Steven A. Peay, PhD

Job Title: 

Research Professor of Homiletics & Church History, Dean-President Emeritus


(262) 646-6512



PhD, Saint Louis University; Historical Theology (1990) MDiv, Saint Vincent Seminary (1984) MA, University of Pittsburgh, Rhetoric and Communication (1983) MA, St Vincent Seminary, Systematic Theology (1981) BA, Greenville College, Church History (1977)


History and historical perspectives have long fascinated Father Peay. His undergraduate study of Church History led him toward monastic life, which he entered at Saint Vincent Archabbey (Latrobe, PA) in 1977. Following his first profession of vows he studied for the priesthood and after final vows was ordained deacon in 1981 and priest in 1982. The studies he began in college and pursued in seminary continued following ordination, earning advanced degrees in Rhetoric (MA) and Historical Theology (PhD). He returned to Saint Vincent to teach as Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Historical Theology. During his tenure at the seminary he was also engaged in parish work (including one year as a pastor), retreats for clergy, religious and laity, and served as the seminary’s academic dean for five years. Leaving monastic life in 1994, he then devoted himself to parish work for the next fifteen years in Congregational churches in Wisconsin (Madison and Wauwatosa), while continuing to research, write and teach in various venues. Peay came to Nashotah House as adjunct professor of Church History in 2008 and was elected to the faculty in 2010. His orders were received in August 2010 (Diocese of Albany) and he is now a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. Father Peay’s research has largely focused on the American religious experience, its movements and ecclesial expressions. While his earlier research centered on the history of preaching, Peay has also worked on Puritanism and Congregationalism. He is renewing his work on both the history and criticism of preaching, focusing particularly on the critical methodologies of the 20th century American rhetorical/literary critic Kenneth Burke. He is also interested in the history of academic dress, which led to his becoming a member of the Burgon Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Burgon Society in September 2018 for his work, “Appropriate Hoods: the Development of Academic Dress at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.”  His publications include editing four books, articles and reviews in The International Congregational Journal, The Catholic Historical Review, The Congregationalist, a reference article in The Encyclopedia of Protestantism and theological commentaries on the Triduum Psalmody in Feasting on the Word (year A).He has also contributed to A Journey through Acts. His hobbies include reading, cooking, trying to help around the garden, and music (particularly early to Baroque, English choral music, and jazz). Father Peay was married to his wife Julie in 1996 and is the proud stepfather of Jeremy and Matthew.





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