1Minutes of the Business Meeting of
The Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Grand Hyatt Washington, Constitution A
The meeting came to order at 10:44 a.m.
1. Introduction of new President: President David B. Perrin welcomed new President Stephanie Paulsell,
handing over the ceremonial invisible gavel.
2. Approval of the Minutes of 2005 Meeting: Minutes were approved unanimously, pending any
emendations to be sent to Anita Houck, Secretary/Treasurer. (No changes were submitted.)
3. Presentation: Dave Perrin presented a special thanks and Inukshuk to Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM
4. Report of the Editor of Spiritus: Doug Burton-Christie made several announcements.
a. He expressed thanks to all members who have been reading the journal, reviewing manuscripts, and
sending in submissions; and the Editorial Board and Book Review Editor Matt Ashley, who welcomes
hearing about books to review.
b. As editor, he balances solicited and unsolicted work. He encouraged members to consider submitting
work to the journal and discussing work with Doug or Board members. Members have also helpfully
approached Doug to discuss questions that are percolating in the field—the origins of this year’s
review symposium. Suggestions for future symposia are welcome.
c. Back issues are available through JHUP and, for subscribers, online through Project MUSE.
5. Thanks for service: Stephanie expressed thanks to Board members Joseph Driskill and Bernadette
Flanagan, Past President Joann Wolski Conn, and Nominations Committee member Lisa Hess, all of
whom are completing their terms.
6. Report of the Nominations Committee: Stephanie, as Outgoing Chair of the Nominations Committee,
presented the following slate on behalf of the Nominations Committee, which also included Lisa Hess
and Eileen Flanagan; biographies were included in the agenda:
a. Two members to serve three-year terms on the Governing Board:
1. Lisa Hess (2006-2009)
2. Michael O’Sullivan (2006-2009).
b. The motion to approve these nominations was approved unanimously by voice vote and the new
members were welcomed with applause.
c. Vice President/President-elect:
1. Mary Frohlich (2006-2007)
d. The motion was approved unanimously by voice vote, and the new Vice President was welcomed with
7. One member to serve a three-year term on the Nominations Committee:
1. Paula Barker (2006-2009)
Paula was thanked for providing us with organization of epic proportions in yesterday’s session. She was
applauded even before her nomination was approved unanimously by voice.
8. Stephanie also thanked continuing member of the Nominations Committee Eileen Flanagan.
9. Renewal of appointment: The Constitution requires approval of the appointment of each Co-Chair of the
Christian Spirituality Group. Stephanie expressed great thanks to Wendy Wright for her willingness to
serve for a second term (2006-2008). Her reappointment was approved by a show of hands.
10. Report of the Secretary/Treasurer: Anita reviewed the Treasurer’s Report, attached, and was thanked by
11. Report of the AAR Christian Spirituality Group: Arthur Holder and Wendy Wright, Co-chairs of the
Christian Spirituality Group, explained that the Group is a program unit of AAR that grew out of the
a. Arthur reported that the Group will sponsor sessions throughout AAR. Since the Group has to be
reviewed in order to continue to offer sessions, it’s helpful for members to attend sessions. The
Group has a strong record of attendance: the most recent report to the AAR noted that average
Draft 11 November 2007 1
attendance for the past five years has been a remarkable 114, with a low of 46 on a Tuesday morning
and a high of 278 for the session on “spiritual but not religious.” The Group has received many more
proposals than it can accept, and about 27% of proposals have been accepted. More than a dozen
have been published in various venues. The recent review was able to build on the first report by
Steve Chase and Stephanie Paulsell, who received thanks for making the new report so much easier.
b. The Group will sponsor three sessions: one on Spiritual Formation for Social Commitment; one, in
the new, shorter format, on Spirituality: Its Uses and Misuses; and a joint session with Wesleyan
Studies on communal spiritual practices in Wesleyan traditions, continuing a good record of co-
sponsoring sessions with groups that share our interests.
c. Suggestions were invited for topics for the 2007 meeting in San Diego, California, including
workshops and experiential sessions. Again, some priority will be given to having one session
connected with the location. Topics discussed include
1) Latin American Catholicism and Latino spirituality
2) Emergent church movement
3) Building on questions raised in last night’s session, research with different age groups and teaching
and learning needs of different age groups
4) Migrants, border crossers, the image of the fence
5) Mission system, missions throughout Southern California
6) A border immersion program for the experiential session
7) Building on local military presence, national security and secular spiritualities built on it
8) Images of Jesus and Mary, particularly religious images given to servicepeople approved by the
Members with additional ideas were encouraged to send them via e-mail or bring them up during the
12. Proposed changes to the SSCS Constitution: Stephanie explained that the Board has continued to work
on making the Constitution clearer and more workable. Color-coded copies were distributed showing the
changes made over the past couple years, most of which had already been approved. Among the changes
was the recommendation by the Board that we make explicit that only current members of the Society
may become members of the Governing Board. This change was approved unanimously with show of
hands. Future clarifications to the Constitutions will be brought to future meetings.
