Pamela Lightsey is a scholar, social justice activist, and military veteran whose academic and research interests include: classical and contemporary just war theory, Womanist theology, Queer theory and theology, and African American religious history and theologies. In 2005, Dr. Lightsey was ordained as an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church. In 2005, she became the first out African American queer lesbian clergy in the denomination. She has served as associate pastor of a church in south Georgia, senior pastor of an urban church on the south side of Chicago, has done work for several UM general agencies and has strong connections within several mainline denominations.
As an activist, Dr. Lightsey has worked within the LGBTQ community to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy and to ensure marriage equality, and she continues to critique churches for homophobic polity, liturgy and homiletics. Pamela was on the ground protesting against excessive police force during the first 21 days of unrest in Ferguson and was one of several livestreamers providing ongoing broadcasts across a one year period. Dr. Lightsey has consistently collaborated with activist-colleagues in the movement for the liberation of Black lives, those addressing violence against Black transwomen, and institutional racism on college campuses.
Pamela has served as co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group helping lead the work of the steering committee to develop their annual conference sessions dedicated to privileging the theological and ethical scholarship and experiences of Black women in America. She was among the first members of the Executive Committee for the Soul Repair Project, which studies the role of moral injury in veterans. The project is funded by several sources including a Lilly Endowment grant and is directed by feminist scholar, Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock.
Pamela’s several publications include the full manuscript, “Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology” (Wipf and Stock), “He Is Black and We are Queer” in Albert Cleage Jr and the Black Madonna and Child (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), “Reconciliation,” in Prophetic Evangelicals: Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), and “If There Should Come a Word” in Black United Methodists Preach! (Abingdon Press).