The 2022 Faculty Consists of:
Rev. Jeremy Troxler
The Widow’s Way: Pursuing Justice and Peace Through Persistent Prayer and Direct Relationship
In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about an unjust judge and a persistent, protesting widow: a story which Jesus says is about prayer. Jesus’ parable offers us a fruitful lens through which we can examine questions about the relationship between prayer, protest, friendship, justice, and peace. What sustains a person to keep seeking justice in a dis-heartening world that is often an unjust judge? What is the relationship between private prayer and public protest? What are the limits of prayer-less activism, and the limits of action-less prayer? How can we engage in spiritual practices that aren’t an escape from the world’s brokenness, but a way to engage it more lastingly and more effectively, from a clearer mind and a purer heart? We will discuss these questions together by drawing upon the example of Jesus’ persistent widow, and by looking to the writings and examples of faithful people like Thomas Merton (a monk, activist, and spiritual writer), Dag Hammarksjold (a former Secretary General of the UN), and Dovey Johnson Roundtree (a trail-blazing African-American attorney and clergywoman), among others: so that when the Son of Man comes, he will indeed find abiding faith on earth.
Rev. Jeremy Troxler Bio
Rev. Jeremy Troxler is a baptized disciple of Jesus Christ, Margaret’s husband, Ada and Della’s daddy, an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, pastor of Guilford College UMC in Greensboro, NC, a child of his family’s tobacco farm, a former Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, a graduate of Duke Divinity School, a lover of books and walks, the servant of a beagle mutt named Jasper and an ornery cat named Skittles, and a fan of the Braves. Jeremy also previously served in ministry as the Director of the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative at Duke Divinity School, as pastor of Spruce Pine UMC and Maggie Valley UMC, and as the President’s Assistant serving on the island of Jersey within the Methodist Church of Great Britain.
Dr. Velda Love
Radical Spirituality and Radical Self-Care: Caring for and Healing Black and Brown Bodies
Our species is an African one: Africa is where we first evolved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth. Cultural historians and anthropologists confirm these facts. The invasion of the African continent, European colonialism, the Doctrine of Discovery, and the Middle Passage illegally trafficked people of African descent across the globe. In the 21st century we learn about the trauma of racial terror lynching when black bodies were brutally hung from trees as a form of crucifixion in the modern era. For over 100 years mobs of white folks leered with no regard for the humanity of people of African descent. Postcards and photographs were exchanged and sent to friends and relatives depicting their heinous acts captured in images for visual humor and memorabilia. According to the late Rev. Dr. James H. Cone, “the cross sits at the center of the gospel of Jesus, and also at the center of black life in the United States.” Yet, the United States government refused to outlaw lynching—public execution used as a tool of social control over black lives, until recently when The Emmitt Till Antilynching Act was passed and signed into law by president Joe Biden, March 29, 2022. Murder-lynching is a reality for people of color. Our faith demands we examine our history to address the ongoing assaults on black and brown bodies. Everyday life for some becomes a death sentence for people of color. An exploration into the value of black, and brown bodies is a learning journey that is spiritual and radical for advocacy, activism, and healing.
Dr. Velda Love Bio
Velda currently serves as the Minister for Racial Justice in The Justice and Local Church Ministries of The United Church of Christ National Office in Cleveland, OH. She is a restorative racial justice trainer and educator. Velda develops resources, educates clergy and laypersons to dismantle racism, and leads anti-racism workshops and educational seminars in an effort to equip congregations and community leaders to be on a restorative racial justice journey in order to dismantle and eradicate structural, systemic, and individual racism. Velda has served at as an Adjunct Professor, North Park Theological Seminary. Just a few of her publications include How the Church Can Participate in Anti-Racism Work, We Must Have Truth Telling to Have Racial Justice, Podcast for a Just World – Sacred Conversations to End Racism.