Sarah Agnew is a storyteller, poet, and minister – this three-fold vocation and identity giving shape to a life guided by Christian spirituality.
Born and raised on Kuarna land in Adelaide, South Australia, Sarah lived for four years Ngunnawal country in Canberra, three years in Edinburgh, in the land of her Scottish ancestors. Sarah is once again living and working on Kuarna Land.
As a storyteller, Sarah internalises biblical stories to tell by heart for the gathered people. Sarah also composes her own stories, including the story in verse Blue, Koala?, and those featuring on the album In His House. Follow the links to learn more, or go to the Books page.
Sarah’s practice in biblical storytelling is the subject of her scholarship, in which she explores theory and practice of story and storytelling, and has developed a new method for interpreting the Bible: Embodied Performance Analysis. The book emerging from her PhD and introducing this method, Embodied Performance: Mutuality, Embrace, and the Letter to Rome, was published in 2020 by Pickwick Publications. Sarah’s primary scholarly community is the Network of Biblical Storytellers’ Scholars Seminar.
As a poet, Sarah has published three collections and a pamphlet, and had poetry included in various publications in print and online (e.g. ‘Sacred Solitude’ on Art/s and Theology Australia’s website). Along with encounters with the Sacred, and relationships of all kinds, a major theme of Sarah’s poetry has been her experience of depression, which was the subject of her Honours Creative Writing Thesis, at Flinders University of South Australia. Sarah’s most recent poetry collection is Whisper on My Palm, with Resource Publications (2022). Discover more about Sarah’s poetry on the Books page and in the Poetry blog category.
Sarah was ordained a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in December 2010. Her first placement was with Belair Uniting Church in Adelaide, and she recently finished a placement at Wesley Uniting Church, Canberra.
Sarah’s liturgy has featured in Seasons of the Spirit (Woodlake), Fig Trees and Furnaces, Winter, and The Wild Goose Big Book of Liturgies volume 2 (Wild Goose), and as e-liturgies for Wild Goose Publications. Learn more on the Books page.
Before and during her formation studies, Sarah led alternative church experiments, Black Wood Jazz and The Esther Project. Between Belair and Canberra, Sarah was something of a freelance minister, visiting Church of Scotland, Methodist, and United Reformed churches in and beyond Edinburgh to preach and lead worship.
The various elements of Sarah’s three-fold vocation combine in Pray the Story, in which Sarah posts a prayer-poem for one of the lectionary readings each week on a separate blog. The first three years of these prayer-poems have been collected with new material in the book of the same name. Discover more on the Pray the Story blog and the Books page on this site.
Sarah fills her spare time with cross stitch, Shakespeare plays on stage and screen, period dramas and comicbook superhero films, baroque and jazz music. A hermit of sorts, Sarah does actually deeply value community, friends, and her beloved but far away family.