“We are a diverse group of women who love each other fiercely and have grown from and with each other since the day we met”
July 2023 – The Rev. Stephanie Kendell T’23 is the senior minister of National City Christian Church, the first woman to hold this position. She is also the current first-vice moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
In addition to her ministry, Kendell is the co-host of the Two On One Project, a podcast turned book, Are You Still Watching?, that talks about the intersection of theology and pop culture.
We talked to Kendell about her experience in the DMin program and how it has impacted her vocationally and personally. Read on to learn more.
How is the program continuing to impact you as a religious leader?
Rarely in ministry is the divine feminine a primary lens through which to view the work of God, let alone the human feminine experience which is why I am so grateful for the Women’s Religious Leadership Cohort at Drew Theological School. At Drew, and in our cohort specifically, the lived experience of women as well as our holy calls to ministry were not only studied but valued as a necessary pedagogical tool within the program. I have never felt as seen and respected for not only the work I produce, but the person that I am than I have in our cohort.
This has led to new understandings of my call, my sense of worth, and the wider work of supporting and equipping women for the work of justice and joy that God is calling us to.
Why did you choose Drew, and what advice would you give to other prospective students?
I chose Drew because I was interested in engaging theological ideas in an intentionally cultivated space for women. I also wanted to come to The Forest for the professors and to be a part of the faithful and expansive history of Drew.
My best advice for prospective students is to invest time in the relationships that are forming in your cohort. My Queens have been my rock and my inspiration during these past few years.
How have the studies in your DMin supported your daily work in ministry?
I learned so much from my cohort. We are a diverse group of women who love each other fiercely and have grown from and with each other since the day we met. Their stories live in my ministries and their support is a constant place of joy and spiritual renewal. The professors at Drew have also embedded themselves in my work in deeply meaningful ways. From the first class with Dr. Spencer-Miller [assistant professor of New Testament] where we deconstructed the understanding of servant leadership, to deeply investing in the work, legacy, and hope that drove Fanny Lou Hamer in Dr. West’s [James W. Pearsall Professor of Christian Ethics and African American Studies] class, to examining and exploring the holy relationship between God and woman and scripture with Dr. Johnson-DeBaufre [professor of New Testament and early Christianity], Dr. Keller [George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology], Dr. Hoxie Schol [director of doctoral studies], and Dr. Yarber [affiliate faculty in Women’s Religious Leadership], there is nothing in my ministry that has not been changed by my studies at Drew, thanks be to God.