Alum Profile: Titus Presler, Th.D. 1995
Titus Presler is Principal of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan and an author of several books on the theology and practice of Christian mission and the interaction of gospel and culture, with special reference to Africa. His books include Transfigured Night: Mission and Culture in Zimbabwe’s Vigil Movement (University of South Africa Press, 1999) and Horizons in Mission in the New Church’s Teaching Series (Cowley, 2001). His most recent book, Going Global with God: Reconciling Mission in a World of Difference (Morehouse, 2010), focuses on ecumenical mission trends today and on how engaging difference is the mark of mission.
He received a Th.D. degree in mission and New Testament from the School of Theology at Boston University (1995). His dissertation showed the cultural interaction between the Christian gospel and Shona Spirit religion by focusing on the pungwe movement in Zimbabwe. Since the practice arose from Shona Spirit religion, Presler argues that the pungwe movement is an effort to contextualize Christianity by ordinary Shona people who have translated the gospel into their culture through ritual practice. In his view, this pungwe practice demonstrates that a process of localization depends more on populist interaction with diverse cultural resources ready at hand than on proposals advanced by theological elites.
He has held several positions as teacher and minister: He was rector of St. Peter’s Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for 11 years and also served five terms as a deputy to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention and chaired the church’s Standing Commission on World Mission from 1997-2000. In addition, he served as president of the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas (2002-5) and academic dean at General Theological Seminary in New York (2005-9). Acknowledging his worldwide contribution as teacher and minister, he has received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from General Theological Seminary in New York (2003) and from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Chicago (2005).
Profile written by Hye Jin Lee.
Edwardes College in Pakistan: http://www.edwardes.edu.pk/