The Rev. Dr. Lizette Larson-Miller

Nancy and Michael Kaehr Professor of Liturgical Leadership 
and Dean of the Chapel

B.A., University of Southern California

M.A., St. John's University

Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union
Curriculum Vitae

Lizette Larson-Miller came to theology and liturgy from the field of music, which seemed a surprise at the time! Having studied music and church music at the undergraduate and graduate levels (University of Southern California and Hochschule für Musik, Vienna), she enrolled in an MA course of studies in liturgy (St. John’s University, Collegeville) in order to be a better church musician, but fell in love with the field of liturgical history. From there her interests moved to include liturgical and sacramental theology, and Eastern Christian liturgy, with a PhD in the same (GTU, Berkeley). She has taught at CDSP/GTU for 11 years, prior to that at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend) and Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles). Currently, she is the president of Soceitas Liturgica (2013-2015).

Mission Statement
Liturgy is the grace-filled act of response to God, the principled actor in our lives and in our liturgies. In the glorification of God which is our sanctification, I find all the interdisciplinary conversations in the academic field of liturgical studies connect as doxological theology, different ways to praise God. For the practical, pastoral areas of liturgy, knowing where we have been grounds us in the Christian ecclesial tradition and in the communion of saints, liturgical history as a living reality. Knowing why we do what we do in the liturgy incorporates all aspects of liturgical and sacramental theology, how we express and create meaning through sacramental encounter with the divine. Knowing where we are as we do liturgy engages us in the conversations of liturgical inculturation and context, language and symbol. Bringing the insights of the field of liturgy, studied and practiced, into conversation with the arts, with linguistics and with the environment opens up new possibilities in all conversations and reminds me what a dynamic field liturgical studies continues to be. 

Courses Taught

Basic Courses

  • Fundamentals of Worship
  • Liturgical Leadership
  • Liturgics
  • ProSeminar in Liturgical Methods
  • Liturgical History
  • Liturgical Theology

Typical Elective Courses

  • Rites of the Sick, Dead & Dying
  • Liturgy and Architecture
  • Liturgical Music
  • The Liturgical Year
  • The Liturgy of Jerusalem
  • Sacraments and Sacramentality
  • Basic Homiletics
Selected Publications

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2005)

Drenched in Grace: Essays in Baptismal Ecclesiology Inspired by the Work and Ministry of Louis Weil (editor) (Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2013)

“Baptism in the Early Medieval West: Our Changing Perspective of the ‘Dark Ages’” Studia Liturgica 42 (2012) 33-53

“The Liturgical Inheritance of the Late Empire in the Middle Ages,” A Companion to the Eucharist in the Middle Ages, eds. Levy, Macy & van Ausdall. (Leiden: Brill, 2012) 13-58

“Death and dying,” The Study of Liturgy and Worship: An Alcuin Guide, eds. Day & Gordon-Taylor. (London: SPCK, 2013) 178-189


In Class
  • Divinity Students and Certificate Students: Within the M.Div. program and its related certificate programs, I teach two highly recommended courses in the liturgical sequence. At the beginning of one’s course of study we recommend Fundamentals of Worship, a workshop course introducing students to the details, the how and the why of Evening Prayer and Holy Eucharist in the official texts of the Episcopal Church. This is team-taught with George Emblom, Instructor in Music at CDSP, and weaves together liturgy and music. At the end of the M.Div. sequence I teach Liturgical Leadership, which brings together liturgy courses, homiletics, theology and more in a workshop setting where students prepare and preside at sacramental rites.
  • Master of Arts Students: The MA in Liturgical Studies is a GTU degree, where, during their second and third semesters, students often move into 4000 level liturgy courses (4000 level courses are the meeting place of advanced M.Div., MA, and beginning PhD). These courses are offered broadly across the GTU and allow MA students to follow a particular thread of interest or to ground themselves in a breadth of liturgical courses. The elective courses listed above cover some of these areas. At the MA level I am happy to work with particular interests in liturgical theology, sacramental theology and liturgical music.
  • Doctor of Ministry Students: For the professional, hands-on degree that a D.Min. offers ministerial practitioners, I am happy to work in any number of liturgical and liturgical music and arts areas. I have done several projects on care for the sick and dying at parishes and for hospital chaplains in recent years.
  • Doctor of Philosophy Students: I am currently the convener of the GTU PhD program in liturgical studies, which includes six core doctoral faculty members and two consortial faculty members who together make up our program faculty. At the PhD level, in alternation with other faculty members, I teach the core courses Proseminar in Liturgical Method, Liturgical History I, and Liturgical Theology. In addition, I have taught several 5000 level electives (5000 are doctoral level courses at the GTU), as well as welcomed PhD students into specialized 4000 level electives. I am particularly interested in working with doctoral students in theology of sacred space, various sacramental rites, and liturgical history, especially late antiquity and early medieval, and the intersection of official liturgy and popular piety.
Speaker's Bureau Topic
  • Ritual and architecture, sacred space, church design (historical and contemporary)
  • Sacramental Rites, historical and contemporary
  • Roadside shrines and spontaneous memorialization
  • Ecumenical liturgical practices
  • Funerals, death and contemporary practices
  • Issues in presiding and preaching
  • Issues in liturgical translation and change
  • Liturgical music
Some Less Obvious Things About Me
  • I love to garden and cook, both satisfy by revealing immediate results!
  • I am a surfer and a skier
  • I never miss an historical landmark or roadside shrine while driving!
  • I love being part of a parish; preaching, presiding, engaging in pastoral care and generally being part of the lives of a deliberately gathered people
  • I’m still trying to move from reading French to speaking it
  • I love to sing in groups and play the piano alone
  • I make homemade limoncello
Favorites/Book Obsessions/Currently Reading

Book Obsessions:

  • David Brown, God and Enchantment of Place: Reclaiming Human Experience. I met David Brown while a visiting fellow in Durham and he challenges me to expand my ‘boundaries’ of sacramentality while pushing my buttons about Anglican use of icons.
  • Diarmaid McCullough, Christianity: The First Three Millenia, I marvel that someone can cover so much, make it make sense, and not feel like skimming the shallow end of the pool.
  • Susan K. Wood, One Baptism: Ecumenical Dimensions of the Doctrine of Baptism, a wonderful reminder that our ecclesial conversations need to back up into some solid theological footing

Currently reading:

  • American Sarum by Cody C. Unterseher
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
  • The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau (again!)

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