Union Theological Seminary Student Life


Janet R. Walton

Janet Walton

Professor of Worship


3041 Broadway, AD 401
New York, NY 10027



Columbia University, Ed.D., 1979

Indiana University, M.M., 1971

Catholic University, B.M., 1967


Professor Janet Walton graduated from Catholic University with the B.M. in 1967, received the M.M. from Indiana University in 1971 and the Ed.D. from Columbia University in 1979. She is a Past President of the North American Academy of Liturgy(1995-97), a Henry Luce Fellow in Theology and the Arts (1998), the recipient of a Henry Luce Travel/Research grant (1988),  the 2003 recipient of the AAR Excellence in Teaching award (2003) and the 2009 recipient of the Berakah Award, a lifetime award for distinctive work in worship given by the North American Academy of Liturgy. Professor Walton is a Roman Catholic and a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names, a congregation of catholic women.

Her publications include four books, Worship and Art: A Vital Connection, Sacred Sound and Social Change, co-edited with Lawrence Hoffman, Women at Worship: Interpretations of North American Diversity co-edited with Marjorie Procter-Smith, Feminist Liturgy: A Matter of Justice and an edition of Liturgy: New and Borrowed Rites with Siobhan Garrigan as well as many articles. The most recent articles include perspectives on hymnody, feminist liturgy, and interfaith worship. Presently, Professor Walton is working on a book entitled, Worship Without Dominance and a video and book with Troy Messenger and Susan Blain on the history of James Chapel worship since its renovation in 1979.

Professor Walton coordinates the program in theology and the arts at Union with Troy Messenger, Director of Worship. For students in any of the degree programs at Union who have professional artistic backgrounds, this program enables them to continue their artistic training alongside their theological study with artists in the city as mentors. For all students, the program provides possibilities to enjoy artistic resources of New York City as a part of their theological training. 

Prof. Walton regularly leads and attends daily worship and co-leads the “At Table” liturgies every month with Hal Taussig, a form of worship based on the Greco Roman meal that influenced the development of the Christian meal traditions. Together with Troy Messenger, Prof. Walton also works on all public events at Union that include ritual components. Such events include convocations, commencements, presentation of Union medals, faculty inaugurations and retirements, and rituals that are a part of visiting groups such as the week-long presence of the Dalai Lama and the international peacemakers, and most recently, an interfaith ritual to conclude a conference on Religions for the Earth.

In her activities beyond Union, Professor Walton leads workshops, gives lectures, participates in varied seminars and professional programs, and serves as an ongoing consultant for Christian and Jewish congregations. She travels frequently to many different countries, most often to a place where she can continue her study of Spanish and the Latino/a culture.



Introduction to Preaching and Worship  (annually)

Colloquium in Theology and the Arts (annually)

Seminar: Ritual and Early Christian Meals

Seminar: Imagination and Improvisation: The Holy Play of Congregational Worship 

Women’s Experiences: Resources for Worship

Ritual Performance and Criticism with Troy Messenger

Music in the Church

Worship and the Arts

Weddings and Funerals

A travel seminar to El Salvador



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