top of page

Sun, Apr 14


Virtual service on Zoom

Virtual Sunday service with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel

"The Wounding of Religion"

Registration is closed
See other events
Virtual Sunday service with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel
Virtual Sunday service with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Carolyn Helsel

Time & Location

Apr 14, 2024, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Virtual service on Zoom

About the event

Looking at the two New Testament texts for the Revised Common Lectionary for today, Acts 3:12-19 and Luke 24:36b-48, we will consider together Christianity’s long history of wounding others, even while it worships a Christ risen with his wounds. Tracing in particular the legacy of Anti-Judaism in early church texts, we will consider how Christianity’s rise meant a deepening of anti-Jewish sentiment that had existed prior to the Common Era (BCE), and that led to more organized violence against Jewish communities in the Middle Ages. Jumping forward from history into today, we will consider how persons wounded by Christianity (and other forms of religion) are still able to find a meaningful connection to a worshipping community—often in places like PCUUC!

Reverend Dr. Helsel joined the faculty of Austin Seminary in 2015. Prior to her appointment she was a transitional pastor for The Presbyterian Church in Sudbury (Massachusetts), as well as visiting professor at both the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and Wartburg Theological Seminary.

Dr. Helsel published two books in 2018: Anxious to Talk About It: Helping  White Christians Talk Faithfully About Race, and Preaching about Racism: A Guide for Faith Leaders. Together, both books earned the 2018 Book(s) of the Year Award from the Association of Parish Clergy. Dr. Helsel served on the editorial board for the commentary series Connections, published by Westminster John Knox Press, and she contributed nine essays across the volumes.

Since 2015, Dr. Helsel has been a faculty advisor to the Truth and  Reconciliation Oral History Project, founded by Austin Seminary alum Steve Miller ('15) and his non-profit organization the United States  Christian Leadership Organization. Through this oral history project, Dr. Helsel joins faculty from HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) across Texas to record and study the oral histories of  persons who have experienced racial discrimination.

Dr. Helsel co-authored with Y. Joy Harris-Smith the book The A.B.C.'s of  Diversity: Helping Kids Embrace Our Differences. Along with Austin Seminary faculty colleague Dr. Song-Mi Suzie Park, she co-wrote The Flawed Family of God: Stories about the Imperfect Families in Genesis.

Professor Helsel received two grants to enable Austin Seminary to implement  projects with respect to anti-Semitism and spiritual entrepreneurship. In the first, Dr. Helsel will research ways preachers can talk about anti-Semitism with their congregations. She plans to create videos to address some of the harmful stereotypes preachers continue to pass on unintentionally in their sermons. A grant through Princeton Seminary is designed to equip theological schools and students with tools to “inspire, equip, and lead congregations to become crucibles for ‘changemaking’ in their communities,” according to the language of the grant. As one of eleven recipients, Helsel plans to convene a small cohort of first- and second-year students interested in non-traditional ministries to develop their ideas.

In  2023 she received a $1.2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc to  pursue a project through their Compelling Preaching Initiative. The  title of the resulting project is The Faithful Preaching Project, an initiative she will design to help preachers of small mainline congregations instill deeper faith in their listeners and empower them to live out their faith more fully in worship and in the community beyond their church walls.

To join us on Zoom, click on the WORSHIP SERVICES tab on our website and look for the blue Zoom link.

Share this event

bottom of page