Illuminating Theological Inquiry and Christian Ethics Through Training in Psychological Science

Devan Stahl and Sarah Schnitker at Baylor University are soliciting applications for scholars of Christian theology, ethics, religion, etc. to apply for funding that would facilitate cross-training in psychological science. Please see the information for our grant, Illuminating Theological Inquiry and Christian Ethics Through Training in Psychological Science, here:

Phase 1 RFP

  • If you are a theologian, ethicist, etc., please read the information below and apply! 
  • If you are a psychologist who might be interested in training or eventually conducting a $5,000-40,000 for a collaborative empirical study (that also provides course buyouts for your time) with a theologian/ethicist, please encourage potential partners to apply for Phase 1 training.

Christian theologians interested in becoming conversant in the psychological sciences are invited to apply to for a one-year cross-training program. Participants will receive two intensive training sessions in the psychological sciences to gain basic competency in the psychological science methods and content and will be invited to participate in twice monthly virtual research presentations throughout the academic year. This program will help theologians build supportive and collaborative interpersonal relationships with other theologians interested in the psychological sciences as well as a group of psychologists interested in working on research of interest to theologians. Theologian awardees will be eligible for up to an additional $45,000 of salary funding for additional training and $5,000-40,000 for a collaborative empirical study with a psychology lab in subsequent years, if selected. A similar level of funding is available for the psychology mentors in Phases 2 and 3. Applications are due February 1, 2023. To learn about the project, go to our website

Executive Director, Louisville Institute

Executive Director, Louisville Institute

The Louisville Institute seeks as its next Executive Director a visionary and energetic leader who is committed to advancing the vitality of faith communities and theological education in North America. The Executive Director of the Institute should be a person of passion, insight, and intellectual thoughtfulness, with experience and expertise in theological education, a dedication to the church, and the capacity to engage others in collaborative ventures.


Founded in 1990, the Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Institute has long been a leader in the study of religion in North America. Our mission to bridge church and academy through the awarding of grants and fellowships to those who lead and study North American religious institutions, thereby promoting scholarship that ultimately contributes to the flourishing of the church, remains in the forefront of our work. The Executive Director shall hold a Ph.D., Th.D., or S.T.D. and be deeply committed to the life of the Christian church. Preferred start date for the new Executive Director will be June 1, 2023.


The Executive Director of the Louisville Institute supports, advocates for, and oversees the mission of the Institute and its contribution to church and society, which is:

. . . to bridge church and academy through awarding grants and fellowships to those who lead and study North American religious institutions, practices, and movements, and thereby promoting scholarship that strengthens church, academy, and society, and ultimately contributes to the flourishing of the church. (May 2020/January 2021)

Through collaborative partnership, the Executive Director convenes researchers, pastoral leaders, and scholars from an expansive array of backgrounds for consultation and connection; helps to identify and support promising religious scholarship; and builds ongoing relationships between the Louisville Institute and seminaries, colleges, universities, churches, and other faith-based agencies with whom LI works. The Executive Director seeks to expand the potential of religious research to advance the vitality of faith communities, theological studies, religious studies, and theological education in North America.


The Executive Director brings:

  • Energetic, thoughtful, and visionary leadership, working creatively and collaboratively with a variety of constituents and stakeholders including the Advisory Board of the Louisville Institute, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and its Board of Trustees, the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc, pastors and other ministry practitioners, scholar educators, religious researchers, and persons preparing for the vocation of theological education;
  • Skills for building broad partnerships for projects and research, and for sustaining relationships that model collegiality and enhance interdisciplinary connection across multiple academic and religious contexts;
  • Knowledge of and a passion for theological education, its scholarly and pastoral importance, its professional culture, and the ways scholars and pastoral leaders serve and strengthen the wider church;
  • Established networks of just, inclusive and diverse relationships that will aid the Institute in its continued efforts to connect with underrepresented persons and communities across the church and academy;
  • Curiosity and insight about the future of theological education and the church, and the potential that convening diverse groups for study and collaboration can offer;
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills, a team-oriented management style, critical and strategic thinking, and the ability to manage multiple tasks, from details to the big picture.
  • Proven experience as a pastoral leader and/or theological educator.

The Executive Director leads by:

  • Collaborating with the Louisville Institute staff to carry out the mission of the institution and to envision its future possibilities;
  • Partnering with leaders of major institutions that serve theological education and church leadership, such as the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, The Forum for Theological Exploration, the Hispanic Theological Initiative, and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion;
  • Convening conversations among scholars in multiple academic disciplines researching dimensions of religious life, religious scholars, and practitioners in Christian ministry
  • Directing the ongoing implementation and development of the Vocation of the Theological Educator initiative (VTE);
  • Overseeing a communication strategy that places the Louisville Institute grant and fellowship programs, research, and collaborative efforts in a wider academic and church public;
  • Enhancing the reputation of the Louisville Institute through attending conferences and other effective leadership forums;
  • Evaluating, interpreting, and communicating the mission of the Louisville Institute and its sense of the “pulse” of innovative and emerging research and ministry
  • Working collaboratively with the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc.;
  • Envisioning and planning future endeavors in collaboration with various LI constituencies.


