Consultant to Communities of Faith, Service and Learning
The Reverend Paula Lawrence-Wehmiller had a long and distinguished career in education before her “inclination to give the bread away” led her to her ordination as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1998. She now combines her teaching and priestly vocations – consulting, speaking, writing, offering retreats, conferences, and workshops, supporting and nourishing the work of educators, clergy, community leaders and the people they serve. She is a much sought after keynote presenter at national gatherings of school, church and community associations, and has served as visiting lecturer and scholar-in-residence in school communities in every region of the country. Embracing the community’s gifts of diversity and making inclusiveness a way of life is at the heart of Lawrence-Wehmiller’s work.
Lawrence-Wehmiller received her BA degree from Swarthmore College in 1967, her MS degree from Bank Street College of Education in 1971, and began her teaching career in 1969. In the years that followed, her work as an educator and child advocate has included teaching graduate courses in education and supervising student teachers; working in the field of community mental health; serving as principal of an elementary school and, for the last three decades, as an educational consultant.
After earning the degree of Master of Divinity from The General Theological Seminary in 1997, Lawrence-Wehmiller was ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. She served as Pastoral Associate on the diocesan staff in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, overseeing the ordination process and liturgical planning and providing pastoral care for the diocesan staff and for clergy throughout the diocese. In 2007, she received “The Ecumenical Award in Recognition of Dialogue and Bridge Building” from the Benedictine Women of Madison [Wisconsin,] an ecumenical monastic community on whose founding board she served for nine years.
Lawrence-Wehmiller served on the advisory board of “Different and the Same, Helping Children Identify and Prevent Prejudice,” a video project of Family Communications, Inc., the parent company of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and she authored a chapter in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Children, Television and Mr. Rogers. Her writings also include “Miracle of the Bread Dough Rising,” and “Face to Face: Lessons Learned on the Teaching Journey,” published as occasional papers by the Friends Council on Education; and “When the Walls Come Tumbling Down,” an essay published by The Harvard Educational Review addressing the need to build covenants in our school communities.
A reviewer of Lawrence-Wehmiller’s book, A Gathering of Gifts, calls her “a sojourner, story-teller, and dream-bearer, an educator who will go to the mat for the right of each child to live out his or her own birthright as a child of God. Fierce, loving, learned, colloquial, she has found a way to draw us into the marvel of her own story, and to encourage us to claim the wonders of our own.”
Articles About Paula
Storyteller Whose Own Tale Is Compelling
The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 29, 2000
The Future of Liturgy Marks a Memorable LTSP Day
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, April 20, 2004