Student Profile: Steven Tourtual, M.Div. & M.A. (P.C.C.)
March 1, 2022
It can be a long road to healing. Steven Tourtual knows. After retiring from his Camden City (NJ) patrol officer position due to accidental disability, Steven developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Years later, Steven completed Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), partly to heal from his own trauma. Working through his own wounds has prepared him to listen to the struggles of others, including the trauma of law enforcement officers and their families.
He also listened to his spouse Nancy when she said, “Maybe chaplaincy would be a good fit for you.” So in 2018 Steve completed a six-month chaplaincy externship through UPenn, but knew that he needed more training.
Returning to their New Jersey home that year from a Vermont vacation, Steven and Nancy looked for a church along their route and ended up worshipping at Bethel AME Church in Morristown, NJ. Steve was blown away by the message of the guest preacher, Dr. Harold Trulear. As Dr. Trulear preached about prison ministry, he revealed that he had been an inmate himself.
As a former patrol office, Steven was forced to think critically about policing and the criminal justice system. What did biblical justice require? Upon learning that Dr. Trulear taught at NBTS, Steven knew which seminary was the place for him.
From courses on Christian education to racial reconciliation, Steven’s NBTS program has prepared him to serve well in a hospital, a church, a prison, or wherever he is called to be a non-anxious presence. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, societal divisiveness, and many other causes, Steven recognizes that “so many people are traumatized. So many people are grieving a loss.”
In these tender situations, Steve wants to be someone who can stay calm and not judge. He is inspired by Psalm 147:3—The Lord “heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.”
This year, Steven is completing a nine-month chaplaincy residency at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Once he has completed this field practicum for his NBTS program, he can apply to be a certified chaplain.
Steven recommends New Brunswick to anyone wanting to grow in their faith and in their capacity for ministry: “Attending New Brunswick was definitely a great choice—one of the best decisions I ever made.”