From the office of Bishop Humphrey Peters
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN, 27 April 2011 – The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler has been appointed Principal of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan, the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters, Bishop of Peshawar, announced today as the appointing authority. Dr. Presler will take up his duties on May 1 at the century-old college of 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
“At this juncture, when our region is going through the most difficult time in the history of Pakistan, the college needs experienced and dependable leadership,” Bp. Peters said. “Based on Christian values, Edwardes has all the potential to become a premier international educational institution, and we are confident that with the recent change in the college’s leadership this dream will be realized.”
“As a church institution, Edwardes has much to contribute to the formation of young Pakistani professionals at a sensitive time in the country’s national and religious life,” Canon Presler said. “It will be a privilege to serve God’s mission through higher education with Muslims, Christians and others in an intensely inter-religious environment.”
Located in the city of Peshawar near the Khyber Pass leading to Afghanistan, Edwardes College serves 2,000 students enrolled in programmes in sciences, humanities, business and computer studies. Students include 1,800 Muslims, 200 Christians and some of other religious faiths working with a majority Muslim faculty of 85. The Church Missionary Society founded Edwardes High School, the first educational institution in the region, in 1853, and expanded to establish the college in 1900. It continues as an institution of the Diocese of Peshawar, one of eight dioceses of the Church of Pakistan, a church formed in 1970 from the union of Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists and Lutherans. Canon Presler was selected for the position after a national and international search conducted by an inter-religious committee formed by the college board of governors, which is chaired by the governor of the province.
Dr. Presler brings to the position a background of academic and church leadership, scholarly productivity, and cross-cultural and inter-religious engagement. He has served as academic dean at General Theological Seminary in New York and as president of the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, where he was professor of mission and world Christianity. He was rector of St. Peter’s Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for 11 years and more recently was interim pastor of the Church of St. Simon the Cyrenian in New Rochelle, N.Y. He served five terms as a deputy to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention and chaired the churche’s Standing Commission on World Mission.
As a mission scholar, Dr. Presler has written on the theology and practice of Christian mission and on gospel-culture interactions in African Christianity. His most recent book, Going Global with God: Reconciling Mission in a World of Difference (Morehouse, 2010), focuses on ecumenical mission trends today and on how engaging difference is the mark of mission. In addition to many articles, he is the author of Horizons of Mission (Cowley, 2001) and Transfigured Night: Mission and Culture in Zimbabwe’s Vigil Movement (University of South Africa Press, 1999). He was a researcher for the Global Anglicanism Project and a consultant for the Anglican Indaba Project.
Dr. Presler and his wife, the Rev. Jane Butterfield, an honorary canon of St. John’s Cathedral, Peshawar, served as rural missionaries at Bonda in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. Their home in the USA is in Vermont, and they are the parents of four grown children. Dr. Presler was born and grew up in India, where his parents taught at Leonard Theological College in Jabalpur. In 2009 he was made honorary canon of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. He blogs at http://TitusOnMission.wordpress.com.
Dr. Presler is an honors graduate of Harvard College and later studied and taught at Harvard Divinity School. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from General Seminary and a Doctor of Theology degree from Boston University. His honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees are from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and from General.