Protestant Educators

Picture of Anne Streaty Wimberley

Anne E. Streaty Wimberly (b. 1936), Professor Emerita of Christian Education at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), is a renowned African American researcher, scholar, professor, advocate, and champion of black youth. A leading Christian educator rooted in the United Methodist Church, she has inspired students, colleagues, pastors, church leaders, and countless admirers to pursue education with a “zest to know.” For Wimberly, education centers on the big questions of life’s meaning and purpose, and she has enthusiastically pursued these questions throughout her spiritual and educational journey in light of her embrace of the generating theme of hope. While her teaching and scholarship encompass a wide range of ministerial and educational themes, she is most passionate about youth and family ministry in the black church. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Youth Hope-Builders Academy at ITC and founder and coordinator of the Annual Youth and Family Convocation. Her passion for learning has undergirded her educational ministry and life-long vocation.

Biography

Early Background, Education, and Teaching

Anne Wimberly was born on June 10, 1936, in Anderson, Indiana, a small, predominantly white community, at the time, of about 60 thousand people. The second of five children born to Reverend Robert Harold Streaty, Sr., and Valeska Cunningham Streaty, she grew up in a nurturing family and faith community that encouraged and protected her despite the close proximity of the Ku Klux Klan headquarters to her home town. Her father worked as a janitor in the local businesses, restaurants, and doctors’ offices. He was called to ministry while she was in high school and attended Anderson College and Theological Seminary. He went on to pastor a small church in New London, Ohio; Clair Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio; and McKinley Methodist Church in Dayton, Ohio. He also became the first African American District Superintendent in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. Her father served in ministry for nearly 30 years. Her mother was a homemaker who often worked in the kitchen at the white country club and sang on a local radio program when Wimberly was a child. Although her mother did not go to college, she was an avid reader--learned in her own right, an opera connoisseur, and on occasion took courses from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She was an active member of the church working with the youth and women’s groups while serving as an organist and choir director. She additionally served as the Director of the District Youth choir. Also faithful members of the church were Wimberly’s brothers and sister, Roberta J. Streaty Towell, Robert Harold Streaty, Jr. (deceased), Reverend Joseph Michael Streaty (deceased), and Jon A. Streaty (Wimberly, interview, 3/2013; 4/2014).  

As a child, Wimberly attended Second Methodist Church (now New Hope United Methodist Church), in Anderson, Indiana, where she received sustained guidance, encouragement, support, and affirmation from the “whole village.” Knowing that the school counselors, potential employers, and larger society would not serve black children, this formidable African American congregation “stood in the gap” not only to prepare their children for the challenges ahead, but to equip them to become successful and contributing members of their communities. “One of the most meaningful times in my childhood,” Wimberly fondly remembers, “was when the church called forth the children, at the age of twelve, to participate in a laying-on of hands ceremony.” The congregation, led by the pastor and eldest member of the church, named each child’s individual gifts, followed by the pastor’s prayer for the children’s future. “I was told that my gifts were music and teaching” (Wimberly, interview, 3/2013).

In addition to the prophecy spoken over her life, Wimberly’s church and family cultivated her gifts by creating opportunities for her to develop and nurture them. Her mother taught her to play the piano at 4 ½ years old. At 5 ½, Ms. Ida Montgomery, the oldest person in the church and the church pianist, asked her to play a song for the children’s choir to sing. She played “Jesus Loves Me.” At 7, she was asked to play hymns during the morning worship for the congregation to sing. And, at 12, the church sponsored her in her first piano recital. To nurture her teaching gifts, she was assigned to the adult Sunday school class led by Mr. Montgomery. As his apprentice, she developed her skills as a teacher. She eventually became an assistant teacher for the adult Sunday school. “What was pivotal during this time,” she maintains, “was the function of the village as it enthusiastically acknowledged and supported each child’s gifts” (Wimberly, interview 3/2013). With minimal support from the public schools, the church empowered its children and gave them a sense of self, courage, and voice. Wimberly also received ample opportunities to speak, lead, teach, and share her gifts of music and education. Her parents along with the elders of the church, therefore, inspired her to pursue ministry as a vocation and to attain the highest level of education. Their motto, “whatever you do in life ought to be in ministry in the service of Jesus Christ” (Crossfield, 2011, p. 262), has certainly been a guiding force throughout her life and ministry.

As a youth, Wimberly participated in the Methodist Youth Fellowship, which met every Sunday night and attended district meetings and annual conferences throughout the year. Being part of the youth group in those days was “a very big deal” as there was always something for the youth to do. Filled with the community’s eager, talented, and spirited young people, Youth Fellowship played a vital role in her community, providing multiple activities, programs, outings, and even college preparation and career planning. Not only did the youth group nurture young people in their faith, but it also served as a social gathering space for black youth. “Her parents,” Wimberly notes, “were strict—no dating until 16, no parties, no dances, no junior/senior prom,” as they understood the importance of protecting their children amidst troubling racial times (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).  Her parents as well as others were, therefore, intentional about preparing their children for these harsh realities. One of the most influential leaders of the then segregated Methodist Church Central Jurisdiction youth group, to which Wimberly belonged, was Rev. James Lawson, who would later graduate from Oberlin College and Seminary, become an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and serve as a prominent trainer in nonviolent civil disobedience during the civil rights movement. Lawson left a lasting impression upon her and informed her determination to face challenges as an African American woman at the height of the struggle against discrimination, injustice, racial inequality, and sexism (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).

Wimberly’s early education was predominantly in Anderson schools, where she was often the only black student in her class. She attended Shadeland Elementary, Central Junior High, and Anderson High School. She participated in the choral club in high school and travelled throughout the city and state. She also participated in the art program under the leadership of Ms. Elise Mulvihill, who encouraged her to do a charcoal self-portrait and landscape that were entered in the Indiana state exhibit. She was deeply influenced by Ms. Mulvihill’s affirmation and support of her gifts. Wimberly was also a member of the National Honor Society. Her sister and one other black girl were the only black students inducted in this prestigious group. She graduated from high school in 1953. Of the 619 graduates, there were only 5 black students, and 3 of the 5 were relatives. Wimberly graduated 13th in her class (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).

Although Wimberly, the daughter of a minister, was “called to ministry early,” she pushed aside the call because she did not have female role models in pastoral ministry. Nevertheless, she continued to develop her gifts in music and teaching. She completed the Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a major in music education and an applied major in piano from Ohio State University in 1957 and the Master of Music degree in 1965, also majoring in music education and piano, from Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts. While at Boston University, she completed course work from 1965 to 1968 for the Doctor of Musical Arts and became the first African American to serve as a doctoral teaching fellow.

Wimberly went on to complete a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology in 1979 and the Ph.D. degree in 1981 in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University, with a concentration in curriculum and instruction and a cognate in social gerontology. Her interest in gerontology emerged as she watched her parents as well as her husband’s congregation age. Entering mid-life herself, she began volunteering with senior adults and eventually devoted a large part of her ministry, scholarship, and teaching with this age group. Throughout her studies at Georgia State University, she was deeply inspired by her former gerontology professor Dr. Barbara Pittard Payne. Her dissertation was titled “A Conceptual Model for Older Adult Curriculum Planning Processes Based on Normalization and Liberation.” The committee members who guided her doctoral studies included Dr. Elizabeth K. Jenkins, Dr. Dorothy Huenecke, Dr. Frank J. Whittington, and Dr. Paula Dressel. In addition, she completed post-doctoral studies in 1982 as Scholar in Residence at the Institute for Religion and Wholeness, now the Clinebell Institute at the School of Theology at Claremont, California (Wimberly 2009; 2013; Wimberly, interview, 4/2014).

Wimberly’s early teaching experience began in 1957 with her first teaching appointment as Music Director at Harwood Girls School for predominantly Mexican and Indian girls in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With this appointment, she served as a missionary for the Home Board of Missions, Women’s Division of the Methodist Church. She also served from 1958 to 1964 in the Detroit Public Schools System as a Vocal Music Specialist K-6th grade at Jones Elementary School. From 1964 to 1966, she worked as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts. She went on to serve as a Music Specialist at Day Junior High School and Elementary Music Consultant and Demonstration Teacher in the Newton, Massachusetts Public Schools from 1966 to 1968. And, from 1968 to 1973, she worked as an Elementary Music Consultant and Demonstration Teacher at the Worcester, Massachusetts Public Schools (Wimberly, 2009; 2013).

As a teacher in the ’50s and ’60s during the volatile days of the civil rights movement and on the cusp of the black power/liberation movement, Wimberly often endured blatant racism. One especially hurtful experience occurred at Day Junior High School in Newton, Massachusetts, where she was greeted every day with the words “dead niggers for wooden nickels” sprawled on the chalkboard. And, in Boston as a teaching fellow responsible for supervising teachers, she recalls walking into a teacher training session and “everything stopped as someone exclaimed, ‘you’re Negro!’” These experiences among others were defining moments in her life, ministry, and teaching as they taught her to trust God and to honor herself as a black person, gifted and created in the image of God. Emboldened by the notion that she had to work twice as hard to get half as much, she pressed onward knowing that as a representative of God, family, and her race, she could offer “nothing but her best” (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013). 

Music has always been a vital part of Wimberly’s life and ministry. Indeed, for over twenty years she has used her gifts not only in Christian education leadership in the local church, but also in music holding positions in the Methodist denomination prior to and after its becoming the United Methodist Church. Among these positions were Director of Worship, Music, and Recreation at the Summer Youth Camp for the Detroit Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, and organist/choir director at: the Clair Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio; East Grand Boulevard Methodist Church in Detroit, Michigan; St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts; and Sherman United Methodist Church in Evanston, Illinois (Wimberly, 2007, p. 380; Wimberly, 2013).

Throughout her academic pursuits in music, Wimberly also taught in several public and private schools, colleges, and universities. From 1973 to 1975, she served as Assistant Professor of Music in the Music Education Department at Worcester State College and moved from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor of Music in the Humanities Division at Atlanta Junior College (now Atlanta Metropolitan College) from 1975 to 1983. Her early publications, lectures, and workshops in music addressed a wide range of topics and themes including: music across cultures, the African American spirituals, music with older adults, the healing power of music, African American church music, and the role of music in academic settings. Her book, The Church Family Sings: Songs, Ideas, and Activities for Use in Church School, was published in 1996 (Wimberly, 2007, p. 380; Wimberly, 2013).

But Wimberly’s call to ministry was undeniable, so she returned to the role of student to pursue the Master of Theological Studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. Her move into theological education was a pivotal moment for Wimberly as it emboldened her to fully embrace her call to ministry. She poignantly describes this moment in her article “The Privilege of Teaching” (2007). “Beginning in 1983, my entry into theological education made concrete a call to teaching ministry I had heard years before, but had dismissed as impossible for a Black woman. Although interrupted at one point, and later begun anew, the expression of my call to seminary teaching extended in a new way the privilege of teaching” (p. 380). Wimberly graduated from Garrett in 1993 with honors and her Master’s degree project, directed by Dr. Rosemary Keller and Dr. Jack Seymour, resulted in her best-selling book, Soul Stories: African American Christian Education (1994) (Wimberly, 2013; Wimberly, interview, 3/2013).  