13. Report of items under consideration by the Governing Board: Stephanie noted several areas being
a. AAR Review of the Christian Spirituality Group: Arthur and Wendy wrote a terrific document for the
review of the Group, and a representative from the AAR will be attending the Group’s sessions and
meeting with members of the Board.
b. SSCS Promotions Committee: Dave Perrin announced the names of members of this committee, all
of whom will serve a three-year term: Jonas Barciauskas, Philip Sheldrake, Dave Perrin, Margaret
Benefiel, David Ranson, and Michael Pizzo and Lisa Klose of JHUP. Additional members may join in
the committee in the future. The committee was created to enhance the Society’s visibility, and its
work will depend on the cooperation of other SSCS members to move forward. Plans include a new
listserv with JHUP; members are encouraged to respond and update their information when the new
list becomes active. Stephanie thanked the members of the committee.
c. Outreach to graduate students: Anita reported that she periodically receives e-mails from students
who want to become more connected to the Society or who would like more information on graduate
programs in Spirituality. Members who have suggestions on how the SSCS could better serve
graduate and pre-tenure members are encouraged to contact her or Stephanie.
d. Appointment of Spiritus Editorial Board: At this point, Stephanie reported, the Editor is reappointed
every five years; we are considering a similar system that would review the appointments of Editorial
Board members every five years.
e. Friday sessions: The Board is continuing its review of our Friday sessions, and Stephanie invited
members to communicate their views on this year’s sessions.
f. Website: The Board and Promotions Committee will continue to discuss expanding our website.
Stephanie encouraged members to let the Board know what they’d like to see on the site.
14. Suggestions of items for further discussion by the Governing Board
a. Bruce Lescher noted that when he’s added new members to the SSCS listserv, based on e-mails from
JHUP of new subscribers to Spiritus, some people respond that they don’t know what the SSCS is.
Some time ago the Constitution was changed to define SSCS members as subscribers to Spiritus, and it
seems we need to revisit the idea of automatically making subscribers members of the SSCS.
b. Stephanie invited members to pass on other suggestions, as well as to attend sessions during the
The meeting adjourned at 11:31.
(Address attendance: 75; Meeting attendance: 59)
Minutes of the Governing Board Meeting of
The Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality
Monday, November 20, 2006
Renaissance Washington, Meeting Room 12
Members had been asked to bring copies of the following documents already distributed via e-mail: Edited
Constitution; Edited Policies and Procedures including Editorial Committee document (revised from Policies
and Procedures); Promotions Mandate sent out 10/11
Present: Ann Astell, Doug Burton-Christie, Joe Driskill, Bernadette Flanagan, Mary Frohlich (bringing
chocolate and cookies), Lisa Hess, Arthur Holder, Bradley Holt, Anita Houck, Alan Kolp, Michael O’Sullivan,
Stephanie Paulsell, Dave Perrin, Claire Wolfteich, Wendy Wright.
The meeting came to order at about 6:09 with a moment of silence and prayer led by Stephanie.
1.Welcome of new members: Stephanie welcomed Lisa Hess and Michael O’Sullivan to the Board. Members
of the Board introduced themselves.
2.Thanks to members rotating off: Stephanie thanked Joseph Driskill and Bernadette Flanagan, and Past
President Joann Wolski Conn (in absentia).
a. Review of changes to Policies and Procedures: Dave circulated a page of responses to the document,
previously distributed. As the document is internal to the Board, it didn’t need to be voted on by the
1) Review of new nominations process: This year’s process ran more by history than by the new
guidelines of the Policies and Procedures document. However, the Committee followed the spirit
of the document in attending to diversity on the Board, including having an international
presence. Stephanie observed that many people are being nominating multiple times, and there’s
a good tradition of the secretary passing on the knowledge from past years; but we have more
good nominations than we can use and have many strong candidates. Despite the challenges in
putting the new process into place, the document will be helpful for future years.
