ANNUAL MEETING - 2017

SSCS at the AAR Annual Meeting
Boston, Massachusetts
November 17-21, 2017

Friday, November 17: Christian Spirituality Inside and Out

Our experiential and reflective sessions take their cue from the challenge of SSCS President Claire Wolfteich’s 2016 address, which called us to re-center scholarship on everyday life. At the 25th anniversary of the Society, we see this as a call to look to the future at least as much as to the past. This shift in perspective raises all kinds of questions: As we consider the future(s) of the practice and study of Christian Spirituality(ies), how can we reorient our work toward the lived experience of ordinary people within and well beyond institutional settings, including churches and classrooms? How can engagement with spiritualities that move actively into local spaces and unfold in concrete, material, and embodied ways inform, enrich, and transform our scholarship in the future? How can a robust honoring of the experiences and voices of those outside of the academic study of spirituality help move us toward more creative, vital, and sustainable visions for the field?

Boston itself is of course a fertile ground for exploring these questions through emplaced and embodied spiritual experience. Our sessions will provide opportunities to engage diverse locales, physical modalities, and conversations about what Christian spirituality is becoming today and in the future.

We are grateful to The BTS Center for generous sponsorship of our 2017 gathering.

Afternoon Session – 2:00PM-5:30 PM

Excursion #1 – Armenian Heritage Park (Doug Hardy, Facilitator) – Subway fare: $3.00
We will tour the Armenia Heritage Park, which includes a labyrinth, reflecting pool, and sculpture, celebrates the spirituality of the American immigrant experience with its designing architect.

Excursion #2 – “Holy Spokes” Cycling Tour of Boston (Laura Everett, Facilitator) – Cost: $25.00+$3.00 subway fare
Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, author, and cycling enthusiast will lead a two-wheeling tour of the city that explores the spirituality of cycling as embodied practice.

Excursion #3 – Blessing of the Athletes at Old South Church (Elizabeth Drescher, Facilitator) – Cost: $0
The Rev. Nancy Taylor will discuss the “Blessing of the Athletes” during the Boston Marathon as an expression of embodied, local spirituality. A walking tour will continue to other landmark Back Bay churches.

Evening Session – 6:00PM-9:00PM

6:00PM – 7:00PM – “Christian Spirituality Inside and Out”

Address (15 minutes): The Rev. Laura Everett, Executive Director of Massachusetts Council of Churches and author of Holy Spokes: The Search for Urban Spirituality on Two Wheels (Eerdmans 2017)

Panel Discussion (20 minutes):
Bing Broderick, Executive Director, Haley House, Boston, MA
The Rev. Stephen Cushing, Executive Director and Senior Chaplin of the New England Seafarers Mission, Boston, MA
Donald J. Tellalian, AIA, Designer/Architect, Tellalian Associates Architects & Planners, Designer of the Armenian Heritage Park, Boston, MA

Response (15 minutes): Pamela Shellberg, PhD, Scholar-in-Residence, The BTS Center, Portland, ME

Questions (10 minutes)

7:00PM – Reception—Location TBD

7:30PM – Dinner—Location TBD; Cost: $15/Full Members, $5/Student Members

Watch for a follow-up communication soon that will include links to register online for the Afternoon Experiential Sessions and/or for the Evening Dinner & Panel.

Saturday, November 18

9:00-11:30 AM
Presidential Address: Biblical Spirituality, Aesthetics and Beauty: The Case of John’s Revelation, Pieter G.R. de Villiers, SSCS President
SSCS Business Meeting, Bernadette Flanagan, SSCS Vice President/President-elect presiding



Sessions of the Christian Spirituality Group of the AAR

Spiritualities of the Reformation (A18-309)
Saturday, 4:00-6:30 pm.
Sheraton Boston-Riverway (Fifth Level)

Papers in this session discuss dimensions of Christian spirituality as found in various traditions of the Reformation.
Lisa E. Dahill, California Lutheran University, presiding
  • Prayer and Affliction: Martin Luther on the Spiritual Roots of Theological Insight, Simeon Zahl, University of Nottingham
  • We Must Inquire after Their Language: Luther’s Language as Spiritual Discipline, Justin Nickel, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • The Cross of the Bitter Christ: Competing Christomorphisms in the Radical and Magisterial Reformations, Travis Ables, Regis University
  • The Origins of Reformed Prayer: Devotional Humanism and the Fracturing of European Devotional Culture, Flynn Cratty, Yale University
  • The Prayer Book and Spiritual Writings of Anna Alexandria von Furstenberg zu Rappoltstein, Rebecca Giselbrecht, University of Zürich, Fuller Seminary
Business Meeting
Margaret Benefiel, Shalem Institute For Spiritual Formation, and Glenn Young, Rockhurst University, presiding



Planetary Solidarity: Global Women’s Voices on Christian Doctrine and Climate Justice (co-sponsored with SBL Ecological Hermeneutics Group) (A20-110)
Monday, 9:00-11:30 am
Hynes Convention Center-208 (Second Level)

This book panel brings together womanist, mujerista, Asian and feminist theologians and biblical scholars to discuss the intersection of Christian doctrine, gender and climate justice.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim , Earlham College, presiding
  • Imagining an Earth-centric Theological Framing for Planetary Solidarity, Heather Eaton, Saint Paul University
  • And God Saw That It Was Good--Imago Dei and Its Challenge to Climate Justice, Wanda Deifelt, Luther College
  • Trafficked Lands: Sex Trafficking, Oil, and Ecological Evil in the Dakotas, Hilda Koster, Concordia College, Moorhead
  • Seeds, Cross, and a Paradox of Life from Death: A Postcolonial Eco-Theology, Jea Sophia Oh, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  • Eco-Womanist Wisdom: Encountering Earth and the Spirit, Melanie L. Harris, Texas Christian University
  • Reimagining Eschatology towards Healing and Hope, for a World at the Eschatos   
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza , Harvard University, respondent
Kareena Gore, Center for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, respondent



Embodiment and the Study of Spirituality (A21-102)
Tuesday, 8:30-10:00 am., Sheraton Boston-Liberty C (Second Level)

The papers in this session address how issues related to embodied practice might be considered in the study of Christian spirituality.
Douglas Hardy, Nazarene Theological Seminary, presiding
  • Embodied Dimensions of the Contemplative Practices in Hesychasm (Eastern Orthodox Asceticism): A New Perspective, Laura Anellia Soureli, University of Cambridge
  • ‘Sacramentalizing the Body’: Christian Tatooing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Marie Pagliarini, Saint Mary’s College
  • Using Rhythm to Move Beyond Text in the Study of Christian Spirituality, Lexi Eikelboom, John Wesley Honors College, Indiana Wesleyan University
Please check our website and listserv in the months to come for further details about the sessions, dinner arrangements, and transport options. If you’re not yet on our listserv, please consider subscribing, either through our website or by contacting Anita Houck.


Previous meetings: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

8/8/17