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Betsey Stockton Center for Black Church Studies

Unburdened and Unbound: Black Women Leading The Way

A Symposium on the Faith, Resilience, and Transformation of Women Leadership in the Church

March 7, 2024 • 6:30–8:00PM ET • Hybrid Event

Cooper Room, Erdman Center

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Unburdened And Unbound: Black Women Leading The Way

A Symposium on the Faith, Resilience, and Transformation of Women Leadership in the Church

For centuries, the Black church has served as a cornerstone of the Black community, offering not only spiritual solace but also a platform for resistance, activism, and cultural expression. Within this sacred space, Black women have been the backbone, serving as mothers, sisters, leaders, and voices of unwavering faith. Yet, their journey towards claiming their rightful place as leaders at the pulpit has been fraught with challenges and systemic barriers.

Join us for a powerful discussion exploring the multifaceted landscape of Black women’s leadership in the Black church. We will dive deep into:

  • The historical legacy: Examining the unique role Black women have played in shaping the church’s identity and navigating theological patriarchy.
  • Unveiling the potential: Highlighting the inherent strengths and gifts Black women bring to leadership, including compassion, resilience, and prophetic voices.
  • Confronting the challenges: Discussing the persistent issues of gender bias, theological interpretations, and internalized prejudices that hinder their full inclusion.
  • Charting the path forward: Brainstorming practical strategies to empower Black women leaders, creating supportive structures, and fostering equitable growth within the church.

Featured Speakers

Senior Pastor

Rev. Dr. Danielle L. Brown

Shiloh Baptist Church

Saved and filled with the Holy Ghost at an early age, The Reverend Dr. Danielle L. Brown finds great joy and satisfaction in learning, living, and preaching the Gospel. Rev. Dr. Brown was Licensed to preach on July 17, 2003, by Cathedral International (The Historic Second Baptist Church) in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and ordained by the American Baptist Churches on June 3, 2012. An increasingly sought-after preacher and workshop leader with the ability to communicate across multiple generations, Dr. Brown has had the opportunity to share the Gospel throughout this country and in South Africa.

Educated in the Perth Amboy Public Schools, Rev. Dr. Brown went on to attend Virginia State University where she was a Provost Scholar and three-sport athlete. After teaching in the Richmond Public Schools, Rev. Brown responded to God’s call to return to her hometown and the church of her rearing where she served faithfully on the Pastoral Staff for 15 years.

On August 7, 2021, Dr. Brown was elected the tenth Senior Pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey. She is the first woman to hold this position since the church’s founding in 1908.

A natural leader, Rev. Dr. Brown has served in various capacities where she has worked to develop and implement ministry programs and strategies. She has a passion for mentoring and assisting in the development of faith and community leaders. As such, she is a site supervisor in the Princeton Theological Seminary, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Pillar College Field Education Programs, has taught on the adjunct faculty of New York Theological Seminary, and served two terms on the Board of Trustees of New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She has also been active in the Raritan Association of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey as past Moderator and on the Ordination Committee. Dr. Brown is currently a co-mentor to the Pointer/Brown/Goodman Doctoral Fellows at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH. She has the honor of serving on the Advisory Board of the Women in Ministry Conference, Inc. convened by The Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale in Atlanta, GA, and as the Assistant Secretary of the Hampton University Minister’s Conference.

Dr. Brown is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In addition to her ecclesiastical work, she is active in her local community as a member of the Perth Amboy Area NAACP, serving on the Mayor’s Strategic Planning Team and 100 Days Committee in the City of Perth Amboy. She is also a member of the Perth Amboy Board of Education. Through the years, Dr. Brown has been the recipient of multiple awards and recognitions for her work in the church and community.

Both servant and scholar, Rev. Dr. Brown holds Master of Education and Bachelor of Science Degrees from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, and both a Master of Divinity Degree and Master of Arts Degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She also holds an earned Doctor of Ministry Degree from Palmer Theological Seminary in St. David’s Pennsylvania, where she studied Leadership and Church Renewal.

Rev. Dr. Brown loves God, God’s Church, and God’s people. She counts it an honor and a privilege to serve.

Senior Pastor

Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan

St. Paul’s Baptist Church

Since 2009, the Reverend Leslie D. Callahan, Ph.D., has served as senior pastor of the St. Paul’s Baptist Church. She is the fifth pastor and first woman to serve in that role in the church’s 134-year history.

Dr. Callahan earned the Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Harvard University, the Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Religion from Princeton University. She was ordained in 1997 at Judson Memorial Church and served congregations in Princeton, NJ, and the Philadelphia suburbs.

Dr. Callahan has served on the faculty of New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) as Assistant Professor of Modern Church History and African American Studies. Prior to her time at NYTS, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as assistant professor of religious studies. She has also taught courses for Eden Theological Seminary and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.

In addition to her ministry and scholarly pursuits, Dr. Callahan enjoys traveling, golfing, reading, movies, and sports. She is also an active member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Callahan’s chief joy is that she is the proud mother of Annabelle Inez.

Dr. Callahan’s favorite scripture is Psalm 27:4: One thing have I desired of the LORD; that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to seek God in God’s temple.

