Amy Richter: The Great Celestial-Terrestrial Choir

Meet Amy Richter, author of “The Great Celestial-Terrestrial Choir” and co-editor of Common Prayer.

Amy E. Richter currently serves as an appointed missionary of The Episcopal Church. She is a visiting lecturer in biblical studies at The College of the Transfiguration in Makhanda/Grahamstown, South Africa. She is married to Joseph Pagano.

Q & A with Amy

Q: What are your 2 favorite hymns?

A: “A Mighty Fortress” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Q: What is your favorite worship service or part of the Book of Common Prayer?

A: It’s the part in the Easter Vigil when we’re listening to the reading of Scripture, the “record of God’s saving deeds in history,” from creation up to the gathering of God’s people in Zephaniah. When read well, these lessons can knock your socks off and feel like we’re hearing precious family stories that help explain who we are and how we got here. Add to this the candlelight and anticipation of the first Alleluias of Easter, and it’s a fantastic experience.

Q: If you’re not presiding or officiating, where is your favorite place to sit, stand, or kneel in worship?

A: I guess it’s because I am sometimes a celebrant that I like sitting near the front. Not the very front row in an unfamiliar place, but close. As a celebrant, I don’t like when there’s a lot of space between me and the first people in the pews, so I want to close that gap and I know lots of Episcopalians are shy about sitting up front. (So, sorry if you’re a celebrant and like the distance, and I come to worship with your congregation.)

Q: What do you like most about this collection?

A: I love that the writers take us into moments in worship others have felt but not necessarily had words for, like the comfort of being in worship when a loved one has died or when God meets us in ways we didn’t know we need. I also like that several of the essays have an element of humor.

Q: What’s your next project?

A: My novel, Antimony, has been accepted for publication so I’m getting that ready. It’s a story of a young woman who finds herself caught up in a world where an ancient myth about good and evil is treated as reality. But if it’s real, she’ll have to choose sides and either save her own skin or risk her life for the good of others.

Amy is the author of Enoch and the Gospel of Matthew (2012) and co-author of A Man, A Woman, A Word of Love (2012) and Love in Flesh and Bone: Exploring the Christmas Mystery (2014). Together with Joseph Pagano, she writes a blog about their experiences as Episcopal Volunteers in Mission at

Check out Amy’s other books: