Faculty Stories

Yarborough Named Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow and Styberg Teaching Fellow

Rev. Dr. Chelsea Brooke Yarborough
Rev. Dr. Chelsea Brooke Yarborough

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will welcome Rev. Dr. Chelsea Brooke Yarborough as assistant professor of liturgical studies, Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, and Styberg Teaching Fellow, beginning June 15, 2021. Having completed her doctoral program at Vanderbilt University this spring, Yarborough comes to the seminary as 2021-2023 Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow and the 2021-2022 Styberg Preaching Institute Teaching Fellow in Homiletics.

Yarborough is an ordained minister, a poet, an enneagram enthusiast, and a lover of leadership development. Her research interests include expanding genre in both homiletics and liturgics. She is committed to interrogating normative and traditional ways of thinking about preaching, liturgy, and exploring black liturgical theology. Her interests in preaching push against spatial demarcation for the sacred in order to include a wider canon of worship and preaching expressions.

“I am so thrilled to welcome Dr. Yarborough to Garrett-Evangelical. Her sharp intellect, creativity, breadth of knowledge and interests, deep spirituality, and love for the Church will help to strengthen and distinguish an already stellar program in homiletics and liturgics. Our students and faculty will also benefit from her boundless energy and abundant talent, as well as her commitment to preparing and strengthening bold leaders for transformative service. We are blessed to have Chelsea join our community and I look forward to working with her and to celebrating the many contributions that she will make at Garrett and well beyond.”

Rev. Dr. Javier A. Viera, president of Garrett-Evangelical

Yarborough received her doctor of philosophy in homiletics and liturgics with a minor in practical theology from the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation is titled, “That’ll Preach”: Decentering the Pulpit through the Non-Pulpit Homiletical Practice of Black Women. As a doctoral candidate she received numerous awards, grants, and fellowships, including two doctoral fellowships from The Forum for Theological Exploration. She holds a master of divinity from Wake Forest University School of Divinity and a bachelor of arts in political science from Elon University.

“I am excited to join the faculty of Garrett as I continue my journey as a practitioner, professor, and scholar,” Yarborough said. “I look forward to imagining new horizons alongside the faculty and students and being a part of such a dynamic community.”

Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Louisville Institute’s Postdoctoral Fellowship provides fellowships to support two-year, visiting professorship at a North American theological school, college, or a university. As part of the Institute’s Vocation of the Theological Educator Initiative, Louisville Postdoctoral Fellows are accompanied by an academic mentor and pastoral mentor. Louisville Fellows also participate in a peer cohort that meets six times over two years.

“My congratulations to Dr. Yarborough for her postdoctoral fellowship placement at Garrett-Evangelical. We are excited to partner with Garrett-Evangelical on this well-deserved placement.”

Dr. Edwin David Aponte, executive director of the Louisville Institute

Louisville Institute is funded by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc. and based at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky). The Louisville Institute’s mission is to bridge Church and academy through awarding grants and fellowships to those who study North American religious institutions, practices, and movements, and thereby promoting scholarship that strengthens Church, academy, society, and contributes to the flourishing of the Church.

The Styberg Teaching Fellow in Homiletics

As a teaching fellow, Yarborough will gain hands-on classroom experience through participation in teaching both introductory and advanced preaching courses under the supervision of and in collaboration with the homiletics faculty at Garrett-Evangelical and will have the opportunity to develop skills in course planning, and syllabus design as well as in providing instruction in a multicultural context.

“Dr. Chelsea Yarborough is one of the bright lights in the field of Liturgical Studies. Her visionary skills in homiletics and worship will help to advance these fields now and in the future for the sake of the church and the whole people of God. I’m privileged to have the opportunity to continue to mentor her as she forges a path for her future, for the academy, the church, and the world.”

Rev. Dr. Gennifer B. Brooks, director of the Styberg Preaching Institute

The Styberg Teaching Fellow is one component of the Styberg Preaching Institute’s initiative, A Partnership in Effective Proclamation, which has been funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. This initiative also includes peer learning groups for active pastors under the direction of trained facilitators and preaching support for seminarians and new pastors. To learn more about this initiative, visit Garrett.edu/StybergPreaching.

Founded in 2005, the Styberg Preaching Institute has established an intentional and persistent agenda of addressing the need for relevant, effective preaching in the church. Its motto, The Seminary and the Church: Partners in Proclamation, speaks to the mandate of the Seminary to equip pastors for transformative ministry and recognizes preaching as a critical aspect of that mission.

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.