spiritual director. He lectures in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at Catholic University, coordinates the University’s Basic Supervised Ministry Program, and leads as Vice-Rector of the Theological College.

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Melvin Baber, At Large

The Rev. Dr. Baber is the Field Education Coordinator and an adjunct professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1982 by the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Robert E. McMorris. Prior to full-time ministry, Dr. Baber taught in public high schools and worked via nonprofit organizations with ex-offenders and formerly incarcerated persons. He currently serves as Pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church, York, PA, the longest sitting pastor in the church’s history.

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Erin Laurvick, At Large

Ms. Laurvick is Program Manager for the Office of Professional Formation at Iliff School of Theology, receiving an MDiv from Iliff and a BA from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her background includes work within refugee resettlement and food insecurity non-profits, church ministries for children through young adults, corporate and higher education technology, as well as extensive experience in mentoring, organizational operations, and curriculum development.

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Susan MacAlpine-Gillis, At Large

The Rev. Dr. MacAlpine-Gillis is Assistant Professor at Atlantic School of Theology. Ordained in the United Church of Canada, her academic pursuits include congregational development, leadership, and transformation.  She teaches courses in pastoral theology at AST, co-coordinates the summer distance MDiv program, and serves as Recruitment and Vocations Coordinator.

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Barbara Blodgett, Chair Emeritus, ex officio

The Rev. Dr. Barbara Blodgett is an educator, ethicist, and minister ordained in the United Church of Christ.  Her background includes work in theological education, denominational leadership, college teaching, and parish ministry. Dr. Blodgett also writes and teaches about pedagogy, preparing leaders, and ministry ethics. As a member of ATFE, she chaired the Research & Publications committee from 2015-2019, served as an At Large member from 2017-2019, and sat as ATFE chair from 2019-21.