Russell Richey

Consulting Faculty

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311 Gray

Duke Divinity School
Duke University
407 Chapel Drive
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708-0968

Russell E. Richey, consulting/teaching faculty and research fellow of the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition, is dean emeritus of Candler School of Theology and William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Church History Emeritus, Emory University. He served from 2000-06 as Candler’s dean. He previously held academic and administrative posts at Duke Divinity School, 1986-2000, and Drew University, 1969-86. One of the two editors of the Methodist Review, an editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Southern Religion, both online ventures and on the editorial board of Methodist History, he writes on denominationalism, civil religion, and American Methodism.

His most recent book—American Methodism: A Compact History, Revised and Updated, with Ashley Boggan D, Kenneth E. Rowe and Jean Miller Schmidt, (Abingdon, 2022)—serves as a text in required Methodist studies courses. Another recent work, A Church’s Broken Heart: Mason-Dixon Methodism (New Room Books, 2021), explores racism and slavery in Ohio and Kentucky. Methodism in the American Forest (Oxford University Press, 2015) was judged "the outstanding book on United Methodist history or a related subject published during 2015" by the Historical Society of The United Methodist Church.

Among his recent books are Formation for Ministry in American Methodism: Twenty-first Century Challenges and Two Centuries of Problem-Solving, 2014; Denominationalism Illustrated and Explained, 2013; American Methodism: A Compact History, 2012The Methodist Experience in America: A History, 2010 (the latter two with Kenneth E. Rowe and Jean Miller Schmidt); Methodist Connectionalism: Historical Perspectives, 2010; Doctrine in Experience: A Methodist Theology of Church and Ministry, 2009; Extension Ministers: Mr. Wesley's True Heirs, 2008; and Marks of Methodism: Practices of Ecclesiology, 2005.

He is partnering on a volume on Methodists in America in the Columbia Contemporary American Religion Series (Columbia University Press) with Ted Campbell of Perkins School of Theology and Ashley Boggan, General Secretary of United Methodism’s Commission on Archives and History.

A festschrift, The Renewal of United Methodism: Mission, Ministry and Connectionalism, Essays in Honor of Russell E. Richey, edited by Rex D. Matthews appeared in 2012. Richey’s book-length “United Methodist Doctrine and Teaching on the Nature, Mission and Faithfulness of the Church,” published as “A Resource Paper from the UMC Committee on Faith and Order,” was mounted in the fall of 2013.

Richey co-led the June 2016, 2014, 2011, and 2009 Summer Wesley Seminars of Duke’s Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition and co-directed Asbury Theological Seminary’s Wesleyan Studies Summer Seminar June 2021, 2019, 2017, 2015, and 2013. A writer for the UMC Task Force to Study the Episcopacy established by 2004 General Conference and for the national Episcopal-United Methodist Bilateral, he served as vice president of the Wesley Works Editorial Project and has been a member of the UMC Committee on Faith and Order since its launch. Attending successive Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies (1987, 1992, 1999, 2002, 2007, 2013, 2018), he was plenary speaker in 2002 and co-chaired working groups (1992, 1997, 2013, and 2018).

An ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and retired member of the North Georgia Conference, Richey is married to Merle Umstead Richey and father of William Richey and Elizabeth R. Thompson.