In addition to Keller and Seymour, who encouraged Wimberly to publish Soul Stories and to join the Religious Education Association in the early 1990s, a number of leading scholars and practitioners such as Charles Foster, Ethel Johnson, and James Michael Lee have influenced Wimberly’s teaching and scholarship. She also names among her mentors the late Dr. Jonathan Jackson, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Christian Education, author, and former Director of the Faith and the City Project at ITC, whose motto was “Christian education is that ministry which undergirds all the other ministries of the church”; the late Dr. Grant Sneed Shockley, Christian education exemplar, pastor, author, and former president of ITC and Philander Smith College whose groundbreaking work on African American Christian education inspired a new generation of African American Christian educators; and Mrs. Doris Shockley, a pioneering librarian who contributed to the advancement of African Americans in the profession, a spiritual sister, trusted friend, and story partner (Wimberly, interview, 2013; 4/2014; Wimberly & Parker, 2002, dedication, pp. 9 & 180; Wimberly, Soul Stories, 2005, p. ix).

Like music, stories have always been a foundational part of Wimberly’s teaching and scholarship. Her passion for stories began in her childhood. “My parents were storytellers,” she fondly recalls; “my father loved poetry” and delighted not only in telling stories but in reciting his favorite poems. Her parents encouraged Wimberly and her siblings to share their experiences and daily adventures around the dinner table. At night, the children enjoyed bedtime stories as they anticipated the promise of another day. This invaluable family time taught her the importance of family and spending quality time together (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).

Stories also filled Wimberly’s Sunday school experience, where she learned to reflect on her own story in light of God’s story of love and redemption. The Sunday school general assembly became an important vehicle for the whole congregation, from children to adults, to highlight their Bible lessons for the day, to share personal insights from the lessons, and to renew their commitment to live out their faith in their everyday lives. Youth programs, Christmas and Easter pageants, weekly worship, and other faith-filled activities throughout the life of the church provided additional opportunities for the congregation to nurture and celebrate its individual and collective stories. Deeply influenced by her family’s tradition of storytelling and the power of story in light of her faith, Wimberly understood the importance of hearing the stories of others, especially those of her students (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).

Stories became a central part of Wimberly’s teaching with the students at Harwood Girls School in Albuquerque, New Mexico as girls from two different cultures shared similar stories of racism, alienation, poverty, and disenfranchisement. These realities became all too real when Wimberly entered the common area of this residential school and noticed the girls crying as they watched an old western movie on television showing cowboys killing Indians. Through the governing narrative of the movie, the girls recognized the devaluation and denigration of their heritage and life experiences. The children at Jones Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan, where Wimberly served as a vocal music specialist, also told powerful stories primarily through music of life in their communities surrounded by poverty, violence, abuse, and other harmful influences. At school, these children were routinely searched for switchblade knives, and slugs as daily fights and altercations were common occurrences in their learning environment. Nevertheless, these children excelled in music and made sense of their stories both verbally and through music as they sang in the classroom, at PTA meetings to encourage parental participation, and on educational television for the Detroit Public Schools (Wimberly, interview 4/2014).

Wimberly encouraged her students to share their stories, believing that every child was created and loved by God and had a unique story that needed to be told. Under her tutelage, students learned to reflect on their stories and to explore ways not only to celebrate the positive aspects of their stories, but also to identify ways the negative aspects could be transformed. Wimberly saw all of her students from elementary to graduate school as family and purposefully created a learning environment that emphasized love, hope, affirmation, support, encouragement, relationship building, and sharing. As a vital part of family/community sharing, storytelling naturally became an invaluable part of her work with black youth. As educators, she contends, we need to be that “nurturer and encourager” that says, “you can do this, you have something to give.” Therefore, within the family, indeed “the village,” she affirms, “we must highlight excellence and refuse to settle for less than our best” (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).

Stories have also played a central role in Wimberly’s scholarship. For example, with the publication of her book Soul Stories: African American Christian Education (1994, 2005), she introduced a “story-linking” model of African American Christian education that reclaims the African practice of storytelling as a vital resource for Christian education. For Wimberly, story-linking is a process of tying together everyday personal/family life stories, biblical stories, and faith heritage stories from the African American tradition. “The story-linking process,” she goes on to say, “can help us open ourselves to God’s call to act in ways that are liberating for us and others and to decide how we will do this. It can also help us discern our vocation, formed and informed by the Christian story, as well as ways of accomplishing it” (2005, p. 26). Through her “story-linking” approach, Wimberly inspires congregations to draw upon African American cultural themes through the lens of wisdom and hope while emphasizing the need for ethical decision making, social activism, transformation, and liberation for individuals as well as the broader community.

Another important book that emphasizes the use of stories as a viable approach to ministry and Christian education is Wimberly’s edited volume titled Keep It Real: Working with Today’s Black Youth (2005). This text introduces a “youth-context-story process,” which makes room for youth to share their stories and concerns in a “village” environment that promotes openness, genuine caring, hope, and affirmation of their feelings, experiences, and gifts. In a youth-context-story process, listening plays a critical role in the village as leaders validate and support youth in their journeys toward wholeness and faith. “A fundamental goal of the youth-context-story process,” according to Wimberly, “is to assure youth that we care about them, their fullest awareness of who and Whose they are, and their development of their potential for hope-building” (p. xx).

Similarly, in The Winds of Promise: Building and Maintaining Strong Clergy Families (2007) co-authored with Edward P. Wimberly, the Wimberlys introduce a “story-sharing” approach to working with clergy families. Story-sharing, according to the Wimberlys, inspires “cathartic moments” that allow persons within and beyond congregational life to release deeply held feelings and concerns that have affected them individually and as a family. They go on to explain that story-sharing

invites the lament, which is the voice of pain, and prayer, which opens the way to promise. Story-sharing in the presence of others also creates opportunity for forming relationships where support, empathy, and understanding reside. We gain clarity about key issues needing attention and about used and unused resilience in the form of resources of self as well as of others alongside God’s enabling presence and activity. . . . [T]hrough story-sharing, we discover or rediscover the necessity, the courage, and the kinds of action needed to continue on. Story-sharing fosters our discernment and experience of the winds of promise. (p. 12)

By guiding families through a step-by-step process, their ultimate goal is “to assist family members in uncovering challenges, exploring resilience, deciding ways of building and drawing on resiliency, and experiencing the renewing breath of God or God’s ruach” (A. S. Wimberly & E. P. Wimberly, 2007, p. 12).

In addition to her books, Wimberly has also facilitated workshops, delivered lectures, and published countless articles, chapters in books, and resources covering a wide range of themes that focus on the use of story.

A True Love Story and Partnership

Anne met her husband Edward P. Wimberly in September of 1965 while Ed was a student at Boston University School of Theology and Anne was working toward a doctorate in musical arts at Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts. When they discovered they were both children of Methodist ministers, they knew God had brought them together. They were engaged the following January and married on June 4, 1966. Both Anne and Ed considered themselves to be “called in marriage and called in ministry together.” Based on this conviction, they embraced a nontraditional honeymoon in which they served as migrant ministers to Navaho Indians on the Western Slope of Colorado under the Colorado Council of Churches. This experience, according to Anne, was truly a “trial by fire.” Amid an all-white community that didn’t welcome Native American people into their homes or business establishments, Anne and Ed worked together to offer hospitality, food, clothing, medical care, and the love of God to the Navaho people (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).

An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, Ed pastored churches in Winchendon and Worcester, Massachusetts. Anne ministered alongside him in these congregations as she taught Sunday school, directed Christian education and music programs, served as organist/choir director, and held numerous leadership roles. Ed’s seminary education came after completing the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in history at the University of Arizona. He completed both the Bachelor (1968) and the Master (1971) of Sacred Theology, majoring in the sociology of religion from Boston University School of Theology. The couple moved in 1975 to Atlanta, where Ed began serving as an assistant professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC). He went on to earn his Ph.D. in pastoral psychology and counseling in 1976 from Boston University Graduate School, Division of Theological Studies (Wimberly, 1997, p. xxii; E. P. Wimberly, ITC Website, n.d.). It was during this time that Anne served on the faculty of Atlanta Junior College (Atlanta Metropolitan College) as a music faculty member and subsequently completed her Ph.D. from Georgia State University. At Atlanta Junior College, she organized an intergenerational music performance series that brought older adults, preschool children, and junior college students to the campus for concerts and dialogue with the artists (Wimberly, 2002).

In 1983, the Wimberlys left Atlanta to teach for two years at Oral Roberts University School of Theology in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 1985, they moved to Evanston, Illinois, where Ed joined the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and taught pastoral care and counseling. During this time, Anne served as Director of the Hospitality Center for Homeless People under the Ecumenical Action Council of Evanston, Illinois, and as visiting faculty member in the course “The Book of Hebrews” with New Testament professor Dr. Robert Jewett (1985–87). She went on to serve as Assistant General Secretary for the General Board of Pensions of the United Methodist Church in Evanston, Illinois, while continuing to provide a hermeneutical model using African American spirituals in the study of “The Book of Hebrews” with Dr. Jewett from 1987 to1991 (Wimberly, 2013; Heart of Marriage Retreat Website, 2014).

Anne and Ed returned to Atlanta in 1991, where they currently reside, to begin faculty appointments at ITC. Dr. Anne Wimberly taught in the area of Christian education and church music, and Dr. Edward Wimberly taught pastoral counseling. A renowned scholar, professor, and pioneer in the field of pastoral care and counseling, Ed Wimberly currently serves as Interim President at ITC. But all of his accomplishments aside, Anne lovingly refers to Ed as partner, friend, confidant, advisor, steady mate, counselor, supporter, “deeply spiritual committed man of God,” and “love of my life!” (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013).

The Wimberly’s have been life partners in marriage, ministry, teaching, and scholarship for over forty-eight years. They have collaborated on many projects together, including marriage enrichment workshops, where they continue to draw upon the power of storytelling to teach and inspire couples to enhance their marriages. From the many courses, workshops, retreats, and conferences they have conducted in churches, seminaries, and denominational gatherings on marriage enrichment, they developed multiple resources for couples, including an unpublished workbook titled Living and Growing Together in Marriage: Marriage Enrichment Model for African Americans II (n.d.). And, from their unique experiences as PKs (preacher’s kids), as a ministry couple themselves, and through their work with clergy families who face, among other things, the challenges of unrealistic expectations that often emerge from “living in a fishbowl,” they published the insightful book mentioned earlier, The Winds of Promise: Building and Maintaining Strong Clergy Families (2007).

