Centers and Institutes

Taurean J. Webb Named Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience and Instructor of Religion and Race

Taurean Webb

Having just completed a national search, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the appointment of Taurean J. Webb as director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE). In addition, Webb will be joining the faculty as instructor of religion and race and will be named as assistant professor of religion and race upon completion of his dissertation. Webb will begin his position on May 1, 2019. A leading center of Garrett-Evangelical, CBE was founded in 1970 and has empowered and trained generations of leaders for the African American religious community and society-at-large.

Webb, who has been serving as the interim director of CBE since July 2018, will focus on building a strong financial and programmatic foundation for the center. With experience in pastoral ministry, intersectional justice movement building, cultural education, non-profit governance, and interracial/interfaith coalition training, Webb aims to engage a wide cross-section of professional domains as the director. He is particularly interested in engaging faith communities, educators, and civil society organizations to both enhance the experiences of current Garrett-Evangelical students and also help maximize CBE’s impact outside of the seminary.

“We are delighted that Mr. Webb has accepted our invitation to join the Garett-Evangelical faculty and to direct our historic Center for the Church and the Black Experience,” said President Lallene J. Rector. “His work in black theology, commitment to interfaith dialogue and activism, and expertise in critical race theory are gifts that will enhance and strengthen the seminary’s commitment to preparing spiritual leaders for today’s church and world. Welcome, Taurean!”

CBE has been a beacon of hope and inspiration for Black students, pastors, churches, and communities for nearly five decades. It has been instrumental in fusing Black people and Black religious life into the entire seminary community. As director, Webb seeks to address the unique challenges facing Black students—across the diaspora—while educating and inspiring all persons who live, work, and study at the seminary.

“In so many ways, CBE stands in such a storied lineage of Black institutions that came of age in the thick of twentieth century liberation struggles. For this reason and others, I count it such a great honor to lead this center into its half-century mark—a historical moment in which Garrett-Evangelical, its denomination, and Africa-descended people the world over are urgently wrestling with important questions about God, equity, and justice,” Webb noted. “I’m grateful to the search committee for its tireless work and to Garrett-Evangelical for its commitment to liberation-minded ministry.”

Webb is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College, with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and religion. He holds master of arts degrees in Black and cultural studies from Columbia University and Northwestern University. He is currently in the doctor of philosophy program at Garrett-Evangelical, with doctoral research that looks at “Blackness” and “Palestinian-ness” as racial formations, and the ways in which an internationalist theological hermeneutic of [visual material] culture can uncover how these communities organically move against white supremacy and Judeo-Christian hegemony. His work is supported by the Forum for Theological Exploration.

Previously, Webb served as Scholar-in-Residence at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, where he produced writings, researched, and managed the organization’s Palestine justice portfolio. He also formerly served as director of staff and academies at the W.E.B. DuBois Scholars Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

Instituted in 1970 as one of the primary emphases of the seminary, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE) focuses on African and African American experience and ministry. Part of its purpose is to ensure the integration of Black religious experience into all aspects of seminary life, including student recruitment, faculty development, curriculum planning, and special programs. Its aims are instituted by incorporating African and African American experience into existing curricula, rather than establishing separate Black studies programs; by the endowment of scholarships for black students; and by the establishment of a parity committee made up of equal numbers of Black and white faculty. To learn more about CBE, go to Garrett.edu/CBE.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church, was founded in 1853. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 450 students from various denominations and cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.