Southwest Announces 19–20 Crump/BRSG Visiting Professor

The Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan to serve in ongoing partnership between Southwest and Black Religious Scholars Group

Seminary of the Southwest and the Black Religious Scholars Group, Inc. (BRSG) announce that the Rev. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan will be the Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence for the 2019–2020 academic year at Seminary of the Southwest. Kirk-Duggan will be the second visiting scholar as part of the five-year partnership between Southwest and BRSG.

The visiting scholar for the current academic year and very first Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence is the Rev. Melanie Jones. With her appointment nearly complete, Jones embarks on a new stage of her life, becoming the director of the Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, this fall. Students, staff, and faculty celebrated Jones’ impact on Southwest during a Eucharist service on May 6. BRSG Executive Director Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas was also in attendance.

The Southwest community gathers around the Rev. Melanie Jones with a personal blessing.

“I am moved by the remarkable impact, both visible and hidden, of the presence of Melanie Jones as teacher, preacher, and faculty colleague in our community,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president. “I am very excited to welcome Cheryl Kirk-Duggan. We welcome the ways she will challenge us to be a more inclusive and welcoming community for all people. The conversations that are underway promise to transform this institution.”

Created as a response to the call issued by the Most Rev. Michael Curry for the church to focus on evangelism and racial reconciliation as well to address needs expressed by Southwest students and graduates, this ongoing partnership recognizes that our communities are living in a time of racially motivated hostility that has created a new urgency in addressing issues of race in Seminary of the Southwest’s theological training.

“I am thrilled to have Cheryl Kirk-Duggan coming to teach with us at the seminary,” said Academic Dean Dr. Scott Bader-Saye. “She is an accomplished scholar who will bring insight and passion to our students and the wider community. She describes her work as interdisciplinary, bringing a womanist vision to topics from hip hop and justice to Bible and culture. As we conclude the seminary’s first year of partnership with the Black Religious Scholars Group, we are beginning to see the transformative power of this program. Our first BRSG Visiting Professor, Melanie Jones, led us in some rich community conversations, and we know that Cheryl is ready to pick up that work and expand it for the good of our students.”

The Rev. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan

The Rev. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, PhD, currently serves as Professor of Religion at Shaw University Divinity School (SUDS), Raleigh, North Carolina, and is an ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Recipient of the SUDS Outstanding Achievement Award as International Recognized Womanist Scholar, 2016, and author of over twenty books and numerous articles, her most recent publication is Baptized Rage, Transformed Grief: I Got through, So Can You (Wipf & Stock, 2017). Known as professor, poet, preacher, priest, prayer partner, prophet, performer, and polyhistor, Kirk-Duggan is an avid athlete who has completed her first full marathon (2010) and is a hot yoga teacher. Her three decades of experience in the academy and the church have yielded outstanding research, pedagogical and ministerial experience, and community service signaled by numerous honors and awards.

Each year, this program identifies, prepares, and supports a Black religious scholar to serve a one-year term as Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence. Teaching required courses and electives and contributing to community life and worship, this scholar joins with the faculty in formation of leaders to lead conversations across boundaries of race and ethnicity.