Women of color scholarship program celebrates 18 years
April 5, 2006
By Vicki Brown*
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — A program to create a pool of trailblazing United
Methodist women of color in theological and religious education will celebrate
the successes of 18 years at an Aug. 11-13 gathering in Chicago.
The Rev. Anne Joh, an assistant professor of constructive theology at Phillips
Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Okla., credits the Women of Color mentors with
helping her get through her doctoral program. She earned a doctorate degree
at Drew University, The Theological School in Madison, N.J., in 2003.
“The landscape of the doctoral program is not so friendly to women in
general and even more so for women of color. I did my work in my institution,
but it was within the space of Women of Color gatherings that I was nurtured
and empowered,” said Joh, who will be among the scholars signing books
at the August gathering at the Hyatt-Regency McCormick Place. Her newest book,
Heart of The Cross: A Postcolonial Christology, will be published by Westminster
John Knox Press this summer.
“I think that for most of the participants, it was a time where we could
be honest without fear of repercussions. Honest assessments were made and offered
in terms of how to strategize to not just survive the doctoral program but
to come out thriving,” Joh said. “The Women of Color scholars program
instilled in me the importance of integrity and community in theological reflections.”
The 2006 Women of Color Consultation/Celebration,
to be held in conjunction with the International United Methodist Clergywomen’s Consultation, will
highlight new insights, theological perspectives and the academic work of the
program’s graduate scholars, mentors and current participants. It is
sponsored by the Office of Loans and Scholarships and the Division of Ordained
Ministry of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry in
The program includes the keynote address by a former Women of Color scholar,
the Rev. Rosetta Ross, chairwoman of the department of philosophy and religion
at Spelman College, Atlanta. Also featured are workshops and a reception and
book signing featuring the published works of the Women of Color graduates
A celebration banquet will feature the premiere
of the DVD, “Following
the Path,” produced by the Rev. Hilly Hicks, United Methodist Communications
executive producer, and freelance writer and producer Henri Giles. The film
shares the stories of the Women of Color graduates who now hold key positions
in seminaries and divinity schools around the world.
The Women of Color program provides up to $10,000
a year in scholarship funds to women of color who are working on doctorates
Recipients of the scholarship meet twice a year with mentors — women
of color who are working in theological education.
“When this program was envisioned by the black clergywomen at their
consultation in 1987, we had no idea of the number of United Methodist women
who were called to be professors in theological and religious education,” said
Angella Current-Felder, executive director of the board’s Office of Loans
and Scholarships and co-director of the Women of Color program. “At that
time, there was no pool of United Methodist women of color academicians who,
as teachers and researchers, would enhance the body of knowledge within the
academy of religion and biblical scholarship.”
Eighteen years later, 40 women have participated in the program and 22 graduates
have their Ph.Ds or Th.Ds in religious studies.
“That is a major beginning, and these scholars are making remarkable
contributions as they teach and train potential religious educators, ministers
and pastors for our churches and add their scholarly perspectives to the canons
of academia,” Current-Felder added.
To learn more or to register for the Women of Color Consultation/Celebration,
visit www.gbhem.org/woc or call the Office of Loans and Scholarships at (615)
*Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of Interpretation,
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.