Contact: Roberta Cox

August 12, 2005


DALLAS (SMU) – Rev. Dr. Elaine A. Heath has joined the faculty as the McCreless Assistant Professor of Evangelism. Heath is an elder in the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church. Prior to coming to Perkins she was director of the Doctor of Ministry program and assistant professor of spiritual theology at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio.

Having served in pastoral ministry for several years in northeast Ohio, Heath has worked with local pastors, districts and conferences to assist in developing spiritually healthy congregations so that the church can more effectively carry out God’s mission in the world. Among her research interests are the emergent church and new models for church starts. Other research interests include gender and evangelism, and spirituality and evangelism.

Heath holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (1990) from Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Michigan; a Master of Divinity degree (1995) from Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio; and a doctorate (2002) in systematic theology from Duquesne University.


Dr. Valerie Karras has been named assistant professor of church history, with a special responsibility for the history of the early church. Karras most recently served as research associate at the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, an online digital Greek library based at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to that she was assistant professor of Greek patristics in the department of theological studies at Saint Louis University. In 1993 Karras went to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology as a fellow-in-residence. She continued as assistant professor at both Holy Cross and Hellenic college from 1994-96. From 1996-97 she served Hellenic college and Holy Cross as assistant director for Institutional Planning and Special Projects.

Research interests include women in early and Byzantine Christianity, gender in early church theology, and Orthodox Christianity in ecumenical, interreligious and feminist conversation.

Karras has earned doctorates in patristic theology from the Aristotelian University of Tessaloniki and in church history from The Catholic University of American in Washington, D.C. She also holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

Dr. Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner has become associate professor of pastoral care. Previously she was associate professor of pastoral theology and Christian formation at the University of Dubuque Seminary. Stevenson-Moessner is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a member of The Permanent Judicial Commission for John Knox Presbytery. She served in Germany as a missionary schoolteacher and guidance counselor for children of overseas missionaries; she held a research fellowship at Candler School of Theology in 1984-85, and done independent studies in systematic theology at Trinity College, Bristol, England. She was awarded the Karl Barth Stipendium at the University of Basel. Her doctoral work was published as Theological Dimensions of Maturation in a Missionary Milieu.

Stevenson-Moessner is a fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and trained at Georgia Baptist Hospital, Atlanta, in a three-year residency in pastoral care and counseling. Her specialized training is in addictive diseases, rape crisis, domestic violence and child abuse.

Stevenson-Moessner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Arts degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in theology from the University of Basel.

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Perkins School of Theology is one of five University-related official schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. The school was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Church Ministry, Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies and Doctor of Ministry degree, as well as the Ph.D. in cooperation with SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.