Dr. Joyce Mercer is Professor of Pastoral Care and Practical Theology, Horace Bushnell Professor of Christian Nurture at Yale Divinity School. Formerly a scholar-researcher, teacher, writer, retreat leader, and professor of practical theology at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, Dr. Mercer is also an ordained minister (teaching elder) in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Her passions include:
- Advocacy and welcome of children in the church and beyond
- Exploring women’s religious experience
- The spirituality of adolescent girls
- Conflict transformation and reconciliation
- Facilitating conversations about difficult subjects
- Studying congregations
- Global connections, especially in the Philippines and southeast Asia
- Contemplative spiritual practices and their relationship with activism
- Older adult ministries
Joyce teaches courses in pastoral care, conflict transformation, theologies of childhood, feminist theology, youth ministry, and practical theology. Before joining the faculty at VTS, she served on faculties at San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union, and at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines.
She is the author of Welcoming Children: A Practical Theology of Childhood (Chalice Press, 2005), Lives to Offer: Accompanying Youth on Their Vocational Quests (co-authored with Dori Grinenko Baker, Pilgrim Press, 2007), and most recently, Girl Talk, God Talk: Why Faith Matters to Teenage Girls—and Their Parents (Jossey Bass, 2008).
Joyce is a licensed clinical social worker with experience in community-based health care and addictions. She is married with three teenaged children.