“Cancer Stories & The Christian Story” with Dr. Deanna Thompson

Dec 11, 2018


About Western Theological Seminary

Located in Holland, Michigan, WTS offers 16 graduate programs online, in residence, in English, and Spanish for women and men preparing for faithful Christian ministry. WTS was founded in 1866 when seven of the eight members of Hope College’s inaugural graduating class wished to become ministers and petitioned their denomination to allow them to complete their education in Holland. Since that time, WTS has been preparing women and men for a lifetime of ministry all around the world in many ministry and denominational contexts.

By Western Theological Seminary

Join us on Friday, February 15, 2019

Dr. Deanna Thompson, author of Glimpsing Resurrection: Cancer, Trauma, and Ministry, will share from her own story and research how faith is experienced through the trauma of serious illness. Showing readers how the Christian story is large enough to encompass the enigmas of cancer stories, Dr. Thompson reflects on the unique wisdom and hope offered through the voices of believers who have been shaped by their struggle with serious illness. Dr. Thompson was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2008 and is currently in remission.

9:40-10:00 a.m.- Dr. Thompson will preach in chapel

12:00-1:15 p.m.– The WTS community is invited to a lunch panel on illness, trauma and pastoral care with Dr. Thompson, Sarah Barton, and Dr. Suzanne McDonald

3:00-4:30 p.m.– Coffee hour with reading groups (see details below)

7:00 p.m.– Lecture: “Cancer Stories & The Christian Story” with response by Dr. J. Todd Billings

Reading Groups:

In anticipation of Dr. Thompson’s arrival, interested members of the community are invited to join a reading group featuring her book. These groups will meet two times (in January and February) and will be co-led by a WTS student and a Christian from the Holland community who lives with serious illness.

One group will meet on two Monday mornings and the other will meet two Tuesday evenings. The first ten people to sign up by emailing Emily Holehan at emily.holehan@westernsem.edu will receive a free copy of Glimpsing Resurrection: Cancer, Trauma, and Ministry.

In addition, there will be a special afternoon coffee hour with Dr. Thompson on February 15 for those involved in these reading groups. We especially encourage cancer patients, caregivers, pastors, and others supporting loved ones with cancer to participate. Please email Emily Holehan at emily.holehan@westernsem.edu if you would like to sign up.


Deanna A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion
Hamline University

Dr. Thompson is a professor of religion at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. As a respected scholar in the study of Martin Luther and feminist theology, many of her publications focus on bringing Lutheran and feminist theology together in generative ways. She also teaches classes in African American Studies, Women Studies, and Social Justice.

Since the publication in 2012 of her theo-memoir, Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace, Thompson speaks and publishes widely on thinking theologically about living with cancer. Her book, The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World focuses on the digital revolution and its potential for helping us better care for one another during life’s worst times. In Glimpsing Resurrection: Cancer, Trauma, and Ministry, Dr. Thompson shares from her own story and research how faith is experienced through the trauma of illness.

Deanna Thompson has been married to Neal Peterson for 27 years and they have two daughters: Linnea (22) and Annika (19).

“My profession affords me the privilege of getting to talk about faith, suffering, joy, doubt, love, hate, justice, and God in ways that are always informed by the questions, claims and wagers of others. I hope that what gets created helps contribute to greater healing and understanding—of ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world.” –Deanna Thompson