Black Church Studies

Quote in black square that reads: Privileging the crossroads between our Afro-diasporic identity (embodiment and experience) and our gender (performance and identity), we [Womanists] ask questions about power, authority, voice, agency, heirarchy, inclusion and exclusion...The questions we ask enrich our own understanding and the understandings of those with whom we are in conversation." Womanist Midrash, Gafney 7Black Church Studies is an academic field that espouses linking divine justice and social justice in the development of excellence and leadership in the academy, church and community. Towards this end, it is the mission of the Black Church Studies program (BCS) at Brite Divinity School to provide an excellent teaching-learning context for shaping ministerial preparation and theological reflection for seminarians of all races and backgrounds.

Our vision is for future church leaders and scholars to gain wider knowledge about, deeper appreciation of, and increased sensitivity for the Black Church within American society by emphasizing its teachings of freedom, justice, and equality.

Certificate in Black Church Studies

Brite Divinity School offers six distinctive certificates available within the structure of its masters programs, including the certificate in Black Church Studies.

Students completing the Certificate in Black Church Studies will complete “Introduction to Black Church Traditions & Cultures” in addition to four three-hour courses in Black Church Studies chosen with reference to vocational goals and in consultation with the Black Church Studies Interim Director.

Upcoming Course Offerings

January 2019
“Introduction to Black Church Traditions & Cultures”
with Rev. Melanie Jones

Rev. Melanie Jones

Brite Divinity School is pleased to welcome Rev. Melanie Jones to our distinguished visiting faculty.  “Rev. Melanie is a womanist ethicist, millennial preacher, and intellectual activist. As a third-generation Baptist preacher, Rev. Melanie is the youngest ordained clergywoman, in its 49-year-old history, at South Suburban Missionary Baptist Church of Harvey, Illinois. She serves as Associate Minister under the leadership of the dynamic duo Pastor Michael and Co-Pastor Annette Jones.

Rev. Melanie is a thinking woman of faith advocating for social transformation in the academy, Church, and global community. She is a Doctor of Philosophy candidate at Chicago Theological Seminary studying ethics, theology, and culture. Her doctoral dissertation entitled “Up Against a Crooked Gospel: Black Women’s Bodies and the Politics of Character in Religion and Society” interrogates Black women’s body politics and moral formation engaging approaches in womanist theological ethics and Black aesthetics. For her distinguished research, Melanie has received notable fellowships and scholarships including Forum for the Theological Exploration Doctoral Fellowship, Chicago Theological Seminary Center for the Study of Black Faith & Life Inaugural Charles Shelby Rooks Scholarship, Association for the Improvement of Minorities,The Louisville Institute Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and recently named a 2018-2019 Junior Scholar Research Fellow by Villanova University Center for Church Management.” (Source: RevMelanie.com)

Other courses taught by Rev. Melanie Jones:

Womanist Literature as a Resource for Theological Ethics (Summer 2018)
African American Experiences and Perspectives in Social Ethics (Fall 2017)

Past Course Offerings

  • Womanist Literature as a Resource for Ethics
    Rev. Melanie Jones – Summer 2018
  • Womanist Theology and Ethics
    Rev. Melanie Jones – Spring 2018
  • African American Experiences and Perspectives in Social Ethics
    Rev. Melanie Jones  – Fall 2017
  • Pan-African Christian Resistance in Retrospect: From Early Church Martyrdom to Black Lives Matter
    Dr. Tamara Lewis – Summer 2017
  • The Bible in the Public Square: Interpreting the Bible in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter
    Dr. Wil Gafney – Spring 2017
  • Introduction to Black Church Studies and Traditions
    Dr. Keri Day – Fall 2016
  • Proclamation in the Black Experience
    Dr. Lisa Thompson  – Summer 2016

2015 Parks-King Power of Black Preaching

Sermon delivered by Rev. Dr. Irie L. Session
Listen to Sermon Audio   |   Download the Community Conversation Audio

Turning Tables Teach-In

A Christian response to Racialized Violence
Download Turning Tables Resources


Program Leadership

Serving as the Interim Director of Black Church Studies at Brite Divinity School, the Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the author of Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to Women of the Torah and of the Throne, a commentary on Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, Daughters of Miriam: Women Prophets in Ancient Israel and co-editor of The Peoples’ Bible and The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible. She is an Episcopal priest canonically resident in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and licensed in the Diocese of Fort Worth, and a former Army Chaplain.  Read more about Rev. Dr. Gafney on her website!

Wil Gafney

Wil Gafney

 

wil.gafney@tcu.edu | 817.257.7588
Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible
Interim Director of the Black Church Studies Program

#BriteBible


“Privileging the crossroads between our Afro-diasporic identity (embodiment and experience) and our gender (performance and identity), we [Womanists] ask questions about power, authority, voice, agency, hierarchy, inclusion, and exclusion… The questions we ask enrich our own understanding and the understandings of those with whom we are in conversation.” (Womanist Midrash, Gafney 7)