The book Honoring African American Elders: A Ministry in the Soul Community (1997), to which Ed Wimberly contributed several chapters, emerged from Anne’s extensive gerontology research. Supported by a number of grants, including the Kendall Fund of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and the Administration on Aging supported by the Morehouse School of Medicine Multidisciplinary Center for Gerontology Curriculum Project, her research focused on the transition patterns of African Americans, designing a retirement transition program for black clergy and their spouses and developing a core curriculum in gerontology at ITC (Wimberly, 2013). More specifically, the book examines key issues confronting the elderly population in the church and proposes a comprehensive model of ministry grounded in the African American cultural and religious heritage. This practical model provides resources for effective ministry with older adults while honoring them as both “receivers and doers in the community” (Wimberly, 1997, p. xii).

And, finally, in an earlier publication, Anne and Ed Wimberly published the book Liberation and Human Wholeness: The Conversion Experiences of Black People in Slavery and Freedom (1986). This text examines images of human wholeness and the dynamics of liberation—psychological, social, and individual—in the conversion experiences of slaves and ex-slaves from 1750 to 1930. Drawing upon multiple experiences of blacks during this time period, including their psychological, theological, and sociocultural concerns, their primary task in the book was to provide a hermeneutical model for faith communities to interpret their religious experiences and recover “a meaningful life and faith” in a postmodern age (A. S. Wimberly & E. P. Wimberly, 1986, p. 15).

In addition to Anne Wimberly’s scholarship, countless workshops, lectures, articles, resources, and chapters in books complement the books that the Wimberly’s have published together.

Throughout their marriage, ministry, and scholarly pursuits, Anne and Ed Wimberly have always embraced their students as children and grandchildren. The personal loss of their own children through three miscarriages and the death of their two-day-old baby daughter, Diana Kay, has been the driving force for them to welcome people from all over the world into their home as family (Wimberly, interview, 12/2013; Crain, 2009; Crossfield, 2011, p. 262). This welcoming spirit is the fulfillment of a dream Anne had in the midst of her grief through which she was told, “You shall have many more children than you can have biologically.” To this day, she cherishes the title “Grandma Anne” (Mulder, 2010, p. 3).

Teaching, Scholarship, and Activities in Recent Years

Dr. Anne Wimberly began teaching at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1991and moved from Assistant Professor to Professor of Christian Education and Church Music from 1991 to 2001. She enjoyed teaching a variety of courses ranging from the “Introduction to Christian Education” and “Christian Education across the Life Span” to “Christian Education in the Black Church” and “The Congregation as Educator.” Her passion for Christian education grounded in what she refers to as “relational pedagogy,” a teaching/learning approach that draws upon the relational and communal nature of story sharing (Wimberly, 2007, p. 381), inspired her to challenge students to explore two primary questions, “How do we make Christian education central to the life of the church?” and “How can we empower, excite, and tool pastors, Christian education directors, and leaders in the educational ministry of the church?” (Wimberly, interview, 3/2013). To explore these questions more concretely, she would often incorporate service learning projects into her courses to allow her students to engage directly the surrounding communities in which many would ultimately serve. Thus, for Wimberly, educational ministry cannot be confined to the classroom. Indeed, by its relational and communal nature, it necessarily extends beyond the walls of the academy. Today, Wimberly’s guiding questions as well as her relational methodology continue to undergird not only her teaching and scholarship, but her innovative approaches to educational ministry in the black church and wider community.

The various community programs she has established over the years embody her vision for this ministry. Gifted at building relationships with local pastors, church leaders, community organizations, and funding agencies, Wimberly, often with the support of her students and colleagues, has been instrumental in creating programs designed to address the needs of the community. For example, in 1994, she with one of her classes established the Annual Youth and Family Convocation, which continues to this day. Later partially funded by the Worldwide Express and the Lilly Endowment, these convocations, according to Wimberly, are “church/community outreach events designed to bring parents, grandparents, children, youth, adults, church and community leaders together to address key issues faced by youth today.” The Youth and Family Convocations, which laid the groundwork for the Youth Hope-Builders Academy, created in 2002, emerged out of service learning opportunities for Christian education students at ITC. In addition, Wimberly also coordinated the 1994 Multi-cultural Convocation on Older Adult Ministries. Sponsored by the United Methodist Church’s North Georgia Conference Council on Ministries, this convocation brought together older adults and church leaders to envision and create ministries that honor older adults (Wimberly, interview 3/2013; 4/2014; Wimberly, 2002).

In 1998–99, Wimberly established the Ecumenical Families Alive Project. Similar to the Youth and Family Convocations, this project emerged out of a service learning project developed for the course “Christian Educator as Change Agent.” This project, designed to train volunteers to assist grandparents raising grandchildren and homeless women and children, was funded by a number of grants, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant, the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta Grant, UMC General Commission on Religion and Race Self-Determination Grant, and a Matching Grant from the ITC Faith/Factor. And finally, as an active member of ITC’s Environmental Justice Initiative hosted by the Environmental Justice Resource Center of Clark Atlanta University, Wimberly received funding from the ITC Environmental Justice Grant in 2002 to co-author a concept paper and develop an environmental justice curriculum at ITC for use at other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) (Wimberly, 2013).

In addition to her teaching, scholarship, and community service, Wimberly’s work at ITC has also included Coordinator of the Christian Education Department and Master of Arts in Christian Education degree program, Coordinator of the Gerontology in Seminary Education Program that developed gerontology modules for integration into the ITC curriculum, and team member of the Environmental Justice Project, God’s People, God’s Earth (Wimberly, interview, 3/2013; Wimberly, 2009).

As a gifted teacher and lecturer, Dr. Wimberly has shared her educational abilities not only throughout the United States, but also abroad. For example, in 1998, during her spring term sabbatical, she served as Visiting Professor of Christian Education in the Faculty of Theology at Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. While in Zimbabwe, she led continuing education forums in Christian education in Zimbabwe and in the Republic of South Africa. She also facilitated the formation of a Family Education and Resource Center in Mutare. In 1999, she co-led a workshop with Dr. Edward Wimberly titled “Spirituality and Communal Care” for the International Congress on Pastoral Care and Counseling (ICPCC) in collaboration with the African Association for Pastoral Studies and Counseling (AAPSC) in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. Moreover, in the summer of 2004, she gave a keynote address titled “Confronting the Violence of Racism: From Global to Communal Solidarity and Care” at the International Congress on Pastoral Care and Counseling in Bangalore, India. And in 2011, she was guest lecturer on the topic, “Cultural Identity Formation of Youth: A Post-Colonial Theology of Christianity and Politics,” in the Frumentius Lecture Series of the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. That same year, she served as a plenary presenter, workshop leader, and panelist on the theme “Faith Formation of Children” at Emmanuel College of Victoria University, the University of Toronto, Canada. She later established Youth Hope-Builders Academy units in South Africa, Ghana and Bermuda and, on two occasions, led a group of Black U.S. teens to meetings of these units in South Africa. These are but a few of the many international opportunities that have promoted Wimberly’s gifts of teaching and scholarship throughout the world (Wimberly, 2002; 2013).

Dr. Wimberly retired from full-time teaching in 2007. She is currently the Executive Director of the Youth Hope-Builders Academy (YHBA), a theological program for high school youth funded by the Lilly Endowment. She is the former director of a Lilly Endowment funded research project titled “Vision Quest: A Study of Efforts, Challenges, and Needs of Youth Ministry Leaders in Black Congregations” from which came the book Youth Ministry in the Black Church: Centered in Hope (2013) co-authored with Sandra L. Barnes and Karma D. Johnson. And, she served as Principal Investigator of the Faith Journey: Partnership in Parish Ministry Formation Program at ITC.

Over the years, Wimberly has been actively involved in a number of professional associations and civic organizations, including the Religious Education Association (REA) and the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education (APRRE), now the Religious Education Association: An Association of Professors, Practitioners, and Researchers in Religious Education (REA:APPRRE). She has also given service to the American Society on Aging’s Forum on Religion, Spirituality, and Aging; the Exploratory Commission on Human Genetic Technology of the National Council of Churches; the National Center for Aging, Religion, and Spirituality at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota; the Editorial Council of Family Ministry: Empowering Through Faith; the African American Methodist Heritage Center (AAMHC); the Voices of Georgia Children; the Atlanta Opera; the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values (ISREV); the American Academy of Religion (AAR); the Editorial Board of Religious Education; and the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church (Wimberly, 2013).

Wimberly has also received numerous honors and awards, including most recently: the Community Service Award from the Foundation de Manana, Inc. of Atlanta (2000); the Profile of Prominence Award from the National Women of Achievement, Inc. of Atlanta (2000); the Emerald Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Delta Chapter of the Iota Phi Lambda Sorority of Atlanta (2002); the ITC Jonathan Jackson Faculty Excellence Award (2002); the Dynamic Woman in Ministry Award from the Gospel Heritage Foundation (2005); the “Beautiful Are Their Feet” Award from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc.; the Educational and Professional Achievement honoree (2007) at Bennett College; and in 2009, she was honored as Distinguished Alumna of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois (Wimberly, 2013).  

In addition, Dr. Wimberly appears in the following: the 1976 and 1980 editions of the International Who’s Who in Music; the 1980 edition of Men and Women of Distinction; the 1982 edition of Who’s Who of American Women; the 1984–85 edition of Who’s Who in the South and Southwest; the 1985 edition of Who’s Who Among Black Americans; the fourth edition (1996) and the ninth edition (2004–05) of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers; and the 2006 edition of Great Women of the 21st Century. On a personal note, Wimberly is the daughter, daughter-in-law, and wife of United Methodist ministers (Wimberly, 2002, 2013).

Throughout her life and ministry, Dr. Wimberly has guided numerous graduate and undergraduate students through their educational programs with compassion, understanding, encouragement, and rigor. She served on the doctoral committee of YHBA staff member Rev. Casina Washington who completed her degree program in 2014 at Columbia Theological Seminary; and is serving on the doctoral committee of another YHBA staff member, Sarah Frances Farmer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her former students, many of whom have gone on to make significant contributions to the church, academy, and broader community, enthusiastically celebrate her “wisdom, insight, and direction.” She has also collaborated on many articles, chapters, and book-length publications with scholars and practitioners such as Edward P. Wimberly, Jarena Lee Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling and Interim President at ITC; Evelyn Parker, Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University; Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield, Associate Professor of Religious Education at Drew Theological School & Graduate Division of Religion; and co-authors in her latest book on youth ministry, Sandra L. Barns, Professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University and Karma D. Johnson, Children’s and Youth Pastor at Turner Monumental African Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Moreover, Wimberly has nurtured and influenced many children, youth, parents/guardians, pastors, and leaders through the Youth Hope-Builders Academy. The words of a youth participant illuminate the impact of Wimberly’s leadership through YHBA, “I have a new appreciation for who and whose I am. I am young, Black, gifted, God-fearing, loving, and kind” (Mulder, 2010, p. 7). And, in a similar fashion, a YHBA leader notes, “This is a unique program that empowers and transforms the lives of not only youth, but adults who are involved” (Mulder, 2010, p. 8). I too am honored to embrace Dr. Wimberly as my colleague, mentor, and friend and to be counted among the many students, pastors, church leaders, authors, and admirers whom she has touched and inspired. 


