Rev. Dr. Elise Feyerherm
Director of Anglican Formation & Assistant Professor of Church History and Christian Spirituality
- A.B., Earlham College, 1982
- M.Div., Yale Divinity School,1986
- Ph.D., Boston College, 2001 (Theological Studies, emphasis in History of Christian Life and Thought and Systematic Theology). Dissertation: Lives of a Cell: The Vocation of the Anchoress in AncreneWisse and Julian of Norwich's Showings.
About Professor Feyerherm
I am an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Southern Ohio and teach courses in spiritual formation, liturgy, and church history.
I was born and grew up in southern New Jersey, where I learned multiple religious languages, speaking “Lutheran” with my family and becoming fluent in “Quaker” while attending a Friends school. I graduated from Earlham College in Indiana (thus deepening my knowledge of “Quaker”) and went on to receive a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Catholics, and even Lutherans and Quakers, learned to understand and appreciate each other’s languages of faith.
After studying “pastor-speak” for a year as an intern in a Lutheran church in Waterbury, CT, I decided to learn the rather perplexing language and culture of high school students, teaching religion for five years at Moses Brown School in Providence, RI. During this time I discovered the mellifluous speech of the Book of Common Prayer 1979 at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John in Providence, where the Anglican language of “via media” was spoken and lived. This religious language resonated deeply in my heart, and its music and rhythms moved my soul. This was the beginning of my journey into the Episcopal Church.
When I moved on to doctoral studies at Boston College, I discovered that I would have to learn yet another language: “Catholic” (not to mention the Catholic dialect known as “Jesuit”). I must have become proficient at it, because not only did I manage to earn a Ph. D. in Theological Studies in 2001, but along the way I also married a Catholic scripture scholar (he has learned to understand and speak Anglican, though not as well as I speak Catholic).
Writing my dissertation on medieval English anchoresses I discovered that while anchoresses did not speak very much, the one who actually wrote a book about her experiences (Julian of Norwich, 1343 – c.1419) has been able to speak meaningfully to all sorts of Christians, despite their different languages of faith. Among Julian’s many insights is the realization that God speaks to humanity through Jesus with one single, eternal Word: Love. I continue to find Julian to be a source of wisdom and encouragement, and aspire to learn more fluently Julian’s language of divine love.
Music and liturgy are among my particular joys. While in Massachusetts I sang with a women’s group that presented concerts of sacred music and evenings of early Christian chant. I also served as liturgical coordinator and cantor at a contemplative Celtic Eucharist. I continue to sing as much as I can in Columbus, especially with the Trinity Seminary Choir, and I am committed to helping seminarians and clergy find their liturgical voice.
Currently I am active in a seminar of the North American Academy of Liturgy called “The Advent Project” that seeks to revitalize Advent practices and liturgies and advocate for the restoration of a longer Advent season. This is one of the most exciting projects I have been involved with, for a number of reasons: it engages all of the theological disciplines about which I am most passionate (history, spirituality, and liturgy), and most importantly, it brings me into ecumenical partnership with pastors and scholars who love the Church and seek its continual renewal.
I have lived in Columbus since 2005. Shortly after coming to Bexley Hall, I entered the ordination discernment process in the Diocese of Southern Ohio; I was ordained deacon in 2009 and priest in 2010. Outside of my teaching at Bexley Hall, I have served as an assisting priest at St. James Episcopal Church in Columbus and am a regular leader of quiet days and retreats in the area.
Liturgics II: History of Liturgical Worship
Liturgics III: Liturgical Theology, Eucharistic Celebration, and Leading the Pastoral Rites of the Episcopal Church
Daily Liturgical Prayer
History of English Christianity
Celtic Christian Life & Thought, 300-1500 CE