PSR Welcomes Visiting Professor in Christian Worship - Dr. Sharon Fennema

July 31, 2013

PSR welcomes Dr. Sharon Fennema, our 2013 Visiting Professor of Christian Worship and Director of Worship Life. Dr. Fennema received her PhD from the GTU in Liturgical Studies in 2011 and has been Adjunct Professor /Lecturer in Ritual, Liturgy and Preaching at Harvard Divinity School for the past two years.

Sharon Fennema has taught classes in worship, music and theology, led workshops and retreats, and composed worship resources for churches and seminaries across the United States.  In addition to her GTU doctorate, Dr. Fennema holds a Bachelor of Music degree (magna cum laude) in Voice Performance from St. Olaf College and a Masters of Arts in Religion degree (summa cum laude) from Yale University Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music.

Her research addresses the intersections of critical and gender theories with Christian worship as practices which form identity and perform theology.  Drawing on queer theory, including the writings of Judith Butler, as well as the performance theories of Richard Schechner, her recent work includes an historical ethnography of the worship practices of a San Francisco community of faith during the height of the early AIDS crisis in the United States, using it as the source for the creation of what she calls “a liturgical theodicy in practice.” 

Dr. Fennema brings to her work expertise and training in music. As a frequent solo vocal and choral performer as well as recitalist and church musician, she has performed across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia with renowned musical ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the St. Olaf Choir, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. 

As a liturgical scholar who is committed to the study and understanding of Christian worship as it is lived and experienced in various traditions and cultures and a lay leader in the United Church of Christ, she is passionate about enabling religious leaders to develop worship services, spiritual practices and lived theologies that meet the complex needs of people living in the 21st century, while drawing on the rich histories and cultures of their community, their geographical location, and their religious heritage.