GERKIN, CHARLES, 1922-2004.
Charles V. Gerkin papers, 1944-1992, undated

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Gerkin, Charles, 1922-2004.
Title: Charles V. Gerkin papers, 1944-1992, undated
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 343
Extent: 16.33 cubic ft. (17 boxes)
Abstract:Consists of papers that document Charles Gerkin’s professional career as chaplain, clinical pastoral educator, and professor.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Pitts Theology Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


[after identification of item(s)], Charles V. Gerkin Papers, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Aimee Morgan, 2007.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Charles Vincent Gerkin, chaplain and clinical pastoral educator, was born in Garrison, Kansas on July 30, 1922. He received a B.A. from Washburn Municipal University (Topeka, KS) in 1945 and a B.D. from Garrett Theological Seminary (Evanston, IL) in 1947. He was ordained Elder in the Kansas East Conference of the Methodist Church in 1949. Gerkin married Mary Frances Hickox in 1945, and the couple were the parents of six children.

Early in his career, Gerkin served parishes in Topeka and Leavenworth, KS. He later held chaplain positions at the Veterans Administration Hospital and the Boys’ Industrial School (both in Topeka). In 1957 Gerkin relocated to Atlanta to serve as the first Director of Chaplaincy Services at Grady Memorial Hospital. In 1962, he became the first executive director of the Georgia Association for Pastoral Care. Gerkin accepted the position of Professor of Clinical Pastoral Education (later Professor of Pastoral Theology) at the Candler School of Theology in September 1970. He remained at Candler for the rest of his career.

Gerkin was certified as a supervisor of clinical pastoral education by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and served as president of the organization in the early 1970s. He was a Diplomate of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. He wrote and lectured extensively. Gerkin is the author of Crisis Experience in Modern Life: Theory and Theology in Pastoral Care (1979), The Living Human Document: Re-Visioning Pastoral Counseling in a Hermeneutical Mode (1984), Widening the Horizons: Pastoral Responses to a Fragmented Society (1986), Prophetic Pastoral Practice: A Christian Vision of Life Together (1991), and An Introduction to Pastoral Care (1997).

Gerkin died on February 20, 2004.

Scope and Content Note

The papers document Gerkin’s professional career as chaplain, clinical pastoral educator, and professor. They cover his years as a chaplain at the Boys’ Industrial School (Topeka, KS) and Grady Memorial Hospital (Atlanta, GA), his service as Executive Director of the Georgia Association for Pastoral Care, and his tenure as Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Candler School of Theology. There are many examples of Gerkin’s scholarly writings (articles, lectures, and drafts of two books), as well as numerous sermons. Gerkin maintained extensive files of incoming and outgoing professional correspondence; his correspondents included Candler School of Theology colleagues as well as other prominent figures in the field of pastoral care and counseling, including Armen Jorjorian, Thomas Klink, and William Oglesby.

The papers also document Gerkin’s role in the national professional community of clinical pastoral educators – most notably, his service to the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education during its crucial early years in the 1960s and 1970s. Subject files and collected writings by Gerkin’s colleagues at Candler and beyond provide a sense of the broad scope of Gerkin’s professional interests.

Gerkin’s papers do not include documentation of his education, nor of his early parish ministry in Kansas (although Series 5 contains sermons dating back to 1948).

Researchers should note that there are numerous connections between Gerkin’s papers and other pastoral care and counseling collections housed at Pitts Theology Library. In particular, there is overlap between Gerkin’s ACPE files (Series 3, Subseries 1) and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education records (Pitts Theology Library RG 001) and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education Southeast Region records (Pitts Theology Library RG 024).

Arrangement Note

Organized into 10 series: (1) Biographical Information, (2) Candler School of Theology, (3) Professional Activities, (4) Correspondence, (5) Sermons, (6) Case Studies, (7) Writings and Lectures by Gerkin, (8) Writings by Others, (9) Subject Files, and (10) Restricted Files.

Description of Series