Member Newsletters

Late Summer 2021 Newsletter

From Your President

Dear Colleagues:

Grace and peace to you in this summer season as we find new and different ways to enjoy the warmth of these sunny days. Unfortunately, in the midst of that enjoyment, we are also confronted with the pain that results from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and also with the various and often devastating effects of natural disasters. The fires, storms and floods too often speak of humanity’s lack of care and even abuse of nature and they are sober reminders when we think (fool ourselves) that we are the ones in control, that God is still in the midst.

That sobering realization was actualized recently during the summer meeting of the AC. Prior to that meeting, we had made what I thought was a secondary decision, in addition to confirming among ourselves that there WOULD BE an annual meeting in 2023, that the format would be hybrid. Our concern then and still was to find a way for all members to be accommodated.

Well, the reality is that while we will indeed meet in some way, because of the uncertainty cause by the resurgent spread of COVID-19 due to the Delta variant, and also because of the exorbitant cost of doing a hybrid meeting, we were unable to come to a decision as to the form or even the location of our annual meeting.

As you might well understand, the ramifications of this delay are great, but it is where we are. Be assured, we WILL meet. I think we would like it to be in-person, but we are also aware that there are many among our membership who are not ready to do airline travel, particularly to another country. Add to that the restrictions that have been in place in Canada, regarding permitting non-nationals entry into the country, and the possibility that those restrictions may be re-instituted if the new spread continues, puts the actuality of meeting at our planned location, Toronto, Canada in question.

With respect to using a hybrid format, assuming some of us we can be present in body, the cost of putting in place the required communications structure would be significant enough to deplete all our financial reserves. At this point it does not seem a viable option, but we have not determined as yet that it is not worth considering.

As to having a fully on-line meeting, although that option was rejected last year, we are all in a different place having lived through more than a year using Zoom and other such protocols to engage with one other. We all know, I believe, that it is not the ideal for inter-personal communication, but it does provide a way for us to meet if necessary.

The bottom line is that we do not have the answer to the format of our gathering, but we are working on it. Courtney is working diligently to put in place the best options, given our hotel commitments. We are continuing to prepare in all the ways required for us to meet from January 2 -5, 2022.

The AC will meet again at the end of the summer and by God’s grace, we will be able to finalize the plans for our meeting. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, please take every care and precaution to preserve your health and well-being. And please remember your academy and the AC in your prayers, as together we participate in this ministry of care for the life and work of the church.

Blessings to you all.

Gennifer Brooks, President

From Your Treasurer

With the cancellation of the 2021 meeting, our budget for the current fiscal year (FY21) has sought to maintain our ongoing operations, appropriately fund any activities approved by the Academy Committee, and preserve our current, positive financial position in preparation for the 2022 annual meeting.

With these important goals in view, and regardless of how our meeting takes place in 2022, membership dues will be more essential than ever to maintaining the financial health of the NAAL.

Many of us renew our memberships and pay our annual dues when we register for the annual meeting. Though we do not yet have a registration process to announce, please take a moment now to visit the website and renew your membership for 2022 or set up your account for auto-renewal.

And if you have questions about either of these, please do not hesitate to contact me for assistance.

Nathaniel Marx, Treasurer

From Your Delegate for Membership

Inviting New NAAL Membership Applications

Fall is approaching fast and that means it’s the time to prepare and submit new membership applications for those NAAL visitors who are now eligible to apply for full membership. Over the last year we paused the membership application and review process due to the pandemic. There is still quite a bit of uncertainty about the upcoming 2022 Annual Meeting but we will nevertheless move forward with membership application review even as the Academy Committee is working on finalizing the details about the meeting in January 2022.

All those who have participated in at least two previous NAAL annual meetings in the status of visitor and have the necessary qualifications for full membership are cordially invited to consider becoming NAAL members. The initiate the application process, please visit our new website where you can find application and recommendation forms.

