The Rev. Alison Lutz, Ph.D.

The Rev. Alison Lutz

Assistant Professor of Ministerial Leadership
B.A., Emory University
M.Div., Candler School of Theology
S.T.M., Yale Divinity School
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Curriculum Vitae


Alison Lutz grew up on the North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a Ph.D. in Religion, Ethics & Society from Vanderbilt University; an M.Div. from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology; an S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School; and a B.A. in French literature from Emory University. Her doctoral research explored the ethical assumptions that drive humanitarian aid and service missions, in particular the issues of control and imbalances of power that beset many well-intentioned efforts to relieve global poverty. The project grew out of the years Alison worked in Haiti with Partners In Health, a global health and social justice organization whose mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. Alison is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and has served churches as a lay minister or priest in New York, Haiti, Arizona, and Tennessee.

Why I Teach:

I teach to form leaders for a church that participates in God’s ongoing creation of a more just world where love reigns and everyone thrives. No exceptions. I want my students to understand ministerial leadership both as a practical set of skills and as wisdom. Wisdom demands attention to context, power, and character. The church needs leaders to guide people along the way of love, which disrupts social divisions while delighting in difference and diversity. This is God’s work of justice, reconciliation, and mercy. In my earliest memories of knowing God in my life, I am in church but not on a Sunday morning. I am with my mom who teaches English to adult refugees. She radiates passion and joy. Concentration, expectation, and fulfillment play across her students’ faces. I know something important is happening. People are coming alive around me. From this early age, love of God, love of neighbor, and love of learning are indelibly linked in my mind as the work of the church.

Courses Taught:

  • Leadership for Ministry I and II
  • Episcopal Church Leaders and Racial Justice
  • Leadership In Ministry summer intensive

Selected Publications:

  • “Economic Inequality as God’s Law?: Considering the Nature of Economic Life.” Anglican Theological Review 95.2 (2013): 251-274.

Recent Presentations:

  • “Technical Knowledge as Moral Force: Religion, Science, and the Legitimation of Western Humanitarian Power,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, November 2019
  • “Who is the Human in Humanitarian Aid?,” guest instructor, upper-level undergraduate seminar Leadership & Change in International Organizations, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, October 2018
  • “Paul Farmer and Religious Ethics: Countering Failures of Imagination in Global Health,” Global Health Grand Rounds, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, February 2018
  • “Whose Imagination, Whose Failure?: The Agency of the Dispossessed and Global Health Equity,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, November 2017
  • “Bearing Witness to Resurrection in Haiti,” Faith and Culture Symposium, Belmont University, February 2016