Dr. Leah Gunning Francis: Silence, Ferguson, and Faith (Part One)

Dr. Leah Gunning Francis is the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.

During the Ferguson uprising in 2014, Dr. Gunning Francis was serving as the Associate Dean for Contextual Education and Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. As a result, Dr. Gunning Francis wrote the book Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community. In the book, She interviewed more than two dozen clergy and young activists who were actively involved in the movement for racial justice in Ferguson and beyond.

Dr. Gunning Francis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Hampton University; a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

We can not be silent to the racial injustice in our time. — Dr. Leah Gunning Francis

A native of New Jersey, Dr. Gunning Francis is married to Rev. Rodney Francis and they live in Indianapolis with their tween-aged children.

In the end of her book, she writes a message as relevant today as it was during her book’s release in 2015: “The fight for racial justice emerges out of the fight for human dignity. If there is any group of people who should be compelled to join this fight, it is the people who call themselves, “children of God.” Staying awake to the injustices that have been revealed through the Ferguson-related events is a critical task for communities fo faith. Our connectedness to our brothers and sisters is rooted in our connectedness to God, for we are all God’s children. And, in the words of the Civil Rights freedom fighter Ella Baker: “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son—we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”

Learn more about Dr. Gunning Francis by visiting www.leahgunningfrancis.com.

This is part one of a two-part episode. Part two will be released later this month.

Look for the leader within. — Dr. Leah Gunning Francis

Here is a video produced to introduce readers to Ferguson and Faith.

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

White supremacy has disembodied the white body. — Dr. Leah Gunning Francis

Episode 108: Silence, Ferguson, and Faith (Part One): A Conversation with Dr. Leah Gunning Francis (Part One)
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
With: Carl McColman and Kevin Johnson
Guest: Dr. Leah Gunning Francis
Date Recorded: July 28, 2020

Featured photograph by Cassidy Hall.

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Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.