May 22024

Chicago Theological Seminary to Partner with The Gathering, A Womanist Church, and Nevertheless, She Preached on 5-Year, $1.186M Grant

Building New Tables: Queering Womanist/Feminist Preaching is Aimed at Furthering, Womanist, Feminist, and Queer Preaching

CHICAGO (May 1, 2024)— Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) is pleased to announce the awarding of a $1,186,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., to provide multiple pathways for training preachers using womanist, feminist, and queer wisdom.


The seminary, working in collaboration with  Nevertheless, She Preached and The Gathering, A Womanist Church in Dallas, TX will design unique cohort learning experiences, introduce dialogical preaching courses into seminary education, and launch a residency program. CTS is one of 142 organizations receiving grants from Lilly Endowment through its Compelling preaching Initiative.


The three program outcomes of the Building New Tables Collaborative are:

  1. To create a model for teaching dialogical preaching based on womanist, feminist, and queer wisdom;
  2. To help both new and established clergy learn to make non-hierarchical preaching models more normative; and
  3. To build non-hierarchical preaching competency through seminary training and residency programs.


“Building New Tables leans into CTS’s long legacy of leading the way in feminist, womanist, and queer theological studies,” said Dr. Brad R. Braxton, CTS President and Professor of Public Theology. “We are proud to work with such honored partners who are dedicated to the same kind of equity and social justice in theological circles as The Gathering and Nevertheless, She Preached.”


The idea of a partnership was brought to The Gathering by Kyndall Rothaus, Founder and Executive Director of Nevertheless, She Preached. Rothaus’s belief was that the two ministries overlapped, and they began thinking creatively about a collaboration.


“We wanted to create space for the ongoing transformation of both preacher — the person — and preaching — the work,” Rothaus explained, “as well as to be a resource for cutting-edge homiletical evolution, foster inclusivity and intersectionality in theological discourse, and promote collaborative learning and community engagement.”


Rev. Dr. Irie L. Session and Rev. Dr. Kamilah Hall Sharp, Co-Pastors of The Gathering, agreed, and further determined that they needed an experienced partner to add to the mix. They were impressed by CTS, where Dr. Hall Sharp works as Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible and Public Ministry, due to its commitments to promoting womanist, feminist, and queer preaching within its student body.


The grant will include funding for a program coordinator who will run and administrate the grant under the leadership of Dr. Hall Sharp.


About Chicago Theological Seminary
Since its inception, CTS has lived on the edge – literally and figuratively. Established in the boomtown of Chicago in 1855, the Seminary’s first mission was to train church leaders on what was then America’s western boundary. Throughout our history CTS has been a leader in theological education, social justice, and societal transformation. Learn more at


About Nevertheless, She Preached
Nevertheless She Preached is an annual conference and year-round community that exists to elevate and center female, queer, and BIPOC voices who offer transformative theologies of liberation and critical reflection of our social and religious contexts.  They empower individuals and communities to break free from the toxic power of patriarchy, colonization, racism, and heteronormativity. Learn more at


About The Gathering, A Womanist Church in Dallas, Texas
​The Gathering is a womanist church of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ​that exists to create worship experiences that address social justice issues through womanist preaching and action.  It’s not just for women, though – it’s for any person interested in experiencing ministry where social justice is addressed through the gospel text in a way that raises prophetic voices and issues a rallying cry, speaking truth to power.  It is about the beloved community working together to dismantle the systemic structures that seek to oppress people. Learn more at


Brendan Diamond, Director of Communications
Chicago Theological Seminary
[email protected] | (312) 619-1733