#from Compliance to CONSCIOUSNESS
“We learn from differences.
We can be mutually transformed as we listen attentively to our very different understandings of the God that we may encounter in and through the biblical text.”
Curtis Paul DeYoung, Wilda C. Gafney, Leticia A. Guardiola- Saenz, George Tinker, Frank M. Yamada, eds.
The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 2010), 9.
Diversity Officer: Rev. Dr. Raedorah C. Stewart
Director of the Writing Center/Adjunct Faculty
- “Community without equity, diversity, and inclusion are what Koheleth might
define as ‘hevel' —vapors and malodorous gasses." /RCS
- My vision is to amplify Diversity, advance Equity, and affirm Inclusion through Committee visibility and presence on campus and in communications.
- While doing this work, I lean into this reminder: “But [God] has already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in [we who are made in God's image and likeness]. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.” /Micah 6:8, MSG [with Womanist redaction critique]
- #funfact: I promise, I did not accept a position with Wesley because our colors are purple and white. My predilection for purple predates my preschool years!
Diversity Chair: Julie Hagen, MDiv 2022
Program Manager, Strategic Initiatives
- "'All are welcome' is a nice slogan. Let's move to 'You belong here!'" /JH
- I serve to see Wesley diversify professional consulting contracts, e.g., minority and women-owned philanthropy consultants, lawyers, bankers, real estate developers, etc.
- more to come
- more to come
Staff Representative, Office of Community Life
Rev. Lee Russell Brown, M.Div., M.Ed.
Executive Assistant and Program Administrator
- “Embrace diversity. Unite—or be divided, robbed, ruled, or killed by those who see you as prey. Embrace diversity or be destroyed.” ―Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower
- "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice." ―Jesus, John 10:16 NRSV
- #funfact: I and my siblings played two episodes of Family Feud several years ago.
Staff Representative, International Student Services
Karen Santiago, MA International Communication
Director + PDSO, International Student Services
Institutional Title IX Coordinator & Civil Rights Investigator
- “You belong here. Bring your authentic self because it’s what’s going to change [Wesley] for the better.” —adapted from Ruchika Tulshyan
- “Diversity without inclusion is a story of missed opportunities…” —Laura Sherbin, PhD & Ripa Rashin
- #funfact: Much of my professional career has been spent practicing realistic cultural empathy, while much of my personal life has been spent searching for the best nachos!
Aaron Rosen, PhD (Cantab)
Director, Henry Luce III Center for the Arts & Religion
Professor of Religion & Visual Culture; Curator, The Dadian Gallery
- "Both these and those are the words of the living God,” The Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Eruvin 13b
- Author or editor of many books, including What Would Jesus See?, Art and Religion in the 21st Century, and Journey through Art, translated into seven languages.
#Fun Fact: I lived in England for about a 1/3 of my life as a student at Cambridge, a fellow at Oxford, and a tenured professor at King’s College London.
Maggie Ayres, Director of Human Resources
- "Without diversity, without understanding and embracing each other, humanity can never be united." /MA
- We are working to increase campus-wide diversity with events focused on bringing in guest lecturers, student council partnerships, and collaborations with the Office of Community Life.
Board of Governors' Representative
Rev. Dr. Louis (Lou) J. Hutchinson, III, MDiv 2008, DMin 2012
- Author of Restore Together: Urban Ministry in the Context of Technology and Energy in the 21st Century. CreateSpace, 2012.
- Romans 12:3-5, 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
- #funfact: I was one of the first 20 employees at Netscape.
Interested in joining the Diversity Committee?
As committee members roll-off (two-year commitment), new members are always welcome to join us in moving Wesley #fromCompliancetoCONSCIOUSNESS! Email Diversity Officer to be notified of opportunities to serve.
- Attend monthly virtual meetings (1-1.5 hrs).
- Be prompt and prepared: read agenda documents and contribute to the discussion.
- Model DEI: inclusive language, active listening, refrain from cross-talking.
- Participate in DEI events: quarterly creative opportunities to foster DEI consciousness on campus!
#fromCompliancetoCONSIOUSNESS happens when individuals engage
in consciousness-raising events, personally combat unconscious bias, and
mindfully consider diversity, equity, and inclusion to be critical to our calling.
Visit OFTEN, as we update this portal with interactive tools,
event announcements, and resources to make Wesley even
more radically welcoming and intentionally inclusive.
