The Rev. Dr. Chelsea Brooke Yarborough to Join Phillips Faculty

Phillips Theological Seminary welcomes the Rev. Dr. Chelsea Brooke Yarborough as Assistant Professor of African American Preaching, Sacred Rhetoric, and Black Practical Theology beginning July 1, 2022.

Yarborough is an ordained minister, a poet, and an enneagram enthusiast. Her PhD dissertation, “That’ll Preach”: Decentering the Pulpit through the Non-Pulpit Homiletical Practice of Black Women, studied the sacred proclamation of Sojourner Truth, Nannie Helen Burroughs, and Fannie Lou Hamer.

“My interest focuses on how Black women’s preaching pushes against spatial demarcation for the sacred in order to invite a wider canon of worship and preaching expressions,” Yarborough said. “In particular, my work imagines the possibilities of preaching outside of the pulpit by looking at historical Black women who were non-pulpit preachers.”

Originally from Baltimore, Md., Yarborough earned her BA in political science from Elon University (2012), followed by an MDiv from the Wake Forest University School of Divinity (2015), and PhD in Homiletics and Liturgics from Vanderbilt University (2021).

“I am looking forward to joining the faculty at Phillips because of the imaginative ideas for theological education I have heard during different conversations with faculty, staff and students,” she said. “Their intentional focus on justice alongside the intentionality of implementing practices with this at the center is critical for me. I am excited to be a part of this growing community.”

She has received multiple awards and honors throughout her academic career, including two dissertation doctoral fellowships from the Forum for Theological Exploration. While at Vanderbilt, Yarborough also served as resident director of Friendship House, an intentional community bringing together students and adults on the autism spectrum. She also continues to write grade school curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House.

Yarborough is currently Assistant Professor of Liturgical Studies and a Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow and the Styberg Teaching Fellow at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She is a member of the Academy of Homiletics (current secretary of the Black Caucus), the North American Academy of Liturgy, and the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network.

Listen to her conversation on the Committing Faith in Public podcast. CLICK TO LISTEN

You can also watch her sermon from Remind & Renew 2022.