chimes.sum2013.web0729 - page 41

of appreciation among younger Afri-
can Americans for the struggle that
opened the doors to greater equality.
These intergenerational dynam-
ics were examined by symposium
presenter Jacqueline Thompson and
respondents Angelina Graham, a psy-
chologist, and Vivian Wells, a student
at American Baptist Seminary of the
West. They posed the question, “What
is a Womanist approach to building a
bridge between the generations?”
The Womanist Symposium is part
of the Black Church/Africana Reli-
gious Studies Certificate Program of-
fered through the GTU. The Rev. Dr.
James Noel, professor of American
Religion at SFTS and the H. Eugene
Farlough Jr. Chair of African Ameri-
can Christianity, directs the certificate
program.
Launched in fall 2011, this aca-
demic program brought together
what Taylor describes as “a group of
seminary-trained clergy sisters consist-
ing of professors, pastors, and students
who are also mothers, grandmothers,
aunties, and activists.” They were com-
mitted to hosting workshops, sympo-
sia, and conferences on topics related
to Womanism in a Black church set-
ting.
“This group of committed women,”
says Taylor, “has brought some of the
best theological minds to the kitchen
table to brainstorm how to bridge the
divide between the seminary and our
beloved Black community.” This is the
community, she says, “where we serve,
work, and live. It’s the place we call
‘home,’ the place where we are nour-
ished and loved.”
The Womanist Symposium is an
attempt to link theology, anthropol-
ogy, and sociology in terms that can
be understood by non-seminarians,
Taylor says.
The first symposium, in 2012, fea-
tured Congresswoman Barbara Lee as
the keynote speaker. Lee spoke about
her “drum-major justice” methodol-
ogy of standing up when others sit
down.
Rochelle Rawls Shaw, an SFTS
M.Div. student, attended last year’s
symposium and says it was life chang-
ing. “It has helped shape me into the
confident woman I have become,” she
says. “Being in the company of bril-
liant, intelligent, and compassionate
women of faith allowed me to see my-
self in their reflections.”
The conversation about Womanist
thought continued in March this year,
when the Women’s Studies in Religion
department at GTU-Berkeley hosted a
panel on new approaches to Womanist
theology and ethics.
9
Eva Stimson, former editor of Presbyterians Today,
is a freelance writer and editor.
Symposium
From page 27
Rev. Dr. JacquelineThompson, D.Min; VivianWells MA, M.Div; and Angela Graham, P.hd candidate.
Richetta Amen
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