To make sure your application is reviewed in time for the vote at the 2022 Annual Meeting, please complete and submit your application form and the two required recommendation forms by your seminar convener and one other full member of NAAL by September 15, 2021. Please note that it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the colleagues who will write recommendations for them and ensure that they have the required forms as well as information about the application deadline. All forms are available for electronic submission (preferred) or download on NAAL website. Membership Committee will ordinarily reach out to the applicants on November 1 to inform them about the outcome of their applications. If I can help with questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the email link on NAAL Membership site!

In hope of seeing many of you at our next meeting,

Kristine Suna-Koro

From Your Delegate for Seminars

The new website has updated information on each seminar. These pages will be updated every year based on the reports submitted by conveners at the end of the meeting, to facilitate collaboration and so that potential visitors can see the most recent information on a seminar’s work.
All responsibilities, deadlines, and forms for seminar conveners are now available as web forms on the new seminar conveners page.
Although our final plan for 2022 depends on the ongoing questions about the pandemic and international borders, we will have a 2022 meeting. So far I have preliminary plans from seven seminars. I look forward to hearing from all the seminars by September 1.


Kimberly Belcher, Delegate for Seminars

From Your Secretary and New Webmaster

As has already been alluded to in several of our reports above, we now have a new website! With many thanks to Troy Messenger, Micah Boon, our Academy Committee, and our new webmaster, Layla Karst, the fully revised and updated NAAL website has gone live in the past two weeks. We encourage you to check it out, try out its new navigation system, click on the links, and start to become familiar with this new and much improved tool for communication within the Academy and about the work of the Academy to the wider world.

As we launch the new website and now have a dedicated webmaster, I want you to be aware of changes in who will receive what information going forward.

1. Continue to send memorial notices of our colleagues to me ( While we are also now hosting these on our website, I will continue to create the memorials and distribute them first through our Neon email system. After they are created and distributed, our webmaster will post them to the website.

2. Also, continue to send job opportunity notices to me ( I will review them, edit them for our website, and then send them to our webmaster for posting.

For all other inquiries about the website, information about new articles or books you have had published, any errors or glitches you may find, or other content you would like to see updated, revised, or presented in a different way, please contact our webmaster, Layla Karst.

Taylor W. Burton-Edwards, Secretary

Layla Karst, Webmaster

From Your Coordinator of Sponsors and Donors

Though how we are meeting in 2022 is still being discerned, we are always looking for sponsors and donors, and our Oral History project is ongoing.

Donations and Sponsorships. If you can suggest institutions and individuals we can approach to ask them to be a sponsor of our annual meeting, please send me those suggestions (! Please remember our Scholarship Fund when you register for the annual meeting. Every dollar you contribute to the Scholarship Fund helps to encourage the participation of future and present NAAL members. All donations large and small are appreciated.

NAAL Oral History: Founding Stories. If you are a charter member of the NAAL, or if you have stories from the early years, I will available be at the Atlanta meeting to record those stories. This is part of an effort to develop an oral history of the founding of NAAL. If you have heard stories from Story Corps you have an idea of the kind of stories we are seeking. Individuals and pairs of people who want to share a story are welcome.

Don LaSalle, Sponsorship Coordinator

From Ed Foley, Co-Convener of Emerging Scholars

The emerging scholars/first career members of NAAL held an online symposium last January, co-facilitated by Kim Belcher.  As part of that event, presenters were invited to submit an article based on their work to Religion, which had given me permission to edit a special issue on “Worship in a time of Pandemic: Fresh Possibilities and Troubling Inequalities.”
I am pleased to announce that to date we have 5 published articles in this open access and peer reviewed journal, available here.

We continue to seek submissions from other presenters, as well as other members of the academy. Instructions for submission are also available here.

From Gail Ramshaw: Lauding the North American Academy of Liturgy

Perhaps there are other members of the North American Academy of Liturgy who, like me, owe an immeasurable debt to the organization.

