The Commencement Service for the 2022 graduating class from Wesley Theological Seminary will be held at the Washington National Cathedral on May 9, 2022 at 2:00 pm EST. This is a special service for several reasons. It is the 140th Commencement, guests will be able to attend for the first time since 2019, and our preacher will be Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, ex-officio member of the Wesley Board of Governors, a valued advisor and ally of the seminary
Easterling is the episcopal leader of the Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware Conferences of The United Methodist Church (BWC/Pen-Del). She was assigned to serve the BWC in September 2016, following her election to the episcopacy that July. She became bishop of Pen-Del in September 2021, when the two conferences were affiliated.
Prior to being elected, she served as Dean of the Cabinet of the New England Conference and as a superintendent, leading 57 congregations in the Boston Hope District.
She was ordained a Deacon in 1995 and an Elder in 1997 and was pastor of Union UMC in Boston’s historic South End, Pearl Street UMC in Brockton, Mass., and Old West Church, UM, in Boston.
Easterling is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. The child of Mary and Walter Miller, she grew up attending University UMC, under the leadership of Rev. George Rice and then Rev. Harry A. Coleman. As an active United Methodist, Easterling sang in numerous choirs, served as a youth group leader and Sunday school teacher. Upon moving to Denver, Colorado, she joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she learned the art of preaching and the importance of advocacy and justice ministries.
A strong proponent of education, Easterling received a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a Law degree from Indiana University School of Law. She graduated summa cum laude in 2004 with a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. In 2020, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of that school for her leadership in The United Methodist Church.
Prior to entering the ministry, she worked as a human resources manager and director, and as a prosecuting attorney.
A delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conference in 2012 and 2016, Easterling serves on a number of boards and agencies, including the Committee for the National Plan for Hispanic and Latino Ministries, The Council of Bishop’s Immigration Task Force, the Boards of Directors for Wesley Theological and American University, the Board of Child Care and The Jane Robinson Bancroft Foundation. Easterling also serves as the President of the Northeast Jurisdiction Multi-Ethnic Center, the Anna Howard Shaw Board of Boston University School of Theology, and Boston University School of Theology Dean’s Advisory Counsel. Upon arriving in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, she founded The Seeds of Security ministry, or SOS, which benefits people in crisis who are seeking to leave abusive relationships.
Easterling is a much sought-after speaker and preacher, poet, and published author. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, most recently receiving the 2017 Rainbow Push Trombone Award for Faith in Action, presented by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
She is married to the Rev. Marion Easterling Jr., pastor of Locust UMC in Columbia, and the former pastor of Parkway UMC in Milton, Mass. They have two grown sons, Garret and Miles.