2) Editorial Board: Doug reported the journal came into existence without there being a written
document expressing the relationship between the Editorial Board and the Society, and he’s
grateful there’s now a formal process according to which the journal, which serves the Society, is
accountable to the Board. The review of the Board has already been completed for the next five-
year term. Arthur reminded the Board that it reviews the Editor, that the Editor then takes the
lead in appointing the Board, and that the Editorial Board then supports the work of the Editor
that the Governing Board has chosen. Dave explained that these policies came out of discussion
with the editor of Spiritus and the need to plan, when the need arises, for succession in that post.
In last year’s discussion of this process of reviewing Editorial Board membership every five years,
we also discussed adding people as needed and also letting people rotate off in fairness to them.
New nominee membership requirement: The newly articulated policy permitting only current members to
be nominated to the Board will allow us to draw on the strengths of our members, since there are so
many who are able to contribute.
b. Review of Promotions Committee
1) Committee Mandate document: Dave explained that this document, previously distributed, would
be given to the Promotions Committee if the Board approved it. The Committee would then
report back to the Board each year, but wouldn’t be coming to the Board for every decision under
their mandate (e.g., postings to the website). Mandate 2, e.g., would include expansion of website.
Brad noted that Mandate iii needed rewording, which was discussed, and that the word
“initiatives” is vague; Dave responded that the Committee will have to decide on the boundaries
of this very general term. The Committee will think critically about which initiatives will be
embraced. Doug noted that one reason that the Committee came into existence is that Hopkins
has done some promotions work every couple years, so that at this point we’re adopting the
principle of subsidiarity and should be broad in our outreach. Wendy noted that one practical
consequence might be that the AAR Christian Spirituality Group can have its own website on the
AAR website, and perhaps this page could link directly to the SSCS page; putting in such a link
would make more sense than setting up a second website. Mary asked whether we could approve
the Mandate as an interim document with the understanding the committee itself will refine it and
bring it to us next year as they pursue their work. The Committee will pay special attention to iii
in that process. Doug asked whether, as we find useful contacts, the membership of the
committee could be expanded. Dave reported that he is doing so as he finds people who can be
the Society’s “ear to the ground” in different regions. Ann asked whether we had any formal
connection to the Titus Brandsmaa Institute, which is one of the initiatives the Committee is
aware of; such initiatives with academic foci would be especially appropriate for us to make
connections with, while programs focused on areas like spiritual direction could also be
considered. Bernadette explained more about the work of the Brandsmaa Institute and noted the
difficulties of language differences in planning international conversation and writing: the
Brandsmaa Institute, for instance, works with four languages. Leuven’s program in spirituality,
society, and ethics also would be a place to network with, though the language issue remains.
Going beyond English does raise questions for our work, but Michael noted that there are a
number of English-language programs. The document was approved as an interim document by
2) Report on Saturday’s inaugural meeting: Dave reported that Jonas, Philip, Dave, and Margaret met
with an agenda of several items, and everyone left the room with tasks to work on. Future
meetings will be electronic, and minutes will be forwarded to the secretary. They agree with the
Board in seeing the Mandate as a draft. Everyone left the room with jobs. Stephanie invited them
to proceed with their work and keep us informed.
4. Future concerns
a. Possible initiative to provide outreach to and support for students and new members: Anita has
gotten questions about programs for graduate students and will ask some younger members to
participate in discussions. Alan suggested we broaden our concern to undergraduates. Possible
initiatives would be a list of programs of graduate study in spirituality or setting up lunch with new
members, as was recently done at the CTSA. Anita will contact potential members of a committee
and report back.
b. Follow-up on action items from last year’s meeting
1) Expansion of website: The previous website committee of Dave, Doug, and Anita was replaced
this year by the Promotions Committee, which includes website development in its portfolio.
Posting the Meeting-at-a-Glance information on the website this year was helpful.
