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Susan Cartmell

Susan Cartmell

Writer. Speaker. Preacher. Public Theologian.

Meet Susan

Susan Cartmell performing a baptisim
Susan Cartmell
headshot of Susan Cartmell

Susan is a public theologian who served four churches in the United Church of Christ as a pastor over the last 40 years. 


This summer, she and Peggy O'Connor have launched an interview project to learn more about how pastors have been challenged by the COVID 19 pandemic. Few institutions have been more challenged than churches in this pandemic, and few professionals have been any more stressed than our clergy under the constraints of the pandemic. But the story of how clergy have met this moment with creativity and resilience has yet to be told. It’s a story that is still unfolding.  Susan and Peggy are interviewing clergy from several faiths and from congregations of all sizes across the nation to learn more about the stresses that clergy have felt, the courage that was required of them and the way that pastors, priests and rabbis have contributed to this moment in history, and been changed by it.

In addition to serving four different churches in Massachusetts over four decades, Susan was the first woman to be the senior minister of a tall steeple church in New England when she was called in 1997 to The Congregational Church in Needham a congregation of 850 adult members. She served there for over 18 years at a time when the church welcomed 300 new adult members and experienced a spiritual rejuvenation as well as new growth in programs for adults and families.


It was during her tenure in Needham that she developed a thematic lectionary for preachers and wrote the book UnCommon Preaching: An Alternative to the Lectionary. Since then, Susan has led a variety of workshops on preaching for clergy throughout New England and was a featured speaker at the Symposium for Preaching Excellence in Kansas City, sponsored by the United Methodist Church, Missouri Conference (2018). She has taught several classes on themes in scripture and Bible Moments that Changed History at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.

What Susan is Saying

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