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M.Div./M.A. Theology & the Arts

Union Theological Seminary in New York City

  • Traveling Fellowship Award Recipient '14: Union's highest academic achievement, awarded each year to the graduating senior who shows the highest promise for contributing to theological knowledge through teaching

  • Spiritual Formation Committee 2011-2014
    Working closely with Fr. Roger Haight and other Union staff, maintained community-wide weekly prayer list, coordinated SpiritTalk round table discussions, planned semiannual student retreats, coordinated inter-seminary dialogues and sponsored events on vocational discernment and cultivating spiritual practice.

  • Arts Caucus Chair 201-2014
    Provided on- and off-campus resources to help students develop their artistic talents and interests, make connections between theology and the arts, and explore the practical role of artistic expression and appreciation in spiritual healing and growth. 


B.A. Communication Studies

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Magna cum laude

  • Phi Beta Lambda Communication Honors Society

  • Minor in Music: Returned to UNCG from 2019-2020 to pursue independent ethnomusicology research on the current state of Western classical music education, advised bDr. Gavin Douglas



Religious Trauma Studies Certification Program

Global Center for Religious Research


Spiritual Direction & Formation Certification Program

Univ of Redlands/San Francisco Theological Seminary



Interfaith Dialogue & Gamelan Music in Indonesia, Dr. Paul Knitter & Dr. Syafaatun Almirzanah
Institute for Interfaith Dialogue at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Recipient of Henry Luce Foundation research grant to study interreligious dialogue in Indonesia, with a focus on the arts and the ways that different religious traditions have sought to integrate indigenous religious culture, particularly in light of an increasingly Westernized engagement with "the arts" and "religion." Learn more


Ecumenism in Rome, Dr. Euan Cameron
Facolta' Valdese di Teologia, Rome, Italy

One-month study abroad course at the Waldensian seminary looking at ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in Rome. Met with the Vatican's president of the Pontifical Council for Ecumenical and  Interreligious Dialogue, along with local Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim leaders. Learn more

I believe that every human being, by nature, bears within themselves a sacred call to be transformed by love, and to become part of God's dream for a world transformed by love. My goal is to help unleash the life-giving Spirit of creativity, imagination, and healing at the heart of every person, so that they may hear that call, and bear the light within themselves to the world.

Academic Quotes

Roman Catholic priest and author of Without Buddha I could not be a Christian

“Kristen has a way of stating things creatively and provocatively. Her contributions are both pointed, raising complex issues, but also gentle, inviting further discussion. For an old-timer like myself, it's so good to know that there are those who, with conviction and patience, are carrying on."

Biblical scholar and author of A New New Testament and In the Beginning was the Meal

“Kristen regularly produces steady investigations of Biblical texts through her spectacular efforts in research, writing, and thoughtful analysis. She demonstrates patience in holding herself and her conversation partners accountable to coherence and perspective, and is a gifted interpreter of Scripture."

Dr. Samuel Cruz

Latino pastor and author of Christianity and Culture in the City: A Postcolonial Approach

“Kristen demonstrates superb analysis concerning the sociological and theological dimensions of each problem she engages. She has the ability to state things sharply, but in a way that assures her listeners that she wants to engage them in further conversation."
St. Mark's

Ministry Work

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Lay Minister for Adult Spiritual Formation & Liturgical Development

For more information visit:
Based in central NC

  • Educational development and teaching of classes, workshops, and retreats on both "inward" and "outward" expressions of Christian spirituality, with a desire to draw meaningful connections between the spiritual life with the work of social justice

  • One-on-one spiritual direction, especially with those who are estranged from the church or institutional religion, and those who have experienced any kind of spiritual or religious trauma. 

  • Ongoing development of new adult spiritual formation curriculum for parishes that integrates liberation-based teachings on the Bible and Christianity with group-based learning experiences that connect our "inner" life of prayer, worship, and spiritual practice with our "outer" sense of call to community service, systemic change, and new ways of being in relationship with ourselves, one another, and God. 


Assistant Director of the Servant Leadership School (now Second Breath Center)

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Greensboro, NC

  • Curriculum development & planning, coordinating, and teaching classes, retreats, workshops, and special events in collaboration with program director, adjunct faculty, and staff

  • Led weekly centering prayer practice group in a hybrid in-person/online format

  • Designed course materials including graphic design and A/V materials, as well as course brochures, social media content, e-news updates, and website development. 

  • Supported re-branding phase through market research, grant writing, visioning, and strategic outreach through mailing list and ACS database development. 


