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Sitting in her office on Manhattan’s far west side, the new president of New York Theological Seminary, the Rev. LaKeesha Walrond, recalled how she once was reprimanded as a youth for crossing the pulpit area of her church during a choir rehearsal.
Back then, she was taught, and believed, that women could not be preachers. After a career as an educator, executive pastor of a Harlem megachurch and, since June 3, the first African American woman president of the 119-year-old seminary, Walrond sees her trajectory as a sign that “God had this plan.”
First - Corinthian - Baptist - Church - Husband
After serving at First Corinthian Baptist Church, where her husband, the Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr., is senior pastor, she views her leadership of a 300-student multidenominational seminary focused on urban ministry as a reason for hope for other women.
Walrond, 47, spoke with Religion News Service about her diverse student body, her concerns about child sexual abuse and her support of open-mindedness among her students.
Interview - Length - Clarity
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU THAT YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN AS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN PRESIDENT OF NEW YORK THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY?
Blessing - Honor - Career - Presidency - Part
It is such a blessing. It’s such an honor. When I started my career, I was planning on presidency being part of it, but presidency at Spelman College. As I received my call into ministry and began working full time, I thought that would just be one of those dreams that never really came to fruition. So, for me, this feels like a coming together, a fulfillment of possibility and opportunity to work both in ministry and education in a way that transforms humanity.
WHAT WERE YOUR CONNECTIONS TO SPELMAN?
Undergraduate - Education - President - Time - Dr
I did my undergraduate education (there) and my president at the time was Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, and she changed my life forever. She was the first person...
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