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PhD Alumna Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey Named Visiting Scholar for Spring 2018

December 15, 2017
Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is delighted to welcome alumna Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey (G-ETS 2005) as visiting scholar in Spring 2018. A scholar, social justice activist, and military veteran, Lightsey will be teaching a course entitled “Queer Theology.” She says of the course, “What I love about teaching this course is the opportunity to explore who we are as sexual beings in relationship with an infinitely loving God.” Lightsey will also deliver a public lecture on March 20, 2018, titled “Pushing Limits on the Body.”

With vast experience both in the church and in the academy, Lightsey has become a fierce activist for social justice. She worked within the LGBTQ community to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy and to ensure marriage equality. She was on the ground protesting against excessive police force during the first 21 days of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and provided ongoing online live streams across a one-year period. A constructive theologian, Lightsey has consistently collaborated with activist-colleagues in the movement for the liberation of Black lives, those addressing violence against Black transwomen, and institutional racism on college campuses. As a leading advocate for LGBTQ equality in the church, in particular The United Methodist Church, she continues to critique homophobic polity, liturgy, and homiletics.

“We are so proud of our alumna and delighted that Dr. Lightsey will be teaching a Queer Theology course this spring,” said Dr. Lallene J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical. “The students remember her Public Theology lecture a year ago and they are eagerly anticipating her return to campus!”

Lightsey currently serves as associate dean of community life and lifelong learning and clinical assistant professor of contextual theology and practice at Boston University School of Theology. Effective January 2018, she will begin her new role at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago as vice president for academic and student affairs. Her research interests include classical and contemporary just war theory, Womanist theology, Queer theory and theology, and African American religious history and theologies. Lightsey’s publications include her book, Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology (Wipf and Stock, 2015), as well as, "He Is Black and We are Queer" in Albert Cleage Jr. and the Black Madonna and Child (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), “Reconciliation” in Prophetic Evangelicals: Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom (Eerdmans, 2012), and "If There Should Come a Word” in Black United Methodists Preach! (Abingdon Press, 2012).

Lightsey is an ordained elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. She holds a bachelor of science from Columbus State University, a master of divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, and a doctor of philosophy from Garrett-Evangelical.