The Reverend Dr. Brandon Thomas Crowley with serve in position created by partnership between Seminary of the Southwest and Black Religious Scholars Group.
Seminary of the Southwest (Southwest), and the Black Religious Scholars Group, Inc. (BRSG) announce that the Reverend Dr. Brandon Thomas Crowley will be the Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence for the 2021-2022 academic year at Seminary of the Southwest. Crowley will be the fourth visiting scholar as part of the partnership between Southwest and BRSG that began in the 2018-19 academic year.
The Reverend Dr. Brandon Thomas Crowley (pronounced Crow-lee) is an African American scholar in religion, theology, ecclesiology, and queer theory. Since 2009, he has served as the Senior Pastor of the Historic Myrtle Baptist Church in West Newton, Massachusetts, one of America’s oldest congregations founded by freed slaves at the end of Reconstruction and one of the only open and affirming historically Black churches in North America. Reverend Crowley earned a Ph.D. in Church and Society and a Master of Sacred Theology with a certificate in social justice from Boston University. He also earned a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, where he was a presidential scholar, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a certificate in cosmopolitan religious leadership from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Reverend Crowley is writing a book entitled Queering Congregations: Contextual Approaches for Dismantling Heteronormativity in Black Churches. He is also presently serving as an instructor in Ministry Studies at Harvard University’s Divinity School and the incoming 2021 Crump Visiting Professor of Theology and Black Religious Scholars Group’s Scholar-in-Residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest.
“I look forward to the Rev. Brandon Crowley’s presence with us next year. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will enhance our course offerings and enrich our faculty conversations,” said Dr. Scott Bader-Saye, Academic Dean, Seminary of the Southwest.
As the Crump Visiting Professor Reverend Crowley anticipates helping the seminary, “engage cross-cultural contexts; grow in the areas of equity, diversity, and multicultural hospitality; and teach students how to engage in racial reconciliation, vocationally.”
“The BRSG executive board is thrilled to have Rev. Dr. Brandon Crowley to serve as our next Crump Visiting Professor/ BRSG Scholar-in-Residence. As our partnership with Southwest evolves, it also deepens in a shared commitment to and celebration of the genius, gravitas, and generativity that has been characteristic of Black theological education and Black church ecclesiology,” said Dr. Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Executive Director, BRSG. “We are overjoyed that Dr. Crowley has graced us with these amazing gifts and is fully committed to this joint enterprise. In particular, Dr. Crowley’s research interests, executive ministerial experience, and administrative leadership seek provocative and pragmatic ways to construct liberationist methodologies and discourses that intentionally disrupt oppressive forms of ecclesial and theological normalcy within Christian traditions while promoting the radical love and true spirit of the Christian gospel. His lifework has been wedded to this vision and the viability of re-thinking the nature, mission, and practices of the Christian church towards linking divine justice and social justice in truly meaningful ways. We are incredibly excited to see the prodigious manifestation of his theological preparation as he takes residence at Southwest in the upcoming year.”
Each year this program identifies, prepares, and supports a Black religious scholar to serve a one-year term as Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence. Teaching required courses and electives and contributing to community life and worship, this scholar will join with the faculty in formation of leaders to lead conversations across boundaries of race and ethnicity.
The previous three Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence were the Rev. Melanie Jones (2018-19) and the Rev. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Ph.D. (2019-20), and currently, the Rev. Yolanda Norton (2020-21).
About Seminary of the Southwest
Established in Austin, TX, in 1952 by Bishop John Hines, Seminary of the Southwest is one of 10 accredited seminaries in the Episcopal Church. Southwest’s vision is to be a community for formation and leadership within the church supported by a strength of program, endowment, and environment that assures excellence in theological, counseling and pastoral education.
Seminary of the Southwest forms creative leaders for the mission fields of the changing world. Southwest offers a rich intellectual environment and stimulating and challenging community for learning and formation. Southwest provides excellent residential formation for ordained ministry; has a sought-after masters degree in clinical mental health counseling; offers professional master’s degrees to lay professionals and church leaders in a range of denominations and faith traditions; and serves the church through innovative models for local formation and ongoing training.
About the Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG)
The guiding vision of the Black Religious Scholars Group (BRSG) is to sponsor consultations and speaking series for the edification of the liberating theology and witness of the Black Church tradition within the academy, church and wider Black community. This vision originated during a session of the Black Theology Group during the 1996 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. Those in attendance realized that the discussion and work of Black religious scholars tend to be situated firmly within academic circles, causing us to lose sight of the goal of Black religion, liberation and human fulfillment in all areas of life.
We recognized that faithfulness to our call as religious scholars, preachers and community activists requires relevant theological activity that is both committed and accessible to the larger African diasporan church and society. Our annual public forums across North America at welcoming congregations continue the process of exploring ways in which meaningful dialogue and partnership can occur between Black religious scholars and the larger Black community and its churches. It is for this purpose that we assemble consultations that consist of panels of distinguished representatives from the church, community, theological academy and, you, the gathered audience.
We hope that these consultations and the vision they embody will continue the tradition of organizing the church and community for the spiritual empowerment, human fulfillment, and social/economic uplift of Black folk. The BRSG is committed to facilitating these dialogues in the hope that they will contribute to the well-being and advancement of both our people and communities.