Christine Dorothy Pohl, 72

Published 11:35 am Monday, June 5, 2023

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Christine Dorothy Pohl passed away peacefully on June 5, 2023, at the age of seventy-two, at home and surrounded by family after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. Christine was a deeply committed Christian, a renowned scholar, an active member of her community, and a loving daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt, and friend. She will be greatly missed.

Love of Christ was the bedrock of Christine’s life, and she devoted herself, both personally and professionally, to knowing God. After growing up in Great Neck, New York, and graduating from Syracuse University she attended English L’Abri where she was greatly influenced by the work of Francis Schaeffer. There she learned to put her faith into practice, first by opening Rebirth Book and Craft Shop, where she touched the lives of so many through Bible Study and Fellowship meals, then as the administrative assistant and acting director of Bread for the World Educational Fund, and later as the director of program development at Community Bible Church in Lawrence, New York, where she worked with refugees. Eventually, Christine’s formidable intellect led her to academia. She received her master’s from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1986 and her doctorate from Emory University in 1993.

Christine’s chosen field of study was Christian social ethics, and her scholarly work left a profound impact. Her groundbreaking first book, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (1999), is widely credited with re-establishing hospitality as a subject of theological inquiry, and will soon be reissued in time for its twenty-fifth anniversary. Her other works include Living on the Boundaries: Evangelical Women, Feminism, and the Theological Academy (2005, with Nicola Hoggard Creegan), Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission (2010, with Christopher Heuertz), Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us (2012), and Good Works: Hospitality and Faithful Discipleship (2021, with Keith Wasserman), as well as numerous contributions to academic journals, popular media outlets, and anthologies.

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Christine spent her entire teaching career at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, beginning as an instructor in 1989 and retiring as a professor in 2018. There, she was a popular professor, forming lasting friendships with her colleagues and students. She was the recipient of many prestigious grants, awards, and residencies, and was a highly sought-after speaker. Collaborating with colleagues was a particular source of joy for Christine, and she often worked with coauthors. In a testament to the enduring power of her scholarship, a book about her life’s work, Practicing the Kingdom: Essays on Hospitality, Community, and Friendship in Honor of Christine D. Pohl, was published just last year.

Family and friends were deeply important to Christine. Although she always retained a hint of her Long Island accent, she found a home and a community in Wilmore, with her parents and her brother’s family eventually joining her on the very same street. She was a devoted aunt, staying in touch with her nieces and nephews; she never missed a birthday and had a knack for finding just the right gift. She found particular meaning in Sunday meals with her brother’s family, and in afternoon tea with her close friends.

Christine was also active in several congregations over the course of her time in Wilmore, most recently Wilmore United Methodist Church. She enjoyed traveling, and her frequent conference presentations and guest lectures took her all over the world. At home, when she wasn’t reading or writing, she liked to receive visitors, contemplate the outside world from her sunroom, and work in her garden; she especially loved cosmos, peonies, hydrangeas, and irises, and she greeted each spring with pansies on her front porch. Upon entering Christine’s home, you would find it filled with books, flowers, potted plants, and decorative pineapples—a traditional Christian symbol of welcome.

Christine is survived by her family: siblings Louise, Elizabeth, and Ronald (Dorothy); nieces and nephews Luke (Susan), Paul (Kana), Jeremy (Katelyn), Hadley (Freddy), Madison (Danielle), Drew, Jessamyn (Mark), Chelsea (Joshua), and Dylan (Ashley); and many great-nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Gunther and Dorothy Pohl.

In lieu of flowers, should friends desire to make a contribution, please send to:

Good Works Inc
PO Box 4
Athens, OH 45701L

Services will be held at 1:00 PM, Friday, June 9, 2023, at Estes Chapel in Wilmore with Stacey Minger officiating. Burial will follow at Wilmore Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 11:00 AM until the time of service, Friday, at the church. Betts & West is honored to serve Christine and her family in their time of need. An online guestbook is available at