I have never been professionally employed in the field of liturgy. Yet I have faithfully attended forty-two Academy meetings in a row, receiving each January my assignments for the coming year.

The NAAL has granted to me hundreds of colleagues, a dozen treasured friends, interdenominational collaboration, conversation with a dear Jewish comrade, consultations with editors, Lutheran get-togethers, seminar members who respectfully listened and responded to my presentations – whether insightful or ill-conceived – as well as the pleasure of serving as Academy president in 2001 and the gift of a Berakah Award in 2010.

Where else could I, a laywoman, have encountered this microcosm of the Christian church, annually instructing me in an updated vocabulary and an enhanced picture of liturgical needs, encouraging me toward more luminous religious speech?

It seems to me that without the North American Academy of Liturgy, I could have offered far less of value to the church’s repository of prayers and to the academic study of liturgical language.

Thank you, North American Academy of Liturgy.

Late Summer 2021 Newsletter Addendum

From Your Past President

To date, the Past President has received eleven applications and accepted ten First Time Visitors for the January 2022 Annual Meeting. First-Time Visitor acceptance is based on the qualifications for membership, found on the Academy’s website. The deadline for visitor status and scholarships is November 1st.

Application for Visitor Status
Application for Scholarship

Bruce Morrill, Past President

From Your Webmaster

New Email Addresses
I am glad to report we now have three new NAAL email addresses available for the work of the Academy: (which will direct to me); (for our Proceedings subscription manager, David Turnbloom), and (for our exhibits manager, Michael Prendergast)

New Job Opportunities Form
Now, as an alternative to sending job opportunity postings to your secretary (which you may still do), you may post them through an online form on our website.  Your secretary and webmaster will receive a copy, your secretary will approve the final posting, and I will post it to the website.

Layla Karst, Webmaster

Contact Us

All Academy officers email and other contact information is available on the NAAL Leadership page of our website.

April 2021 News

From the President

Shalom! Peace be with you!

Springtime greetings NAAL colleagues!

The signs of nature’s awakening from winter sleep are all around us. They are visible for me in the purple flowers that in their abundance beautify my environment (who cares if they are weeds), in colorful birds that alight on my back porch, in the pair of Canadian geese that have arrived once again to inhabit their nest somewhere in the cul-de-sac where my house is located.

But renewal and rebirth are also present in the hopeful signs of emergence from the worst of the COVID 19 Pandemic: in more and more persons being fully vaccinated, in grandparents having full access to beloved grandchildren after more than a year’s physical absence, in restaurants, movie theatres and churches opening to physical patrons, even though limited, and even in schools preparing to re-open to on-site in-person classes. These all provide evidence of human resilience that are worthy of celebration.

For our Jewish siblings, the celebration of Passover lingers around you with the memory of God’s interaction in freeing an enslaved people. For Christian believers, whether Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant, we celebrate in this liturgical season the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, in the midst of all our celebrations, we cannot lose sight of the sobering evidence of the challenges that still haunt our world.

We are confronted by the continuing violence against people of Asian ancestry, the scourge of racism evidenced in part by the trial of former Police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd, the unholy sight of thousands of unaccompanied minors travelling lonely and dangerous roads, even dropped over high walls, fleeing the violence and death-dealing systems in their countries of birth in the hope of being admitted into the “haven” of life in the USA, the establishment of laws that prohibit persons from caring for one another even to providing a drink of water to alleviate the thirst as they try to live out their right to vote as free people and even in the force of nature experienced through tornadoes, fires and floods that take lives and destroy homes. At times it seems as if we will never know true peace in our world.

As we begin to emerge from the cocoons that have enclosed us and to overcome the restrictions that have held us captive during this past year, my fervent hope is that we can receive again that word of peace that is an eternal gift of the divine. Shalom! Peace! We need God’s shalom in order to navigate our lives successfully as the people of God. We need God’s peace that alone gives us fulness of joy and hope that lasts. But peace can be experienced fully among the disparate people of God only when we recognize and honor the imago Dei in all people.

