The Reverend Dr. Dennis W. Wiley, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has served for thirty years as pastor of the Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington, DC. After his nineteen years of service as senior pastor, the congregation affirmed the vision of Dr. Wiley and his wife, the Reverend Dr. Christine Y. Wiley, by calling them to serve together as co-equal pastors eleven years ago.
A distinguished theologian, prominent civic activist, and gifted musician, Dr. Wiley received the Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Harvard University, the Master of Divinity degree cum laude from Howard University, and the Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
As a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for the Study of Black Religion, Dr. Wiley has rendered theological presentations throughout the nation and has been published in several major religious books, magazines, and journals. In addition to currently serving on the Executive Board of the Black Religious Scholars Group, he has also served on the faculty of the Howard University School of Divinity, as a member of the Doctoral Advisory Committee of the Fund for Theological Education, and as a member of the Board of Commissioners for the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
Among his numerous civic and denominational commitments, Dr. Wiley is in the forefront of the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality for all persons, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other human trait or social construct employed to justify oppression and marginalization. He is the former Co-Chair of D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality and a former member of the Advisory Council of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program. He is currently a member of the Community Advisory Group of the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice as well as Founder and President of the Board of Directors of the Covenant Full Potential Development Center. For his outstanding commitment, dedication, and effectiveness as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the celebrated Nannie Helen Burroughs School in Washington, DC and as a former member of the Executive Board of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, both institutions honored him with “Distinguished Service” awards at the conclusion of his tenure. He is also the recipient of numerous other honors and awards.
Published articles, essays, and book chapters by Dr. Wiley include “Black Church Studies as Practical Theology” in The Black Church Studies Reader, edited by Alton B. Pollard III and Carol B. Duncan; “A Radically Inclusive Vision for the Fellowship of the Black Church” with Christine Y. Wiley in Black Practical Theology, edited by Dale P. Andrews and Robert London Smith Jr.; “Audiences of Accountability in African American Theology” in The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology, edited by Katie G. Cannon and Anthony B. Pinn; “God” in the Cambridge Companion to Black Theology, edited by Dwight N. Hopkins and Edward P. Antonio; “Hypocrisy is the Sin” in Ebony Magazine; “Gays Are Us,” Parts I and II, by the Center for American Progress; “Spirit in the Dark: Sexuality and Spirituality in the Black Church” in Walk Together Children: Black and Womanist Theologies, Church, and Theological Education, edited by Dwight N. Hopkins and Linda E. Thomas; “Black Theology in Praxis” and “The Meaning of the African American Church” in volumes I and II, respectively, of What Does It Mean to be Black and Christian, edited by Forrest E. Harris, Sr.; “Howard Thurman, The Church and The Poor” in Creation Spirituality; and, “Black Theology, the Black Church, and the African American Community” in Black Theology: A Documentary History, vol. II, by James Cone and Gayraud Wilmore.
An accomplished musician, composer, and arranger, Dr. Wiley co-founded the highly acclaimed Kuumba Singers of Harvard University. He wrote and produced an album of original gospel music entitled, “Something On My Mind,” featuring the former Voices of Unity of Covenant Baptist Church. He is also a charter member of the original Howard University School of Divinity Quartet.
In his lifelong quest to help empower all children of God to realize their full, God-given potential, Dr. Wiley considers it a special blessing that he and his wife are able to work together as partners in ministry. They are the proud parents of Aiyana, Samira, and Joshua, and the doting grandparents of Asante, Akaiya, Akina, Addae, and Ayinde.