Photo of Shirley Paulson

Ph.D., University of Birmingham

M.T.S., Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary

M.A., Principia College

Shirley Paulson

Head of Ecumenical Affairs for Christian Science Church

Shirley Paulson’s academic pursuits arose out of her many years of practical experience in Christian Science healing. She received an M.T.S. from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2005 with a focus on spiritual healing in Christian history. Her Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, UK in 2017 brought her into the academic field of Practical Theology, where she studied the means of communicating the relevance of healing ideas from early Christianity.

As the first Head of Ecumenical Affairs for Christian Science Church (2008-2018), she gained first-hand experience with Christian controversies over orthodoxy and healing theologies. Her focus on the newly discovered extracanonical texts strengthens her appreciation for their importance then and now, as they help to navigate their meaning for contemporary scholarship.

Published books

  • "Considering Issues of Mass Incarceration Through the Les of the Beatitudes,” Thinking Theologically about Mass Incarceration: Biblical Foundations and Justice Imperatives, Paulist Press (2017)
  • "A Christian Science View on Climate Justice." Ecumenical Trends 46, no. 7 (2017)
  • "Christian Science and its Christian origin." Acta Comparanda Subsidia II, (2015)
  • "The Emerging Face of Being One: Discerning the Ecumenical Community from the Christian Science Church." Journal of Ecumenical Studies (2014)
  • "Church of Christ, Scientist: Adherent Essay." In Handbook of Religion: A Christian Engagement with Traditions, Teachings, and Practices, edited by Terry C. Muck, Harold A. Netland, Gerald R. McDermott (2014)
  • "Self-Understanding of Christian Science," Ecumenical Trends, (May 2013)
  • "Christian Science Christians’ Healing Practice," Unity in Mission: Theological Reflections on the Pilgrimage of Mission (2013)

Professional Service

  • Fellow, Westar Institute
  • Member, Tanho Center
  • Member, SBL
  • Head of Ecumenical Affairs for The Church of Christ, Scientist
  • Member, Faith and Order Convening Table, NCC
  • Official Observer National Council of Churches
  • Member, AAR
  • National Board of Governors, RCC
  • Co-founder, Religion Communicators Council Chicago chapter

Professional Ministry

  • Head of Ecumenical Affairs for The First Church of Christ, Scientist (2009 – present)
  • Speaker’s Bureau for The First Church of Christ, Scientist (2006 – 2014)
  • Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois (2002 – 2006)
  • Christian Science Practitioner (1991 – present)

Awards and Honors

  • DeRose Hinkhouse Award of Excellence from Religion Communicators Council (2017)
  • same (2005)
  • Golden Apple Award, Mayor of Atlanta, GA – volunteer work in inner city (1988)
  • Dean’s List for Principia College (1970)