Erica Whitaker has been named associate director of Baptist Seminary of Kentucky’s Institute for Black Church Studies, where she will work alongside Lewis Brogdon, who became the institute’s first director earlier this year.
Whitaker, pastor of Buechel Park Baptist Church since 2016, is a Baptist News Global columnist and board member.
A native Texan, she has been active in Louisville’s racial justice efforts. She is part of a coalition of Black and white pastors who formed Empower West, a group dedicated to empowering western Louisville through education and economic development.
“This new position is the Holy Spirit’s imagination at work for BSK and my calling,” Whitaker said. ‘It grieves my heart to leave my beloved Buechel Park congregation, but I am thrilled for the opportunity to bring together my years of experience with congregational work on racism alongside the groundbreaking, innovative work of the Institute for Black Church Studies at BSK.”
She came to Louisville from Dallas, where she was a pastoral resident at Wilshire Baptist Church for two years. Before that, she was a student minister, a minister of outreach and a chaplain.
She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas and a master of divinity degree from Baylor University’s George W. Truett Seminary. She is currently writing a dissertation for a doctor of philosophy degree at International Baptist Theological Study Centre in Amsterdam.
The Institute for Black Church Studies is a new enterprise created with initial funding from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. It brings together three academic institutions in collaboration. Although a program of Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, it is housed at Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically Black institution. BKS, in turn, also offers the master of divinity degree at Simmons College and at Georgetown College in Central Kentucky.
The institute provides continuing education for Black church leaders and soon will offer a graduate certificate in Black church studies. It also serves predominantly white congregations by providing resources on racial justice education.
Brogdon said he is pleased to welcome a colleague: “I believe God led her to us. Her experience and gifts are a natural fit for the institute. I am especially excited about the leadership she brings to the racial justice work we do in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches locally and across the nation. We are well under way in building an institute that will serve BSK students, the National Baptist Convention of America, CBF church leaders and the nation for years to come.”
BSK is affiliated with both CBF and NBCA, one of the nation’s largest predominantly Black denominations.