In many places in scripture we are called to love others as we love ourselves. I hesitate to use the word love as a call sign because of its blatant misuse in our society. It is too easy to say and too difficult to do in our world, but if we can accept and honor the reality that God created each human being in the image of God, then honoring each one becomes easier to accomplish because in doing so, we honor God. Seeing the imago Dei in every human makes it possible to show the respect and love for the other that alone enables us to have peace in our world.

As persons dedicated to the development and stewarding of the elements that pertain to the worship of God, our lives and our work commit us also to seeking justice for all people as that is intrinsic to God’s shalom. Whether that requires us to participate in overt expressions or actions or whether we simply pray for divine guidance or intervention in all the work that is done, our call is to seek peace and pursue it, to let the peace of God reign in our hearts and to spread that peace throughout our world.

In this season of spring, of rebirth, of life renewed, may that be the focus of our every action. May we offer that word, be that representative of God’s peace in our world.

Shalom! Peace be with you!

Gennifer Brooks, President


NAAL 2022 Annual Meeting 

There will be an Annual Meeting in 2022 (DV).

Get ready, plan for it, look toward it.

We believe the place will be Toronto.

We expect that it will offer attendance in multiple ways.

We trust that it will provide a rich and rewarding experience for all.

We know that the dates are January 2-5, 2022.

Look for details in the Summer newsletter.

Berakah Recipient for 2021/2

It is our joy to remind one and all that we have named The Rev. Dr. Maxwell E. Johnson as the recipient of the Berakah Award in 2021/2.

Max is Professor of Liturgy in the Department of Theology, at the University of Notre Dame, and is well known and respected for his scholarship in Early Church liturgy. His classic work The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation is a staple for the study of worship and liturgy across ecumenical circles and his contributions to the study of liturgy extends in multiple areas and historical periods.

He is a prolific writer, his latest publication, co-authored with Paul Bradshaw, Prayers of the Eucharist: Early and Reformed. Fourth Edition, was published by The Liturgical Press in 2019. He is currently completing Introduction to Eastern Christian Liturgies, which is being co-authored with Stefanos Alexopoulos, His knowledge and influence has been shared with multiple scholars in the field of liturgy. He is also a respected presenter, and the recipient of many awards, grants, and honors. In 2019, he was made an Honorary Canon of the Episcopal Cathedral of St James, South Bend, IN. Over his years of membership, Max has served the academy as the convener of the Problems in the Early History of Liturgy and as a member of the Academy Committee centered around his presidency in 2015. He is the founder and active vocalist and guitar-playing member of the Oblates of Blues!

We are pleased to name Max Johnson for this prestigious award and look forward to celebrating this honor with him at our annual meeting in Seattle.

For the Academy Committee,

Gennifer Brooks,President

From the Vice President

Dear Friends,

I pray this note finds you well and good.

Many, if not most, of us we have recently celebrated Passover and Holy Week rituals with inhibitions we never could have imagined two years ago. Even if this year’s liturgies had less restrictions and more polish than last year’s rites, our recent ritual offerings were not what we desired or expected.

And as much as we may have developed new skills in creating and executing physically distanced—even geographically distributed—rituals, I know of no one who does not pray for the early end to these new practices. At the same time, I have heard few people who think that there will be no long-term effects on the ritual modes and execution of our communities’ worship moving forward. The same could be said regarding our academy’s choices made for our 2021 “meeting” and the choices we will make for 2022 in Toronto—and beyond.

I now have the honor of holding the longest term as Vice-Present in our academy, which means I have had the longest time to prepare for my Vice-Presidential Address. Even though the context of my address has changed significantly since I initially conceived it, the question I will explore has not. That is, “What should be the charism of our academy moving forward in this new century?”

