The Very Rev. James F. Turrell, dean of the School of Theology, Sewanee, Tennessee, is pleased to announce that the Rev. Richard Cogill has been appointed director of contextual education, beginning on July 1, 2021.


“Father Cogill brings extraordinary gifts in pastoral and organizational leadership, in university teaching, and in clergy development,” Turrell said. “I am excited that he will join us this year to help shape the next generation of Episcopal priests.”


Cogill reflected on why he chose to accept the position at the School of Theology. “Sewanee is at a crossroads as it seeks to openly and honestly come to terms with its complex past while embracing the promise of a transformed future for the sake of the Gospel. It is my privilege to be part of such an exciting venture as we explore what it means to engage in leadership at this juncture, not only in The Episcopal Church, but also in this country, plagued by the scourge of racism and privilege.”  


Cogill is a South African by birth and is an Episcopal priest from the Diocese of Minnesota. He is a teacher, community organizer, and pastor. He currently teaches in the Department of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Additionally, he assists at the Episcopal Parish of St. Andrew in Moose Lake, Minnesota.


Prior to his current position, he served as the dean of studies for the Anglican Archiepiscopal Diocese of Cape Town, and occasionally lectured in the department of theology at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. He also served as the precentor at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. He has extensive experience in the NGO sector, having served as a Senior Associate with the Collective Leadership Institute based in Germany, senior associate for the Leadership Support and Development Centre, director of the Community Healing Network, and coordinator of the German/South African NGO, Südafrika und AIDS. Cogill has traveled to more than 30 countries, and has lived in the United States for 15 years, completing his bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Gustavus Adolphus College (Minnesota), his master of divinity at Luther Seminary (Minnesota), his master in sacred theology, and his diploma in Anglican studies at the General Theological Seminary (New York). He is currently a doctoral student in Cape Town, South Africa. He has taught in the United States, Palestine, South Africa, and South Korea. 


At the School of Theology, Cogill will have oversight of the School’s field education, clinical pastoral education, and cross-cultural programs as part of the curriculum’s three-course practical theology sequence. “Preparing leaders for the mission and ministry of the Church is a sacred and profound responsibility” said Cogill. “It is my hope that my ministry here will be one of accompaniment, of holy and intentional listening, and helping current and future leaders mature into an embodiment of what God has called them to be: bearers of hope, lovers of justice, sources of mercy, and agents of God’s knee-wobbling, transforming, radical love, in a country buckling under the strain and stress of a wounded and disillusioned people.” 


"Richard brings a wealth of experience both in teaching students and in the formation of clergy,” explained the Rev. Dr. Ben King, professor of Christian history and associate dean for academic affairs. “He will be sure to nurture relationships with our clergy mentors in our many and varied field education sites, as well as nurture our students and prepare them for ministry in diverse settings. We feel blessed to have him join the faculty at the School of Theology."