The Executive Director oversees the operations of the Louisville Institute by:

  • Coordinating the Louisville Institute staff and attending to all aspects of the LI mission;
  • Overseeing all grants and fellowships of the Louisville Institute;
  • Serving as a member of the senior administrators team of Louisville Seminary, reporting to the Seminary President;
  • Serving as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the LI Advisory Board;
  • Preparing and coordinating regular meetings of the LI Advisory Board;
  • Reporting regularly on the activities of the Louisville Institute to the LI Advisory Board.
  • Preparing reports for Lilly Endowment Inc. on both the programmatic and financial aspects of

the Institute’s activities, programs, and impact;

  • Working collaboratively with Institute staff, the Institute’s Advisory Board, the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc., and Louisville Seminary leadership in the planning and execution of consultations and meetings associated with carrying out the work of the Institute.
  • Promoting and advancing the interests of the Louisville Institute by relocating to Louisville, Kentucky.


  • Executive leadership experience, including administration, budgeting and staff oversight.
  • Ph.D., Th.D., or S.T.D. in an appropriate discipline and theological education, and an attendant background in higher education and its administration and with grant programs.
  • Leadership experience in congregational or other types of pastoral ministry.
  • Commitment to the Christian faith and enthusiasm about the life and future of the Christian church.

The Louisville Institute’s Executive Director is appointed by the President of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as approved by the Board of Trustees of Louisville Seminary. The Executive Director of the Institute reports directly to the President of Louisville Seminary.


  • To ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff, as a condition of employment the selected candidate will need to provide proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination prior to commencement of employment or an approved exemption and reasonable accommodation.
  • A background screening is required.


Applicants should send pdfs of a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and a list of references to Alton B. Pollard, III, President, Louisville Seminary, at: The Search Committee will begin the review of applications October 15, 2022.

The Louisville Institute follows EEO guidelines and affirmative action procedures.

William H. Swatos, Jr. (1946-2020)

William H. Swatos, Jr. 74, of Galva, IL, died in GMC Medical Center, Sterling, IL on November 9, 2020 due to complications of COVID-19.

A native of West Milford, NJ, he graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from the University of Kentucky. He earned an M.Div. from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Lexington and was ordained a priest while serving at the Church of the Transfiguration in Lawrenceburg, KY. He served at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Silvis, IL from 1980-1993. He was a resident of Galva, IL until recently moving to a care facility. 

His academic career included teaching sociology at King College (Bristol, TN), and Augustana College (Rock Island, IL). He was also a non-resident senior scholar in the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University (Waco, TX). As a Fulbright Scholar in 1981, he travelled to Iceland to teach and study Icelandic religion. He was a noted author/editor of over 20 books exploring topics in the sociology of religion. He served as Executive Officer of the Religious Research Association from 1994 to 2015, Association for the Sociology of Religion from 1997-2012, and as Managing Editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion at Baylor University.

He is survived by sons Eric (Elizabeth) Swatos of Prophetstown and Giles Swatos of Tampa, FL, and grandchildren Arthur, Lillian, Claire, and Stephen.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Alzheimer’s Association,

Funding opportunity: call for proposals on gratitude to God

Biola University, with the help of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and under the direction of Peter Hill and Robert Emmons, welcomes proposals from various disciplines to investigate questions that concern gratitude to God*. Letters of intent are due January 29th, 2020.

Proposals may be for projects that utilize the methodologies of the psychological sciences, philosophy, theology, or religious studies. Empirical projects may be multi-method, qualitative, theoretical, cross-cultural, employ behavioral measures, or incorporate developmental approaches (though none of these are required). For the empirical projects, experi­mental methodologies are encouraged. There are four separate award competitions: (1) empirical large grants, (2) empirical early career grants, (3) non-empirical large grants, and (4) non-empirical early career grants. Total funding available for this RFP is $2.8M. For more instructions and more information, visit Queries may be sent to

We anticipate proposals for empirical and non-empirical projects that address one or more of the questions listed below:

  • What is the basic structure of gratitude to God? How does gratitude to God differ from gratitude to others?
  • Why and how do people express gratitude to God or fail to?
  • How is cosmic gratitude an alternative to gratitude to God?
  • What functions does gratitude to God serve?

*For the sake of this proposal and the anticipated projects that we hope it generates, we are using the term “God” to encompass the supreme God of monotheistic traditions, as well as other supernatural or superhuman beings with agency and powers (gods, spirits, ghosts, saints), whether personal or impersonal, with capacities to “make things happen or prevent them from happening, especially obtaining goods and avoiding bads” (Smith, 2017, p. 22). The phrase “personal or impersonal” implies that the superhuman powers may or may not be believed to possess consciousness, intentions, feelings, desires and other properties of the mind. We use the term “cosmic gratitude” in the RFP to depict the state that is felt by people who are inclined to feel gratitude for things not plausibly attributable to human agency nor to a personal supernatural or superhuman agent (Roberts, 2014).