Rev. Elaine A. Heath, PhD
Author, Speaker, Retreat Leader, Consultant
I have had an amazing life journey, growing up in poverty with many challenges, including leaving home when I was a junior in high school. After my children were born I went to college, then seminary, then earned a PhD in theology. I'm an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and have served as a professor of evangelism at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and as Dean and Professor of Missional and Pastoral Theology at Duke Divinity School, Duke University. I now serve as president of Neighborhood Seminary, a non-profit which I co-founded to provide theological, missional, and spiritual formation for lay people to know how to participate with what God is doing in their neighborhoods. I’m the author of ten books.
Along with my spouse and nine friends I live at Spring Forest, an interracial intentional community in rural North Carolina, where we tend a forest and small farm that supports immigrants and others who experience food insecurity. We also hold day retreats for small groups and individuals, and host a decentralized mission church, The Church at Spring Forest. I serve as Abbess for our residential community, and Theologian in Residence for our church.
I have written eleven books, the most recent of which are Loving the Hell Out of Ourselves (and others),
a joint memoir co-authored with Jeanine Heath-McGlinn (2021), The Healing Practice of Celebration
(2020), Healing the Wounds of Sexual Abuse: Reading the Bible with Survivors
(2019), a republication with updates of a previous volume: We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse
(2011). My other publications include Five Means of Grace: Experience God's Love the Wesleyan Way
(2017), The Mystic Way of Evangelism, Revised and Updated 2nd Edition
(2017), God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church (2016), Missional.Monastic.Mainline
(co-authored with Larry Duggins, 2014), Longing for Spring: A New Vision for Wesleyan Communities
(co-authored with Scott Kisker, 2010, and Naked Faith: The Mystical Theology of Phoebe Palmer
We are at the forefront of a new reformation, one that is freeing the Christian faith from the sinful structures of patriarchy, racism, classism, many phobias, and exploitive forms of mission and evangelism. The new reformation is all about the emergence of a generous, hospitable, equitable form of Christianity that heals the wounds of the world. I believe much of the work for the church in the years ahead must focus on healing the wounds inflicted by Christendom so that the beauty and inclusive goodness of the Gospel can be heard, seen, and experienced. My work as an author, speaker, retreat leader, and consultant focuses on helping leaders and organizations lean into the healing, liberating, and spiritually transformative journey into which God is calling the church in this new era.