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Kelly Brown Douglas

As the inaugural Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas leads the development of EDS at Union, which will allow students to fulfill requirements for ordination in the Episcopal Church while receiving their degree from Union.

Prior to coming to Union, Dr. Douglas was the Susan D. Morgan Professor of Religion and Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral. Previously, she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity (1987-2001) and Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College (1986-1987).

A leading voice in the development of a womanist theology, Dr. Douglas is widely published in national and international journals and other publications. Her groundbreaking and widely used book Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective (1999) 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 (2015) examines the deep roots of “Stand Your Ground” culture in America and the challenges it brings for the Black Church community. Other books include The Black Christ (1994), What’s Faith Got to Do With It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls (2005), and Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant (2012) which seeks to move the black church beyond its oppressive views toward LGBT bodies and sexuality in general.

Dr. Douglas is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Denison where she earned a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in Psychology. She went on to earn a Master of Divinity and a Doctoral Degree in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Dr. Douglas was ordained at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in 1985 — the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Southern Ohio Diocese, and amongst the first ten to be ordained nationwide. Prior to her former role at the Washington National Cathedral, Dr Douglas was an Associate Priest at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. for over 20 years.

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