- Bias-Free Language: Eliminate biased language from your writing, speaking, and thinking! Avoid perpetuating prejudicial beliefs for demeaning attitudes. Instead, use bias-free language to describe all people and their personal characteristics with inclusivity and respect, including:
- Sexual Orientation
- Racial Ethnic Identity
- Socioeconomic Status
- For guidelines, see: American Psychological Association Bias-Free Language
- Hope: "I'm hopeful. One thing to remember is that HOPE is not naïveté. It is being honest about where we are while believing there's more AND participating in the work for more." ~Rev. Dr. Bernice King, @BerniceKing, 04/25/22, 8:07p.
- UMC Bishop LaTrelle Easterling: Claiming the Opportunity to Recognize the Breadth and Depth of this Nation's African-American Presence
- ThinkPiece: Gender-Neutral Terms to Address a Group @sylviaduckworth @sara_levine @themilajam
- ThinkPiece: The "Same 24 Hours" is Not the Same for Everybody @_slimarella
Dream: "My father did not dream of a colorblind society. He dreamed of a World House where the terrors of white supremacy, colonialism & imperialism are eradicated. And of a Beloved Community where extreme materialism, poverty, racism & war are not horrifying blights against humanity." ~Rev. Dr. Bernice King, @BerniceKing, 04/22/22, 10:51a.
- Coming Soon: Profiles of student-led affinity groups.
- Association of Black Seminarians: Promotes cultural awareness, integrity, and a historical perspective of African-American and African cultures. President: Titus Bryant
- Asian and Pacific Islander American Seminarian Association: Raises awareness of and about Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander American theologians in our communities and the world, affirming and empowering all people as we strive to see each other through the eyes of Jesus. President: Mary Qu
- Gente Latinx Seminarians Association: Latinx public witness through the promotion of public service and cultural awareness of the Latinx community. Co-Presidents: Talina Sarmiento & Alina Saucedo Paucara
- Korean Student Association: Seeks to foster a second home for international Korean students and a wider understanding of Korean culture, language, and issues. President: Jihoon Park
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
APPROVED BY BOARD OF GOVERNORS MAY 10, 2022
The mission of Wesley Theological Seminary (“Wesley” or “the Seminary”) is to prepare persons for Christian ministry, to foster theological scholarship, and to provide leadership on issues facing the church and the world. Our aim is to nourish a critical understanding of Christian faith, cultivate disciplined spiritual lives, and promote a just and compassionate engagement in the mission of the church to the world. Wesley is a community of persons in the church, accountable, as all Christian communities are, to the intention of God that all may be one. In recognition of God’s intention, this Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI Commitment”) recognizes all humans are made in the image and likeness of God and establishes Wesley as a community that intentionally seeks to include persons of multifarious differences as students, faculty, staff, administrators, and members of the Seminary’s Board of Governors (“Board”).
Wesley’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is to be lived out in our admission and support of students; in the hiring and promotion of faculty, staff, and administrators; in the selection of members to the Board; and through the work of Wesley’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (“DEI Committee”) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer (“DEI Officer”) as supported by Wesley’s Board, administration, faculty, staff, and students. Wesley’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation addresses the Seminary’s commitment to complying fully with all applicable federal and District of Columbia laws prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion addresses the Seminary’s further commitment to promoting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive educational experience, recruitment and hiring process, and affirming work environment.
REASONS FOR WESLEY’S COMMITMENT
Wesley’s community embraces and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion as fundamental to our Christian faith. God is the creator of all humankind (Gen 1:27, inclusive language) and in Godwe share a common humanity. Jesus made clear God’s love for all people regardless of their color, ethnicity, gender, background, or other personal characteristics and demonstrated God's inclusive love during his life. Further, he showed through his teaching and ministry that Christians are to accept and be in ministry with persons least like them as well as most like them. Jesus showed that Christians and Christian communities have a particular obligation to demonstrate the reality of Christ's culture-transforming love for all people. Wesley strives to create a diverse and inclusive community, equip a diverse group of individuals for Christian ministry, and provide leadership to the world on this fundamental aspect of our faith.
Wesley’s community also embraces and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion because a diverse and inclusive environment enriches the experience of the Seminary’s students, staff, faculty, administrators, and Board. Learning with and from persons representing different life experiences and spiritual journeys to Wesley's community informs intentional understanding, creates opportunities to engage, and equips us to tear down dividing walls that prohibit oneness in the peace of Jesus. Interaction within a diverse intellectual community improves active learning and critical thinking. Scholarship flourishes when the rich diversity of human perspectives and experiences is heard, equitably regarded, and included in the curriculum, conversation, and consciousness. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are thus core to Wesley’s mission as a Christian seminary.
Read the WTS Commitment to DEI in its entirety here.