Rev Susan Page Townsley was called to serve South Church in 2020. It is a bit of a homecoming, as her first ministry was in Bath Maine. Susan brings a passion for creativity, experimentation, play and joy. She love to make imaginative and lively connections between people, ideas, organizations, art and the everyday divine.
Previously to this ministry, Susan was the Minister of Innovation, Leadership and Change for the Southern New England Conference. In this role, Susan supported leadership development, created “Blue Sky” spaces for creative and innovative thinking, and worked to enhance the church’s capacity for change. She also supported the Clergy Communities of Practice and the “Together we Thrive” grant program. In 2018, Susan received a post-master’s certificate in Leadership and Change from the New School in New York, where she studied how the Transformational Leadership model helps to bridge the gap between creative idea and innovation implementation. Understanding the diversity and subtlety of responses to the uncertainty of change was central to this research.
A PCC level certified professional coach (ICF) Susan has training in executive, clergy, group and general coaching techniques, and often uses laser coaching to help leaders get unstuck. Susan also is trained in large group facilitation through The Art of Hosting.
Grounded in the experience of the local church, Susan completed a two-year term as the bridge co-pastor at the Talmadge Hill Community Church in Darien Connecticut after helping the church create strategic pathways and beginning a
women’s covenant group program. She also served the West Tokyo Union Church in Chofu, Japan while her husband worked internationally for General Electric.
From 2013-2017 worked as a coach and consultant to not-for-profits and churches and their leaders through her proprietorship, “Welcome the Spirit.” Helping leaders to lead with vision, imagine their best future, manage conflict, and structure churches for delivery on mission is the focus of this work. She has been offering these services off and on since 2003. Serving as Staff to General Synods (biannual meeting of the United Church of Christ) is another ongoing commitment for Susan since 2006. In that setting she teaches facilitators to manage discussions of impactful and sometimes divisive church matters using a consensus-building model.
Susan has taught The History and Polity of the United Church of Christ at Yale Divinity School. A graduate of Smith College (mathematics) and Harvard Divinity School, Susan has ordained been for over 30 years and served in a variety of settings, including churches in Connecticut, New York and Maine. She was trained in church planning and conflict management through the Connecticut Conference, and the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, and in Family Therapy at the Cambridge Family Therapy Institute. Susan’s husband, Greg Davis, --now consulting on a part time basis-- has worked in corporate finance mostly with GE, and continues with part time consulting in corporate finance and treasury. They have two children, Davis Townsley who works in Boston for Amazon Web Services, and Andrew Davis who works for Research Partnership in pharmaceutical market research and lives in Pasadena.
Avid readers and travelers, the Townsley Davis clan always swop and discuss literature whether on a beach, a dock or in an airport. Ask about our latest family read. A fan of doing a lot of things decently rather than a few things well, Susan practices Yoga, studies Kanji (Japanese characters) makes candles, bread and pie, and can be seen on the trails around the Kennebunks and New England with her husband, family and friends, and two chocolate labs, Bento and Mochi.