Dr. Courtney Cowart

Denomination: The Episcopal Church (TEC)
Organization: SIM: Society for the Increase of the Ministry

Dr. Courtney Cowart, Th.D., is a scholar in the fields of ascetical theology and American church history whose work has explored the relationship of spiritual practice and leadership. She holds both an M.A. and a Th.D. from The General Theological Seminary in New York. Immediately prior to becoming Executive Director of SIM she served as Associate Dean and Director of the Beecken Center at the School of Theology, University of the South, in Sewanee, TN. There Courtney gathered and created cutting-edge formation resources from across the church to create a hub of continuing theological education and training for all the baptized.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, in her role as program officer for spiritual formation and development grants at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, Cowart hosted the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a group of spiritual formation practitioners, for the filming of a Lenten series: The Shaping of Holy Lives. The events of the morning and their impact on Cowart's ministries, first as a founder of the 24/7 respite center for recovery workers at St Paul's Chapel immediately following 9/11, and four years later as founding co-director of the office of disaster response for the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, are vividly chronicled in her book published in 2008, An American Awakening: From 9/11 to Katrina the People We Are Free To Be.

In 2010, Cowart left New Orleans to become Director of Congregational Learning for The Fund for Theological Education in Atlanta. At FTE she developed and taught congregations shared practices for shaping the next generation of Christian leadership. These practices, informed by her experiences of ministry innovation and evangelism in the context of catastrophe, equip persons of faith to generate communities of safety, dignity, alliance, and resilience. She views the regeneration of these essentials for human thriving as central to the work of the church and its leadership, as Christians struggle against institutions and social norms that perpetuate violence and domination, and seek to establish contrasting ones supporting non-violence and peace.

In her role at SIM, Dr. Cowart, is applying her varied background in theological education, program and curricula development, and building leadership capacity for the church, to expand and strengthen The Society for the Increase of the Ministry's mission. She believes through artful recruitment of outstanding leaders and funding of scholarships for theological training and Episcopal education, we can transform the leadership of the Episcopal Church, making it more faithful to deep spiritual practice, innovative, culturally diverse, and outwardly engaged.

Day1 Weekly Programs by Dr. Courtney Cowart

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Courtney Cowart & Salmoon Bashir: What Kind of Means for What Kind of Victory?

Tuesday August 17, 2021
Dr. Courtney Cowart and seminarian Salmoon Bashir reveal that the battle for which we armor ourselves is a struggle for the universal spiritual liberation of every soul, and it can be accomplished only by clothing ourselves in the power of God’s own love—that is the entire armor of God.

An Exhortation to Forgiveness

Tuesday September 06, 2011
On the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Dr. Courtney Cowart--a 9/11 survivor and volunteer--offers an exhortation to forgive.

Articles by Dr. Courtney Cowart

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The Sikh

Thursday August 09, 2012
In light of the deaths of six devout Sikhs, gathered for worship in the sanctity of their gurdwara when they were brutally murdered on Sunday in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, this story from the days immediately following 9/11 has taken on new meaning for me.

Video by Dr. Courtney Cowart

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Dr. Courtney V. Cowart - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Tuesday September 06, 2011
Dr. Courtney Cowart, 9/11 survivor, author and the Director of Congregational Learning at the Fund for Theological Education, sits down with Day1 host Peter Wallace to discuss the her harrowing tale of survival on September 11th, 2001, her reflections on what that day continues to mean to us and what it can mean for us, her work with St. Paul's Chapel after that day, The Diocese of Louisiana in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and how it all ties into her current work with the Fund for Theological Education.