Dr. Petersen was appointed as Professor of Pastoral Leadership in 2021, joining the college in the summer of that year. Karen is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church USA and a member of the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest of that denomination. She previously served as Associate Professor of Theology at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Whitworth is a private liberal arts college in the Reformed Tradition. Karen is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv) and of Gonzaga University (PhD), with the latter studies and research completed in the area of Leadership Studies and Theology.
Among her research and theological interests, the Rev. Petersen is particularly focused on ecumenical dialogue at the grassroots level. She has been actively involved in adult education and ecumenical conversations between Presbyterian and Catholic congregations in Spokane and is presently working toward the publication of a book entitled Grassroots Ecumenism: The Path Towards Local Christian Kinship. In appointing her to this role, the Board of Governors recognizes the importance of such collaboration and sharing, particularly in relation to the diverse and expanding partnerships of The Presbyterian College in theological education.
The Rev. Petersen Finch is deeply rooted in the Reformed Tradition—both her PhD studies and her present teaching have been focused on Reformed theology. She has also published academically on the work of John Calvin and related dimensions of our theological tradition. We are grateful that Karen will bring this embeddedness within the Reformed Tradition to her work of teaching and pastoral formation at the College.