Contributions to Christian Education

In his article “Building Hope with Real Faith: Anne Streaty Wimberly and African-American Youth Ministry” (2010), John Mulder describes Anne Wimberly as “a prodigious researcher, prolific writer, and probing teacher” (p. 1). Mulder’s words correctly capture the essence of Wimberly’s body of work in Christian education, yet they also serve as a spring board for our broader discussion of her significant contributions to the field in at least four areas: scholarship, teaching, the Religious Education Association, and African American youth ministry.

Scholarship

The first notable contribution related to Wimberly’s scholarship is her extensive publication record. A quick survey of her scholarship reveals that she is indeed a prolific writer. More than any other African American Christian educator in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, she has published nearly a dozen books and scores of articles, chapters in books, reviews, and denominational resources. But Wimberly’s scholarly contribution is not limited to volume alone; her publications also cover a wide range of topics, including teaching across the life-span; ministry with children, youth, adults, and senior adults; spirituality and healing; communal care; music; African American Christian education; worship as a model of education and faith formation; environmental justice; cross-cultural connections; marriage enrichment; nurturing families; teaching for justice, liberation, and hope; and engaging African American communities through Christian education. She has also amassed an impressive list of workshops, lectures, and keynote addresses that further advance her multiple areas of interest. Moreover, Wimberly’s work is interdisciplinary, highlighting the connections of Christian education and pastoral care, practical theology, music, spirituality, and social justice. The breadth of her work has certainly provided a wealth of resources for persons at all levels of educational ministry.

As a prodigious researcher, Wimberly has built a foundation for her groundbreaking models of Christian education. Rooted in solid empirical and ethnographic research, Wimberly has shaped innovative approaches to Christian education by meticulously mining the rich heritage of African and African American communities. As discussed above, her book Soul Stories: African American Christian Education (1994, 2005), for example, introduces a storied approach to Christian education by reclaiming African and African American oral traditions of storytelling. Through her story-linking process (linking personal/family, faith-heritage, and Christian stories), she invites persons to explore themes of liberation, vocation, and ethical decision making in an effort to move toward personal and communal liberation. In Nurturing Faith and Hope: Black Worship As a Model of Christian Education (2004), Wimberly introduces a vibrant approach to Christian education that embraces the centrality of worship as a context for educational ministry in the church. Her insightful analysis of “evocative methods” of nurturing faith and hope draws from the rich heritage of sermons, songs, and prayers in black worship. Through these sources, she offers practical suggestions for enhancing, within the worshipping congregation, a deeper sense of faith and active participation toward personal and communal transformation.

In a similar fashion, Wimberly mines the vivid imagery and rich ancestral practices of the African village in Keep It Real: Working with Today’s Black Youth (2005). In this text, she sets forth an extensive framework for youth ministry that embodies open, honest, relevant, and critical engagement (or “keeping it real”) with today’s black youth. “The framework builds on the image of the congregation as a ‘village,’” she states, “wherein leaders and parental figures ‘keep it real’ with youth and themselves by opening a space for conversation and guidance on tough issues and by calling themselves to accountability” (p. ix). She goes on to say that this model draws upon the unique experiences of black youth and the gifts of insight they bring to the faith community. Thus, “the goal of helping youth grow as Christian hope-builders is central to real ministry with them and pivotal to the mentoring and modeling functions of adults in the ‘village’” (p. ix). In this context then, “the village,” inspired by the Akan proverb—“It takes a village to raise a child”—represents “communal solidarity, guidance, and support.” Its primary function is to nurture and affirm young people as they strive amid multiple challenges that impact the black community, to shape “a valued identity and hopeful life direction” (p. xviii).

And finally, in Honoring African American Elders: A Ministry in the Soul Community (1997), Wimberly, while providing a practical how-to guide for effective ministry with older adults, turns to African American cultural and religious traditions not only to attend to the pressing issues and concerns facing the elderly, but also to return them to a position of honor in the black church and community. Two interrelated values, deeply rooted in African American heritage and congregational life, form the bases of caring and compassionate ministry with African American elders: honor and soul community. Honoring African American elders, according to Wimberly, entails acknowledging with deep appreciation, joy, and care the value of their lives and treating them as “persons of worth” (p. 5, 10-11). Ultimately, she argues that elders are to be honored in the black church and community “as recipients of care, as repositories of wisdom, and as resourceful participants in community life” (p. 6, 7-10). The soul community as Wimberly describes it is “an African American community that operates from a sense of ‘peoplehood’ and an appreciation of shared history, shared culture, and shared challenges” (p. xii-xiii). Understood as an extended family, the soul community embodies hospitality, a close bond among members, joyful remembering, and concrete action based on “commitment and compassion in our relationships” (p. xii-xiii). This model of ministry equips African American churches to carry out fruitful ministry with senior adults by reclaiming African American cultural and religious traditions of honoring them in the soul community.

Wimberly’s books Winds of Promise: Building and Maintaining Strong Clergy Families (2007) and Liberation and Human Wholeness: The Conversion Experiences of Black People in Slavery and Freedom (1997) also propose viable models of Christian education grounded in the African American experience. But while Wimberly’s books highlight innovative approaches to educational ministry inspired by African and African American heritage, it is important to note that the themes mentioned above are not limited to her books. Indeed, they are recurring themes that permeate her scholarship. In addition, her books and articles routinely serve not only as practical guides for ministry in the black church and community, but also as solid, well-researched textbooks and teaching/learning resources in theological schools, universities, and other educational and community-based institutions.

Finally, Wimberly’s scholarly contribution to Christian education adds to and yet builds upon a growing body of scholarship that emphasizes contextualized approaches to Christian education in the African American experience. While early African and African American scholars, educators, historians, clergy, and social activists such as Edward Wilmont Blyden, Daniel Alexander Payne, W. E. B. DuBois, Carter G. Woodson, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Benjamin E. Mays promoted education for persons of African descent and emphasized the virtues of African and African American heritage as viable resources for scholarly discourse and education, it was the aftermath of the civil rights movement, the onset of the Black Power movement, and the emergence of black theology in the 1970s that prompted black pastors, church leaders, and Christian educators to argue for “increased sensitivity to and awareness of cultural and ethnic particularities” in Christian education. These concerns resulted in conferences that explored the meaning of Christian education from a black perspective and recommendations for curriculum resources based on the African American experience (Nichols, 1984, pp. 184-187).

From 1973 to 1983, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the United Church of Christ (Nichols, 1984, p. 186-187), and the National Council of Churches responded to these recommendations by taking the lead in developing curriculum resources designed not only for black churches, but also for white churches with black members (Shockley, 1988, p. 227). By the early 1980s, African American scholars began to develop culturally sensitive models of Christian education with particular attention to the concerns of the African American church while celebrating and affirming African American experiences and traditions. For example, Grant Shockley introduced a liberation/praxis model informed by the work of James Cone, Paulo Freire, and Gayraud Wilmore. Referring to his model as an “Intentional Engagement Model,” Shockley stressed self-awareness, social awareness, social analysis, transformation, praxis, and community involvement (Shockley, 1988, pp. 244-246). Also influenced by Paulo Freire and black liberation theologians, Olivia Pearl Stokes argued for a Saturday Ethnic School grounded in “Black history, Black church history, and contemporary issues viewed from the Black perspective.” The school’s primary goal, according to Stokes, is “to celebrate the genius of the black experience, as expressed in the life of the individual, the black family and the black Christian community” (Stokes, 1974, p. 440).

James H. Harris and Joseph V. Crockett also promoted Afrocentric approaches to Christian education and argued like Stokes and Shockley that the church must encourage cultural literacy by teaching African American heritage in concert with biblical studies (Harris, 1991; Crockett, 1990). With the publication of Soul Stories: African American Christian Education in 1994, Wimberly entered this conversation and continued to lay the groundwork for contemporary Christian education scholars, such as Nancy Lynne Westfield, Evelyn Parker, Yolanda Smith, Veronice Miles, Almeda Wright, Fred Smith, Reginald Blount, Richelle White, and Carmichael Crutchfield, to develop innovative models of Christian education that further promote cultural sensitivity, contextualized and transformative approaches to Christian education, social activism, and the celebration of the gifts and insights embodied in African American Christianity.  

Wimberly’s scholarship not only contributes to but also builds upon this growing body of literature in that it embodies a multidimensional approach to Christian education. A multidimensional approach “must be concerned not only with teaching the faith and heritage, but also with troubling the waters of injustice” (Smith, 2007, p. 117). This approach challenges the church to attend to several concerns, which Wimberly accomplishes effectively throughout her scholarship: (1) equipping churches to attend to the pressing issues confronting the black community; (2) developing practical strategies for organizing the community to engage in transformative action; (3) becoming adept in youth popular culture, issues impacting black youth, and addressing these concerns “through the mediums that are most meaningful and familiar to today’s youth”; and (4) building diverse alliances with other communities, denominations, and faith traditions so as to stand in solidarity with them in the struggle against systems of oppression (Smith, 2007, p. 117-118). Wimberly’s scholarship, therefore, is holistic, practical, relevant, creative, transformative, relational, and engaging. Her scholarly contribution inspires and equips the church to address more fully the ever changing needs of the “twenty-first-century black community and at the same time allow for the preservation and celebration of their historic faith and heritage” (Smith, 2007, p. 118). Wimberly’s prodigious research and prolific scholarship are undoubtedly an invaluable resource for the black church and community as well as the wider field of Christian education.

Teaching

            As we consider Wimberly’s teaching contributions to Christian education, we might travel down a number of avenues to highlight her many gifts as a probing teacher. However, in this discussion, I will focus primarily on her use of relational pedagogy and its contributions as a model of “hospitable kinship” and “gift exchange.” Inspired by her experiences in a Zimbabwean community circle of hospitable kinship, Wimberly draws insights once again from African and African American traditions to shape a relational pedagogical model of community formation. This model promotes a practical yet hospitable approach to Christian education essential in today’s ever increasingly culturally diverse and pluralistic teaching and learning environment.

