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Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Jr. Named President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Black Religion

March 24, 2015

Dr. Stephen G. Ray, Jr., Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher professor of systematic theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, was named president-elect of the Society for the Study of Black Religion at their 45th Annual Meeting held March 19-21 in Savannah, Georgia. Founded in 1970, the Society for the Study of Black Religion’s mission is to engage in scholarly research and discussion about the religious experience of Black people. Ray is currently the executive director of the Society and will begin his term as president in 2016.

“This is truly the honor of a lifetime,” said Ray. "The Society for the Study of Black Religion, the oldest scholarly society dedicated to the study and production of knowledge about the broad diaspora of Black religion, has been led by luminaries in the field of religion like Peter Paris, Emilie Townes, and others. To stand in their footprints is awesome and a great challenge.”

Prior to joining the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical in 2008, Ray was associate professor of African-American studies and director of the Urban Theological Institute at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia; associate professor of theology and philosophy at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; and lecturer at Yale Divinity School and Hartford Seminary. He received a doctor of philosophy in theology and African-American studies from Yale University and a master of divinity (summa cum laude) from Yale Divinity School.

“Garrett-Evangelical is excited about Dr. Ray's selection as president-elect of the Society for the Study of Black Religion,” said Dr. Lallene J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical. “This recognition only confirms the gifts that we at the seminary have already experienced; in particular, Dr. Ray's dedicated teaching on the Black church and the Black experience, his leadership regarding matters of White normativity, and his unwavering support of the professional and scholarly development of our students.”

Ray, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, has written numerous articles on Christology, race, and the Black experience. He is the author of “Do No Harm: Social Sin and Christian Responsibility,” a contributor to “Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classical Themes,” and co-author of “Black Church Studies: An Introduction.”

To learn more about the Society for the Study of Black Religion, go to