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“Storytelling in the Black Religious Tradition”

The Black Church in America has been a place of refuge for generations of African and African Americans. It has housed African spiritual practices though eras of tragedy and triumph.  One element that has played an instrumental role in the preservation of the black church experience has been storytelling. Through the power of sharing the narratives both personal and biblical across gender and class, it has molded our culture in a strange land. In this session, Associate Dean of Ministry studies, Teddy Hickman-Maynard and local Pastor, Dr. Gloria White- Hammond, will examine how the use of storytelling has shaped and continues to transform the black religious tradition in the United States of America. 


Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D


Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D. is the Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Boston, MA, and Executive Director of My Sister's Keeper. In 2007 Dr. White-Hammond retired after 27 years as a pediatrician at the South End Community Health Center. 


Rev. Dr. White-Hammond has a long history of involvement in community service. In 1994 she founded the church-based creative writing/mentoring ministry, "Do The Write Thing" for high-risk adolescent females. The project now serves over 200 young women through small groups in Boston public schools, juvenile detention facilities and on site at Bethel AME Church. In 2003, Rev. White-Hammond and Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel cofounded The Red Tent, an initiative which convenes Christian and Jewish women for small group Torah/Bible study.


Dr. White-Hammond's work as a humanitarian has achieved global impact. She has worked as a medical missionary in the African countries of Botswana, Cote D'Ivoire and South Africa. Since 2001, she has made numerous trips into war-torn southern Sudan where she was involved in obtaining the freedom of 10,000 women and children enslaved during two decades of civil war. In 2002, she co-founded My Sister's Keeper,, a humanitarian women's group that partners with women of Sudan in their efforts toward reconciliation and reconstruction of their communities. Since 2004, My Sister's Keeper has developed two grinding mill projects and completed the construction of the permanent campus for the Kunyuk School for Girls in Akon, South Sudan where 1000 girls are enrolled in grades k1-8. MSK's current projects also include the Women's Peace School, an adult women's literacy project for 200 women in Akon, and the Sisterhood for Peace project. Sisterhood for Peace supports the growth of the global network of diverse Sudanese women collaborating across traditional barriers of race, religion, geography and ethnicity for peace throughout all Sudan. 


In February 2005, Dr. White-Hammond traveled into Darfur, western Sudan to listen and learn from female victims of genocide in Internally Displaced Persons camps. In 2006, she served as the National Chairperson of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign and became the Co-Founder of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur. In 2008, Rev. White-Hammond became the national Chairwoman of the Save Darfur Coalition.


Rev. White-Hammond serves on the boards of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Tufts University, and Darfur Peace and Development Organization.


She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Boston University, a Doctorate of Medicine from Tufts Medical School and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School.

In 1973, Rev. White-Hammond married Rev. Ray A. Hammond, M.D., who is the founding pastor of Bethel AME Church.  They are devoted to their daughters, Mariama and Adiya, "son-in-love", Turahn Dorsey, and granddaughter, "Ella Bella Boo."


Dean Teddy Hickman-Maynard

Teddy Hickman-Maynard started at HDS as associate dean for ministry studies in August 2021. In this role, Hickman-Maynard oversees the School’s master of divinity program.


Hickman-Maynard was associate dean for student and community life and Assistant Professor of Black Church Studies at Boston University School of Theology, where he taught courses on social justice, church renewal, and practices of ministry in the Black Church tradition. At BU, he also served as a co-investigator on two research projects: “Creative Callings,” which explores innovative ministries that assist individuals and communities in pursuing lives of meaning and purpose; and “Trauma-Responsive Congregations,” a project that seeks to bring the resources of trauma theology and trauma-response chaplaincy training to bear on congregational ministry in urban settings.


He earned an A.B. in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University and received both an M.Div. and PhD from Boston University School of Theology. 


Hickman-Maynard has more than 20 years of ministry experience, serving in roles including senior pastor, youth pastor, minister to men, and minister of worship. Currently, he is an associate minister at Bethel AME Church in Lynn, Massachusetts, where his spouse, the Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard, is the pastor.

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