Jennifer Lewis

June - July 2019 Vaughan Park Residential Scholar

Though I grew up in southern New Jersey, my time in places beyond the state is enough to make “home” an amorphous place. In the last ten years, I have lived in five states, two countries, and spent six months by backpack in other parts of the globe. I currently reside in Boston with my husband, where I am a PhD student in Practical Theology at Boston University. Ironically, however, none of the places I have lived feel as much like “home” as one you may not expect: New Zealand. In fact, I learned of Vaughan Park, when I spent three wonderful years living in Taupo serving the local Anglican Church. It was there that I was introduced to a tradition and people that has left a permanent mark on my soul: indeed, I was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand  by full immersion in Lake Taupo, no less!  I am now seeking ordination in the Episcopal Church of the United States.        

My PhD research focuses on how aesthetic pedagogies and creative Christian practices can contribute to personal and social healing, as well as efforts of justice and peace. During my time at Vaughan Park, I plan to explore these ideas more closely by investigating how one practice – that of imaginative prayer –might serve as a resource for healing trauma in individuals and communities. In a world that walks with many wounds, such healing is desperately needed. My hope in researching imaginative prayer’s healing potential, is to help Christian communities draw on the resources of the faith so that they can not only respond to trauma in deliberate, organic, and life-restoring ways but also help people to once again, “have life and have it to the full.”