Dean of Academic Affairs and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics
B.S., Syracuse University
M.Div., Seabury-Western Theological Seminary
M.A., Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Ruth Meyers was born and raised in New Jersey and has served as a priest in the Dioceses of Western North Carolina, Western Michigan, and Chicago. She earned her M.Div. from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and her MA and Ph.D. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame. After teaching for 14 years at Seabury, she joined the CDSP faculty in 2009. She currently chairs The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.
My earliest memories of worship are the early-morning midweek Lenten services I attended with my dad and older brother, and Saturdays in the church sacristy with my mother as she prepared for the next day's liturgies. I am passionate about the power of worship to form and transform communities of faith. I chose liturgy as an academic discipline because I believed that studying worship would give me a window into what individuals and communities in different times and places believed about God. My doctoral work, a study of the development of the rites of baptism and confirmation in the 1979 Prayer Book, gave me an opportunity to explore the history of the Episcopal Church in the twentieth century. My greatest joy in teaching about liturgy is enabling students to see and understand the complex textures of worship. Many tell me at the end of their first course that they will never look at worship in the same way again. Engagement with Christians in the wider church, whether teaching a parish education program, leading a diocesan clergy day, or working with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, enables me to understand worship ever more deeply.
- Basic Courses
- Introduction to Worship
- Typical Elective Courses
- Liturgical Inculturation
- Christian Initiation
- Marriage(s): Theology and Rituals
- Liturgical Year
- Missional Worship (forthcoming with Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
- Continuing the Reformation: Re‑Visioning Baptism in the Episcopal Church (New York: Church Publishing, Inc., 1997)
- Worship-Shaped Life: Liturgical Formation and the People of God, Canterbury Studies in Anglicanism (editor and contributor) (Harrisburg: Canterbury Press & Morehouse Publishing, 2010)
- "The Mother and Seven Sons in Late Antique and Medieval Ashkenazi Judaism: Narrative Transformations and Communal Identity" in Dying for the Faith, Killing for the Faith: Old Testament Faith-Warriors (1 and 2 Maccabees) in Historical Perspective, ed. Gabriela Signori. Studies in Intellectual History (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 127-146
- "The Baptismal Ecclesiology of Holy Women, Holy Men," Anglican Theological Review 94:1 (2012):27-36
- "Comparative Theology and the Status of Judaism: Hegemony and Reversals" in The New Comparative Theology: Interreligious Insights from the Next Generation, ed. Francis X. Clooney, S. J. (New York: Continuum, 2010), 89-108
- "Anglican History in the 21st Century: How Then Shall We Teach?" Anglican and Episcopal History 78.4 (December 2009): 364-372
- Divinity Students and Certificate Students: Dr. Meyers offers two required courses for M.Div. students. Introduction to Worship (LSHS-1100) introduces students to the study of liturgy and its practice in worshiping communities. Liturgics (LSST-2106) is a course in sacramental theology, with particular attention to Episcopal and Anglican understandings of sacraments. Many certificate students find Liturgics to provide a valuable perspective as they prepare for ordained or lay leadership in the Episcopal Church.
- Master of Arts Students: Dr. Meyers' areas of interest include Christian initiation (baptism and confirmation); the relation between liturgy and mission; inculturation of liturgy, including emerging and alternative forms of worship; the liturgical year; worship in the Episcopal Church; and Anglican traditions of worship.
- Doctor of Ministry Students: Dr. Meyers enjoys working with D.Min. students who are exploring the meaning and practice of liturgy in congregations and other communities of faith.
- Doctor of Philosophy Students: Dr. Meyers teaches the Liturgical History 2 seminar, which explores the development of Christian liturgies from 16th-century reformations to the present day. Her areas of interest include the relation between liturgy and mission; inculturation of liturgy; Christian initiation; the liturgical year; worship in the Episcopal Church; and Anglican traditions of worship.
Speaker's Bureau Topics
- Worship in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion
- Same-gender blessings and marriage
- Baptism and confirmation
- The liturgical year
- Inclusive and expansive language
- Liturgy and mission
- Intercessory prayer
- Commemorating the saints
- The Baptismal Covenant and the Anglican Covenant
Some Less Obvious Things About Me
- After taking ballet lessons as a young child, she returned to ballet when she was in seminary, and she continues to take regular lessons – but does not perform.
- Summers usually find her with her spouse, Dan Prechtel, in a state or national forest camping in our pop-up camper, and enjoying hiking, fishing, and swimming.
- She loves doing crossword and number puzzles (Sudoku, Ken Ken).
- Her children and grandchildren live in Michigan.
- Steve Bevans and Roger Schroeder, Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today (Orbis, 2004) has helped me think in new ways about how liturgy is missional.
- I enjoy mysteries – currently reading through the Steig Larsson series that begins with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
- Also follow Nevada Barr and Sue Grafton.
- I just re-read Annie Dillard's essay "An Expedition to the Pole," in Teaching a Stone to Talk, which I assign every year in Introduction to Worship. Every time I read it I find something new.