Like many in theological education today, Wimberly has experienced a greater number of students in her classroom representing numerous countries, racial-ethnic backgrounds, religious experiences, and languages throughout the “global village.” To honor and celebrate this multifaceted “global presence,” she adopts a relational pedagogical model that fosters a “hospitable teaching and learning space” and, as Parker Palmer affirms, “makes possible persons’ receiving each other, our struggles, our newborn ideas with openness and care” (Palmer 1983, 73-74, quoted in Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 3). For Wimberly, a relational pedagogical approach entails receiving her students and their stories as gifts while inviting their “reflection and action on what their stories have to say for their unfolding spiritual formation, their role in Christian education, and the nature and conduct of Christian education” (Wimberly, 2007, p. 381). A relational pedagogical approach also compels Wimberly to share her own story, when appropriate, to encourage meaningful reflection and “aha” moments of understanding. But her primary role as a probing teacher is not only to invite a mutual sharing of stories, but also to introduce new concepts and ideas to deepen and expand her student’s knowledge and interpretations, while creating an environment that maintains “openness, trust, and acceptance as essentials to authentic giving and receiving in the teaching and learning environment” (Wimberly, 2007, p. 381).

Two major components make up the foundation of Wimberly’s relational pedagogical model: hospitable kinship and gift exchange. Hospitable kinship, according to Wimberly, means that “teaching and learning take place in an environment where a communal partnership exists both between teacher and students and among the students based on the conviction that we are all made in the image of God” (Wimberly, 2007, p. 381; Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 5). Kinship, in this context, moves beyond blood kin and signifies a quality of hospitality embodied in the relationships persons form with one another whereby they see and embrace each other as “resources for the common good.” Kinship, grounded in hospitality, strives to include rather than exclude persons in the teaching/learning process. It also engenders a spirit of personal and communal care, respect for multiple cultures and traditions, and a climate of support as persons envision their lives in light of their sense of vocation (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 5).

But, to be effective, hospitable kinship must be intentional. “It takes deliberate effort,” Wimberly asserts, “to raise the consciousness of class members of our identity as communal partners who have a kinship in the midst of diversity because of a conviction that we are all made in the image of God.” Educators must therefore encourage ways of being and acting that “reflect that identity.” Consequently, hospitality, maintains Wimberly, is “the center piece for giving and receiving” and the “basis for gift exchange” (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 5).

Gift exchange, a notion Wimberly embraces from Anthony Gittins (1989), refers to “the act of giving, receiving, and daring to struggle reciprocally with often challenging ideas, thoughts, learning, and stories that surface in the teaching and learning experience within and beyond the classroom” (Wimberly, 2007, p. 381). Hospitality is essential to gift exchange as the two must work in harmony to create an atmosphere of hospitable kinship. In turn, this harmonious movement is vital, as the act of exchanging gifts draws people together through enduring relationships that often extend throughout the course of their lives (Gittins, 1989, p. 91, cited in Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p.11). Like hospitable kinship, gift exchange requires an intentional effort to create trust and openness in the teaching and learning environment.

Although gift exchange “across cultural lines” is often difficult, Wimberly continues to nurture these qualities in her teaching and learning. Indeed, she argues, to promote hospitable kinship and gift exchange is to “take seriously the notion that these qualities of relationships in theological education are gospel virtues worthy of our carrying forward in ministry” (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 11).

An important outcome of hospitable kinship and gift exchange is communal identity. From the first day of class and throughout the semester, Wimberly devotes a great deal of time to building community as a way of involving her students in faith formation and practice for effective ministry. She asserts:

Students tend to enter classes with an expectation that their primary relationship in class is between a teacher and herself/himself and that an in-class communal relationship that includes other students is of minimal consequence. Yet not only is this [latter] communal relationship pivotal to the teaching and learning process, it is constitutive of the nature of faith and life in Christian community. Engaging students in experiences that emphasize hospitable kinship while they are in seminary involves students in an important practice of ministry. (Wimberly, 2007, p. 381-382; see also Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 5)

As a probing teacher, then, Wimberly embraces the seminary classroom as an important “context” for nurturing a communal identity in which class members see and claim themselves as representative of the diverse family of God—sisters and brothers in Christ, deeply rooted in the belief that all are made in the image of God. Consequently, she encourages her students to live out this understanding of communal faith in the classroom through open and respectful dialogue, the zest to know and learn from one another, shared research, and development of vital practices that will inform their future ministries.  

To nurture community identity, especially amid a diverse population of students, Wimberly strives to create a hospitable environment. While a hospitable environment might suggest a number of qualities, I offer five qualities in particular that embody Wimberly’s relational pedagogical model of Christian education. They include the teacher/learner relationship, the arrangement of space, positionality, ritual, and inviting personal narratives.

Teacher/learner relationship—As the teacher, Wimberly views her role as a “host” not only preparing the environment for hospitable kinship and gift exchange, but also preparing to receive her students as “guests.” As “host,” she states, “I am to be a resource to the guests, an enabler who provides an environment in which the guests may flourish” (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 6). Yet, she also recognizes her student guests as resources, which allows both parties to engage in a mutual process of giving and receiving that spawns a seamless reversal of roles. Hence, the teacher becomes guest, and the guests become teachers as they give, receive, and learn from one another (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 6). 

Arrangement of space—For Wimberly, fostering a hospitable environment beckons the use of a circular seating arrangement whereby she is seated in the circle with her students. The circle, she maintains, “emphasizes whole group face-to-face dialogue and formation of small groups for discussion, critical reflection, and designing and practicing applications of course materials for ministry” (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 5). While Wimberly favors the circle in her teaching, she encourages students to explore other seating arrangements during their presentations with an explanation for why and how their alternative arrangement facilitates the teaching/learning process.

Positionality—This reminds Wimberly of her position of authority as teacher and her responsibility to ensure that her position does not inhibit her students’ position as gift givers and receivers in the teaching/learning process. Her aim here is to help students affirm their own sense of agency and to become actively involved in the teaching/learning process (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 10).

Ritual—Wimberly invites her students to engage in ritual practices as a part of the teaching/learning process. Ritual practices such as prayer, singing, Scripture reading, sharing communal concerns, silence, and other practices from the students’ unique experiences and traditions are often included during the opening and closing moments of the class session. These moments create a “sacred narrative” that allows participants to experience God’s presence together. This “spiritual expression,” Wimberly asserts, “is an integral part of our being a community of kin, of enriching our kinship, and of envisioning such a community in future ministry contexts” (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 8).

Inviting personal narratives—This is one of the most powerful aspects of Wimberly’s relational pedagogical model, which places case studies and story sharing at the center of her teaching. Her experience in Zimbabwean kinship circles bolstered her convictions regarding personal narratives as they “bound us together as kin.” Inviting personal narratives in the teaching/learning process, according to Wimberly, enhances the educational experience for students and teachers in several ways, including (1) giving students voice while inviting careful listening and inspiring interest in other stories, new learnings, and opportunities to practice compassionate responses to others; (2) valuing the life experiences students bring to the teaching/learning process; and (3) allowing students to make personal connections with academic materials (Wimberly, 2004, Hospitable kinship, p. 9).  

Through these five among other characteristics of her relational pedagogy, Wimberly’s contribution to Christian education as a probing teacher reflects her conviction to push beyond the banking model of education, whereby students are viewed as passive receptacles waiting to be filled by the teacher’s breadth of knowledge. Students move from a passive role to an active role in the teaching/learning process. Her model also facilitates hospitable kinship and gift exchange among diverse participants and values as gifts the wealth of knowledge and experiences that students and teachers bring to the teaching/learning experience.

Religious Education Association

Wimberly has not only made significant contributions to Christian education through her scholarship and teaching, but she has also been an invaluable member and resource to the Religious Education Association. She is the first African American president of the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, a professional guild of academics who have met annually for over thirty years, and the second African American president of the historic one-hundred-year-old Religious Education Association, consisting of religious educators who have met semi-annually over the past century. During her tenure as president of the REA, Wimberly oversaw the successful merger of these two organizations to form the Religious Education Association: An Association of Professors, Practitioners, and Researchers in Religious Education (Wimberly, interview, 3/2013; Wimberly, 2013; REACH, 2005, p. 1).

In her presidential address titled “Daring to Lead with Hope” (2003), Wimberly challenges the Association to envision new models of hope-filled leadership that attend not only to pedagogical issues and concerns, but also to bringing about “a sustainable communal and earth environment in which peace, justice, reconciliation, and care of the environment reside” (Wimberly, 2003, p. 281). After putting forth three practices of the religious educator’s vocation, she concludes by calling religious educators to “dare to lead with hope” and to boldly envision, anticipate, and act on “behalf of a better world” (Wimberly, 2003, p. 293). Through her work with REA:APPRRE, Wimberly continues to urge religious educators to strive for a holistic ministry that encompasses hope-filled leadership not only in their classrooms and extended educational ministries, but also in the tangible work they do to transform our tumultuous world. 

Wimberly is also a founding member of the Pan African Scholars in Religious Education and the Black Experience Task Force, which meet during the annual meetings of the REA:APPRRE and push the organization to attend to issues of race, religion, class, poverty, ethnicity, and other critical concerns. Over the years, these groups under Wimberly’s guidance have expanded the Pan African presence through increased membership, leadership roles, scholarship, and shaping of the organizational programming. Finally, in addition to serving as a keynote speaker, presenter, scholar, and editorial board member for the Religious Education journal, Wimberly has served as an inspiring role model and mentor to students, colleagues, and friends throughout the academy and the church (Smith, 2014).

African American Youth Ministry

With a particular passion for working with black youth, Wimberly has become a pioneer in the advancement and encouragement of ministry with these young members of the community. She founded the Youth and Family Convocation, which emerged out of her “Christian Education in the Black Church” course in 1994 with 173 participants. Today the convocation draws upward of 1000 participants. The success of the Youth and Family Convocation inspired in 2002 the development of the Lilly-funded Youth Hope-Builders Academy (YHBA), a theological program for black high school youth (Wimberly, interview 3/2013; Wimberly, 2013). Based on a residential design, the purpose of YHBA is to:

promote the growth and development of Black youth as Christians and to enliven their awareness of and commitment to Christian vocation and practices in the Church and world through hope-filled and hope-building methods. The Academy also seeks to foster the support of parent/guardians, church and community leaders for their youth in the formation of Christian identity and life direction. (Youth Hope-Builders Academy, Website, n.d.)

YHBA additionally strives to equip seminarians and youth leaders with skills and resources to develop and implement effective strategies for youth ministry while empowering adult participants to value the ongoing support of their youth as a “pivotal part of their own Christian practices and learning” (YHBA, Website, n.d.). As a result of this communal effort, 370 youth have completed the YHBA program during the first ten years, graduated from high school, and gone on to pursue higher education. Many have also embarked on careers in communication, law, medicine, social work, culinary arts, music, art, and education (Wimberly, interview, 3/2013; 4/2014; Mulder, 2010, p. 2).

