Emma J. Justes

Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling in the Emma Toussant Chair in Pastoral Theology

Teaching and Research
Emma’s teaching and research interests include pastoral care and counseling, pastoral theology, crisis, grief, aging, transitions, human sexuality, pastoral care in a pluralistic context, and discipleship from a pastoral care perspective.
B.A. in Elementary Education, Franklin College (1963)

B.Div., Colgate Rochester Divinity School (1967)

M.T.S. in Practical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary (1969)

Ph.D. in Practical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary (1979)

Member of The Society for Pastoral Theology and the American Baptist Minister’s Council

Member of the Board of the American Baptist Church, USA Roger Williams Fellowship

Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling

Ordained in the American Baptist Church in 1967

Has served in ministry in Reformed Church in America, American Baptist, and African Methodist Episcopal Churches

Please Don’t Tell: What to Do with the Secrets People Share. Nashville, Abingdon Press, 2013.

“I’ve never told a soul, and you have to promise not to tell anybody.” “Pastor, I wanted you to know before we tell the kids, just in case they come to you.” “I’m so happy. Yes, finally, I’m pregnant. I just had to tell someone.” “Yes, it’s terrible, but am I going to explain it to our friends here at church?”

People need trusted persons as sounding boards and confidants. Not many weeks go by that someone does not confide a secret to a church leader, whether pastor, youth director, church secretary, choir director, or board member. While pastors have a unique role when it comes to confidentiality, listening to secrets is something that every church leader does. But there are both privileges and responsibilities in reporting, discerning the truth, and helping people bear the deep sins or temper the anger that threatens to overflow.

Please Don’t Tell offers pastoral caregivers – both lay and ordained – thoughtful, practical wisdom about engaging wounded persons whose lives have been held prisoner to shameful secrets. Drawing on biblical story, memory research and years of pastoral experience, Professor Justes reminds us that creating the sacred space in which sufferers can begin healing requires self-awareness, hospitality, and compassion in those who would offer care. A great resource for pastors, congregational caregivers, and all who would offer hope through confession, healing, and reconciliation. — David Hogue, Professor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Hearing Beyond the Words: Becoming a Listening Pastor. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006.

Only when pastors hear beyond the words, can they carefully minister. Pastors listen all the time. Or do they? Listening is more than a developed skill; it is an awesome gift of hospitality offered to others. According to Dr. Emma Justes, hearing beyond the words signifies an intimate relationship characterize by humility, thoughtful availability, vulnerability, and mutuality. Listening requires focused attention and openness. To help the reader learn this essential skill, the author includes exercises at the end of each chapter to build needed competency for this healing ministry. This important book has been adopted for translation in China, Korea, Spain and Eastern Europe.

Emma Justes illuminates the sacred space that comes into being through listening and the courageous hospitality required of listeners. Undergirding all human encounter and every act of ministry, listening is thoughtful vulnerability that sees truthfully and empowers freedom. This wise book will serve us well for years to come. — Larry Kent Graham

Moessner, Jeanne S. Through the Eyes of Women. Chapter Author, “Pastoral Care and Older Women’s Secrets”. Augsburg Fortress Press, 19966.

Divided into three parts, Through the Eyes of Women underscores how gender and public policy issues need to be emphasized, explores several specific issues of women–especially issues of the body–in a way that is counter to the prevailing and the unhelpful dichotomy between mind and body, and concentrates on women as the care providers–the training of seminarians, therapists, and educators.

God and Human Freedom: A Festschrift for Howard Thurman. Chapter Author on using his work as a base for Pastoral Care.

Personal Life
Racial and Gender issues are crucial for me. Justice and walking the way Jesus walked (the Way).

A new issue I am pursuing is what I might call “Understanding Living with Privilege.”

Secrets is also an area of great interest. I have written a book, Please Don’t Tell (Abingdon, 2013), about keeping secrets about which we have shame. So many older people have kept secrets all their lives and then — I think in anticipation of dying and trying to get their “life pictures” to make sense — they tell the secret. These are redeeming experiences and life changing and I wrote to encourage people to listen to secrets.

A new writing interest is “Fear” because of the tremendous role it plays in keeping us from walking Jesus’ way.

I am a single parent to two sons, Kito and Micah. I adopted them when they were infants. We also have three cats, Sophia, Woods and Jordan.

Some of my wider family live in the Cincinnati area, my brother included. We grew up in the Cincinnati/northern Kentucky area.

My newest hobby is stone carving. I love gardening, taking pictures and Jazz. I love to write.

I love to travel, especially in South Africa and hope to teach there again in the future.