yale

Episcopal Saint Is Namesake of New Yale Residential College

Anna Paulina Murray. Image via Carolina Digital Library and Archives / Yale / RNS

A new residential college at Yale University has been named for an Episcopal saint who was the first African-American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest.

Anna Pauline Murray, known as “Pauli,” was also civil rights activist who helped shape the legal argument for the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. She was the co-founder of the National Organization for Women and received an advanced law degree from Yale in 1965 and an honorary doctorate from Yale Divinity School in 1979.

What Good Is a Ph.D. for Reading the Bible?

Kjetil Kolbjornsrud / Shutterstock
A close-up of a christian woman reading the Bible. Kjetil Kolbjornsrud / Shutterstock

When I was a Ph.D. candidate in Yale University’s New Testament program, I had the honor of preaching at an ordination service for a classmate who was being ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Following the service, a number of my classmates asked me why I wanted to spend four-seven years working on a Ph.D. in New Testament when I clearly had a "gift" for preaching. I responded that it was actually my academic study of the Bible coupled with my life experiences that illumined and enlivened my preaching.

I did not grow up reading the Bible. I was almost 19 years old and a U.S. Army soldier stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany when I purchased my first Bible. A series of life-changing events led to me "accepting Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior." A few months after purchasing my first Bible, I attended a revival service at a local church. I returned to post that evening describing the service to fellow soldiers, who, along with myself, comprised a group self-identified as the "Soul Patrol." We were African-American Christians who strongly believed in the necessity of Christian evangelization.

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