Our religious traditions and our world have changed significantly since the inception of our academy nearly a half century ago, as have the diversity of people within our academy. We are no longer in the springtime of liturgical renewal. Instead, we find ourselves in the midst of some of the most challenging ritual negotiations we have experienced in generations. I continue to research the various categories of academic communities and where we fall within them, how the histories of those others may or may not offer us insight into our future, and how the changing landscape in which our future rituals will take place may influence our future options and choices.

It is a deep honor to have been elected to serve as your Vice-President, and soon your President. With our communities of worship, our academic institutions, and the communities we live in, all in states of flux, I hope to provide you with insights from my research to help us make wise decisions moving forward, that we may continue to be a thriving community of faithful liturgical scholars and practitioners.

Blessings on you all in what we pray is the dawning of the diminishment of this pandemic.

Sincerely yours,

Todd E. Johnson, Vice President

From The Meeting Manager

2022 Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario
January 2nd – 5th, 2022

I hope this finds you and yours well and safe.  It has been a year like no other!  I’ve spent a good deal of my time monitoring the pandemic situation, best practices for in-person events, border status, and travel requirements for US citizens to enter Canada. The main airport is the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Before departing, check the latest updates for US Citizens traveling to Canada.

Currently, the hotel is closed so I’m not able to communicate with my contact at the moment. The cut-off for reservations is December 10, 2021. As soon as I can secure an online reservation link, I will send an email with the link and post it on the website.

To assist you with your travel plans, the hotel location and rates are listed below. You will need to register for the meeting before arriving in Toronto. Due to the pandemic, there will be no onsite registrations. If you have any questions regarding the 2022 meeting, please contact Courtney Murtaugh at

Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
123 Queen St W Suite 100
Toronto, ON, M5H 2M9

Room Rates
Single/Double: $139 CAD
Retired Rate: $109 CAD (please email Courtney if you wish to secure a room at the retired rate. Do not call the hotel.) There are 30 rooms in the retired block.
Canadian Occupancy Tax – 13% HST and 2.66% DMP
Complimentary Internet is included in the guest rooms.

2022 Registration Fees
Members                                Visitors
Early (pre November 20)          $345                                        $375
Late Registration                      $375                                        $395


I’m looking forward to seeing you all in January!

Courtney Murtaugh, Meeting Manager

From Your Secretary: “The First Shall Be Last”

Our new meeting schedule begins in earnest in 2022.

Starting in 2022, our meetings will begin with on January 2 and conclude on January 5.

And denominational and interest-group pre-meetings will become post-meetings.

For those of you who are responsible for convening or making arrangements for these meetings, this is an advance reminder of this significant change in their scheduling.

Taylor W. Burton Edwards, Secretary


Our financial position remains strongly positive and little changed from one year ago. Our current total assets are also slightly higher than at the close of FY20 last June. Our net revenue for FY21 is currently positive, but I still expect that we will either break even or incur a small loss for the full fiscal year, as the revised FY21 budget projects.

In a  normal year, we would have collected approximately $2000 at the Berakah Banquet for distribution to a local charity. Since we did not meet in 2021, and there was no collection, the Academy Committee approved a $2000 donation to Feeding America as a means of addressing the hardships caused by winter storms and power outages in Texas that were very much in the news and in our prayers at the time of our meeting in March.

Your Academy Committee and I continue to review the fiscal outlook given remaining uncertainties about who may be able to attend the 2022 meeting in Toronto. We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Nathaniel Marx,Treasurer

Delegate for Membership

Due to Covid disruptions and with awareness that 2021 annual meeting would not proceed as usual in the circumstances of pandemic, we did not proceed with the regular review of membership applications that were submitted in early 2020 as the Membership Committee ordinarily does in summer and fall. However, all applications that were received in 2020 will be reviewed in the fall of 2021.

