Academic Programs 

Living Liturgy    (WS-667)
Winter/Spring 2006

This course will bridge the gap between formal ritual worship and the liturgy of life as it explores in the context of a community of believers diverse ways of knowing and naming God within the dynamics of praise, namely, story, song, symbol, sacramental justice, and creative celebration.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
D.Min Schedule -- Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on February 7, February 28, March 14, April 4 and April 25

Miriam Therese Winter
Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality and Director, Women’s Leadership Institute

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9558

Course Syllabus



The primary goals of this course are:

  • to examine, within the Christian Tradition, our ever-evolving traditions of liturgy and worship in relationship to a newly emerging understanding of the world around us
  • to explore the impact of culture, gender, a wider worldview, and a concern for justice and reconciliation on our rites and rituals and their indigenization
  • to explore what is meant by “living liturgy” both theologically and in practice

The primary outcomes of this course are:

  • a more informed understanding of one’s own worship/liturgical tradition and its potential for diversity gained through selected readings, presentations, and guided conversations
  • an awareness of how to bridge the gap between liturgy and life, why it is important to do so, and some experience in making it happen
  • exposure to and experience of contemporary understandings and expressions of liturgical prayer and praise


The class will meet from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the following Tuesdays:

January 31

  • February 29
  • March 14
  • April 4
  • April 25


Anderson, Herbert and Foley, Edward. Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals. Weaving Together the Human and the Divine. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998.

Berger. Teresa. Fragments of Real Presence. Liturgical Traditions in the Hands of Women. New York: Crossroad, 2005.

Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point. How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2000.

Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret Life of Bees. A Novel. New York: Penguin Books, 2002.

Lathrop, Gordon W. Holy Ground. A Liturgical Cosmology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.

Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jack and Hesla, Bret. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs Without Violence. Cleveland: The Prilgrim Press, 2005.

Williams, Delores S. “Rituals of Resistance in Womanist Worship.” In Women at Worship. Interpretations of North American Diversity. Ed. by Marjorie Procter Smith and Janet R. Walton. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993 – pp. 215-223.

Winter, Miriam Therese. eucharist with a small “e.” Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005.

Winter, Miriam Therese. Songlines. Hymns, Songs, Rounds, and Refrains for Prayer and Praise. New York: Crossroad, 1996.


General Expectations

Those auditing the course are expected to:

  • read as much as you are able to manage
  • participate in class discussions and activities

Those taking the course for credit are expected to:

  • read all the books and the article on the course reading list
  • participate fully in class discussions and activities

In addition to these general expectations, complete the following assignments:

  • select from the readings or class sessions three insights or learnings that will stay with you either to influence your approach to worship or in some way be put into practice; and hand in your written response to the following questions:
    • why did you choose each of these? how will they influence you?
    • how might you put each of these learnings into practice?
      • confine your response to a single page per learning
  • design (and if possible implement/celebrate) a worship service or a ritual that reflects something new that you learned as a result of this course
    • hand in an outline of the design, and if it was implemented, add an evaluative paragraph describing participant response and how you felt about what you had done

The two completed assignments and the self-assessment Grade Sheet form are due on June 7.

If you cannot meet this deadline, please ask the course instructor for an extension.  Either the Grade Sheet representing course completion or a signed Incomplete Form (available online or from the Registrar) must be handed in by June 7.


Daylong Sessions (9 am – 4 pm)

January 31 Encountering the Sacred

…in and through the Spirit

Recommended Reading:

Holy Ground (Lathrop)

February 28 Sacred Story

…integrating Spirit

Recommended Reading:

Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals (Anderson, Foley)
The Secret Life of Bees (Kidd)

March 14 Sacramental Meals, Sacramental Moments

… nourishing, nurturing Spirit

Recommended Reading:

eucharist with a small “e” (Winter)
The Tipping Point (Gladwell)

April 4 Sacred Songs, Space, Signs, Symbols, Seasons

…permeating Spirit

Recommended Reading:

Fragments of Real Presence (Berger)
Songlines (Winter)

April 25 Celebrating the Sacred

… the Spirit in our lives

Recommended Reading:

“Rituals of Resistance in Womanist Worship” (Williams)
Worship in the Spirit of Jesus (Nelson-Pallmeyer, Hesla)


Please bring the book Songlines to all sessions.
We will be singing from the book.

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500