Learning From Each Other: Toward an Episcopal Understanding of Testimony


Learning From Each Other: Toward an Episcopal Understanding of Testimony


The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the introduction of the practice of testimony in a congregation that does not readily understand itself as a community that engages in the practice. Testimony is an underutilized practice in the Episcopal Church and this thesis engages the questions of why it matters, what it looks like, and how to help implement it. Testimony was studied by introducing a program called Faith Moments that invited parishioners to share moments of God at work in their lives or in the world. The first two chapters lay out the foundational background material for the study. Chapter One explores the philosophy and theology of testimony. Chapter Two outlines the act of ministry that was implemented and studied, along with the methodologies that were involved. The subsequent chapters tackle the three questions of why, what, and how. Chapter Three looks at why testimony matters, exploring how testimony is critical to the formation of certain types of knowledge, and confirming the value of testimony found by others. Chapter Four analyzes what testimony looks like in the context of a congregation in the Pacific Northwest of the United States in a world marred by pandemic, racial injustice, political division, and wildfire, gaining a deeper understanding of how God works in and among particular people in a particular culture and time. Chapter Five investigates people’s hesitancy to share their testimonies and ways that helped ease those concerns, while also exploring how those hesitations are not just barriers to be overcome, but speak to the real and legitimate dangers of testimony that can deform faith as easily as it can form it. Overall, the thesis opens up questions about Episcopal identity and helps point a way forward for an Episcopal understanding of testimony.


Powell, Robert Bingham




Copyright Robert Bingham Powell




Project Thesis
Date Added
November 14, 2023
VTS Doctoral Theses
Powell, Robert Bingham , “Learning From Each Other: Toward an Episcopal Understanding of Testimony,” Bishop Payne Library at Virginia Theological Seminary, accessed April 14, 2024, https://vtsbpl.omeka.net/items/show/520.