Elaine Heath

Elaine Heath photo

Rev. Elaine A. Heath, PhD

Theologian, Author, Speaker
Abbess to the Community at Spring Forest


Dr. Elaine Heath's scholarly work is interdisciplinary, integrating pastoral, biblical,

and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between academy, church, and

world. Her current research interests focus on community as a means of healing

trauma, emergent forms of Christianity, and alternative forms of theological

education for the church in rapidly changing contexts.

Heath is the author of numerous books and articles, the most recent of which is

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). Her 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 (2009).

Heath’s vocational journey includes having served as Dean of the Divinity School at

Duke University, and the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of

Theology, Southern Methodist University. She is a pioneer in new forms of

theological education. In that capacity Heath is co-founder of the Missional Wisdom

Foundation, a non-profit educational organization that equips clergy and

laity to develop diverse forms of Christian community and social enterprise. Heath

is also the co-founder and President of Neighborhood Seminary, a contextualized

model of missional theological education for laity. Heath is an ordained elder in the

United Methodist Church and served in pastoral ministry prior to her academic

ministry. She lives with her husband at Spring Forest, an intentional Christian

Community and farm in rural North Carolina where she serves as Abbess.