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Rev. Dr. Willie James Jennings is currently associate professor of systematic theology and Africana Studies at Yale University Divinity School.

Jennings was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his B.A. in Religion and Theological Studies from Calvin College (1984), his M.Div. (Master of Divinity degree) from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California and his Ph.D. degree from Duke University. Jennings who is a systematic theologian teaches in the areas of theology, Black church and Africana studies, as well as post-colonial and race theory.

Jennings is the author of "The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race" published by Yale University Press. It is one of the most important books in theology written in the last 25 years and is now a standard text read in colleges, seminaries and universities. Jennings is also the recipient of the 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his groundbreaking work on race and Christianity.

He recently authored commentary on the Book of Acts won the Reference Book of the Year Award, from The Academy of Parish Clergy. He is also the author of “After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging,” which is the inaugural book in the much anticipated book series, “Theological Education between the Times,” and has already become an instant classic, winning the 2020 book of the year award from “Publisher’s Weekly,” and being selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book of the Year in the Constructive- Reflective Studies category. And now Jennings is working on a book on the doctrine of creation, tentatively entitled, “Reframing the World.”

In addition to being a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and seminaries, Jennings is also a regular workshop leader at pastor conferences. He is also a consultant for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and for the Association of Theological Schools.

He served along with his wife, the Rev. Joanne L. Browne Jennings, as associate ministers at the Mount Level Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, and for many years, they served together as interim pastors for several Presbyterian and Baptist churches in North Carolina. They are the parents of two wonderful daughters, Njeri and Safiya Jennings.

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