As a liturgical scholar, practical theologian and creative worship designer, Dr. Fennema’s teaching and research addresses the intersections of critical, race, postcolonial and gender theories with embodied spiritual practices – from worship to protest – as practices which form identity and perform theology. Her work explores decolonial and antiracist practices as poesis, creating frameworks for spiritual formation through ritual. She especially interested in the mutually-informing dynamic interplay between ritual, trauma and social change. She organizes with #interfaith4blacklives, an Oakland-based direct action solidarity group and Critical Resistance, an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.
As a scholar who is committed to the study and understanding of worship as it is lived and experienced in various traditions and cultures and a lay leader in the United Church of Christ, Dr. Fennema is passionate about empowering spiritual leaders to develop worship services, spiritual practices, and lived theologies that address the complexities of our time by forming communities with the skills for intentional adaptation, interdependence, creative imagination and resilience while drawing on the rich histories and cultures of their community, their geographical location, their justice commitments and their spiritual heritages.
She is the author of several articles including “Postcolonial Whiteness: Being-With in Worship” in Liturgy in Postcolonial Perspectives: Only One is Holy and “The Forgetfulness of Gentrification and the Pilgrimage of Protest: Re-Membering the Body of Christ” in the journal Review and Expositor. She also developed a curriculum for the UCC called “Imagining Beyond Empire: Spiritual Practices for Unlearning Oppression,” a 6-week course that invites participants into the profound work of understanding the multiple overlapping forms of oppression we often participate in and developing spiritual practices of assessment, accountability, resilience and imagination beyond these oppressive dynamics.
Doctor of Philosophy, Graduate Theological Union
Master of Arts in Religion, Yale Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music
Bachelor of Music, St. Olaf College