Wimberly’s relational pedagogy undergirds her approach to youth ministry, focusing on black youth and their life stories as gifts, the supporting role of the community/village, and nurturing Christian identity and leadership (Wimberly, 2005, Keep It Real). As with her seminary classes, Wimberly believes that youth leaders must meet black youth where they are, “beginning both with their giftedness and with their experiences of discrimination, racism, health issues, peer pressure, mis-education, poverty, underemployment, unemployment—all the issues that affect their lives and the lives of their families” (Mulder, 2010, p. 3). Starting where youth are requires a strong community/village to surround and support youth through their everyday experiences and nurture them in their Christian faith through hope and love. “I truly believe hope and love can be instilled,” she maintains. Indeed, her ultimate hope is that youth will see themselves as “children of God” and realize that “God loves them as they are” (Mulder, 2010, p. 4). Wimberly’s approach to youth ministry, therefore, forms the foundation of the YHBA.

Currently in its twelfth year, YHBA has launched a new program called the “Bridges Initiative,” which goes beyond the original summer residential structure of the program that targeted selected youth, or as DuBois would argue, the “talented tenth,” to include all youth (churched and unchurched) within the church or wider community. The program in essence puts youth ministry back in the hands of the church. It equips congregations not only to address youth concerns, but to engage them in viable youth ministry and to guide their development toward Christian vocation and leadership in today’s and tomorrow’s church and world. Extending YHBA beyond the state of Georgia to Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and abroad, the Bridges Initiative advances the core YHBA curriculum, emphasizing communal support, mentoring, community service, leadership development, and instilling a strong sense of Christian identity, vocation, and pride in one’s African American heritage. Youth, parents, and leaders are also nurtured in love and hope while being reminded of their worth and value (Wimberly, interview 3/2013; 4/2014; Smith, 2014).

Wimberly’s work on behalf of African American youth has refocused the church’s attention on issues facing contemporary black youth and empowering youth leaders to shape effective models of youth ministry. Her recent research project (“Vision Quest”) explored these issues and as noted earlier, has resulted in her book Youth Ministry in the Black Church: Centered on Hope. This publication complements her previous book, Keep It Real: Working with Today’s Black Youth, and a host of articles, lectures, courses, and workshops on contemporary youth ministry.

Taken together, Wimberly’s contributions to Christian education have been far reaching, inspiring persons all over the world to revision Christian educational ministry. She undoubtedly leaves a legacy of wisdom grounded in her African, African American, and Christian heritages; hospitality that engenders hospitable kinship and gift exchange; communal support that reclaims the power of the “village”; and unwavering hope and love that undergird her life, leadership, scholarship, teaching, and ministry.

Works Cited

Crain, M. A. (Facilitator). (2009). Mini-plenary discussion with Anne Wimberly, REA:APPRRE annual meeting. Religious Education Association Website. Retrieved from www.religiouseducation.net

Crockett, J. V. (1990). Teaching scripture from an African American perspective. Nashville,TN: Discipleship Resources.

Crossfield, L. (2011, December). A pilot study of the impact of sexism on African American women ministers in Methodism: 1980-2000. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(24), 259-267.

Gittins, A. J. (1989) Gifts and strangers: Meeting the challenge of inculturation. New York, NY: Paulist Press.

Harris, J. H. (1991, July-August). Christian education: A black church perspective. Christian Ministry,14-18.

Heart of Marriage Retreat. (2014). Edward P. and Anne Streaty Wimberly. Heart of Marriage Retreat Website. Retrieved from

http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com/details/facilitators/edward-p-and-anne-streaty-wimberly/

Interdenominational Theological Center Website. (n.d). Dr. Edward P. Wimberly. Retrieved from http://www.itc.edu/dr-edward-p-wimberly

Mulder, J. M. (2010). Building hope with real faith: Anne Streaty Wimberly and African-American youth ministry. Resources for American Christianity Website. Retrieved from http://www.resourcingchristianity.org

Nichols, P. (1984). Blacks and the religious education movement. In M. J. Taylor (Ed.), Changing patterns of religious education (pp. 181-192). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 

Palmer, P. J. (1983). To know as we are known: A spirituality of education. San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row.

REACH. (2005). Newsletter of the Religious Education Association: An Association of

Professors, Practitioners, and Researchers in Religious Education. Retrieved from www.religiouseducation.net

Shockley, G. S. (1988). From emancipation to transformation to consummation: A black perspective. In M. Mayer (Ed.), Does the church really want religious education?: An ecumenical inquiry (pp. 221-248). Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press.

Smith, Y. Y. (2014). Anne E. Streaty Wimberly. Encyclopedia of Christian Education. Scarecrow Press, forthcoming.

Smith, Y. Y. (2007, October-December). Wade in the water: A history of Christian education in the African American church. The A.M.E. Church Review, 123(408), 95-126.

Stokes, O. P. (1974, July-August). Education in the black church: Design for change. ReligiousEducation, 69(4), 433-445.

Wimberly, E. P., & Wimberly, A. S. (1986). Liberation and human wholeness: The conversion experiences of black people in slavery and freedom. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (1997). Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Wimberly, A. S. (2002). Biographical summary for Anne E. Streaty Wimberly, Ph.D. Unpublished document.

Wimberly, A. S., & Parker, E. (Eds.). (2002). In search of wisdom: Faith formation in the black church. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (2003, Summer). Daring to lead with hope: Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education presidential address, November 3, 2002. Religious Education, 98(3), 277-295. doi: 10.1080/00344080390176393

Wimberly, A. S. (2004). Hospitable kinship in theological education: Cross-cultural perspectives on teaching and learning as gift exchange. Teaching Theology and Religion, 7(1), 3-12.

Wimberly, A. S. (2004). Nurturing faith and hope: Black worship as a model for Christian education. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (2005). Keep it real: Working with today’s black youth. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (2005). Soul stories: African American Christian education (Rev. ed.).  Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (2007, Fall). The privilege of teaching. Religious Education, 102(4), 380-385.

Wimberly, A. S., & Wimberly, E. P. (2007). The winds of promise: Building and maintaining strong clergy families. Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources.

Wimberly, A. S. (2009). Short biographical summary for Anne E. Streaty Wimberly, Ph.D. Unpublished document.

Wimberly, A. S. (2013). Curriculum vitae, Anne E. Streaty Wimberly, Ph.D.

Wimberly, A. S. (2013, March 30). Telephone interview with Yolanda Smith.

Wimberly, A. S. (2013, December 5). Telephone interview with Yolanda Smith.

Wimberly, A. S., Barnes, S. L., & Johnson, K. D. (Eds.). (2013). Youth ministry in the black church: Centered in hope. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (2014, April 12). Telephone interview with Yolanda Smith.

Wimberly, A. S. (2014). Worship in the lives of black adolescents: Builder of resilience and hope. Liturgy, 29(1), 23-33. doi:10.1080/0458063X.2014.846742

Youth Hope-Builders Academy Website. (n.d.). Retrieved at http://www.itc.edu/programs-at-itc/youth-hope- builders-academy/    


 

 


Bibliography

BOOKS

Wimberly, A. S., Barnes, S. L., & Johnson, K. D. (2013). Youth ministry in the black church:

Centered in hope. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (2010). Just in time: Children’s sermons. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S., & Wimberly, E. P. (2007). The winds of promise: Building and maintaining strong clergy families. Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources.

Wimberly, A. S. (2005). Soul stories: African American Christian education (Rev. ed.). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (2005). Keep it real: Working with today’s black youth. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (2004). Nurturing faith and hope: Black worship as a model for Christian education. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press.

Wimberly, A. S., & Parker, E. (Eds.). (2002). In search of wisdom: Faith formation in the black church. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (1997). Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Wimberly, A. S. (1996). The church family sings: Christian learning through music. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (1994). Soul stories: African American Christian education. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, E. P., & Wimberly, A. S. (1986). Liberation and human wholeness: The conversion experiences of black people in slavery and freedom. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

DENOMINATIONAL AND OTHER ACADEMIC RESOURCES

Wimberly, A. S. (2009, August-October). Pastor as theologian: Nurturing our minds. Circuit Rider, 22-23.

Wimberly, A. S. (2005, Spring). The artistry of envisioning and responding to the future of churches. Aging and Spirituality, 17(1), 1, 7-8.

Wimberly, A. S. (2003-2004, Winter). Bible stories and the stories of our lives. Leader in Christian Education Ministries, 17(13), 16-21.

Wimberly, A. S. (1996). New Testament disciples. Bible people series for adults using inquiry and discovery. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (1994, Spring). Good news for God’s people, unit 1: Righteousness through faith, and unit 2: Empowered by the Spirit. Daily Bible Study. Nashville, TN: United Methodist Church General Board of Discipleship and the Division of Church School Publications.

Wimberly, A. S., & Wimberly, E. P. (1991). Language of hospitality: Intercultural relations in the household of God. Nashville, TN: United Methodist Church General Board of Discipleship, and Cokesbury.

Wimberly, A. S. (1988). One household, one hope: Building ethnic minority clergy support networks. Nashville, TN: United Methodist Church General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Division of Ordained Ministry.

Wimberly, A. S. (1981). The arts as individual and collective experience: A handbook on experiential arts education. Unpublished resource, National Endowment for the Humanities Project, Atlanta, GA: Atlanta Junior College.

Wimberly, A. E., & Dolan, M. (1971). Music curriculum guide. Official Resource of the Worcester Public School System, Worcester, MA.

CHAPTERS IN BOOKS

Thomas, E. D., Wimberly, A. S., & Wimberly, E. P. (1997). Honoring and sharing our elder’s wisdom. In A. S. Wimberly (Ed.), Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community (pp. 171-185). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wimberly, A. S. (2010). Overcoming shame in slave songs and the Epistle to the Hebrews. In R. Jewett, W. Alloway, & J. G. Lacey (Eds.), The shame factor: How shame shapes society (pp.60-85). Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.

Wimberly, A. S. (2003). Congregational care in the lives of black older adults. In M. A. Kimble & S. H. McFadden (Eds.), Aging, spirituality, and religion: A handbook (Vol. 2, pp. 101-120). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (2003). Caring as honoring. In R. B. Kruschwitz (Ed.), Aging: Christian reflection, A Series in Faith and Ethics (pp. 9-17). Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.