2) Agreement with JHUP on reprinting materials: After the Governing Board meeting, Doug and
Dave continued the conversation and decided no document other than the contractual
arrangement was needed; the auxiliary two-page document reiterated points already included in
the contract. Doug added that one lingering concern was that there is no mechanism for the
Governing Board, Editorial Board, or Editor to have input if JHUP decides to give away rights,
e.g., if someone wanted to put together a collection of essays from the journal; in fact JHUP owns
the copyright, so our rights are limited. But through the process of discussing this issue with
JHUP, we alerted them to our concern, which helped them remember why this would matter to
us; so now if such a project is proposed, they would consult with us first. The JHUP staff was
very reluctant to sign another document, and Doug and Dave agreed it wasn’t necessary to push
the issue. Any concerns would be brought to the Board by the Editor. Minding the Spirit was put
together without the knowledge of anyone on the Board or the Editor; though it was compiled in
good conscience, it alerts us to something that we should be prepared for in the future: the
Society would have some say, even if no legal say. Dave noted the Policies and Procedures
document includes a list of responsibilities of the Board, and Dave included all relevant text from
our contract with JHUP so that we have it for reference. Dave will send a copy of the contract to
Doug and Anita. Thanks to Dave and Doug for pursuing this conversation and for protecting
3) Scheduling of Presidential address and Business Meeting: In light of the expansion of AAR
sessions into Saturday morning, we had planned last year to discuss the timing of the sessions
we’ve traditionally scheduled for Saturday morning. Stephanie added concern for the AAR/SBL
split and moving to October in 2008 (25th-28th). This year the expanded sessions encroached on
us. Wendy reported that the AAR had been surprised in the past by the number of Saturday
morning additional meetings; now, though the AAR can’t guarantee us a Saturday morning slot,
they seem to appreciate the importance of our morning meeting time. Many emerging areas can’t
be accommodated now, and after the split there will still be other sessions Saturday morning. The
morning slot is still available for additional meetings, but we’ll need to be vigilant. Mary noted
that in a sense our Saturday morning meeting means that we have another session. Stephanie
noted that many non-members came to hear Dave’s address this year. The group decided to try
to keep to the current schedule.
4) Discussion of possible award and other outreach ideas to graduate students: Ann reported that, in
her discussions with Joe, their inclination is to think big about graduate student involvement; for
instance, a program with a large number of grad students working in spirituality could host a
conference. She brought up the examples of the Levinas society and MLA Graduate Student
Caucus. Young scholars need to have their own initiative, with faculty advisors at the beginning;
they need their own conference—presumably at different locations each year—for networking,
including a business meeting. A parallel graduate-student group would have an official link to
(e.g., an ex officio member on) the SSCS Governing Board. At such a conference, the Society could
offer a best paper prize, perhaps bestowed at the SSCS business meeting, with a monetary prize
(e.g., to help travel) or consideration for publication in Spiritus. Joe suggested that a good model
could be found in a conference sponsored by GTU students in honor of Sandra Schneiders, with
two outside speakers (including Doug) and a response from Sandra. Joe has also has gotten
feedback about the amount of grey hair at SSCS meetings and has heard students express interest
in getting involved. Ann noted that such students could help with hospitality for each other, and
could get in touch with each other through the listserv. Claire invited us to announce this
initiative to students, and to gather e-mail addresses for a core group of students; Ann wondered
whether we could use the listserv to locate interested students. Doug reported that the group who
organized the conference in honor of Sandra might have the energy to pursue this project. Claire
offered to e-mail students about this project, and Mary noted that someone would have to use
those e-mails, perhaps forwarding them to other students who could start a network at their own
initiative. Claire noted that we need to be clear that in relying on student initiative we’re not
devaluing them but instead trying to connect them with the wider organization, especially more
mature students. Arthur supported the idea of having a grad-student member of the Board. In
the future, Joe, Ann, and Anita will consider possible actions; other Board members will solicit e-
mails for those who want a network of students; and we’ll consider creating a position on the
Board for a graduate student.
5) Dave’s poster: Dave’s poster is not forgotten and may surface again.
5. Review of SSCS sessions
a. The Saint John’s Bible and Calligraphy as a Spiritual Practice: We noted problems with notifying
people of the location: we didn’t know till just before the event which room we’d be in, and the AAR
program book is no longer publishing locations. Probably the AAR will again not publish location
information until the At-a-Glance, because so many locations have been erroneously reported in the
past; however, updated information is available on the AAR website. The Promotions committee will
take responsibility for posting information next year, if the information is passed on to them. About
50 attended, not all of whom participated in the workshop; the feedback was very positive.
b. Members’ Workshop (this year open to non-members): Teaching Christian Spirituality. Many new
people said how helpful it was. Attendance was 85. Arthur thought it might be possible to post the
resources on the web, though the AAR’s syllabus project might be a better venue. Arthur will collect
the syllabi and send them to AAR project, with permission from the speakers.
c. Business Meeting: We noted that, though we don’t know the rules of order, Stephanie did a good job.
