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Gilson A. C. Waldkoenig

Paulssen-Hale-Maurer Professor of Church in Society and Director of TCCI


Ph.D. - University of Chicago
M.Div. - Gettysburg Seminary
B.A. - Gettysburg College

People and churches come in many shapes and sizes, with different traditions and backgrounds. Everybody knows that, but sometimes leaders grow impatient for “results” they pre-conceived and cherish. It can be difficult to listen well and stay open to the creative work of God in specific congregations and communities when social, economic and environmental changes disrupt older patterns. When familiar expectations don’t seem to fit circumstances before us, leaders need methods to read their communities and foster organic growth of church in dynamic relationship with neighbors, neighborhoods and God’s beloved world. Rev. Dr. Waldkoenig teaches methods for understanding ministry in context, and applied theology rooted in the resilient grace of Christ.

As Director of the Town and Country Church Institute (TCCI), Rev. Dr. Waldkoenig teaches courses in rural and Appalachian ministry, and is sought out by synods,judicatories and other seminaries for consultation and teaching in rural and Appalachian ministry. His research has included multiple-church ministries, environmental ministries and a variety of other topics, all reflecting his practical theology of “means of grace and scenes of grace.”

He was appointed recently to the Small Church Vitality Research Project in the ELCA Domestic Mission Unit.

His spouse of 30 years is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, and the pair belong to St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg. They have two adult children and an Aussie Shepherd. Folk music is Dr. Waldkoenig's hobby, and he loves the outdoors.


Articles in American National Biography, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Encyclopedia of Rural America, The Cresset, Dialog, Journal of Lutheran Ethics, Liturgy, Lutheran Quarterly, Currents in Theology and Mission,Feasting on the Gospels and others.
Cooperating Congregations; Symbiotic Community; The Lost Land. Reviews in Agricultural History, Journal of Appalachian Studies, Journal for Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, Christian Century, others.
Research in progress: “Religion of Liberty Hyde Bailey," delivered at Agricultural History Society 2016; American Society of Church History 2018; and “Ecology and Religion in 19th-Century Studies” Conference 2019.

In addition:
Review, “The Telling Takes Us Home,” Journal of Appalachian Studies, 2017
“Religion of Liberty Hyde Bailey,” paper at Agricultural History Society, 2016
Review, “The End of White Christian America” by R. P. Jones, in Seminary Ridge Review, 2016
Ecological Restoration and Scenes of Grace” in Journal of Lutheran Ethics 15:2 (Feb 2015)
From Commodity to Community: Churches and the Land They Own,” The Cresset LXXVII: 5 (2013)
Review, Chasing Ice (film) in Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture (2013)

Mailing Address

61 Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg, PA 17325