Jun 52020

Chicago Theological Seminary Professor Lee H. Butler to Join Phillips Theological Seminary

Chicago Theological Seminary has announced that Lee H. Butler, Jr., Distinguished Service Professor of Theology & Psychology, will leave the seminary this summer to become Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, William Tabbernee Chair of the History of Religions, and Professor of Africana Pastoral Theology at Phillips Theological Seminary.

“While I deeply grieve this transition, I celebrate this new opportunity for Lee to bring his many gifts to a broader range of expression at Phillips,” said Stephen G. Ray, Jr., President of CTS. “Lee has been a guiding force at the seminary for many years, and he has changed the lives of countless students who are now leading communities and congregations. He has also provided significant leadership in the theological academy; most notably as past president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion.”

Professor Butler joined the CTS faculty in 1996, was promoted to full Professor in 2006, and named Distinguished Service Professor in 2016. He is an Africana pastoral theologian, exploring the pastoral theology done by persons of African descent. With deep roots in African cultures and the antebellum period of the Americas, Butler’s field can be traced to African conjuring, divination, and variously coordinated healing practices. His CTS courses included “African American Religion, Theology & Spirituality,” and “Psychology of The Oppressed & Liberation Theologies.”

Additionally, Butler was the Founding Director of the Center for Black Faith and Life at CTS from 2007 to 2010, chair and member of numerous committees and special initiatives at the seminary, and President of the Society for the Study of Black Religion from 2007 to 2012. In those roles and many others, he has had a remarkable influence on the life of the seminary and his field over the last 24 years.

“I leave a legacy of having often been ‘the first’ African American in the history of, or having organized ‘the first of its kind event’ at, CTS,” Butler wrote to his colleagues this week. He added, “After 24 years as a dedicated member of this faculty, I will depart with important memories from my life and work within the CTS community.”

Earlier, Butler wrote presciently, “The formation of America was so radically influenced by violence that today most Americans accept violence and terror as our way of life. Pastoral theology, as the work of healing and justice, seeks to transform a world that violates and terrifies into a place where peace and love reign supreme.”

Butler holds degrees from Bucknell University, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Drew University. His writings include “Loving Home: Caring for African American Marriage and Family,” “Liberating our Dignity, Saving Our Souls,” and “Listen, My Son: Wisdom to Help African American Fathers.”