Elaine Heath named dean of Duke Divinity School

March 29, 2016

Elaine A. Heath, a theologian and preacher, will be the next dean of the Duke Divinity School, beginning July 1.

 She is currently professor of evangelism at Southern Meth­odist University’s Per­kins School of The­ology in Dallas. She succeeds Ellen Davis, who has served as interim dean since the retirement of Richard Hays in August.

“Elaine Heath is a leading scholar of emergence, the process by which religious faith finds new life outside familiar institutional forms,” said Richard H. Brodhead, Duke’s president. Brodhead noted that Heath has also “reached out to establish new communities with people marginalized in many ways.”

Heath, an ordained United Methodist elder, is the author of several books and monographs, most recently Missional. Monastic. Mainline. A Guide to Starting Missional Micro-Communities in Histor­i­cally Mainline Traditions. She is also the cofounder and leader of the Missional Wisdom Foundation, which provides opportunities for clergy and laity to learn about living in intentional communities and how to develop communities in diverse social contexts.

“Leaders across the Christian spectrum have turned to her for guidance in reshaping the mission and ministry of churches in their local settings,” said Randy Maddox, Duke Divinity’s professor of Wesleyan and Methodist studies, who chaired the search committee.

Previously, Heath was a professor and director of the doctor of ministry program at Ashland Theological Seminary and served as a pastor in eastern Ohio.