Imitating History: Selective Memory in Ritual Practice

The Rev. Canon Lizette Larson-Miller will be giving a public lecture on Wed., June 19, at 7 p.m. in Hargrove Auditorium, Hamilton Hall. She will be in Sewanee teaching a course in the Advanced Degrees Program at the School of Theology. The lecture has been made possible by the Arrington Lecture Fund.

Larson-Miller’s lecture will detail how, in liturgical history, foot-washing has had many different ritual settings and theological interpretations. Late antique and early medieval Gaul knew foot-washing as both a baptismal practice and a means of humble service toward the forgiveness of sins. This lecture presents an overview of the interwoven rituals of baptism and penance in a time of great change, both in the church and in society, before asking what contemporary Christians might learn and inwardly digest from the practices of our ancestors in the faith.

Larson-Miller is an Anglican priest and the Huron Lawson Professor at Huron University College (University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario). Her degrees, in music, liturgical studies and sacramental theology, are from the University of Southern California, St. John’s University in Minnesota, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is particularly interested in liturgies and rituals with the sick, the dying, and the dead, early church/late antique liturgical history, as well as contemporary questions of culture and worship. She has published in these interests, including The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, “The Liturgical inheritance of the Late Empire in the Middle Ages” in A Companion to the Eucharist in the Middle Ages, Drenched in Grace: Essays in Baptismal Ecclesiology (ed), and her most recent book Sacramentality Renewed: Contemporary Conversations in Sacramental Theology.

Her interest in liturgies in times of crises began with work on roadside memorials, and after receiving a Henry Luce Fellowship to study why people create and maintain the memorials, she continued to work with memorials to untimely deaths and broader disaster rituals in the Netherlands, publishing several times in the Liturgia Condenda series with a group of Dutch, U.S., and German colleagues, serving as plenary speaker on disaster rituals at the Canadian National Worship Conference in summer 2018. In addition to teaching and researching, she is the chair of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, the liturgical officer and canon precentor for the diocese of Huron, and co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Liturgical Studies.