As we celebrate Black History Month, Berkeley School of Theology wishes to honor these named African American titans of faith and practice across all fields of inspiration and influence. These and so many other unnamed souls bear witness to the Divine Spirit (Imago Dei) in each one of us that materializes in distinct ways in particular circumstances by unique individuals in precise times and defined spaces. The matchless blessing that African American life-spirit and culture brings to flourishing life on this planet—literally, against all odds—should not, cannot, be underestimated.

Famed scholars Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain recently released Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619—2019, which is a first of its kind to bear witness, so expansively, to the crucible of African American life spanning 400 years that yielded so great a blessing and so many debts yet unpaid to these United States of America. This is a history of stories that illuminate our past and give us new ways of thinking about our future. It is told in ten sections by ninety brilliant writers, any of whom could be listed among those witnesses named above, each covering a five-year period as viewed through their own varied perspectives. In this fraught hour, woe to us who fail to hear what the Spirit is saying to us, to the churches, and to this world, in this masterful retelling of history through African American eyes.

If Christian churches and theological schools have any hope of remedying the distortions wrought by systemic whiteness and racism, it will happen only and when these institutions redesign themselves to undertake what Dr. Willie James Jennings, noted Yale theologian, in his book, After Whiteness, calls “an education in belonging.” We at BST have sought to be at the forefront of such a transformation in theological education, “one that builds a vision of education that cultivates the new belonging that this world longs to inhabit.” May it be so!

Berkeley School of Theology is pleased to announce that our own Rev. Dr. Jennifer Davidson, Associate Professor of Theology & Worship, had her most recent book, River of Life, Feast of Grace: Baptism, Communion, and Discipleship, chosen as the 2021-2022 ABC Reads selection. ABC Reads brings American Baptists together through the power of a book and highlights one that is appropriate for reading and discussion in small group settings as well as individually. Dr. Davidson’s book provides students, pastors, and congregations with the analytical skills needed to create robust services of their own, services that will help to shape our understandings of who God is, how God cares about the world, and how Christ-followers can perceive God’s invitation to a life of grace through participation in meaningful services of baptism and communion. Congratulations to Dr. Davidson for this prestigious honor!

Are you interested in a representative from BST preaching or presenting at your church?

REV. Dr. James Brenneman, President
Rev. Dr. Lori D. Spears, VP of Institutional Advancement
Rev. Dr. LeAnn Flesher, VP of Academics & Professor
Rev. Sam Fielder, Executive Assistant to the President

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