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The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas to Deliver Keynote Address at 8th Graduate Theological Conference

March 20, 2018
Kelly Brown Douglas

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, will deliver the keynote address at the 8th Graduate Theological Conference on April 13, 2018. Her address is titled, “Claiming God’s Justice When Whiteness Stands Its Ground in a Diversifying Nation.”

The Graduate Theological Conference was founded and is managed by students at Garrett-Evangelical. It aims to create a collegial atmosphere where graduate students of religion and graduate seminarians will have the opportunity to gain experience sharing their work with one another, collaborating, offering feedback, and networking with one another. This year’s conference theme is “Influencing the Political: Religious and Theological Thought in Political Spheres.” In addition to Douglas’ keynote address, the conference will feature a faculty panel discussion as well as paper presentations by seven students from six academic institutions.

“For eight years the Graduate Theological Conference has been committed to providing a space for students to hone their voices through critical scholarship,” said Bryson White, conference co-coordinator. “We are extremely excited to welcome The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas to this year’s conference. Our guest speakers, through their scholarship, have always challenged the Garrett-Evangelical community to step deeper into their scholarly vocations.”

In addition to her role as dean, Douglas is also professor of theology at Union and serves as the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral. Prior to coming to Union, Douglas served as professor of religion at Goucher College where she held the Susan D. Morgan Professorship of Religion. Before Goucher, she was associate professor of theology at Howard University School of Divinity and assistant professor of religion at Edward Waters College.

Douglas is widely published in national and international journals and other publications. Her groundbreaking and widely taught book, Sexuality and the Black ChurchA Womanist Perspective, was the first to address the issue of homophobia within the black church community. Her latest book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God, examines the challenges of a “Stand Your Ground” culture for the Black church. In addition, Douglas is the co-editor of Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection. She has been a pioneering and highly sought-after voice in regard to addressing sexual issues in relation to the black religious community. She has also been very active in advocating equal rights for LGBTQ persons.

Douglas has a bachelor of science from Denison University and a master of divinity and doctoral degree in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary. Douglas was ordained in 1985 and was the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Southern Ohio Diocese, and one of only five nationwide at the time. She is a member of the American Academy of Religion, The Society for the Study of Black Religion, The Ecumenical Association for Third World Theologians, and is on The Board of Scholars for Ms. Magazine.

The Graduate Theological Conference will take place at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. The conference is free to attend, but registration is required. To learn more and to register, please visit