Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 4:00pm to Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 6:00pm
Deborah A. Williams
(919) 660-3461

Join the Duke Divinity School Office of Black Church Studies and the Black Pastoral Leadership Collaboration on May 11, May 18, and May 25 for its 2021 Black Pastoral Leadership School featuring virtual presentations and interactions from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT each Tuesday.

The Black Pastoral Leadership School is designed for pastoral leaders who are committed to ministry that empowers people to liberating and transforming work and witness. This year's theme is "An Arc of Black Church Ministry."

The school is an integral part of the Duke Black Pastoral Leadership Collaboration meant to strengthen capacities by discovering, designing, and disseminating effective quality Black Church leadership models through research, teaching, and convening. Duke University and Duke Divinity School continue to demonstrate their commitment to equity and opportunity by investing in leadership development for the 21st century. The school is part of their ongoing efforts as a flagship institution committed to knowledge and faith — "Eruditio et Religio."

Pastors School Overview

The Black Pastoral Leadership School hosts pastors for transformative learning experiences annually. The 2021 Black Pastoral Leadership School school will equip and inspire pastoral leaders to amplify ministry through the arc of "Contextualization, Conscientization, and Construction."

2021 School Faculty


Dr. Donna Coletran BattleDr. Donna Coletrane Battle explores contextualization—understanding oppression related to dimensions of race, class, and gender. She is a spiritual practitioner, soul coach, and educator focused on justice related to the intersection of race, gender, and spirituality. Battle is a mother, wife, sister, and friend who also coaches leaders, pastors those without a pastor, partners to cultivate healing in relationships, and commits every day to a life of being present. She holds a B.A. in Public Relations from NC A&T State University, an M.Div. from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University.


Dr. Lisa Marie BowensDr. Lisa Marie Bowens explores how African American interpreters and their use of scripture emphasizes Black agency and Black resistance to racism and white supremacy for Black empowerment. She is an associate professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. Bowens currently teaches the Introduction to New Testament Greek, Greek Exegesis of 2 Corinthians, African American Pauline Hermeneutics, and Introduction to New Testament Exegesis courses. Her published works include An Apostle in Battle: Paul and Spiritual Warfare in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (Mohr Siebeck, 2017). She earned a B.S., M.S.B.E., and M.L.I.S. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.T.S. and Th.M. from Duke Divinity School. In 2014 Bowens earned her Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary.


Dr. William H. CurtisDr. William H. Curtis accomplishes ministry construction through discovering and designing strategies, building partnerships, resourcing projects, and executing transformational and sustainable impact for liberation and reconciliation. He serves as senior pastor of the Mount Ararat Baptist Church, a large, urban ministry in Pittsburgh, Penn., that ministers to more than 10,000 members within the community.  As the pastor there for the last twenty-four years, Curtis has led the congregation in ministry to the whole community. Under his leadership, the church implemented a Community Tithe Program, which returns over ten percent of the congregation's weekly offerings to small churches, para-church ministries, and non-profit organizations. Curtis has been an instructor at the United Theological Seminary. He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Morgan State University, an M.Div. from Howard University School of Divinity, and a D.Min. from United Theological Seminary Dayton, Ohio.


The schedule for the Black Pastoral Leadership School is:

  • May 11, Contextualization Presentation and Interaction with Dr. Donna Coletrane Battle
  • May 18, Conscientization Presentation and Interaction with Dr. Lisa Marie Bowens
  • May 25, Construction Presentation and Interaction with Dr. William H. Curtis.

The school will be held each Tuesday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. EDT.

Registration & Costs


Register here


The cost for registration is $100 each for participants, with the first 100 registrants being given free registration. Registration is also free for Duke Divinity School alumni, faculty, staff, and students.

Registrants are welcome to invest in Duke Divinity School’s Office of Black Church Studies General Programs fund by visiting Giving Opportunity.

In addition, registration and participation in the 2021 Black Pastoral Leadership School give participants six months of access to the Duke Divinity School Library online and a certificate of completion. All lectures will be recorded, and registrants will have six months of access to the recordings and all resource material shared by the presenting faculty.


Contact Deborah A. Williams,  project coordinator for the Black Pastoral Leadership Collaboration, with questions or for more information.