Supporting colleagues and students is a significant part of my call to ministry. I am really delighted to shine a spotlight on one such friend, colleague, and recent doctor of ministry student in this week’s episode of Three Minute Ministry Mentor (3MMM)!
One of my joys is to work with new scholars on their writing projects. In the past year, in spite of the pandemic, my friend Rev. Kadia Edwards completed her Doctor of Ministry degree from Lipscomb University. As a member of her dissertation committee, I really loved seeing her find her voice as a writer. She also began articulating in writing the work in racial healing and justice that she has been doing for years.
Today I want to share our 3MMM interview with Rev. Dr. Kadia Edwards. Kadia is a graduate of Duke Divinity School, a fellow Baptist minister, and recent board member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America/ Bautistas por la Paz. In her current professional role Kadia’s is national coordinator of Volunteer Mobilization and Disaster Response Ministries for American Baptist Churches (USA). She was born in Jamaica, raised in the U.S., and she is simply a joy to know!
Having supporting friends in ministry is so important for thriving in the work. In my forthcoming book, Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of ministry to Life I tell the story of my early years of friendship Amy Mears and Beth Link McConnell. In that season, we were all in our first few years of ministry after seminary.
We did whatever we could to find time to spend together. Who are your people? And which friends do you turn to because you know they will listen without judgment?
Learning in Practice with Kadia Edwards
We asked Kadia to tell us about her work, her D.Min. project, and the questions that motivate and animate her life. We also asked about her must-read list.
As a racial justice trainer, Kadia has many insights, tools and learning experiences to offer. If perhaps you are thinking of showing the film Selma for a class or as part of Black History Month, consider using this study guide prepared by Kadia Edwards. It will help you facilitate good conversation with any group you are leading.
Tell us about your work at ABC-USA?
KE: Currently, I serve with the American Baptist Home Mission Societies as the National Coordinator for Volunteer Mobilization and Disaster Response Ministry. The work that I do is mostly centered around creating diverse volunteer mission opportunities. To this end, I work with individuals seeking to assist in recovery efforts. For example these volunteers help to rebuild, restore and renew areas in the United States and Puerto Rico affected by natural disasters.
Serving in this role has helped to further inform my understanding of disasters. Now I see the need for disaster response as much broader than natural disasters. There are human-made disasters, such as racism, police brutality, and poverty that need to be addressed both nationally and globally.
What was your Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) project about? What did you learn from the process?
KE: My D.Min. project is entitled, “The Power of Storytelling for Racial Healing.” I am a firm believer that storytelling provides a lens through which we truly see someone else for who they are. Stories also help us understand the lens through which they observe and interact in the world. Therefore, I believe that the work of storytelling is part of a peacebuilding effort. And it is important for individual and communal healing of broken relationship and systems.
One of the biggest takeaways from the process was seeing young people change. Youth I worked with became change agents in their local churches, neighborhoods, and communities. These changes came because of their willingness to dismantle false narratives that have kept them divided from their peers for far too long.
What questions do you live by?
KE: I love this question. And I must confess that my answer is dependent on what stage in life I find myself in. One of the questions that remains with me is: What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? Currently, the question that keeps coming up for me is: Am I allowing yesterday to take up too much of today?
What question do you wrestle with in your practice of ministry?
KE: There are two questions that I am currently wrestling with in my practice of ministry. Womanist theologian Katie Cannon often spoke about doing the work that your soul must have. When we do the significant work for our souls, it directly impacts our people and the global community. The question that I have been asking lately is this. Does my practice of ministry create an impact that allows God’s people to be liberated from bondage?
Here is a question for you, ministers!
How are YOU helping God's people to be liberated?
— Three Minute Ministry Mentor (@3MinuteMin) February 15, 2021
The second question comes from Quaker author and theologian, Douglas Steere. He states, “To ‘listen’ another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.”
His observation brings me to this question I am asking. Am I being intentional about creating space to listen for those voices that have undermined vernaculars and are often unheard because society doesn’t hear them as eloquent, thus rendering them invisible?
This week’s theme is supporting peers. Who has supported you through your Doctor of Ministry (DMIn) program?
KE: Honestly, to answer this question means that I will be here for more than this 3-minute conversation. Haha! The reality is that I have been blessed to have a cloud of witnesses. They accompanied me on the journey to complete the Doctor of Ministry program. My advisors, my sister friends, my mentors, a few of my co-workers and many spiritual mothers also prayed with and for me throughout the entire process.
What is on your must-read list right now?
KE: Currently, I am taking a month off from reading as a way of taking a sabbatical. That said, I don’t anticipate it lasting longer than a month. I absolutely love reading. And I am looking forward to reading many important books.
There are seven books on my must-read list right now.
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittany Cooper
- Floating in a Most Peculiar Way: A Memoir by Louis Chude-Sokei
- Four Hundred Souls edited by Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha L. Blain
- How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones
- I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation by Chanequa Walker-Barnes
- Intimacy with God: An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating
- Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell
“Supporting Peers” is one of fifty chapters in Eileen’s new book (coming May 2021). Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life is now available for pre-orders at Barnes + Noble and other places you like to buy your books!
Soon we will share a special opportunity to get both the new book and a companion journal. So please, keep following along with us!
Remember we are here to support you and encourage you to find your people in ministry, your peers, and friends who will see you through. No one should go it alone!