Senior Pastor and Teacher

Rev. Dr. Courtney Clayton

South Euclid United Church of Christ

Rev. Courtney Clayton Jenkins, a trailblazing leader, serves as Senior Pastor and Teacher at South Euclid United Church of Christ in Cleveland Ohio. In 2010, she made history as the youngest, first woman, and first African American to lead the congregation, revitalizing it after a fire ravaged their historic building.

Guided by a passion for innovation, Rev. Jenkins transformed the church into a dynamic, multicultural community. The driving force behind a successful $8.15 million construction project, the rebuilt church stands as a testament to her leadership and vision.

Hailing from Cleveland, she holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Bachelor’s in English Literature from Spelman College. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, she was the first woman ordained at Mt. Zion Congregational Church.

As the founder of Long Walk Productions, Rev. Jenkins has spent over a decade crafting inspirational films. Her works, celebrated at prestigious festivals such as the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival, explore themes of faith and resilience while inspiring spiritual growth.

Among her many accolades are being named in Crain s Cleveland Business Forty under 40” and a YWCA Woman of Achievement. An accomplished writer and Certified Leadership Coach, Rev. Jenkins authored “Stepping Back to Step Up,” designed to empower women in ministry. Collaborating with The John Maxwell Company, she guides historic congregations in strategic development.

A proud mother, she welcomed her son Caleb into the world in 2014.

Her steadfast commitment to faith and leadership resonates as she joyfully guides her congregation and empowers the next generation with love and strength. While she leads her congregation with joy and purpose, her reach extends beyond the church’s walls. Her aim is to empower the next generation to impact the nation with God’s unconditional love and almighty power.


Rev. Tamesha Mills

Saint James AME Church

Reverend Tamesha Mills is the pastor of Saint James AME Church in Danbury, CT. She was appointed to Saint James by Presiding Prelate, Rev. Julius H. McAllister Sr. at the First Episcopal District Planning Meeting in June 2023.

Rev. Mills is a proud New Yorker born and raised in Queens. She is a woman after God’s own heart and is passionate about preaching and teaching the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rev. Mills is a two-time graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary earning her M.Div in May 2022 and her ThM in Biblical Studies in May 2023. She is a second career Minister having worked in Television before attending Seminary. Rev. Mills has a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Hofstra University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Adelphi University in Communications.

Rev. Mills has served in the church from the tender age of five years old where she began singing in the choir. She accepted the call to ordained ministry in August 2018 and preached her initial sermon in May of 2019. Before her pastoral appointment she served as an Associate Minister at The Greater Allen AME Cathedral of NY in Jamaica, Queens under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Elaine Flake and Pastor Emeritus Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake. Ministry has afforded her the opportunity to flourish in the areas of Christian Education and Discipleship through teaching New Members classes, congregational discipleship classes, online workshops, and Bible studies. Her research interests are in the Old Testament, Womanist Biblical Interpretation, Biblical Hebrew as well as the intersections of faith and the Black experience.

While at PTS, Rev. Mills served in Student Government as well as The Association of Black Seminarians where she held the office of Moderator, Vice Moderator and Women’s Fellowship Chair. Rev. Mills played an integral role in organizing the seminary community for the removal of Samuel Miller’s name from the Seminary Chapel in 21-22 academic year.

Rev. Tamesha Mills is a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Women in Ministry, an advocacy group within the denomination. She currently serves on the First Episcopal District Women in Ministry Executive Board as the Financial Secretary. She is also a proud 17 year-member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated where she has held the office of Chaplain, Parliamentarian and Ivy Leaf Reporter.

Rev. Mills is the youngest of three children with one older brother who lives in Queens, NY and a second older brother who lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his family. Rev. Mills is a proud auntie, godmother and daughter of Evangelist Carol Hunter from Tabernacle of Emmanuel Full Gospel Assemblies. Rev. Mills has been blessed to preach, teach, and present research internationally and continues to explore the intersection of scholarship and faith for the justice, equity and thriving of all of God’s people.


Rev. Dr. Frances Teabout

St. John’s Baptist Church

Reverend Frances Snelling Teabout is a dedicated servant of Jesus Christ who considers her call to ministry an “undeserved honor.” She joyfully serves the people of God as a pastor, teacher and counselor.

At a young age, Frances was baptized and became a dedicated member of Saint John’s Baptist Church where she faithfully served on a number of ministries including the youth choir and usher ministry. Reverend Teabout matriculated at Caldwell College and New Jersey City University earning a BA in psychology and an MA in Counseling Psychology respectively. She was ordained by Reverend Anthony Wilcots in May 2005 at Liberty Baptist Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

In 2007, Frances earned the Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary. She became an Associate Minister at Saint John’s Baptist Church in Scotch Plains, NJ in 2009 under the leadership of the late, Bishop Kelmo C. Porter. With his support and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in May of 2011, Reverend Teabout planted Open Door Worship Center, a church in her hometown of Jersey City where she continues to serve as its Pastor.

