School of Divinity Student Experiences Spiritual Renewal in Gardner-Webb Program

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Kevin S. Crowder ’18 Pursues Doctorate in Pastoral Care and Counseling

Photo of Kevin Crowder
Kevin Crowder is a chaplain in Fredericksburg, Va., pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling at GWU School of Divinity.

Chaplain Kevin S. Crowder of Fredericksburg, Va., chose to attend the School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University because of his past experience with Dr. Doug Dickens, professor of pastoral studies. Crowder respected Dickens and knew he would be involved in an exceptional program.

“More than 25 years ago, Dickens was my pastoral care professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, Texas),” Crowder explained. “As an Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) certified educator, I wanted a doctoral program that had experience with ACPE certified Educators. I got that with Dickens, as he is an ACPE certified educator.”

Dickens is also the reason Crowder decided to consider a career in chaplaincy. “When I completed my Master of Divinity degree in 1991, I thought I wanted to teach Bible/religion courses on the college level,” Crowder revealed. “To that end, I applied and was accepted into the doctoral program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville (Ky.). Before I matriculated, I enrolled in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Texas—at Dr. Dickens’ suggestion. Fairly quickly, I fell in love with chaplaincy in general and CPE in particular. I never did complete the doctorate at Southern.”

Kevin Crowder at the Temple Mount
Kevin Crowder poses at the Temple Mount in front of the wailing wall in Jerusalem.

After finishing his CPE residency, Crowder worked part time at three hospitals in Dallas. Since 1994, he has been director of Pastoral Care at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va. He also has two other interests that provide opportunities to minister in different ways. As a violinist, he performs with several music groups in the community. And on the weekends, he helps his wife at their gourmet popcorn store in Kilmarnock, Va. Through the store, they enjoy giving back to the community and have raised money for Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs and a high school marching band. He also enjoys sharing samples of their award-winning Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel popcorn with his GWU professors and classmates.

Although Crowder holds a Master of Divinity in biblical languages, and master’s degrees in patient counseling and violin performance, he feels enriched by his classes at Gardner-Webb. With his doctorate, he hopes to serve either as a pastoral care executive director of a large health system or an ACPE Certified Educator and Board Certified Chaplain teaching in a seminary or divinity school.

“The most valuable aspect of my Gardner-Webb experience is the people, especially Dr. Dickens, and my Doctor of Ministry cohort consisting of Eddie Ponder, Brandon Brewer, and Delbert Minner,” Crowder affirmed. “Every time we meet together is a spiritually renewing and refreshing opportunity to learn and grow. This program is career enhancing and will help me be more marketable as a leader in the field of healthcare chaplaincy. It is rich, vital, personal, and rigorous.”

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