An Ohio native who has lived on both East and West Coasts over the last two decades, Lisa M. Hess listens, teaches, and writes as a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) and practical theology professor at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She understands herself best as a friend, wife, teacher, occasional preacher, poet, and contemplative. Author of Artisanal Theology: Intentional Formation in Radically Covenantal Companionships (Cascade, 2009), she is an artisanal theologian, which means her primary work is the articulation, modeling, and fostering of an expressive theological delight, able to companion the suffering of self and others. Religious communities of affiliation include the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Society of Friends (Quakers), the United Methodist Church and occasionally, Gar Drolma of Dayton, Ohio (a sangha in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism).
Dr. Hess received her PhD in 2001 from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she served as Program Director for Pastoral and Congregational Renewal for several years. She has been a summer fellow at the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College and was granted a summer research fellowship by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning. Dr. Hess was the moving force behind the “Sabbath Renewal Project for Pastoral Theological Excellence,” a $891,069 Sustaining Pastoral Excellence initiative of Lilly Endowment, Inc., Princeton Theological Seminary, and local communities nationwide. She has served as a panelist for the John Templeton Foundation research workshop, “Exploring Prayer and Spiritual Formation During Adolescence” (2002) and as a respondent in the Practicing Theology Conference at Yale Divinity School (2003). She has also presented her work internationally, first in Pretoria/Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa at the week-long Arts and Reconciliation Festival, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2005). She has been a regular contributor to The Clergy Journal and Liturgical Homiletics, and is author of many publications, including her most recent book, Learning in Musical Key: Insight for Theology in Performative Mode (Princeton Theological Monograph series, Pickwick Publications), due out in late 2011.
Dr. Hess has also served academic and community organizations for many years. She currently serves as the book review editor for Spiritus, a journal of Christian spirituality harbored by Johns Hopkins University Press for the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (http://sscs.press.jhu.edu/). She has served on the governing board of that Society, as well as the Academy of Religious Leadership (http://arl-jrl.org). She was selected as a fellow for the American Academy of Religion & Henry Luce Foundation Summer Seminars in Theologies of Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology (2009-2010), where she offered a paper entitled “Liturgical Hospitality as an Experiment in Comparative Theology: Learning to Be an Outsider.” Most recently, she has been selected as a Coolidge Scholar in the Annual Research Colloquium held in NYC each summer, with this year’s theme on “Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Religious Pluralism.” In her local community, she enjoys serving on the Board of the Bach Society of Dayton and in a variety of capacities within Presbyterian circles.
Dr. Hess loves to travel with her husband and play with her Basenji-mix-mutt Marley. She enjoys digital photography, bread-baking, contemplative running, poetry, gourmet-foodie living, and staying in touch with friends and family.