Making it Plain: Proclaiming Black Faith in the United States of Amnesia
Nineteenth Annual Black Religious Scholars Group Consultation – November 18, 2016
The guiding vision of the Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG) is to sponsor consultations and speaking series for the edification of the liberating theology and witness of the Black Church tradition within the academy, church and wider Black community.
Our annual public forums across North America at welcoming congregations continue the process of exploring ways in which meaningful dialogue and partnership can occur between Black religious scholars and the larger Black community and its churches for the well-being and advancement of both our people and communities.
During the nineteeth annual consultation, the Black Religious Scholars Group will honor Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas and Rev. Dr. James H. Evans, Jr.
2016 BRSG Honorees
The Reverend Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas is the Susan D. Morgan Professor of Religion at Goucher College and serves as Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral. Prior to coming to Goucher College, she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity (1987-2001) and Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College (1986-1987).
As a leading voice in the development of a womanist theology, Rev. Dr. Douglas is widely published in national and international journals and other publications. Her latest book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (2015) examines the deep roots of the “Stand Your Ground” culture of white racism in America and the challenges it brings for the Black Church community. In addition to her groundbreaking and widely used book Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective (1999), her other books include The Black Christ (1994), What’s Faith Got to Do With It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls (2005), and Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant (2012). She is also the co-editor of Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection (2010).
Rev. Dr. Douglas is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Denison where she earned a bachelor of science summa cum laude in psychology. She went on to earn a master of divinity and a doctoral degree in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary (New York City) under James Cone, the premier black theologian. While at Union she received The Hudnut Award for demonstrated preaching excellence and the Julius Hanson Award as the outstanding theological student.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Douglas was ordained at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in 1985 — the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Southern Ohio Diocese, and amongst the first ten to be ordained nationwide. She was the first to receive the Anna Julia Cooper Award by the Union of Black Episcopalians (July 2012) for “her literary boldness and leadership in the development of a womanist theology and discussing the complexities of Christian faith in African-American contexts.” Rev. Dr. Douglas was an Associate Priest at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. for over 20 years.
She is a member of the American Academy of Religion, The Society for the Study of Black Religion, The Ecumenical Association for Third World Theologians and on The Board of Scholars for Ms. Magazine.
The Reverend Dr. James H. Evans, Jr., President of Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Crozer Theological Seminary from 1990 to 2000, is a pastor, educator, and scholar. Son of a Baptist minister, Dr. Evans is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of the Cranbrook School and the University of Michigan. He is currently the Robert K. Davies Professor of Systematic Theology at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and Founding Pastor of the St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church in Rochester, New York. Dr. Evans also teaches at St. John Fisher College in the Executive Leadership Program.
Following college, he received a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and completed his Doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In the city, he served as associate pastor of the Chambers Memorial Baptist Church. In 1979 he was appointed to the position of Instructor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York.
A year later, he accepted the position as a full-time professor at the Divinity School. He was named Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies and, in 1989, was made Dean of the Program of Black Church Studies. In August of 1990, he became President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He holds an honorary doctorate from Colgate University. In 2016 Dr. Evans was consecrated as Bishop in the Kingdom Council of Interdependent Christian Churches and Ministries by Dr. David C. Copeland, Presiding Prelate.
Dr. Evans is the author of numerous articles and five books: Playing: Christian Explorations Of Daily Living (2010); We Shall All Be Changed: Social Problems and Theological Renewal (1997); We Have Been Believers: An African American Systematic Theology (1993; second edition 2012); Black Theology: A Critical Assessment and Annotated Bibliography (1987); and Spiritual Empowerment in Afro-American Literature Frederick Douglass, Rebecca Jackson, Booker T. Washington, Richard Wright, and Toni Morrison (1985). He is the co-editor of Modern Christian Thought, Volume II, Second Edition. He is also the author of an acclaimed play Swamp Angel (2011). He is the author of two forthcoming volumes: The Ambivalent Gospel of Motown: Religion, Music and Cultural Politics in Detroit: 1959-1971, and Going Home: Back to Africa Motifs in African American Literature.
2016 Council of Griots
Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, Moderator
Senior Pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Keri A. Day
Associate Professor of Theological and Social Ethics & Director of Black Church Studies Program, Brite Divinity School
Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Jr.
Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Professor of Systematic Theology, Garrett-Evangelical Seminary
Bishop David M. Copeland
Pastor of New Creation Christian Fellowship
Rev. Dr. Claudette A. Copeland
Pastor of New Creation Christian Fellowship