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
Master's Thesis: Finding God in the In-Between: Towards a Postmodern Theology of Music & Art
Advised by Dr. John Thatamanil & Dr. Tom Beaudoin, Fordham University
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 by Dr. Gavin Douglas
Religious Trauma Studies Certification Program
Spiritual Direction & Formation Certification Program
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.
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."
Lay Minister for Adult Spiritual Formation & Liturgical Development
For more information visit: www.kristenleighmitchell.com
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
Guest preacher, teacher, liturgist, and ministry consultant for churches of multiple denominations; served on the Diocese of NC's Task Force on Liturgical & Prayer Book Revision
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)
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
Visioning, development, and management of an ecumenical Christian spirituality bookstore that served as a "hub" for The Servant Leadership School, offering books, resources, classes, and events
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
Interim Administrative Consultant
Westminster Presbyterian Church
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
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 www.kristenleighmitchell.com/design
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
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."
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
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
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-25
September 2, 2018
Approaching Sounds as Symbols in Archetypal Studies
Published in Quadrant: Journal of the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, vol. 2
"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
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"
A 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.
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.
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.
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."
Ministry Portfolio Questions
The Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman
Diocesan Bishop of NC
Canon Catherine Massey
Diocesan Transition Minister
Executive Director, Second Breath Center
Former faculty colleague at The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro
Professor of Theology & World Religions & Thesis Advisor,
Union Theological Seminary
Colleagues in Church Governance
Rector, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA
Former Rector, St. Mark's Episcopal Church in the Bowery, NYC
Chairperson, Diocese of NC Liturgy Committee
Colleagues in Ministry
Retired Presbyterian pastor
Co-founder of The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro
Senior Pastor, Hancock UCC, Lexington, MA
Union Theological Seminary colleague
Head Verger, Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue, NYC
Fellow Musician & Liturgical Assistant, Nightwatch Youth Program