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BRSG Visiting Professor Program Honored and Recognized

On April 24, 2023, the community of Southwest gathered throughout the day in celebration, recognition, and profound gratitude for the five-year Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG) partnership with Seminary of the Southwest. Known as the BRSG/Crump Visiting Professor Program, the partnership between the two institutions brought members of BRSG to the Southwest campus to serve as members of the faculty for a full academic year. The day of celebration was made most special by having all five BRSG/Crump Visiting Professors in attendance at all events, as well as the Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Executive Director of BRSG.

The five BRSG/Crump Visiting Professors are: Rev. Melanie Jones, Ph.D. (2018-19), Rev. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Ph.D. (2019-20), Rev. Yolanda Norton (2020-21), Rev. Brandon Crowley, Ph.D. (2021-22), and Rev. Stephen Ray, Ph.D. (2022-23).

The first gathering of the day was Southwest’s mid-day Eucharist, where Dr. Floyd-Thomas delivered an impassioned sermons highlighting each of the scholars individually. At the conclusion of the service, the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge read and presented an official citation from Southwest that served as a “declaration of love, respect, and ongoing faithfulness.”

Read the citation here

Watch Dr. Floyd-Thomas’ sermon here

“What a joy to welcome back Dr. Stacey Floyd Thomas and the four past BRSG scholars Rev. Dr. Melanie Jones, Rev. Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Rev. Yolanda Norton, Rev. Dr. Brandon Crowley, with Rev. Dr. Stephen Ray,” said Kittredge. “It was a day of celebration and reflection on the learning – for students, faculty, and staff – of this fruitful partnership. We look forward to exploring our next steps in this important work.”

Afterward, the entire Southwest community gathered for a lunch in honor of the partnership and the five BRSG scholars in attendance. In addition to reflections from Deans Kittredge and Scott Bader-Saye, the Rt. Rev. Kathryn Ryan, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Texas reflected on the impact of the program on the diocese and The Episcopal Church as a whole. Dr. Anthony Baker, the Clinton S. Quin Professor of Systematic Theology,  also delivered a poignant address about the impact the program had on the faculty as a whole.

“What a remarkable thing, to offer 5 years of consistent courses in Black Theology, Womanism, and Black Church Studies, here at Seminary of the Southwest,” said Dr. Baker. “I hope we’ll continue to offer regular courses like that —courses designed entirely around the questions and faith and struggles of Black American Christians. Our students need courses like that. Our curriculum needs courses like that. And I need for us to keep offering courses like that.  It’s hard work we’re doing here. And I believe it’s how God wants to answer our prayer, thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

The day concluded with a Q&A session, moderated by Dr. Scott Bader-Saye, Academic Dean. The discussion featured reflections and lessons from the participants and faculty at the conclusion of this innovative program at Southwest.

“Having our five BRSG visiting professors on campus along with BRSG executive director Stacey Floyd-Thomas was a joyful reunion,” said Bader-Saye. “The conversation we shared was a gift to me, and the reflections they shared at the panel discussion was a gift for our students. We are a better place for having these scholars in our midst for the last five years. As we close out this leg of the journey, I am grateful for the ways God has transformed our community in and through the life and witness of these scholars.  I look forward to exploring how we carry this work and these new friendships into the future.”

Watch the BRSG Q&A here

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