In January of 2021, Dr. Teabout humbly accepted the called to pastor St. John’s Baptist Church, the church of her youth. Also in 2021, Dr. Teabout earned the Doctorate of Ministry from Drew University in Madison, NJ.

Reverend Teabout is the mother of five children and the grandmother of four grandsons. She has a very strong family network from which she receives tremendous encouragement and support. She strives to stand on the Word of God and draws strength from the Holy Scriptures.

One that has been a source of encourage for her over the years is Isaiah 40:31. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Ph.D. Candidate (Homiletics and Liturgics)

Minister Janiece Williams

Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University

Reverend Janiece Renee Williams is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University where she studies Homiletics and Liturgics, focusing on African American preaching and ethics. She is a Theology and Practice Fellow, a Russell G. Hamilton Scholar, and a Louisville Institute Doctoral Fellow. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she was licensed to preach at Temple Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Sedric D. Veal Sr. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Nyack College and her Master of Divinity degree from Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

A practitioner-scholar, Reverend Williams became a certified Homiletic Coach through the David G. Buttrick Homiletic Peer Coaching Program at Vanderbilt University. Since receiving this distinction, she has had the privilege to apply her extensive knowledge of preaching theory, methods, and history while coming alongside preachers, guiding them on a journey toward more faithful and authentic preaching. Through this coaching practice, Reverend Williams recently released a sermon workbook entitled, Sermon Development: A Workbook for Preachers which, in its first week, became the primary resource of a number of Ministers in Training programs conducted through local churches across the nation.

In addition to her work as a scholar and coach, Reverend Williams currently serves as the Interim Executive Minister at Watson Grove Baptist Church in Nashville, TN under the leadership of Reverend Dr. John R. Faison Sr. Reverend Williams has been blessed to preach, lecture, and speak in a number of churches, universities, and conferences across the country including The Hampton University Minister’s Conference Late Night Service. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and is dedicated to service efforts that uplift underserved members of the community.



Rev. Dr. David G. Latimore

Betsey Stockton Center for Black Church Studies

Rev. Dr. David G. Latimore serves as the Director for the Betsey Stockton Center for Black Church Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. ​​​

The Betsey Stockton Center brings the exceptional strengths and resources of the seminary to support the prophetic and social justice traditions of the black church. The Center also serves to advance, and be transformed by, theological education that develops and nurtures current and future leaders of black religious institutions and to be a national leader in creating knowledge that addresses, in new and innovative ways, the theological and praxiological issues confronting the communities and constituencies served by the black church.

Rev. Dr. Latimore has over twenty years of pastoral experience. He most recently served as the sixth Senior Pastor of the Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He has also served as Senior Pastor at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Joliet, IL), the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church (Gainesville, FL), the Southern Union Baptist Church (St. Louis, MO), and has also served the First Calvary Baptist Church (Durham, NC) as Senior Associate Minister. Rev. Dr. Latimore was licensed into ministry by Bishop Paul S. Morton at Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church (New Orleans, LA).

Rev. Dr. Latimore graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in Economics and received his Master’s of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity. He received his Doctorate of Ministry in Homiletics from McCormick Theological Seminary. His doctoral thesis, Liberating Lazarus: The Homiletical Mediation of Liberation for Congregant and Community, was awarded the John Randall Hunt Prize for Outstanding D.Min. Thesis and Academic Record. Additionally, Rev. Dr. Latimore received his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School. His dissertation focused on the influence of the endogenous theology of neoliberalism on the ecclesiology and praxiology of African-American religious institutions.

Before seminary, Rev. Dr. Latimore enjoyed a successful career in investment management and economic development. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of the Initiative for A Competitive Inner City (ICIC), an economic research firm focused on economic development in America’s inner cities. He has served in several executive management positions in investment management firms across the nation and began his career in management consulting with Bain and Company. Rev. Dr. Latimore has faithfully served his community, providing leadership to several organizations, including as a founding member of the African-American Clergy Coalition, former Chaplain of the River Valley Juvenile Detention Center, and Chair of a local chapter of the Black Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as an Adjunct Instructor at McCormick Theological Seminary, University of Toronto, Moody Bible Institute, Dominican University, University of Chicago, and a Faculty Fellow at Belmont University.

Rev. Dr. Latimore is blessed to be the husband of Min. Tammie Brown Latimore for over twenty-nine years and the father of Grace, Sydney, David, II, Lauren, and Nina.

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Location: Cooper Room, Erdman Center, 20 Library Pl, Princeton, NJ 08540. Parking is free at the Theodore Sedgwick Wright Library. Click here for more details.

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Betsey Stockton Center for Black Church Studies

The Betsey Stockton Center for Black Church Studies exists to highlight the theological and religious witness, which arises out of the African American and African Diaspora Christian experience. The Center helps to prepare men and women for vocational ministry or scholarly pursuits shaped by a wider knowledge and deeper appreciation of Black life within American and global Christianity.

The Betsey Stockton Center aspires to be a national leader in research on the Black church through the collaborative creation of scholarship with leading scholars, community leaders, and pastors to address the critical issues confronting clergy, congregants, and communities served by the Black church.