"Let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we will not give up." Galatians 6:9
B.A., Eastern University
M.Div., Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union
I believe that being a pastor is one of the most valuable and deeply needed roles in our world today. Accompanying people on their journeys through life is a truly privileged opportunity. To do so in a capacity that strengthens and challenges people in their faithful living of their relationship with God is a sacred task. I count it a privilege to teach in service to women and men at ABSW who are training for this important role!
As a teacher of worship at ABSW, I desire to help equip my students for excellence in ministry so that they come to understand the communal worshipping experience as one central way people come into life-shaping contact with the Holy. It is my passionate commitment to make the study of worship one of the strongest aspects of future church leaders’ training for ministry.
Indeed, it is my hope that some of the students in my classroom will fall in love with the subject matter of worship. This is the stuff of revolution! The more seminarians fall in love with worship, the more the way we worship—and by extension the way we live as people of faith in the world—will change for the better.
One of the most exciting things about teaching worship is when students take the subject to places I never imagined. The process of teaching is a generative one. As we whole-heartedly engage our learning community, new things come to birth among us.
Teaching worship requires one foot in the classroom and one foot in the church. Therefore, in addition to my teaching at ABSW I also continue to preach and plan worship in various settings, including the weekly chapel services at ABSW. I also enjoy leading retreats and workshops in local congregations.
My current research interests include the role of prayer in public worship, especially the unique free church tradition of Concerns and Celebrations; African-American worshiping traditions; writing for worship; emergent/postmodern approaches to worship; liturgical theology and spirituality; and Baptist sacramentality—more than just an oxymoron!
Selection of Recent Publications:
"Remembering Ourselves Before God: Constructing a Liturgical Theology of Prayer," The South African Baptist Journal of Theology 18 (2009)
“Sarai, Hagar, and Abram: Within Each One of Us”
Essay published in the book Home is Where You’re Going: Crossing Borders and Risking Solidarities through Women’s Studies (Cathedral Hill Press, 2006)
“When Words Fail,” published under pseudonym Ann Sill, The Other Side (November/December 2001)
A feature article that considers the power of the Book of Lamentations and the role of lament in worship as being essential for the times when we need to rage at God
“Breaking into the Heart of God,” The Other Side (July/August 2001)
A feature article that ponders the invitation to enter the “forbidden territory”
of God’s own heart. Reprinted in Circuit Rider (January/February 2002).
“Night is as Day,” The Other Side (May/June 2000)
A reflection on Psalm 139 and a call to ministry
“Listening for God,” The Other Side (March/April 1999)
A devotional on contemplative prayer in an urban context
Commission on Worship and Spirituality, Baptist World Alliance
Chair, Emerging Theologians Task Force, American Baptist Churches, USA
Liturgy and Spirituality Seminar, North American Academy of Liturgy
Worshipful Writing: A Contemplative Approach to Writing for Worship
Many worship leaders in free church traditions are expected to write new liturgy from week to week. This workshop introduces a contemplative approach to writing liturgy for public worship. With focus on Scripture and the needs of the congregation, participants are led through a contemplative process as they write their own pieces of a worship service. Participants are encouraged to come with a specific worshipping community in mind. This workshop has a retreat-like feel to it—a time to sit in the presence of God with one another as we seek to write engaging worship for our congregations.
All Are Welcome: Different Somatic and Mental Abilities and the Practice of Worship
While many congregations seek to be welcoming and inclusive, sometimes we are not aware of ways in which there are barriers to those living with disabilities. In this workshop we explore a theology of disability that can challenge and liberate some of our worship practices. We also discuss very practical ways to create a welcoming space so that all may worship.