For Dr. Veronice Miles, the next step of her spiritual journey brings her to Wesley as our new visiting professor of preaching. “I am very much looking forward to teaching at Wesley,” she said, “with its wonderful groups of students and making this community my home.”
Dr. Miles received her Ph.D. and M.Div. from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. She also holds an M.Ed. in Counselor Education and an Ed.S. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from the University of Florida. Her scholarship and writing have focused on Christian education, ecumenism, and the preaching tradition of the Black church.
For the past 10 years, Dr. Miles has been the associate teaching professor on preaching and religious education at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, NC.
She said she is excited to join Wesley because of the seminary’s emphasis on Christian ministry in a broader sense, such as Methodism’s commitment to peace, justice, reconciliation and integrating the Gospel into the community. These values give her a sense of identity as she does God’s work.
During her childhood, church was like a second home to Dr. Miles. Her father was founder and pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church in Gainesville, FL, and her mother was the Sunday School Superintendent.
The nurturing and spiritual foundation that she received at the church prepared her to answer the calling to ordained ministry.
“I knew that I was called to ordained ministry at about age 13,” she said. “I was running from the call, but the church was as much a part of me as I was a part of the church.”
As she was running from her calling, Miles was heavily involved in the church, from being the church secretary, youth pastor, and minister of music, to serving as a district and statewide youth worker, and singing and touring with the choir.
In her mid-30s, she decided that God was going to win and that she could no longer run from her calling. She became the first woman to be licensed to preach in an African American Baptist Church. She served at First Baptist for two years as the associate minister and moved to Atlanta, GA, to complete her M. Div. at Candler School of Theology. She served as an associate with the Greater Bethany Baptist Church in Atlanta and was ordained in 1999.
As Dr. Miles will be responsible for preaching courses at Wesley, she also hopes to teach a class on preaching and worship in the black church tradition rooted in the African-American community’s experience in the United States and beyond. African-American scholars will join her in engaging the classes in deep dialogue, offering their insights in preaching.
Dr. Miles lives in Clinton, MD, and is still trying to unpack and get settled in. During her spare time, she finds pleasure in cooking, sewing, reading, writing, spending time by the water and being with friends and family. She is currently working on a book on preaching and the praxis of hope. Wesley warmly welcomes Dr. Miles!