**A PARTING WORD FROM KEN SWETLAND, DIRECTOR OF THE OASIS COUNSELING PROGRAM**
June 15, 2017
Among the jobs I have held since coming to Gordon-Conwell (and there have been many!), one of the most fulfilling has been to serve as pastoral counselor in the Oasis ministry of the Seminary, giving care and support to pastors and ministry leaders in a variety of contexts.
Even before engaging in this ministry for the last 9 years I had a deep respect for pastors and church leaders, but the Oasis ministry has further deepened that respect. Pastors and church leaders are on the front lines of ministry in a broken world and are being faithful to the gospel of our Lord, often in very difficult situations. To come alongside of them for care and support, whether individuals or couples facing difficulty in their own person, marriage, or family, as well as those facing perplexing and complicated issues in their ministry has been deeply gratifying for me.
For those of you who have participated in the Oasis ministry, I can only thank you for the privilege of talking with you. And, I pray you will prosper and experience the presence and healing care of the Lord in all you continue to do in ministry.
Grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
**Oasis Counseling Update Letter**
June 1, 2017
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
The Oasis Counseling Program has been a unique expression of Gordon-Conwell’s care for our alumni led by someone with a unique set of gifts and a unique relationship to the seminary, Ken Swetland. When I say “unique,” I mean it in its precise sense of “one of a kind,” since a wordsmith like Ken would cringe at even the hint of expressions such as “very unique!”
Not only has Ken filled a variety of leadership roles such as academic dean, dean of students, and field ed director, as well as professor of ministry, he is a trained and experienced counselor, serving as Gordon-Conwell’s only campus pastoral counselor. Much as that position did not continue with Ken’s retirement from full-time service to the seminary, so too will the Oasis Counseling Program not continue as he steps back from this and his other part-time responsibilities with the Shoemaker Center and the Doctor of Ministry Program.
Ken is in good health and doing well, but simply feels that now, as he moves into his eighth decade–having spent over half of them serving at GCTS, is a good time for him to make this move. While I grieve this loss institutionally and personally, I fully support his decision. We agree that it is always better to step back from something before you “have to,” which makes this good timing.
Because Oasis has met significant needs for Gordon-Conwell alumni over the years and Ken has had as full a schedule this year as ever, we explored a variety of ways to continue the program over the past few months. While several held promise, none of them seemed to be quite the right fit in terms of being an extension of Gordon-Conwell. In the end, I felt it was better to discontinue the program than to change the heart of its purpose.
As a result, when Ken fully retires on July 1, 2017, the Oasis Counseling Program will retire with him. He will continue to accept appointments up until June 13, 2017 and will be available to anyone he has begun interacting with through June 30, 2017.
I hope that you will join me in giving thanks to the Lord for Ken and for the help the Lord has brought to those who have participated in Oasis! I also hope that you will respect Ken’s desire to maintain good boundaries as he steps back and not contact him independently seeking counseling.
Christ is all,
David A. Currie
Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program & Ockenga Institute