Pastors' Forums

Pastors' Forums provide an opportunity for you to be enriched, encouraged, and challenged on a wide variety of topics relevant to ministry by various speakers. These one-day seminars occur throughout the spring and fall semesters at Gordon-Conwell and are open not only to pastors, but to anyone interested in the presented topics. 

 Dying Well  |  Speakers  |  Seminar Details

Registration  |  Audio & Video Recordings

CLICK HERE to register for our fall Pastors' Forum!

November 16, 2015: Dying Well: Ethical and Pastoral Perspectives with
Drs. Dennis Hollinger, Karen Mason and Patrick Smith

Pastors face death every day in their ministry, certainly at a hospital bedside, the funeral parlor, a sanctuary of aging congregants, and at a moment of crisis in their congregation and community. Death is always, always with us! How prepared are we in not only understanding these issues ourselves, but also helping others address some of the difficult ethical and pastoral questions that are faced at these times, such as:  end-of-life decisions, determining appropriate palliative care options, suicide, and healthcare proxy issues? Join us for a day of discussing how we can help our congregations “finish well” in their lives.



Dr. Dennis Hollinger

President and the Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics,
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Dr. Dennis Hollinger is President and the Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. Prior to assuming his present role in 2008 he served as President and Professor of Christian Ethics at Evangelical Theological Seminary in Myerstown, PA.

Over the years Dennis has served in administrative, pastoral and seminary teaching ministries, including Vice Provost at Messiah College, Pastor of the Washington Community Fellowship on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and Associate Professor of Church & Society at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York. He has served as an adjunct or visiting professor at several seminaries internationally, including Moscow Theological Seminary in Russia, Union Biblical Seminary in India, and the Eastern European Seminary for Evangelical Leadership in Ukraine. He is also a visiting professor of Christian Ethics at Trinity International University, in the graduate program in Bioethics.

Dennis is a frequent speaker in churches, pastors’ conferences, seminaries, colleges and academic forums. He is the author of four books, including The Meaning of Sex: Christian Ethics and the Moral Life (Baker), Head, Heart, Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought, Passion and Action(InterVarsity Press), and Choosing the Good: Christian Ethics in a Complex World (Baker). He has authored nearly seventy articles, mostly in ethics (including bioethics), church and society, and preaching, and has served as the co-editor for the Eerdmans book series, Critical Issues in Bioethics. He is a board member for the National Association of Evangelicals, Hope International, and on the board of reference for the CS Lewis Institute in Washington, DC. Dennis is a Distinguished Fellow with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in Bannockburn, IL, and for many years was a member of the Health Care Ethics Committee at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, PA.

Dennis received the B.A. from Elizabethtown College, the M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, the M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Drew University, and did post-doctoral studies at Oxford University. He and his wife, Mary Ann, live in Beverly, MA, and have two adult daughters, Daphne (married to Ryan Fowler) and Naphtali (married to Nathan Mitten), who are the parents of their three grandchildren. Mary Ann serves as Special Assistant to the Seminary for Global Education at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Dr. Karen Mason

  • Associate Professor of Counseling and Psychology,
    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Dr. Mason, who joined Gordon-Conwell in 2006, is a native of Colorado. She has worked in the mental health field since 1990 in a variety of settings including the Mental Health Center of Denver as the Director of Quality Systems and the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as manager. In addition to teaching, she currently delivers direct care services in private practice and is a member of the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association. She has taught at a number of schools in Colorado, as well as overseas at Murree Christian School in Pakistan and Hope Academy in Haiti. She has also delivered direct care and filled administrative positions at the Mental Health Center of Denver.

Dr. Mason’s research interests are focused on suicide prevention in the church. She, along with Gordon-Conwell professors Dr. Pablo Polischuk and Dr. Ray Pendleton, was awarded a Lilly Theological Research Grant for their project Protestant Clergy Referral of Suicidal Persons. She was awarded another Lilly grant: Clergy Engagement in Suicide Intervention and Aftercare, with James D. Wines, Jr., MD, MPH, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center. She recently completed a study with Monica Geist and Mollie Clark where a model was developed that captures the skills needed for clergy to engage suicide in faith communities and how these skills progress. For more information on this research, please click here.