We are accepting new visitor applications until September 15, 2021 which is our usual application deadline. Application can be made from this page of our website:

If you would like to apply for membership, please visit the information page on NAAL website. There you will find a detailed description of the application process. Please do not forget to contact your seminar convener and one other NAAL member outside your seminar for the required two recommendation letters (the respective two forms are required) as per application guidelines. It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure both recommendation letters (to be submitted to the Delegate for Membership via the website) as well as to fill out the electronic application form and submit the picture. All components of the application are due by September 15, 2021 to receive full and timely consideration for the election to full membership at the annual meeting in January 2022.

More information about membership criteria, the application and recommendation forms are available here:
Please don’t hesitate to email me with questions. I’m looking forward to see as many of you as possible at our next annual meeting in Toronto!

Kristine Suna-Koro, Delegate for Membership

Delegate for Seminars

The Emerging Scholars virtual symposium in January was well-attended, with 9 paper presentations and more than 40 people participating in conversations surrounding pandemic worship and social inequality in the discipline and beyond. Two of the papers have already been published in the Religions special issue, “Worship in a time of Pandemic: Fresh Possibilities and Troubling Inequalities,” edited by Ed Foley. The special issue is open to all who would like to submit an essay on this topic for peer review. Instructions for submission and the essays already published may be found here:

My thanks to all who worked hard to bring this event to fruition, including our planning team, Sarah Mount Elewononi, Gerald Liu, Laura Steiner, David Williams, and Ed Foley.
Layla Karst and I have been making significant improvements to the way conveners’ reports are submitted. There will now be only one pre-meeting and one post-meeting report to submit, and they will be available as web forms on the soon-to-be-complete webpage. Those reports will then be distributed automatically to the meeting manager, Delegate for Seminars, Proceedings editor, and webmaster, who will update your seminar’s webpage to communicate our work better to visitors.
My thanks to Layla and to others who have tested or provided feedback on these forms.
Any convener who prefers to continue submitting by email to the Delegate for Seminars will be able to do so, but it is my hope that this will make it easier for new conveners to settle into their work. It’s my privilege to work with all of you, and I look forward to our meeting in 2022.

Kimberly Hope Belcher, Delegate for Seminars

Past President

My primary duty as Past President concerns First-Time Visitors to the Annual Meeting: communicating with inquirers, deciding to accept or reject applications, allocating scholarship funds, and guiding new Visitors into their first Annual Meeting. People interested in being First-Time Visitors may find our FAQ webpage helpful.

The basic criteria for evaluating applications for First-Time Visitors align with those for Membership, that is, a fair expectation that the Visitor eventually would be eligible to join NAAL. The First-Time Visitor Application, which includes listing one’s credentials and seminar interests, is due by September 15th which allows me time both to vet applications and work with a small Visitor Scholarship Committee (Past President, President, Treasurer), responding to those applicants seeking financial aid.

Bruce Morrill, Past President

From the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

A significant part of the vision of our Academy President for our 2022 meeting is a plenary session regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Academy.

Here is the recently updated version of our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement:

As an ecumenical and inter-religious association of liturgical scholars, the pursuit of more equitable, diverse, and inclusive practices are core to our scholarship and membership. Our approach to liturgical scholarship includes critical liturgical reflection and examination of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, abilities, age, national origin, religious and ecclesial affiliation, political and theological commitment, marital/parental/domestic status, and more. We reject any individual or guild conduct that would limit or harm the diversity of scholarship and membership within the Academy.

The Academy’s first gathering in 1973 followed the liturgical innovations of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), and it blossomed alongside movements of liturgical renewal. More recently, the work of the Academy has engaged critical theories of postcolonialism, race, gender, sexuality, and class to name a few. Going forward, we aim to flourish with sustained attention to the array of sacramental and ritual experiences, and widen our focus upon equity, diversity, and the inclusion of all persons as cornerstone commitments to our scholarly and doxological work.

