Cherry Hill Seminary Awards Pagan Master of Divinity Degree to Vietnam Veteran Nurse
For Immediate Release
July 18, 2014

COLUMBIA - Cherry Hill Seminary announces the graduation of Carol Tyler Kirk, awarding her the Master of Divinity in Pagan Pastoral Counseling.  Kirk is the second student to complete her master's degree since Cherry Hill Seminary first opened its graduate program in 2009.

Kirk served the U.S. Army as a nurse in a Vietnam MASH unit from May 1969 to December 1970, then returned home to a career in nursing management.  Kirk's master's thesis addresses the needs of the "wounded warrior," those returning from deployment overseas and whose war wounds may be non-physical, running deeper into the soul.  Publication of the work is in planning.  Kirk has also led several covens, and currently serves as a hospital chaplain and interfaith activist in Huntsville, Alabama. A July 2013 article in the Cherry Hill Seminary newsletter relates Kirk's role in establishing the Women's Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., where she spoke at the dedication.

During the July 12 ceremony in Butler, Missouri, Academic Dean Wendy Griffin explained the importance of Kirk's accomplishment.

"Why does it matter whether non-Pagans recognize the credentials or education of a Pagan minister? Some say we are not like everyone else.  But I say that if we believe we live in an immanent interconnected world, if we value not just tribe but our entire community, then it is time for us to step forward into the light of day, as Carol is doing.  Not only does the world need our wisdom, but we need what we may learn from others pursuing paths of service. We no more possess all the answers than do the followers of any other religion or spirituality.  It behooves us to recognize and take our place in the fabric of life, offering our gifts to those who will receive."
Kirk's depart
Dr. David Oringderff with new graduate Carol Kirk, M.Div.
ment chair and advisor has been Dr. David Oringderff, also founder of Sacred Well Congregation.  Oringderff says, "On behalf of the Pastoral Counseling & Chaplaincy Department, I would like to extend our congratulations to Carol Kirk, M.Div., for an outstanding job well done.  Having worked with Carol as a professor and academic adviser for much of her academic career, I can attest to her diligence, dedication and academic excellence.  Conferral of the Master of Divinity, Pagan Pastoral Counseling, was both a personal milestone for Carol, and an institutional milestone for the Seminary.  As only our second Master of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling, she has helped set the high standards of excellence for all of our students who follow."

The seminary presented Kirk with a custom handmade red silk ritual stole which is only given to Master of Divinity graduates of Cherry Hill Seminary.  Graduate Sandra Harris, M.Div. (pictured right), also received a stole at her graduation in 2012.

Cherry Hill Seminary is the leading provider of education and practical training in leadership, ministry, and personal growth in Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities.  Cherry Hill Seminary supports Pagans and their communities by: providing an extensive education in diverse aspects of Pagan philosophy, practice, and skilled ministry; supplementing existing ritual and magical skills with training for professional ministry and pastoral counseling; serving as an ongoing resource for individual continuing education; and providing a forum for scholarship and community. 

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