“I must see my understandings produce results in human experience. Productivity is my first value. I must make and mold and build life. As an artist, I must shape human relationships. To me, life itself is the greatest material. I would far rather build a man [or a woman] than form a book. My whole being is devoted to making my small area of existence a work of art. I am building a world.”
| Jean Toomer
“We’ve made the world we’re living in and we’ve got to make it over.”
| James Baldwin
A first generation preacher, Starlette is a natural shepherd, leading both the alphabet and people to their best and highest expression. She serves as the Minister to Empower Congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention, where she is responsible for training congregational leaders in more than 150 churches annually. A graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and Buffalo State College, she has served as an associate and interim pastor and a clergy coach for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and columnist at Baptist News Global. She regularly writes for Smyth & Helwys Publishing Company and Ethics Daily. Her sermons have been featured by Sojourners and she is a contributing author in the book Faith Forward: A Dialogue on Children, Youth & a New Kind of Christianity.
When her mother told her that her father had been chosen because he had “light skin and good hair,” she determined that race should never have creative power in her life or anyone else’s. Robbed of a love story for how she came to be and replaced with the social practicality of race and the stereotypes of light skin that could work for her, blame her parents for her disgust with the sociopolitical construct of race. She got it honest and aims to rid every corner of her world of its perspective.
Tired of the prepackaged existence offered by the sociopolitical construct of race, she is building a world without its prejudices and stereotypes. Proclaiming the raceless gospel of Jesus Christ, she aims to destroy race’s pseudo- foundational position in the formation of human being and belonging, namely within Christian community (cf. Galatians 3.28; Colossians 3.11). Challenging the Church to live as the body of Christ and not the segregated spectacle that shows up on Sunday mornings, she has spoken at the Baptist World Alliance meetings in Zurich, Switzerland and Nassau, Bahamas, the World Council of Churches North America, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Servant Leadership School in Washington D.C. on the sociopolitical construct of race, a raceless anthropology, an aracial theology and the Church’s role in the ministry of reconciliation.
Recently, Starlette was awarded a pastoral study grant from the Louisville Institute and the Lily Foundation to study the social construct of race in the malformation of Christian community. Examining the work of Rev. Dr. Clarence Jordan, whose farm turned “demonstration plot” in Americus, Georgia, refused to agree to the social arrangements of segregation because of his Christian convictions, Starlette hopes to take this dirt to the Church. Her thesis is titled, “Afraid of Koinonia: How life on this farm reveals the fear of Christian community.” To read more about the project’s aim, click here.
An unrepentant academician and bibliophile, she is presently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., studying ecclesiology and the intersections of gender, race and politics.