Ministry Intern for Liturgy & Music

St. Mark's Episcopal Church in the Bowery

New York, NY

  • Led paperless congregational singing during Sunday worship, composed new chants for the church in a paperless style, and led workshops on singing as a spiritual practice 

  • Planned and led weekly evening prayer services and assisted with liturgical planning and design, visioning, special events programming, and liturgical fabric installations


Bookstore Manager, Sacred Garden Bookstore

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church & The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro

Greensboro, NC

  • Managed daily operations including inventory, ordering, advertising, coordinating classes and special events, and building relationships with local authors and artists.

  • Cultivated safe, sacred space for theological and spiritual inquiry, by staying up to date on new releases and publishing trends in progressive Christian spirituality, offering listening presence and pastoral guidance on appropriate resources for spiritual growth

Other Work


Interim Administrative Consultant

Westminster Presbyterian Church

Albany, NY

Managed day-to-day communication and administrative needs of the church while performing a year-long administrative audit in order to update and improve organizational efficiency; ACS database customization and implementation, roles and communication analysis, updated filing systems, staff procedures and training​


Special Collections Assistant Archivist

Burke Theological Library at Columbia University Libraries
New York, NY

Organized, preserved, and processed historical documents containing first-hand accounts from the 19th-20th centuries of Christian missionary efforts and Western colonization during this era.


Musician & Liturgical Assistant for Nightwatch Youth Program

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine

New York, NY

Led communal singing and worship for interdenominational youth groups from around the country; liturgical setup and cleanup, including canvas labyrinth assembly 


Production Support Manager

Wild Goose Festival

Pittsboro, NC

Coordinated festival production team of 8 staff and 23 support volunteers to provide sound and stage management for five stages over a four-day festival for progressive Christian leaders


Graphic Design & Communications Consultant

For more information visit

Based in NC

Offering services to churches, non-profits, and individual freelancers in visioning, brand identity, graphic design, social media content, website design and development, and print production

Ministry Quotes

Episcopal priest, retreat leader, and adult Christian formation consultant

“Kristen's workshop affected me profoundly. She skillfully incorporates a variety of modalities that allow all present, young and old, to engage fully in the work. More importantly, her focus is always on the participant, rather than just on the teaching modality itself."

Presbyterian pastor and co-founder of The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro

“Having facilitated classes with Kristen on several occasions, she has a clear understanding of the pedagogy and content of the Servant Leadership School. But most of all, she lives the spirit of servant leadership - through her teaching, her art, and her work with others in spiritual direction."

Deacon at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Salisbury, NC

“Having participated in several of Kristen's classes and workshops, I've found her to have a creative and holistic approach to spiritual formation. She invites people to reflect on their lives as well as engage in their service to the world."

Online Articles

Apocalypse Now: Seeing with 2020 Vision

Modern Metanoia, November 23, 2020

Sighs Too Deep: On the Spiritual Value of Anger & Sadness

Modern Metanoia, July 13, 2020

Downward Mobility: Reframing the Direction of Success

Caminando with Jesus, November 3, 2019

April Fool's: Humor in the Resurrection Story

Modern Metanoia, April 1, 2018

Blessed Are the Divorced

Modern Metanoia, September 24, 2018

Crete & The Labyrinth of History & Myth

As the Kroe Flies, July 30, 2018

Servant Leadership: A Maundy Thursday Reflection

Modern Metanoia, April 3, 2017


Adam, Eve, and the Root of "Sin"

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-17 & Matthew 4:1-11

The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd

March 1, 2020

What is Clean and Unclean?

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-25

Faith Presbyterian Church

September 2, 2018

00:00 / 14:34

Published Work

Approaching Sounds as Symbols in Archetypal Studies

Published in Quadrant: Journal of the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, vol. 2

Fall 2020

"What Did It Cost?" Theology of Sacrifice & Kenosis in The Infinity Saga

Published in Theology and the Marvel Universe, ed. Gregory Stevenson
Fortress Academic Press, 2019

An Ascetic Aesthetic: John Chrysostom on the Discernment of Beauty in Music

Presented at The Concept of Beauty in Patristic & Byzantine Theology, ed. John McGuckin
Theotokos Press, 2012

Conference Papers

Artist as Prophet, Priest, and Holy Fool: Re-Thinking the Role of Artists in the Church

Presented at Shaped by Beauty: Music, Art, Theology, Ethics, and Spirituality in Conversation

Heythrop College, London, June 2014

Medieval Sight-Seeing: Visual Culture & Religious Practice in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Presented at Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Europe Conference
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, April 2014

Early Church Music and the Songs of Devils

Presented at Sophia Institute Center for Orthodox Thought & Culture Annual Conference
Union Theological Seminary, December 2011

Spiritual Formation Resources

Holy Week 2020: Spiritual Resource Guide

Printable packet created April 2020 with readings, reflections, and suggested spiritual practices for each day of Holy Week, to be adapted for home use during quarantine. This resources was shared freely and used widely

Centering Prayer Steps with "3 Deep Breaths"

resource for introducing individuals and groups to the basic steps for practicing Centering Prayer, including a description of the "three deep breath" guided meditation that I use to begin classes and spiritual direction sessions.

