Renita J. Weems, Ph.D.
Reverend Dr. Renita J. Weems
In addition to being one of our co-pastors Rev. Renita, as she is known at The Ray, is a distinguished biblical scholar, author, academic administrator, public intellectual, and ordained elder in the African American Episcopal Church (1984). Her esteemed and insightful publications, commentaries, and articles on modern faith, race and religion, womanism and social movements, make her a widely sought-after inspirational speaker and academic lecturer. Rev. Weems was the first African American woman to give Yale University’s prestigious Beecher lectures (2008).
She is the author of several acclaimed books, among these, Just A Sister Away, I Asked for Intimacy, Showing Mary: How Women Can Share Prayers, Wisdom, and the Blessings of God, and What Matters Most: Ten Passionate Lessons from the Song of Solomon. Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt (Simon & Schuster) won the Religious Communicators’ Council’s prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award for “excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media”. Her beautifully crafted and compelling words invite and strengthen audiences to explore their hopes and fears, call upon women to support and empower one another, and show them pathways to do so.
Born in Atlanta, Ga and ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Renita received her Ph.D. from Princeton Seminary in 1989 and was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in Old Testament Studies. Dr. Weems has taught at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Spelman College, and has served as Academic Dean at American Baptist College in Nashville, TN. She received her M.Div. From Princeton Seminary and her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College.
Finally, check out the book Black Stars: African American Leaders, a collection of bibliographies of some of the most important Back Religious Leaders over the last 200 years and you will see Rev. Renita featured along with such impressive figures as Adam Clayton Powell, Elijah Muhammad, Sojourner Truth, Howard Thurman, and Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.