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John Cobb & Friends Gathering: Pauline Doty

August 9 @ 10:00 am 12:00 pm PDT

Topic: Bringing Hope to Our Future

Presenter(s): Pauline Doty

Since taking her first classes and practicums in pastoral care and counseling fifty years ago, Pauline’s ministry has supported individuals and families as they deal with mental illness, trauma, loss, and broken relationships. With the National Alliance on Mental Illness for 12 years, she has provided leadership, peer education, and facilitation of weekly support groups.

Questions of faith about God and evil, God and suffering, confronted Pauline as a teen. She was raised in the Church of God (Anderson, IN) and attended church often – Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and many Wednesday evenings. Her Dad coached his children in memorizing many chapters in the Bible. Her mother suffered with untreated depression and often wasn’t feeling well. Too often Pauline had very painful and angry encounters with her father. She was seriously seeking to follow Jesus, and to surrender to God’s will for her life. During high school she had the support and gifts of a woman pastor who loved her, and a caring church family. However, at age 20 and a sophomore in college, she suffered a mental breakdown with serious mental illness crisis. Acute schizophrenic episode was the initial diagnosis.

When Pauline returned to campus after hospitalization and some months away, she took courses in philosophy and theology. Learning about Whitehead and process philosophy with Delwin Brown, along with a supportive community and psychotherapy, enabled growth in her Christian faith perspective, moving her to affirm a radical message of God’s redeeming love. No more sheep and goats to be separated at judgment day. All are sheep – beloved children of God! Just some are more seriously wounded “children” and needing more caring and healing relationships.

Pauline completed graduate degrees at Chicago Theological Seminary and Columbia Theological Seminary. In 1987 she completed her thesis: Responding to Persons in Despair: A Process Theology of Hope for Pastoral Care and Counseling. In Echoes of Mercy, Whispers of Love: My Journey and A Theology of Hope (AuthorHouse 2010), and From Despair Into Healing: Workbook for Spiritual Change (AuthorHouse 2022), Pauline shares her process theology of hope as a framework for counseling despairing persons. Her faith perspective informs her spiritual care with persons on the healing and recovery journey. She believes this faith perspective can crucially enable resiliency when illness, tragedy, and loss strike again. Of her first book, John Cobb has written,

“I am impressed by the sensitivity of her presentation of the ideas of Whitehead and others in his ‘process’ tradition. She represents this position with scholarly accuracy but also with literary skill and personal appropriation. Hence her work is of value not only to scholars but also more widely to a lay audience.”

With the rising numbers of children, teens, and adults experiencing serious depression and mental health issues, including suicide attempts and suicide, churches, faith groups and communities are challenged to find answers and meaningful ways to “keep hope alive.” Pauline will share key themes from her Process Theology of Hope that were very important for her own recovery and healing and have informed and supported all of her pastoral care and counseling ministry. These themes are important for her in support groups, coaching, book events, and workshops. She welcomes dialogue as we share together on August 9.

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August 9
10:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


Cobb Institute
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