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Faculty

Pamela Lightsey

Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Associate Professor of Constructive Theology
B.S. Columbus State University
M.Div. Gammon Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center
Ph.D. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
plightsey@meadville.edu

“I understand my spirituality as unbounded and nurtured by my experiences living in numerous contexts and being inspired by diverse faith traditions.”

The Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey joined MLTS in January 2018. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Lightsey served as Associate Dean of Community Life and Lifelong Learning, Clinical Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Practice at the Boston University School of Theology.

Dr. Lightsey brings a special mix of life experience and professional proficiency to the position. Following service in the US Army and work as a civil servant, she received her academic and theological training at Columbus State University (BS), Gammon Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center (M.Div.) and Garrett-Evangelical Theological School (PhD). After ordination, she served first as a United Methodist congregational pastor and then as a theological school educator, scholar and administrator. Throughout her vocational life, she has been a leading social justice activist, working with local, national and international organizations focusing primarily on the causes of peacemaking, racial justice and LGBTQ rights.

Pamela’s publications include the book, Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology (Wipf and Stock), "He Is Black and We are Queer" in Albert Cleage Jr and the Black Madonna and Child (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), “Reconciliation” in Prophetic Evangelicals: Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), and "If There Should Come a Word” in Black United Methodists Preach! (Abingdon Press).

Pamela was drawn to Meadville Lombard for many reasons. First and foremost is her work with UU students and ministers over the years – both as an educator and as an activist. Further, as we grow she sees the need for a new level of administrative practices to serve students and is eager for the work. She is also attracted to the culture of innovation that exists here; our commitment to contextual theological education, our intention to further internationalize our school; our ongoing work for diversity, inclusion and the dismantling of white supremacy; and of course the foundational theological values that we hold.

She writes:

"Like Unitarian Universalists I understand my spirituality as unbounded and nurtured by my experiences living in numerous contexts and being inspired by diverse faith traditions. I am as comfortable with the mysteries of life as I am the ever-revealing nature of Creation. As an activist who was – and continues to be – nurtured by the teachings of civil rights leaders like Ruby Sales and Gil Caldwell, I believe humanity is interconnected. This means, I have a responsibility to the world to agitate for justice; I also have a responsibility not to lose my love for the human soul and human dignity in the midst of that work. I believe we are more than any category to which we are identified… I have been shaped, am being shaped by a not yet satiated thirst to understand the world and myself as part of a vastly wonderful mystery. This is why I resonate with the six sources promoted by UU congregations. As written, they ultimately affirm the values I have honored for many years."