Dr. Patrick Smith

  • Associate Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics
    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Patrick has specific interests in the areas of ethical theory, end-of-life medical ethics, hospice palliative care, religious epistemology and analytic philosophical theology. He received an academic appointment as a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics through the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics (formerly the Division of Medical Ethics, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine) for the 2013–2015 academic years.

Patrick works professionally as the Ethics Coordinator for Angela Hospice Care Center in Livonia, MI. He has served on the Ethics Advisory Council for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and as a board member for the Hospice Palliative Care Association of Michigan. He currently serves on the Children's Hospital Boston Ethics Advisory Committee and the Community Ethics Committee sponsored by the Harvard Ethics Leadership Group. He is an Associate Fellow for the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University. He is on the editorial advisory boards for Christian Bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality, Oxford University Press Journal and the forthcoming International Journal for Sports and Christianity.

He has given numerous seminars and professional presentations on a wide range of topics at professional meetings and conferences in various health care organizations, churches, on radio, and college and university campuses. Along with regional commitments, he is dedicated to global education having taught courses and given talks to pastors, medical professionals, educators and community leaders in Kitwe, Zambia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; and various regions in the West Indies.

He enjoys listening to classic jazz and watching baseball and college football. He and his wife have been married since 1998. They have two beautiful children.

Seminar Details: November 16, 2015

Please note that the following is general information for our Pastors' Forums. Prices and locations may change depending on the event. Please contact us at (800) 294-2774 for more information.

Click on each of the links below to view more information.


Coming soon!


The  cost for the seminar includes registration, handouts, snacks, and lunch. The cost per individual for the conference is $45, the group rate for four or more individuals is $35/person, the spouse rate is $25 with the purchase of a general registration.

  • Special rates for groups and spouses will expire after November 5, 2015.
  • Due to planning, registrations made after November 5, 2015 will not include lunch.

Special rates for the Gordon-Conwell community (faculty/staff/students) are also available and will expire after November 5. Visit the registration page for more information.


Click Here to register for this seminar.

Confirmation and Cancellations:

You may consider your cancelled check or credit card statement to be confirmation of your registration. Event tickets will not be mailed. Online registrations will receive an email confirmation.

Please note that cancellations must be made five business days prior to the event to receive a refund less a $10 processing fee. Cancellations made within five business days of the seminar will not be refunded. 

Registrations are non-refundable upon purchase for the Gordon-Conwell Community. 

If you cannot make the seminar, you may transfer your registration to another guest by emailing us.

Time, Location, Maps:

Location: Kaiser Chapel, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Hamilton, MA

This talk will take place  in the Kaiser Chapel, located in the Academic Center. Registration will open  in the Kaiser Chapel Lobby. To confirm location, please contact via email or (800) 294.2774.

Click on the links below for maps of our campus:


Take Rte. 128 North (toward Gloucester) to Exit 17 (Grapevine Road). Turn left off of the exit ramp and continue past Gordon College. Take your first right onto Rte. 22 (Rubbly Road). Turn left at the first stop sign (Essex Street). The entrance to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary will be 200 yards ahead on the right. Follow Billy Graham Way to the Academic Center or follow the conference signs.

For more directions to campus, click here.


Guests are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from the seminary. We are not able to provide rides from the train station or neighboring towns. We thank you in advance for planning your trip accordingly.

The closest commuter rail stops are on the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line at North Beverly or Hamilton/Wenham and from there you may contact a taxi service to provide a ride from the train station to Gordon-Conwell. Click here for a link to the MBTA.

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Please note rate expiration under seminar details. For any questions regarding registration, contact us via email or call (800) 294-2774. Special rates for the Gordon-Conwell Community are available. Click on the registration link below and select the appropriate option.

  • Registration for "Dying Well" on November 16 : CLICK HERE

Email us to receive an update about availability of the seminar recordings. 

Audio & Video Recordings

All Pastors' Forums are recorded as a Builders Series.  These may be purchased at our online store or by email. A number of seminar and conference audio is available for free online at the Gordon-Conwell iTunesU site. Video recordings of various seminars and conferences may be viewed at the Gordon-Conwell YouTube site.
To see a list of past seminars and conferences hosted by the Shoemaker Center, visit our "Past Events" page. For more detailed information about past events, please email us or call 800-294-2774.

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