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New Staff Appointment: Director of Studies & Lecturer

It is with pleasure we announce the appointment of Dr Karen O’Donnell as Director of Studies and Lecturer in Worship & Human Community at Westcott House, Cambridge.

Dr O’Donnell is a feminist, ecumenical, constructive theologian whose interdisciplinary research interests span trauma theology, liturgy and spirituality. She began her graduate study with an MA in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham and completed her PhD in Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter. Dr O’Donnell is currently the Programme Leader for Postgraduate Programmes in Christian Spirituality at Sarum College, Salisbury. She will take up post at Westcott House on 1 September 2022.

Dr O’Donnell’s recent monograph, The Dark Womb: Re-Conceiving Theology Through Reproductive Loss, offers a ground-breaking constructive approach to theology that brings trauma theology into dialogue with the experience of reproductive loss in order to offer liturgical and spiritual resources for trauma survivors and those who care for them. Her international academic reputation in the field of trauma theology is richly deserved and she also has active research interests across areas including digital theology (particularly worship and liturgy in digital spaces), theological education and pedagogy, and theology and race.

Speaking on her appointment, Karen says: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be joining the team at Westcott House. I will be bringing my research interests in liturgy, spirituality, and constructive theology into dialogue with training for ministry. Westcott’s values of inclusion and sacramentality are an excellent fit with my own faith and I am looking forward to working with ordinands looking to shape the future of the Church of England.’

The Revd Dr Helen Dawes, Principal of Westcott House, said: ‘We are overjoyed that Karen will be joining Westcott House and are looking forward to welcoming her to the community in September. Karen is an exciting theological voice and an exceptional teacher, her breadth of scholarship and deep-rooted personal spirituality will be an enormous blessing on our life at Westcott House and our work to serve God’s church. Karen’s commitment to the Church’s ministry and her passion for developing students’ knowledge and understanding shone through in the appointments process – it will be a delight to work with her.’

The appointment is subject to DBS clearance.