Helen K. Gelinas

Faculty, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • PhD in American Literature, University of Heidelberg (in progress)
  • MA in English/American Studies, University of Tübingen
  • BMus in Music Education, Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford

Helen is a faculty member of the English Department in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She taught in both public and Christian Schools in Connecticut before following the call with her husband to work and serve the Lord overseas. During her years in Germany, in addition to her studies and bringing up four children, Helen taught English Literature at Leibniz Kolleg and at the University of Tübingen. She published on Jonathan Edwards and Cotton Mather, spoke at conferences in the US and Germany, and was selected by the Ministry of Culture to develop a pilot program for teachers of English in the Baden-Württemberg (Germany) public schools.

She was chosen by the University of Tübingen to participate in the international effort to publish Cotton Mather’s “Biblia Americana,” the earliest Bible commentary written in America. Subsequently, she was awarded a Fellowship at Yale Divinity School and is finishing her doctorate in American Literature at the University of Heidelberg. She is deeply interested in the role of Christianity in English and American literature and history, and it is her great passion to reach the hearts as well as the minds of her students as she shares her research and interests with them.

She was active in her churches both in Connecticut and in Germany through numerous outreaches, and with her husband led a church cell group in Germany for twelve years in their home.

Since moving to Pennsylvania, Helen has been active in Women’s Ministry at Riverstone Church in Yardley. She currently serves as Project Director and Director of Transcription for New England’s Hidden Histories in Boston, a program devoted to preserving American Christian History through transcribing and digitally publishing early New England church records, private diaries, conversion narratives, and ecclesiological papers and sermons.

Contact Information:
hgelinas@cairn.edu

Courses Taught at Cairn:

  • American Literature 231
  • English Composition 101

Academic Specialties:

  • Early American literature, history, and religion
  • British religious history
  • English literature, poetry, and drama
  • European literature
  • Intersection of the arts and humanities with Christianity and the Bible

Certifications:

  • Connecticut Teacher Certification in Secondary English, 7-12
  • Praxis II English Language, Literature and Composition

Associations: 

  • Advisor to Cairn Honors Program
  • American Historical Association (AHA)
  • American Society of Church History (ASCH)
  • Society of Early Americanists (SEA)
  • Connotations, A Journal for Critical Debate
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • Research Fellowship, Yale Divinity School, Yale University, 2011-2012

Publications:

  • 2017 – Volume Advisor for “Cotton Mather 1663-1728,” in Literature Criticism from 1400–1800. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau, Vol. 265, Gale.
  • 2017 – “Look Back and Wonder.” The Bulletin of the Congregational Library and Archives.
  • 2010 – “Regaining Paradise: Cotton Mather’s ‘Biblia Americana’ and the Daughters of Eve.” Cotton Mather and ‘Biblia Americana’—America’s First Bible Commentary: Essays in Reappraisal. Eds. Reiner Smolinski and Jan Stievermann, Mohr Siebeck, Tuebingen.
  • 2002 – “The Great Business of Religion: Conversion, Commerce and Ambiguity in the Writings of Jonathan Edwards.” Millennial Thought in America: Historical and Intellectual Contexts 1630-1860. Eds. Bernd Engler and Oliver Scheiding, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, Trier.

Presentations:

  • 2013 – Boston, MA. Congregational Library & Archive. Mather Redux: New Perspectives on Cotton Mather. Paper: “Cotton Mather’s Rehabilitation of Eve and Her Daughters.”
  • 2011 – Boston, MA. American Society of Church History Winter Meeting. America’s First Bible Commentary: A Roundtable on the Edition of Cotton Mather’s “Biblia Americana.” Paper: “Regaining Paradise: Cotton Mather’s ‘Biblia Americana’ and the Daughters of Eve.”
  • 2008 – Tuebingen, Germany. International Symposium on Cotton Mather’s “Biblia Americana,” The Early Enlightenment and the Rise of Pietism in America: Historical and Intellectual Contexts in Transatlantic Perspective. Paper: “‘Mother of All Living’: The Interpretation of Eve in Mather’s ‘Biblia Americana.’”

Ministry Involvement:

  • Small Group Church Leader
  • Sunday School Teacher
  • Refugee Outreach
  • Music Ministry
  • Women’s Ministry

Teaching at Cairn since 2021

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