Date: April 27, 2023
This first Womanist Conference at Virginia Theological Seminary will feature prominent Womanist voices from academia. VTS Dodge Professor of Biblical Interpretation Rev. Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams will facilitate discussion between conference attendees and panelist Rev. Dr. Cheryl Townsend-Gilkes, McArthur Professor of African American Studies and Sociology Director of the African American Studies Program at Colby College and Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems, Author, Minister, and Hebrew Bible Scholar. Time will be reserved for speakers and attendees to share their stories about God’s restorative work in Jesus Christ. This conference will allow for relationship building and evangelizing with attendees, embodying Christ’s love of humanity.
I believe this conference is a step toward healing the church and restoring it to its place as the source of life for the community, as it was designed to lift up the gifts and talents of all people and amplify the histories and experiences of Black women. Helping to identify the church, to society, as centered in Jesus’ Way of Love and as justice focused. My hope is to embolden the cultural identity of a non-dominant group in their witness to Jesus. By giving voice to Black Christian women in an ecumenical format with story sharing to foster growth in faith and deepen relationships, creating a safe space in which participants practice being a beloved community; equipping them to invite others to engage the Good News of God’s restorative work in Jesus Christ.
I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Dean Rachelle Sam, our faculty sponsor, and my ever-fateful team members: Rev. Michele Causton, Maria DiPasquantonio, Casey Jones, and Rev. Ryan Missel. It took a lot of hands and energy to bring this event to fruition; I also would like to acknowledge our supporters and contributors namely: the Office of the Dean and President of VTS, Episcopal Evangelism Society, Alfred Street Baptist Church, Office of Multi-Cultural Ministries, Office of Strategic priorities, Washington Theological Consortium, and the DiPasquantonio-Greene Family Trust. This event has been well received and responded to by the community and our partners in Christ. I sincerely hope it will become an annual event. If the Womanist Conference weren’t free, I would gladly post a sign that reads, “Sold Out!”
Rev. Janettarose L. Greene
Class of 2023