The School of Theology announced that it has appointed Dr. Sheri D. Kling as the new executive director of the Beecken Center and associate dean of the School of Theology. Kling was previously serving in the University of the South’s office of the University registrar. Her appointment will take effect on July 1, 2018.
Kling holds a Ph.D. from Claremont School of Theology, an M.A.T.S. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and a B.A. from Purdue University. She is a theologian who works in the interdisciplinary space where worldviews, beliefs, and practices can create either dis-ease and suffering or psycho-spiritual wholeness and common flourishing. Drawing from process philosophy/theology, Jungian psychology, and mystical spirituality, Sheri focuses on communicating theological ideas and practices that positively impact humans’ relationships with God, self, and world, especially the use of dream work as a spiritual practice for divine encounter, personal integration, and widening our relationship to creation. In addition to her position in Sewanee, Kling is a cooperating visiting lecturer in Social and Spiritual Determinants of Health with Palacky University in the Czech Republic and a faculty member of the Haden Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. Last fall, Kling presented at the International Transpersonal Conference in Prague and Palacky University; most recently, she delivered a well-received keynote presentation at the Haden Summer Dream and Spirituality Conference at Kanuga on “Healing our Collective Pain: Worldviews, Dreams, and Transformation.”
“My appointment is living proof that God can weave all the disparate pieces of our lives into a surprising tapestry. It seems to me that everything I’ve done along what has been quite a circuitous path—from marketing and communications, to strategic planning, to public speaking, performing, and program development, and especially my theological education—has all come together in an astonishing way in this position to which I feel very called. I am eager to be part of the Beecken Center’s mission and program development so that we can connect more people to the love of God and the transforming power of Christ through the Holy Spirit.”
Spiritual formation has been a part of Kling’s work for several years, even while she toured the southeastern U.S. as a performing songwriter, recording artist, and workshop leader. Throughout her career, Kling notes that she has considered herself a “voice for transformation.” Having previously resided in both Marietta and Demorest, Georgia, she moved to Sewanee, Tennessee, in June of 2017.
Kling will take over for Karen Meridith, executive director of the Education for Ministry program at the Beecken Center, who has been serving as the interim executive director of the Center for the past year and will remain the associate director. She looks forward to working with the new director. “Sheri Kling brings skills and experience that will benefit the work and mission of the Beecken Center. I welcome her as a new colleague and look forward to working with her as she implements her vision for transformative programming for all the baptized.”