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Director of Master of Divinity
Director of Contextual Education
Associate Professor of Contextual Education and Theology 

  • BA Art History and Religious Studies, McMaster University (2002) 
  • MDiv Yale Divinity School (2005) 
  • MA Theological Studies, Vanderbilt University (2010)
  • PhD Theological Studies, Vanderbilt University (2011)


Natalie Wigg-Stevenson joined the theology department at Emmanuel College in 2011 to direct the Contextual Education Program. Author of Ethnographic Theology: An Inquiry into the Production of Theological Knowledge (Palgrave, 2013) and Transgressive Devotion: Theology as Performance Art (SCM, 2021), Natalie’s interdisciplinary research deploys ethnography, historical and contemporary Christian traditions, performance art and creative nonfiction to generate experimental ways of theological knowing. She is a leader in conversations related to ethnographic theology, having co-founded the Ecclesial Practices group at the American Academy of Religion and serving on multiple boards related to publishing in the discipline. She is currently working on a creative nonfiction manuscript that braids narratives of infertility, walking the Camino de Santiago, pregnancy, and birthing to explore how memory operates in ‘thin spaces’.

Natalie teaches basic degree courses at Emmanuel in Contextual Education, Ministry Integration, Context/Power/Coloniality, Queer Theory and Theology, and Embodiment, and advanced degree courses in Ethnographic Approaches to Theology and Cultural Theories of Practice. She also teaches in the Vic One ‘Gooch Stream’ at Victoria College. She is always seeking new ways to decolonize pedagogy through neuro-affirming, mutual, experiential and spiritual teaching practices. This year, Natalie is excited to join with the Emmanuel faculty’s year-long project of exploring trauma-informed pedagogy—a project developed in direct response to student feedback on our community’s DEAR document.

During the upcoming academic year, Natalie’s primary administrative contributions to Emmanuel community life will be as Director of the Contextual Education and MDiv programs—where one key goal will be to work with the United Church to create more explicit touchpoints between our programs and the candidacy process. She’s also excited to welcome a more ecumenical and religiously plural cohort of MDiv students to the program, and to think together about how Emmanuel’s rootedness in the United Church of Canada’s heritage and global leadership in multi-religious theological education can facilitate transformative education for all our diverse constituents. Natalie will also serve this year on the Indigenous Advisory Circle at Victoria University and the Indigenous Garden project at Emmanuel, with the genuine hope that someone will let her dig around in some soil on the campus at some point!

As a public theologian, Natalie is committed to reimagining public theology beyond its purely political connotations into artistic ones as well. She is finishing up her 2023 residency as the “Living the Word” columnist for Sojourners magazine this academic year, and is a frequent guest on podcasts related to theology and culture. Her short story ‘with apologies to Vanessa’ was shortlisted for the BC Federation of Writers creative nonfiction prize in 2021.

When not engaged with all things academically theological, she enjoys hiking, doing yoga, readings lots of non-academic stuff, and doing lots of non-academic stuff with her spouse (Tyler) and three wild and wonderful daughters (Georgia, Heloise, and Evensong).



  • Transgressive Devotion: Theology as Performance Art (London: SCM Press, 2021) (R)
  • Ethnographic Theology: An Inquiry Into the Production of Theological Knowledge (New York: Palgrave Press, 2014). (R)
Edited books
  • Guest editor for Ecclesial Practices (peer-reviewed journal), special issue: Summer 2016.
  • With Pamela Couture, Robert Mager & Pamela R. McCarroll, Complex Identities in a Shifting World: Practical Theological Perspectives (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2015).
Articles in academic journals
  • “Imitating Christ Elsewhere?” in “Roundtable Review of Todd Whitmore’s Imitating Christ in Magwi.” Review symposium in Practical Theology 13:3 (2020): 319-336.
  • “Checking and Folding: Refusing the Impatience of Theodicy,” in Toronto Journal of Theology. 33(2), 241-246 (Fall 2018). (R)
  • “What’s Really Going On: Ethnographic Theology and the Production of Theological Knowledge” in Cultural Studies<>Critical Methodologies (November 2017). (R)
  • “You Don’t Look Like a Baptist Minister: An Autoethnographic Retrieval of ‘Women’s Experience’ as an Analytic Category for Feminist Theology,” in Feminist Theology, (January 2017). (R)
  • “An Intriguing Third Way: Mapping Contextual Education for Curricular Integration,” in Teaching Theology and Religion, (January, 2016) (R)
  • “From Proclamation to Conversation: Ethnographic Disruptions to Theological Normativity,” in Palgrave Communications: Radical Theologies Collection, (October, 2015). (R)
  • “Reflexive Theology: A Preliminary Proposal” in Practical Matters (Spring, 2013). (R)
Chapters in multi-author volumes
  • “Just Don’t Call it Ethnography: A Critical Ethnographic Pedagogy for Transformative Theological Education” in Qualitative Research in Theological Education: Pedagogy in Practice (SCM Press, 2018). (R)
  • “Trying to Tell the Truth About A Life: The Issue of Representation for Ethnographic Theology” book chapter in What Really Matters: A Nordic Perspective on Ecclesiology and Ethnography, Jonas Ideström and Tone Stangeland Kaufman, eds. (Pickwick, 2018). (R)
  • “To Walk in Ways that Might Make us Feel Lost” book chapter in What Really Matters: A Nordic Perspective on Ecclesiology and Ethnography, Jonas Ideström and Tone Stangeland Kaufman, eds. (Pickwick, 2018).  (R)
Other publications 
  • “When a Trusted Spiritual Leader Turns Out to Be a Predator,” Feature article in Sojourners (June, 2020).
  • “Editorial Introduction” in Ecclesial Practices (Fall 2016).
  • “Reconciliatory Hope: The Aesthetics and Ethics of Passing” in Postcolonial Networks (Postcolonial Body Performance Narratives), March 8, 2011.
  • “White, Privileged, Fragile”. Feature article in Sojourners (Sept-Oct, 2016).
  • “The Agony and Ecstasy of Baptism”. Cover article in Sojourners (March, 2016).


Professional Designations

2020-present  Member of Editorial Board, Brill Handbook on Empirical and Qualitative Methods in Systematic Theological Research
2016-present  Member of Editorial Board, Ecclesial Practices journal
  Member of Editorial Board, T&T Clarke Series in Ethics, Ethnography and Theology
2014-2020 Co-chair, “Ecclesial Practices” Group, American Academy of Religion
2013-present  Founding member of Steering Committee, “Ecclesial Practices” Group, American Academy of Religion
2010-present  Ordained to word and table, Baptist
  Licensure to preach, Baptist
  • Courses Taught:
  • Context and Ministry
  • Contextual Education
  • Ministry Integration Seminar
  • Theology 1
  • Theology 2
  • Theologies of Embodiment
  • Queer Christian Theologies