6. Discussion of SSCS sessions for 2007
a. Planning committee for experiential session: Stephanie suggested Barbara Quinn at the USD Center
and a program on border immersion; Barb has led a number of such programs. However, such a
program would have to be offered a day early. Mary will speak with Barb about this option.
1) Bruce had mentioned the local military presence and issues of security. When Joe visited recently,
he found the military presence greatly reduced.
2) Joann and Eileen Flanagan suggested a program tying into the zoo, e.g., on the natural world and
3) Wendy mentioned that Dan Groody has just finished a documentary “Dying to Live,” on the
spirituality of migrants and border; he spoke on it at Creighton and the program went well. The
film lasts about half an hour, and we could complement it by inviting discussion from people
involved in immigration.
4) Brad would like to hold on to the experiential nature of our Friday sessions, offering not just film
and discussion but something that would get us out of our heads more. Arthur proposed that we
might meet at a local parish that’s been involved in immigration and perhaps view the film as part
of a program there. Anita seconded the notion of having our evening meeting and reception off-
site, as this year’s hotel reception cost $3,000 and would have been impossible without the
generosity of Pat and Bernie McGinn. Arthur reminded us to be conscious of time, as people
traveling will be sleepy.
5) Mary will follow up with Barbara for suggestions of locations and see if Dan’s film will fit, and
will also ask about an immersion experience the day before; Wendy and Stephanie will follow up
with Mary on this topic.
b. Planning committee for members’ panel: Mary mentioned that Barb’s institute works with
professional schools at USD, and a workshop could focus on such engagements; Margaret Benefiel
also works in this field. Alan noted that since we have new people every year we don’t necessarily
need to have a new topic for the workshop each year. Doug reviewed past topics—the Desert
Fathers, John of the Cross, and teaching the introductory course—and asked what had been most
useful about them. Joe noted that the workshop was designed because members had asked for
something practical. Brad noted that issues that had surfaced in past workshops could be pursued in
other workshops, e.g., the use of practices. Doug brought up the question of participation and
practices as one that often comes up in our conversations. Both Mary and Claire have written on this
topic, and there’s healthy debate about it; Claire pointed out that the Association of Practical
Theology (APT; not just the AAR Practical Theology group) would be focusing its additional meeting
on a parallel question, namely teaching spiritual practices. There’s a good deal of interest in finding
ways to connect the APT and the SSCS in the future; one option could be a joint additional meeting
focused on teaching spiritual practices, maybe with a comparative perspective. The Practical
Theology group’s meeting conflicted this year with the Christian Spirituality Group, and Arthur
responded that we could work with AAR on timing. People affirmed the value of a session on
participation and the possibility of working with the APT. Claire proposed that an interreligious
perspective, perhaps via case studies, could be a good approach. Lisa suggested that a methodological
approach to this question, perhaps drawing on Sandra Schneiders’s views, could be promising. Lisa,
Claire, and Doug will discuss possibilities and get back to Stephanie.
7. Review of Christian Spirituality Group sessions. The panel included several well-known speakers and had
a wider draw than in other panels. It was good to offer a session that continued to reflect on the work of
the Society in the context of the AAR. 197 people attended.
8. Future Group sessions
a. Arthur reported that “Wendy had an elevator encounter” in which she learned that the Religion and
Ecology Group is interested in co-sponsoring a session with us. The session on formation for social
transformation evoked a good deal of energy, so perhaps we could co-sponsor a panel on Christian
practices for ecological sustainability; some dimension of Christian practice would be essential. The
RE group has approved the idea of co-sponsorship and we affirmed our interest as well.
b. Other suggestions: We generally include five topics in the Call for Papers. Suggestions for the
additional four included multiple religious belonging (Christian appropriation of other spiritualities,
e.g., Bede Griffiths), which was suggested by both Arthur and the AAR’s reviewer of the Group; the
emergent church movement and its implications for Christian spirituality; professions; healing and
medicine; and Biblical spirituality. On the latter, when we put out a call two years ago we got little
response. However, Mary thinks Barbara Bowe would be interested; and we could invite two SBL
and two SSCS members to a pre-arranged panel.
Anita Houck, Secretary