Wimberly, A. S., & Parker, E. L. (Eds.). (2002). Introduction: In search of wisdom: Necessity and challenge. In A. S. Wimberly & E. L. Parker (Eds.), In search of wisdom: Faith formation in the black church (pp.11-22). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S., & Handy, M. I. (2002). Conversations on word and deed: Forming wisdom through female mentoring. In A. S. Wimberly & E. Parker (Eds.), In search of wisdom: Faith formation in the black church (pp.89-107). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S., & Wimberly, E. P. (2002). Wisdom formation in middle and late adulthood. In A. S. Wimberly & E. L. Parker (Eds.), In search of wisdom: Faith formation in the black church (pp. 125-139). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (2001). The role of black faith communities in fostering health. In R. L. Braithwaite and S. E. Taylor (Eds.), Health issues in the black community (2nd ed., pp.129-150). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Wimberly, A. S. (2000). A black Christian pedagogy of hope: Religious education in black perspective. In J. M. Lee (Ed.), Forging a better religious education in the third millennium (pp. 155-178). Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (1997). Building a helping network. In A. S. Wimberly (Ed.), Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community (pp. 125-136). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wimberly, A. S. (1997). The church as a soul community. In A. S. Wimberly (Ed.), Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community (pp. 35-53). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wimberly, A. S. (1997). Creating an honor-bestowing elder ministry. In A. S. Wimberly (Ed.), Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community (pp. 55-71). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wimberly, A. S. (1997). What honoring elders means: A call to re-envision the church and the soul community. In A. S. Wimberly (Ed.), Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community (pp. 3-17). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wimberly, A. S. (1999). Spiritual well-being: An experience of lived story. In J. Ellor, S. McFadden, & S. Sapp (Eds.), Aging and spirituality: The first decade (pp. 47-49). San Francisco, CA: American Society on Aging. Reprinted (1997, Spring). Aging and Spirituality,9(1).

Wimberly, A. S., & Wimberly, E. P. (1995). Congregation and academy. In N. F. Fisher (Ed.), Truth and tradition: The church and the future of theological education (pp. 93-110). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (1995). Pastoral care and nurture of African American older adults. In S. McFadden, et al. (Eds.), Handbook on religion, spirituality and aging (pp. 161-173). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg/Fortress Press.

Wimberly, A. S. (1990). Families, society, church, and sexuality: Issues and solutions. In C. A. Beam (Ed.), Teaching human sexuality: A collection of resources for teachers and leaders (pp. 47-62). Nashville, TN: United Methodist Church General Board of Discipleship, Section on Christian Education and Age-Level Ministries.

Wimberly, A. S. (1993). No longer alienated from the household of God. In G. Askew & G. Wilmore (Eds.), From prison cell to church pew: The strategy of the African American church (pp. 89-98).A Book for Individual and Congregational Study. Atlanta, GA: The ITC Press.

ARTICLES

Wimberly, A. S. (2014). Worship in the lives of black adolescents: Builder of resilience and hope. Liturgy, 29(1), 23-33. doi:10.1080/0458063X.2014.846742

Wimberly, A. S. (2008, Spring). Worship as a model for Christian education. Lifelong Faith Journal: The Theory and Practice of Lifelong Faith Formation, 3-13.

Wimberly, A. S. Leaders’ perspectives on youth and youth ministry: Insights and discoveries. Resources for American Christianity, http://www.resourcingchristianity.org.

Wimberly, A. S. (2007, Fall). The privilege of teaching. Religious Education, 102(4), 380-385.

Wimberly, A. S. (2005, Spring). The artistry of envisioning and responding to the future of churches. Aging and Spirituality, 17(1), 1, 8.

Wimberly, A. S. (2004, February). Hospitable kinship in theological education: Cross-cultural perspectives on teaching and learning as gift exchange. Teaching Theology and Religion, 7(1), 3-12.

Wimberly, A. S. (2003, Spring). Congregational care in a wisdom-seeking age. Journal of Pastoral Theology, 13(1), 13-24.

Wimberly, A. S. (2003, January-March). Acknowledging the gift of time. Opening Article, These moments: Claiming time for spiritual growth, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) Devotional Guide.

Wimberly, A. S. (2003). Prepare the way of the Lord: Words of challenge, words of hope. Christians in Education CIE, Official Publication of the Christian Educators Fellowship.

Wimberly, A. S. (2002, January-February). Creating time. Circuit Rider, 26(1),16-17.

Wimberly, A. S. (2002, March-April). Honoring our elders as a community of faith. Presbyterian Church (USA) National Health Ministries: Church and Society Magazine–Encircling Care–Alzheimer’s Disease and Congregational Caregiving, 2.

Wimberly, A. S. (2001, Summer). Discovering communal vitality in African rituals: Seeing and hearing God through Zimbabwean Christians. Religious Education, 96(3), 369-384.

Wimberly, A. S. (2000). From intercessory hope to mutual intercession: Grandparents raising grandchildren and the church’s response. Family Ministry: Empowering Through Faith, 14(3), 19-37.

Wimberly, A. S. (1998, Spring). Caring for families of elders on the journey home. Aging and Spirituality, 10(1), 3-4. Reprinted (1999, 92-95) Aging and Spirituality: The First Decade, J. Ellor, S. McFadden, & S. Sapp. San Francisco, CA: American Society on Aging.

Wimberly, A. S. (1998, Spring). Narrative and personhood as a paradigm for hoping. Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 25(3), 231-257.

Wimberly, A. S. (1997, Fall). The faith community as listener in the era of cyberspace, and Called to listen: The imperative vocation of listening in twenty-first-century faith communities, a series of two articles. Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 25(2), 13-71. Article entitled Called to listen: The imperative vocation of listening in twenty-first-century communities, Reprinted (1998, July) International Review of Mission, 87(346), 331-341.

Wimberly, A. S. (1997, Fall). Music and the promotion of healing in religious caregiving. Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 25(2), 99-124.

Wimberly, A. S. (1997, Spring). Spiritual well-being: An experience of lived story. Aging and Spirituality, 9(1), Reprinted (1999, 47-49) Aging and Spirituality: The First Decade, J. Ellor, S. McFadden, & S. Sapp (Eds.). San Francisco, CA: American Society on Aging.

Wimberly, A. S. (1996, Summer). An African American pathway to hope: Belief formation through uses of narrative in Christian education. Religious Education, 91(3), 316-333.

Wimberly, A. S. (1996, Spring). A legacy of hope: African American Christian education during the era of slavery. The Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 23(2), 3-23.

Wimberly, A. S. (1996, January). Called to witness, called to serve: African American Methodist women in Liberian missions, 1834-1934. Methodist History, 34(2), 67-77.

Wimberly, A. S. (1994, Spring). Christian education for health and wholeness: Responses to older adults in ethnic/racial contexts. Religious Education, 89(2), 248-64.

Wimberly, A. S. (1994). Narrative approaches to viewing and addressing African American spirituality and sexuality: Toward a strategic pastoral theology. Journal of Pastoral Theology, 4, 1-18.

Wimberly, A. S. (1992, Fall, 1993, Spring). Reverence for life in severe terminal illness: A theological ethical viewpoint. Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 20(1 & 2), 1-21.

Wimberly, A. E. (1991, June/July). Across cultural boundaries: On religious education and meaning. Aging Today, Bi-Monthly Publication of the American Society on Aging, 18.

Wimberly, E. P., & Wimberly, A. S. (1990, February). Spirituality: Connecting with God’s unfolding drama. Prism, Quarterly Journal for Retired United Methodist Clergy and Spouses, 8(4), 1-2.

Wimberly, A. S. (1988, Spring). Spiritual care for the homeless. Explore: A Journal of Theology, published by Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, 9, 84-107.  

Wimberly, A. S. (1988, May). Shared lives, shared joys. Prism, 7(2), 1.

Wimberly, A. E. (1984, Spring). The intergenerational connection. The Church School Today.

Wimberly, A. S. (1983, Summer). The spectrum of older adult roles in church ministries. The Church School Today.

Wimberly, A. S. (1980). Evaluation. Georgia Music News, Bi-Monthly Column of the College Division, Georgia Music Educators’ Association Publication, 41(4), 26.

Wimberly, A. S. (1979). Some thoughts on what counts: Professional renewal. Georgia Music News, 40(3), 26.

Wimberly, A. S. (1979). Networking. Georgia Music News, 40(2), 38.

Wimberly, A. S. (1979). Toward a process of futuring. Georgia Music News, 40(1), 20.

Wimberly, A. S. (1978). Ventures in music for older adults. Georgia Music News, 39(1), 24-25.

Wimberly, A. S. (1979, Spring). Configurational patterns in the function of the church and aging persons. Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 6(2), 94-105.

Wimberly, A. S. (1977, Fall). Spirituals as symbolic expression. Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 5(1), 23-32.

Wimberly, A. S. (1974, January-February). Strategies for planning: Structural formats. Maryland Music Educator, Publication of the Maryland Music Educators’ Association, 20(2), 13-18.

Wimberly, A. S. (1973, Winter). Strategies for planning. Massachusetts Music News, Publication of the Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association, 19-21.

Wimberly, A. S. (1973, Fall). To plan or not to plan. Massachusetts Music News, 28-30.

Wimberly, A. S. (1971, December). Relevance of music in public school curricula. Music Teachers Workshop, Parker Publishing Company, 12-16.

Wimberly, A. S. (1967). Music in Puerto Rican culture. Journal of Education, A Special Issue: A venture in educational anthropology, published by Boston University School of Education, 150(2), 43-54.

SOURCES ABOUT ANNE E. STREATY WIMBERLY

Crossfield, L. (2011, December). A pilot study of the impact of sexism on African American women ministers in Methodism: 1980-2000. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(24), 259-267.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. (2009). Two alums receive distinguished service awards. Garrett-Evangelical News. Evanston, Ill: Author. Retrieved from www.garrett.edu

Heart of Marriage Retreat. (2014). Edward P. and Anne Streaty Wimberly. Heart of Marriage       Retreat Website. Retrieved from

http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com/details/facilitators/edward-p-and-anne-streaty-wimberly/

Mulder, J. M. (2010). Building hope with real faith: Anne Streaty Wimberly and African-American youth ministry. Resources for American Christianity Website. Retrieved from http://www.resourcingchristianity.org

Smith, Y. Y. (2014). Anne E. Streaty Wimberly. Encyclopedia of Christian Education. Scarecrow Press, forthcoming.

INTERNET RESOURCES/WEBSITES THAT MENTION ANNE WIMBERLY

 

http://www.heartofmarriageretreat.com/details/facilitators/edward-p-and-anne-streaty-wimberly/

http://www.resourcingchristianity.org

www.religiouseducation.net

www.garrett.edu

http://www.itc.edu/programs-at-itc/youth-hope- builders-academy/   

http://www.nbccongress.org/publications/black-authors/anne-streaty-wimberly.asp

http://www.judsonpress.com/author.cfm?author_id=855

http://faith-forward.net/speakers/anne-streaty-wimberly/

http://blackchristianbookreview.com/bcbr/2014/02/youth-ministry-in-the-black-church-by-anne-streaty-wimberly-sandra-l-barnes-and-karma-d-johnson.html

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Anne-Wimberly/29351207

http://www.faithformationlearningexchange.net/uploads/5/2/4/6/5246709/worship_as_a_model_for_faith_formation_-_wimberly.pdf

sparkaction.org/sites/.../aportraitofblackyouth-annewimberlyph.d..doc

http://www.ncccusa.org/pdfs/btsprogram.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf40IFp_8y4

www.abhms.org/docs/pressreleases/13ABHM28.doc

http://www.centerforcongregations.org/system/files/Resource_Guide_Using_Congregational_Story.pdf

outreachextensions.com/docs/This_Far_By_Faith_Resource_Guide.pdf

http://www.itc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2014-Convocation-Promotional-mailer.pdf

www.theafricanamericanlectionary.org/PopupLectionaryReading.asp?.

