VTS Appoints Rode Molla, Ph.D. as assistant professor, Berryman Family Chair in Children’s Spirituality and Nurture

Date: May 31, 2022

Media Contact: Curtis Prather

Tel: (703) 461-1782
Email: cprather@vts.edu

(ALEXANDRIA VA) – Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) is pleased to announce the appointment of appoint Rode Molla, Ph.D. as assistant professor, Berryman Family Chair in Children’s Spirituality and Nurture, effective July 1, 2022.

As the very first person in the Berryman Family Chair, Molla is set to lead VTS and the Church in studying and nurturing children’s spirituality on the national and international level. With this hire, VTS is proud to say that we now have three scholars in scholars in the area of Christian Formation: Rode Molla, Liz DeGaynor, and Lisa Kimball.

“Dr. Molla is an exciting appointment,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of Virginia Seminary. “We are honored that she will be the first holder of the Berryman Family Chair. She brings depth, originality, and perspective. She joins a strong team in Christian formation. We are excited about the future.”

Molla recently earned her Ph.D. at Iliff and the University of Denver, and in her dissertation developed a new pastoral care model focusing on creating in-between spaces and intercultural consciousness is the context of neoliberalism. Born in Ethiopia, she brings new questions and expertise to the field, especially in relation to post-colonial perspectives on children and spirituality as well as a global perspective. Her work with children in under-resourced contexts and in context of trauma is particularly compelling for the church in the 21st century. With her deep educational background, she can also teach courses in pastoral care and chaplaincy, incorporate intercultural perspectives into more of our work, and make links with other fields.

“Dr. Molla is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and in the ordination process. When speaking with her, one is soon struck by her lively faith and love of God,” said the Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs and associate professor of Old Testament. “She arrives on campus with her husband and young daughter this summer, and officially begins on July 1. Welcome Rode!”


Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online: www.vts.edu.

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