Jennifer L. Aycock is a doctoral candidate in Historical Studies-World Christianity. Her dissertation, titled “Black Nationalism and the Making of Modern African Christianity (1882-1915)” explores how at least three powerful and sometimes contradictory forces shaped the emergence of modern African Christianity: European imperial constructs, indigenous or local aspirations and debates, and the lively movements and ideological impulses generated in the wider black Atlantic world. Focusing on a local expression of African Christian independency led by John Chilembwe in the Shire Highlands, Malawi, the project establishes that early twentieth century African Christian leaders like Chilembwe drew on black nationalism to meet contextual challenges related to colonialism and Europeanized Christianity as they framed new visions for an African Church. Her work has been published in the Journal of Religious History, Mission Studies, Theological Librarianship, andby Les Presses de la FATEAC. In addition to her historical scholarship, Jennifer is pursuing a Religious Practices and Practical Theology Concentration. Prior to her doctoral studies, Jennifer worked as Director of College Ministries (PCUSA) in Lake Forest, IL and as Assistant Director of Graduate Residence Life at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). She received her B.A. from Wheaton College (IL), M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, a certificate in African Christian Studies from la Faculté de Théologie Evangélique de l’Alliance Chrétienne (Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire), and a Th.M. from Candler School of Theology.
An active participant in the World Christianity Reading Group, Emmy completed her Bachelor’s degree in Religion at Birmingham-Southern College and a Masters of Divinity at Candler School of Theology. Her research focuses on the relationship between faith, healing, and the moral imagination in transnational networks of care provision. Her dissertation draws on fieldwork from a network of USAID clinics in Nairobi, Kenya that provide care and treatment for children and adolescents living with HIV. She explores the ways that practitioners and volunteers experience, interpret, articulate, and imagine moral and theological possibilities for their communities and their institutions as they engage in everyday public health service delivery. Grounding her ethnographic work in a global health framework with historical roots in North American Protestantism, she illuminates stories of collective healing in Kenya that have the capacity to transform moral imaginations in Euro-American congregations and establish more equitable transnational networks that embrace epistemological difference. Emmy is a concentrator in Religious Practices, as well as Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding. She also serves as the graduate assistant for Engaged Learning with the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence. These areas of involvement have nurtured her academic and pedagogical commitment to scholarship centered on community engagement and social transformation.
LAHRONDA WELCH LITTLE
For almost 20 years, Lahronda worked as a chemist and managed a laboratory for a large corporation in Atlanta. In 2013, she became certified as a health partner through the Predictive Health Institute at Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology. This program focuses on health from 3 perspectives – physical, spiritual, and mental. This trajectory led Lahronda to the Candler School of Theology where she obtained a Master of Divinity, concentrating in spiritual formation; religion and health; and Women, Theology and Ministry (WTM). She also became a candidate for eldership in the United Methodist Church. Now, through her experiences and love for learning and teaching, Lahronda is a PhD candidate in pastoral theology and spiritual care at Emory University in the Graduate Division of Religion. The aforementioned threads are a part of the tapestry which depicts her interest in what she likes to call “holistic salvation.” An interdisciplinary scholar, Lahronda is interested in soteriology through the lens of public health and religion. Her core academic commitments are womanist and feminist discourse, Wesleyan theology, Africana religious studies, spirituality, and interreligious/intercultural encounters. Broadly, her methodological skills include qualitative and quantitative analysis, phenomenological inquiry, and autoethnography. Lahronda is the curator of Holistic Gatherings and a recipient of the GBHEM Angella P. Current-Felder Women of Color Fellowship and a Forum for Theological Exploration Fellow. Her skills include interdisciplinary study and instruction, pastoral leadership, workshop development and convener, intercultural team building, spiritual and physical health coaching, writing, and speaking for public audience, and administrative leadership. Finally, and most delightfully, Lahronda and her spouse, Tommy, have 2 teenage boys, Lance and Kyle.
Tala Raheb is a doctoral candidate in West and South Asian Religions (WSAR) at Emory University. Her dissertation examines how Palestinian Americans interact with Christian Zionism at the intersection of American religion and politics. Her writing has appeared in Exchange Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context and International Bulletin of Mission Research. She has also presented her work at local and international conferences such as AAR, World Christianity Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World. In addition to her work in WSAR, Tala is pursuing a concentration in World Christianity. Tala received her BA from St. Olaf College, and her MTS from Candler School of Theology.
VICTORIA (Yun-Ching) Shen
Victoria is a doctoral student in Historical Studies in Theology and Religion. Shen’s work focuses on East Asian Christian political activism since the 1950s, especially in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Her master’s thesis was East Asia Christian Identity and Political Activism-Case Study of Rev. Kao Chun-Ming. Prior to her doctoral studies, Shen worked as an admission intern and research assistant in the Candler School of Theology and volunteered as the Youth and Worship Coordinator in the Atlanta Taiwanese Presbyterian Church. Shen received the Master of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and she received the Bachelor of Arts in International Studies & History from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.