BOOK REVIEWS

Parmach, R. J. (2007, Winter). Review of book Keep it real: Working with today’s black youth,by Anne E. Streaty Wimberly (Ed.). Religious Education, 102(1), 100-103.

ORAL HISTORY

Dr. Anne E. Streaty Wimberly is part of an Oral History Project at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta Georgia.


 

 


Excerpts from Publications

Wimberly, A. S. (2005).  Soul stories: African American Christian education. (Rev. ed.) Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, p. 24.

“A vital Christian education for liberating wisdom and hope-building vocation is one that offers a process that has at its center our lived stories. That is, the starting point of Christian education for liberating wisdom and hope-building vocation should be the everyday life stories we face. Such a process should make possible our arriving at insights, discerning choices, and making ethical-decisions—wise decisions about what is right to do to promote and sustain liberation for ourselves and others. This process should also enable us to arrive at insights, discern choices, and make the kinds of ethical decisions that lead to our involvement in vocation that centers on and brings a sense of hope in what often seems to be hopeless life situations.”

Wimberly, A. S. (2004). Nurturing faith and hope: Black worship as a model for Christian education. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, p. 12.

“The evocative nurturing method in the black worshiping congregation has multiple dimensions that focus on our formation of a head and heart awareness of God and the nature of the Divine-human relationship. Faith and hope in God depends on this kind of awareness. The faith toward which nurture moves us is our knowing deeply the qualities of the able and present God who has not and will not forsake us and from whom we will not depart. The hope that nurture arouses in us is our vision and embrace of a service orientation that is made concrete in our actions to make a better world. . . . it is God, the divine Evocator, who ultimately reaches out to us and beckons our reaching back; and, in that moment when God’s reach and our response link—in that instant of awe-inspiring connection—both faith and hope come alive.”

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (1997). Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, p. 63.

“The aims for older adult ministry propose communal undertakings and life qualities that promote the elders’ experiences of honor, dignity, and worth within the community. They reflect the value of honoring elders and are guided by actions reflecting these values. They also reflect the qualities we understand as indicative of the soul community, and they are undergirded by our belief that to honor elders is to cherish and care for all within the community.”

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (2005). Keep it real: Working with today’s black youth. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, p. xix.

“Our youth have a role to play; and one of the village functions of local congregations is to help youth to discern and prepare to take their place in God’s plan for transforming the world to what is real in God’s eyes. While the reality of the world may be driven by market forces and the fragmentation of consciousness, the ‘real’ from God’s perspective is a world living under the purposes of God. Youth must be helped to see that they have an important role to play in carrying out this purpose. Indeed, our youth become true hope-builders when they become impassioned by what they see and learn from adult models and mentors to embrace the realities of growing up in Christ and to live the Christian lifestyle in the world. This is, in fact, the promise of real ministry with black youth.”

Wimberly, A. S. (2007, Fall). The privilege of teaching. Religious Education, 102(4), 380-385, pp. 384-385.

“Meaning-making and wisdom formation happen along the privileged journey of teaching. They form in the throes of recalling the storied journey and daring to interpret alone and in the presence of students, colleagues, and confidantes the realities of the journey—joys and challenges, hopes and disappointments, goals and re-established ones. They happen through consideration of the veracity of decisions about what is best, the discovery that pedagogical changes or a completely new approach is needed, or becoming acutely aware of an unexpected and remarkable outcome. And, when meaning and wisdom form by our ability to imagine, gain insights, and decide how to continue on as faithful, responsible teaching learners and learning teachers, we acknowledge them with gratitude and count them both as privilege and joy.”

Wimberly, A. S. (2014). Worship in the lives of black adolescents: Builder of resilience and hope.  Liturgy, 29(1), 22-33. doi: 10.1080/0458063X.2014.846742, p. 26.

“Being intentional about reaching out to youth and inviting them is pivotal. Congregations must be willing to work at creating an inviting space that lets youth know:

·      We see you as you are.

·      We accept you as you are.

·      We relate to you as part of us.

·      We actively involve you in the worship experience.

·      We offer opportunities for you to lead.”


Recommended Readings

Wimberly, A. S.,  Barnes, S. L., & Johnson, K. D. (Eds.). (2013). Youth ministry in the black church: Centered in hope. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Drawing upon extensive research from the project “Vision Quest: A Study of Efforts, Challenges, and Needs of Youth Ministry Leaders in Black Congregations,” this book explores effective strategies for youth leaders desiring to provide holistic and relevant youth ministry. Through the use of case studies, church and youth program profiles, strategies, anecdotes, Scripture, and best practices, this resource examines strategies for hope-centered youth ministries in three primary areas: youth ministry leadership, youth ministry programs, and congregational support. As a “participatory resource” the book also provides reflection exercises for readers to examine more deeply their own experiences, challenges, aspirations, and potential steps toward effective youth ministry.

Wimberly, A. S., & Wimberly, E. P. (2007). The winds of promise: Building and maintaining strong clergy families. Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources.

Drawing upon their experiences of growing up in clergy families, as a clergy couple, and through their extensive work with clergy families, the Wimberlys examine the unique challenges clergy families confront. Using a story-sharing approach, this book explores five areas of concern: meeting expectations, moving, making family life count, meaning making in parsonage living, and managing catastrophic events and other devastating circumstances. The book also provides reflection exercises as well as practical steps to assist families in identifying their individual and family challenges, examining ways to build and draw upon resilience, and creating responses and actions toward a hope-filled future.

Wimberly, A. S. (2005). Soul stories: African American Christian education (Rev. ed.). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

This book introduces a storied approach to Christian education by reclaiming African and African American oral traditions of storytelling. Through a story-linking process (linking personal/family, faith-heritage, and Christian stories), Wimberly invites persons to explore themes of liberation, vocation, and ethical decision making in an effort to move toward personal and communal liberation. This revised edition draws attention to “wisdom” and “hope” as vital components of story-linking and reflections on vocation. Also, in addition to individual life stories, it includes family stories in the story-linking process. By using personal stories, case studies, reflection exercises, litanies, prayers, and Scripture, the book not only illustrates how a story-linking model of Christian education might be used effectively, but also provides practical follow-up suggestions for further insights and implementation. The book concludes with an informative discussion on mediating group processes.

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (2005). Keep it real: Working with today’s black youth. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

This edited volume sets forth an extensive framework for youth ministry that embodies open, honest, relevant, and critical engagement (or “keeping it real”) with today’s black youth. This framework embraces the congregation as a “village” and encourages youth and adults not only to share their stories, but to engage in genuine conversations with each other in a safe and supportive environment. A central goal of this text is to empower youth to grow as Christian hope-builders through mentoring and modeling from youth leaders, parents/guardians, and other adults. The contributors tackle a number of relevant topics under two broad themes: “Welcome to Our World: Hearing, Seeing, and Responding from Inside Teen Life” and “Called to Lead, Staying the Course.” In addition to exploring insights and challenges of youth ministry, each chapter offers meaningful reflection exercises, questions for discussion, and an invitation for readers to explore new ideas in their own setting. The book concludes with the voices of youth reflecting on the nature and meaning of hope and the person and qualities of the hope-builder. Practical advice and guidelines are also provided.

Wimberly, A. S. (2004). Nurturing faith and hope: Black worship as a model for Christian education. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press.

This book explores an innovative approach to Christian education that embraces the centrality of worship as a context for educational ministry in the church. Drawing from the rich heritage of sermons, songs, and prayers in Black worship, the text provides an insightful analysis of “evocative methods” and how faith and hope are formed “in an age of nihilism.” The book is divided into three parts: (1) Nurture for Belief Formation, which focuses on key aspects of faith and hope in the Christian life (e.g., God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, self, Sin, and salvation); (2) Nurture through the Events of Baptism and Holy Communion, which examines the ordinances of Baptism and Holy Communion as “pivotal events that nurture faith and hope;” and (3) Nurture through Pathways of Preaching, Music Making, and Praying, which explores the vital role of these elements in nurturing faith and hope through black worship. Each chapter offers additional commentary as well as an invitation for further reflection. The book seeks to inspire a deeper sense of faith and active participation toward personal and communal transformation.

Wimberly, A. S., & Parker, E. (Eds.). (2002). In search of wisdom: Faith formation in the black church. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

Inspired by the life, legacy, and contributions of the late Grant Sneed Shockley, whose groundbreaking work on African American Christian education inspired a new generation of African American Christian educators, this edited volume highlights various models and approaches to wisdom formation in the black church and faith community. The book begins with a foundational discussion by Wimberly and Parker on the nature, necessity, and challenges of wisdom formation in the black faith community. Next, the contributors representing the disciplines of Hebrew Bible, Christian education, and pastoral care and psychology explore wisdom formation through a wide range of topics including biblical and cultural foundations, cross-generational connectedness, wisdom formation across the life span, mentoring males and females, and human sexuality. The concluding chapter explores a spirituality of wisdom and invites readers to nurture their own sense of wisdom spirituality through three experiential exercises. They are “Moving Toward Self-awareness,” “Meditation on Drinking from the Stream of Water in the Desert,” and “Meditation on Knowing the Presence of God.”

Wimberly, A. S. (Ed.). (1997). Honoring African American elders: A ministry in the soul community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

This book is a practical guide for effective ministry with older adults. While it delineates the pressing issues and concerns facing the elderly, it also challenges congregations to return older adults to a position of honor in the black church and community. To this end, the book explores two interrelated values, deeply rooted in African American heritage and congregational life that form the bases of caring and compassionate ministry with African American elders: honor and soul community. The black church and community must honor elders as recipients of care, repositories of wisdom, and resourceful participants. And, the soul community, understood as an extended family, embodies hospitality, a close bond among members, joyful remembering, and concrete action. The book goes on to explore practices of “honor-bestowing” ministry that includes a wide range of relevant topics for ministry with older adults, ranging from cross-generational relationships and networking to pastoral care and issues of health, illness, and death. As a practical and participatory guide, the book offers concluding commentary and questions for reflection at the end of each chapter. The book closes with an insightful discussion on honoring and sharing our elders’ wisdom.  


Author Information

Yolanda Y. Smith

Yolanda Y. Smith has served as Associate Professor, Research Scholar, and Lecturer of Christian Education at Yale Divinity School. She submitted her forthcoming article, “Anne E. Streaty Wimberly” to the Encyclopedia of Christian Education. She also contributed the article “Forming Wisdom through Cultural Rootedness” to In Search of Wisdom: Faith Formation in the Black Church, edited by Anne E. Streaty Wimberly and Evelyn L. Parker and published by Abingdon Press. Additionally, she has worked collaboratively with Wimberly through REA:APPRRE and the Yale Youth Ministry Initiative Lecture Series.

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