You may view this updated version on the NAAL website:

Report from the Toronto Area Host Committee Meeting

We are in very good hands for our Toronto meeting with an active committee of six onsite in the Toronto area so far. The Academy Committee will continue to consult with our Toronto host committee in preparation for our site visit when that becomes possible later this year.


If there are job openings at your institutions, please send these to the Secretary. An updated listing of current opportunities is on our website.

Seeking Your NAAL Photos and Video

If you have good photographs or video from recent NAAL meetings (2018-2020) and are willing to share these to help keep our website fresh and add to our upcoming new website please contact Taylor Burton Edwards. When you contact him, he will let you know how best to share your media resources.

Contact us

All Academy officers’ email and other contact information is available on the officers page of our website.

Late Fall 2020 Newsletter

From the President

Dear Colleagues:

Hope, love, joy and peace to each of you in this season of Advent.

For me, Advent always speaks of hope above all things. And certainly, as we continue to be caught in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we see lack of integrity demonstrated by those (not simply the one) at the top of our society as a nation, as we continue to hear reports of inequality and injustice to individuals and groups, and as we continue to be starved for the close embraces of those we hold dear, hope is not simply a good thing, it’s a necessary thing.

I live in hope because regardless of the distance that separates us from one another, Christ, in whom I hope and in whom I put my trust, is never distant but always present.

As we come to the closing of one and the opening of a new year, I hope and pray for an end to the death-dealing scourge called COVID-19.

I hope and pray for a turn or return to civility, integrity, compassion and care for one another; and that we can find in each other common ground, common hopes and dreams that transcend the boundaries of race and gender, of politics and doctrines, of class and clan.

I hope that the deep fissures gouged in the fabric and perhaps even the foundation of our communities and cities and states and nation, and the earthquake-like split that promises to tear us apart for all time be eliminated by an outward show of love from people like we are, who hear and respond to the divine call to love God and neighbor in all that we do.

I hope that we can find our way or our way back to being for each other the friend that is ready to give and not count the cost, to labor for the good of all and not ask for any reward as the sage of old taught us.

I hope also that the lessons learned in this time may move us to do better, be better, live and love better as the people of God.

So what is your hope for these days?

As the celebrations of Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa swirl around us, may the lights connected with each lighten the darkness that has tried, though unsuccessfully (thank God) to overtake our world.

May hope love, joy and peace be yours in your season and always.

Gennifer Brooks, President

Announcement: An Online Gathering to Worship, Remember, and Celebrate

On Thursday, January 7, we will gather from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Central) to worship together as we would have done at the annual meeting. We will remember and celebrate the lives of those members who have been called home during this year. This naming of our honored dead will not be in place of a fuller memorial when we meet together in 2022 (DV) but will be in recognition of their continued place in our lives.  Together, though apart, we will give thanks and celebrate God who has brought us thus far along the way. A Zoom link will be sent at the beginning of January. Come and join us in worship and praise.

Announcement: Call for Papers from Ed Foley, Convener of the Emerging Scholars

A Special Issue of the peer reviewed journal Religion

“Worship in a time of Pandemic: Fresh Possibilities and Troubling Inequalities”

The global pandemic of 2020 has triggered drastic changes across a wide swath of arenas: from education to business, from health care to politics.  No less affected is the practice of worship in the midst of this health crisis and the parallel theologizing about evolving liturgical practices across world religions and in local faith communities.  Not surprisingly, the rapidly evolving array of in-person as well as digital responses to Covid-19 have both opened access to many worship events while simultaneously exacerbating existing inequities in worship.  This special issue of Religion will examine the upheaval in worship practices sparked by this pandemic as well as the theologizing about these evolving practices.  Based on the presupposition that worship itself is to be a just act, authors will give special attention to the ethical implications of such emerging liturgical practices in pondering how liturgy and the allied field of liturgical studies might contribute to distributive, racial, gender, and other forms of justice.