Women Saints Printable Prayer Cards

Created as a resource for a women's retreat at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Asheboro, NC. Print on cardstock and cut out to use for meditation on the lives of faithful women from the Bible to today. 

Marks of Authentic "Call" Handout

For use in classes, workshops, and retreats that focus on "call," as well as spiritual direction sessions relating to discernment; outlines inner and outer "markers" for identifying one's own sense of call. 

False Self to True Self Handout Set

Created for the Servant Leadership School to connect the "inner work" of understanding the human personality (using Enneagram theory) with the Biblical narrative's description of our "outer" struggles for love and justice in human community. Jesus serves as a model for overcoming the inner habits that prevent us from living into God's Kingdom in our outer lives.

"Singing as a Spiritual Practice" Handout

Resource for those who attend my "Singing as a Spiritual Practice" workshop, which draws on John Chyrsostom's guidelines for singing in Christian community, and introduces "paperless" singing and chanting from a variety of sources

Labyrinth Information Sheet (Union Theological Seminary)

In 2011, I painted a Chartres-style labyrinth on the roof of the McGiffert residential building at Union Theological Seminary, as part of an independent study on the history, mythology, and liturgical/spiritual uses of the labyrinth. 

*For a complete list of spiritual formation offerings, please visit my classes & workshops page

Liturgy Resources

Blue Christmas: A Solstice Service of Healing & Hope

Co-created with The Rev. Joe Mitchell for Good Shepherd Episcopal Church; held annually on the Winter Solstice.

Holy Eucharist in the Celtic Tradition

Co-created with The Rev. Joe Mitchell for Good Shepherd Episcopal Church; held once a month during Winter season.

Advent Taizé Retreat Program

Designed in collaboration with Franciscan friar Fr. Luis Canino for St. Francis Springs Prayer Center's annual Advent retreat; program included a brief teaching on the history and practice of Taizé chant, followed by the direction of congregational singing as well as a small chamber ensemble.

*For more information about my work in liturgy, please visit my liturgical music and liturgy consulting pages.

Sermons & Articles
Formation Resources
Liturgy Resource
Teaching Quotes

Episcopal priest, Rector of St. Andrew's by the Sea in Nags Head, NC

“Kristen's teaching gave me a new lens and a new language with which to look and think about the sacredness of all kinds of music. Her thoughtful and gentle approach to teaching strengthened my liturgical sensibilities, as well as my pastoral responses to questions around music."

Professor & Adjunct Music Faculty,
UNCG School of Music

“Kristen is a consummate collaborator and leader. I have known her in the context of teaching classes at the School of Music at UNCG. She is especially good at knowing her audience and speaking to them where they are, while helping them to see where she is, gently and collegially."

UCC minister, Senior Pastor at Orchard Ridge UCC in Madison, WI 

“Kristen is deeply pastoral and her workshops are very impactful. Having someone to call on who is at once a visionary artist, an academic-level theologian, and the best progressive Christian educator I have encountered, has truly enhanced my ministry."
OTM Questions

Ministry Portfolio Questions



Diocesan Contacts

The Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman 

Diocesan Bishop of NC

Canon Catherine Massey

Diocesan Transition Minister

Primary References

The Rev. Greg Farrand

Executive Director, Second Breath Center

Former faculty colleague at The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro

The Rev. Dr. John Thatamanil

Professor of Theology & World Religions & Thesis Advisor,

Union Theological Seminary

Colleagues in Church Governance

The Rev. Winnie Varghese

Rector, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA

Former Rector, St. Mark's Episcopal Church in the Bowery, NYC

The Rev. Darby Everhard

Chairperson, Diocese of NC Liturgy Committee

Diocesan Task Force on Liturgical & Prayer Book Revision

Colleagues in Ministry

The Rev. Frank Dew

Retired Presbyterian pastor

Co-founder of The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro

The Rev. Barbara Callaghan

Senior Pastor, Hancock UCC, Lexington, MA

Union Theological Seminary colleague

David Bryan

Head Verger, Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue, NYC

Fellow Musician & Liturgical Assistant, Nightwatch Youth Program

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