Rev Dr Stephen Pietsch lectures in Pastoral Theology at Australian Lutheran College (ALC). In 2014 he was awarded a PhD from Flinders University for his research in contemporary pastoral care.
His doctoral thesis was titled Of good comfort: analysing and reflecting on Martin Luther’s pastoral letters to the depressed and their significance for pastoral care today.
During preparation of his thesis, Rev Pietsch’s work was supervised by Rev Professor Andrew Dutney, lecturer in Systematic Theology at Adelaide College of Divinity and Flinders University. Rev Dutney is also the President of the Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia.
On 13 May 2015, Dr Pietsch’s exceptional research was formally recognised by Flinders University, which is ranked among the top 3 per cent of the world’s research universities. At an official ceremony, he was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence. This is an exceptionally rare honour, particularly given that his area of research was in theology.
‘ALC is very proud of Dr Pietsch’s achievement’, ALC principal Rev James Winderlich said. ‘Proper, wellresearched, pastoral care for people who experience a range of mentalhealth issues is a very significant, contemporary issue. Dr Pietsch’s work adds another layer of understanding and insight to our own learning and the care that we offer in this area. This research also enhances the high standard of ALC’s educational programs.’
Dr Pietsch is now preparing his doctoral thesis for publication. Once published, it will be available to people who experience mental-health issues, as well as to those who love, care for and support them.