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Fuller Theological Seminary names new president

Published: Friday, March 15 2013 1:00 p.m. MDT

PASADENA, Calif. — Mark Labberton, a Presbyterian pastor, author and professor, has been named president of the Fuller Theological Seminary, the largest multi-denominational seminary in the world.

He will succeed Richard J. Mouw, who has served as Fuller President since 1993 and is retiring in June 2013. Mouw was known for his interfaith work with Mormons, Catholics and Jewish groups.

The school's board of trustees spent 10 months reviewing 250 nominations before settling on Labberton, who has been at Fuller since 2009 as the Lloyd John Ogilvie Associate Professor of Preaching and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching.

"Mark brings strong spiritual leadership, a wide range of experiences and the vision to guide Fuller into a new era of global leadership in seminary education," said Clifford L. Penner, chairman of the board of trustees. "As a Fuller alumnus and professor, he fully comprehends Fuller’s rich and diverse legacy.”

Labberton earned a bachelor's degree from Whitman College, a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller and a doctorate in theology from the University of Cambridge, England. Prior to coming to Fuller, Labberton served for 16 years as senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, Calif.

“Fuller has influenced my life and ministry in so many ways,” said Labberton. “I am honored to have this opportunity to work with faculty, students, staff, alumni and our Board to further Fuller’s leadership in seminary education and its global outreach.”

“Mark Labberton is an excellent choice to be the next president of Fuller,” said Mouw, the current president. “I know him to be a very gifted Christian leader who will be able to take Fuller into an exciting new future.”

Included among the priorities Labberton has already identified for his presidency are to strengthen Fuller’s commitments to the church, to deepen the ways Fuller addresses some of the key concerns and needs of the world, and to nurture a spiritually supportive community that includes all of Fuller’s regional campuses and the rich ethnic, language and denominational diversity of the seminary.

Labberton co-founded the Christian International Scholarship Foundation (now ScholarLeaders, International), which funds advanced theological education of Christian leaders Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. He also authored "First Things: A Theology of the World, the Church, the Pastor, and the Sermon" (2013); "The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus" (2010) and "The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice" (2007).

Labberton and his wife, Janet Morrison Labberton, have been married for 30 years. She teaches American literature and public speaking and is chair of the English Department at Piedmont High School in northern California. They have two adult sons.

email: mbrown@desnews.com

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