Deadline: December 2021

Edward Foley, Editor

Announcement: Call for Papers Extended from Societas Liturgica

Societas Liturgica Congress 2021  – Liturgy and the Arts
CALL FOR PAPERS – Deadline extended to 14 December
Societas Liturgica is due to meet in July 2021 at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. The plan is for a hybrid congress, with keynote and other papers presented either in person (when possible) or online, either “live” or in recorded formats. We will provide support for those whose papers are accepted for the Congress to enable such participate. 

The call for papers has been extended to 14 December, 2020. Details of the congress theme and research areas can be found on the Societas website at Details about registration and housing will be available in late January.

E. Byron (Ron) Anderson


Participants in the Emerging Scholars have been notified of the plans for their upcoming online gathering in January. Papers and presentations will focus on the effects of the pandemic on liturgical practice and liturgical studies, the effects of the pandemic on justice and equality, and how liturgical studies as a discipline can address these matters. Presentations will be recorded in advance, with live Q&A sessions following each.

Kimberly Belcher, Delegate for Seminars

From the Secretary

We look forward to the announcement of our new website from our webmaster, Layla Karst.

I, as your secretary, remain your primary link for posting and editing material on our current website (

I want to call your attention to three features of our current website that will be continued in a similar way on our new site.

1. A Donate to NAAL button is available at the upper right corner of most pages on our website ( Your contributions may support our scholarship funds, sponsorships, or other donations to help offset meeting expenses. You may also reach our PayPal donations page directly here. We encourage your generous, tax-deductible contributions.

2. If you have published articles or books during the past 2 years and would like biographical information and a brief description posted on our website, write to me at

3. We also regularly post job openings in liturgical studies and related fields on our Job Opportunities page. Send your posting requests here.

Taylor W. Burton-Edwards, Secretary

From Your Past President

As your past president, I have already received and am glad to receive applications for visitor status. Those received to date have been notified they may be welcomed when we meet again in 2022 in Toronto.
Though the deadline to receive visitor applications is November 1 of the year prior to the next meeting, I am always glad to receive applications at well before the deadline.

To qualify as a visitor, one needs to qualify as a member or be close to meeting the academic qualifications.

Typically, members of the Academy meet two of the following criteria:

  • hold a doctorate in some aspect of liturgical studies or the equivalent academic or professional degree
  • hold a professional position through which they contribute to liturgical formation, publishing and speaking
  • hold a prominent professional appointment with their respective religious bodies and actively contribute to the development of liturgy
  • demonstrate a steady and on-going commitment to the field of liturgy, or have contributed to it through work in the allied arts and disciplines

Graduate students are eligible to apply to attend the Annual Meeting when they have moved to the end of their doctoral or equivalent terminal degree programs.
If you are aware of persons you believe should consider being part of the Academy, we encourage you to invite them to apply for visitor status. The application form is here:

Bruce Morrill, Past President

From Your Coordinator of Sponsors and Donors

Though we are not meeting in 2021, we are always looking for sponsors and donors, and our Oral History project is ongoing.

Donations and Sponsorships. If you can suggest institutions and individuals we can approach to ask them to be a sponsor of our annual meeting, please send me those suggestions (! Please remember our Scholarship Fund when you register for the annual meeting. Every dollar you contribute to the Scholarship Fund helps to encourage the participation of future and present NAAL members. All donations large and small are appreciated.

NAAL Oral History: Founding Stories. If you are a charter member of the NAAL, or if you have stories from the early years, I will available be at the Atlanta meeting to record those stories. This is part of an effort to develop an oral history of the founding of NAAL. If you have heard stories from Story Corps you have an idea of the kind of stories we are seeking. Individuals and pairs of people who want to share a story are welcome.

Don LaSalle, Sponsorship Coordinator

Contact Us

All Academy officers email and other contact information is available on the officers page of our website.

Newsletters are distributed to all Academy Members via email.  To update your contact information, visit MyNAAL.