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BookTALK: PTS Faculty Series

This guide contains resources that complement the Faculty Series sponsored by the Center for Writing and Learning Support and Barbour Library.

Library & Online Resources

The Rev. Dr. Donna Giver-Johnston is director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, a position she has held since 2023. She is an Ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with more than 20 years of experience in pastoral ministry. She is also an experienced theological educator and writer. Her areas of expertise include homiletics and liturgics, practical theology, feminist scholarship, and theological education.

Giver-Johnston earned the doctorate of philosophy from Vanderbilt University. She also has a certificate of teaching from the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. She was awarded the John T. Galloway Preaching Award by Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996, and was named the Field Education Supervisor of the Year by Vanderbilt Divinity School in 2013.

She is the author of Claiming the Call to Preach: Four Female Pioneers of Preaching in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford University Press, 2021) and Writing for the Ear, Preaching from the Heart (Fortress Press, 2021), in addition to several published journal articles and book reviews.


Claiming the Call to Preach traces the history of call through the nineteenth century, at a time when the question of women’s call to preach, although seemingly fixed by ecclesial authority and cultural convention, was being raised by courageous women in different settings, through different genres, and to different effect. This book recovers the neglected narrative of women’s call to preach through the historical accounts and rhetorical witness of four groundbreaking women preachers: Jarena Lee, Frances Willard, Louisa Woosley, and Florence Spearing Randolph. Scholarship has been written on women who have preached in history, but not on how they managed to claim their call to preach despite the restrictions of gender inequality. In response, these women received endorsement of their claims to pulpit places, engaged in sacred persuasive speech, and preached as ministers of the sacred office. 

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Hancock E. Lee. 1999. The Book of Women's Sermons : Hearing God in Each Other's Voices. New York: Riverhead Books.

Knoll, Benjamin R. and Cammie Jo Bolin. She Preached the Word: Women's Ordination in Modern America. New York NY: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Massey, Karen G. And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy: Sermons by Women in Baptist Life. 1st ed. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2012.

Books in Barbour Library

Print books below may be checked out by PTS students, faculty, and staff, as well as local area patrons who have library accounts (requires an annual fee). Ebooks are indicated by asterisks, and are available to current PTS students, faculty, and staff only.

Library Resources by Subject

Select Bibliography

The articles below without links are not available in the Barbour Library journal collection - please check your local library for interlibrary loan services in order to obtain copies of these.

Brooks, Gennifer Benjamin. “This Is Our Story: Black Clergy Women Preaching through Cultural Boundaries.” Liturgy 35, no. 3 (July 2020): 38–44.

Articles in Barbour Library

Articles that are available online have links, and are only available to current PTS students, faculty, and staff. Articles without links are in the print journal collection.

Cannon, Mae Elise. “Rising Above the Stained-Glass Ceiling: In the Middle East, a Growing Number of Women Are Claiming Their Place in the Pulpit.” Sojourners Magazine 50, no. 10 (November 2021): 32–35.

Casey, Emilie. “Enfleshing the Spirit through Avatar Performance: Objecthood as Resistance in Women Preachers—Rachel Baker, Jarena Lee, and Florence Spearing Randolph.” Feminist Theology 29, no. 2 (January 2021): 140–55. 

Selby, Gary S. “‘Your Daughters Shall Prophesy’: Rhetorical Strategy in the 19th Century Debate over Women’s Right to Preach.” Restoration Quarterly 34, no. 3 (1992): 151–67.

Thysell, Carol. “Unearthing the Treasure, Unknitting the Napkin: The Parable of the Talents as a Justification for Early Modern Women’s Preaching and Prophesying.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 15, no. 1 (Spr 1999): 7–20. 

Check back soon for a list of curated print and online books from the collection of Barbour Library that compliment this BookTalk. All print items are available for checkout to current account holders. Online resources are available to current PTS students, faculty, and staff.