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Campus Christian Center brings Katie Cannon

On September 24, Rev. Katie G. Cannon, Ph.D., renowned author and teacher led Berea College’s “Accent on Christian Faith Week” during the afternoon convocation. The convocation was sponsored by the Willis D. Weatherford Jr. Campus Christian Center.

Rev. Dr. Katie G. Cannon

Sept. 24: Cannon, the first African American woman to be ordained in the United Presbyterian Church gave what will be remembered as one of Berea’s briefest convocation addresses speaking on “Making Wisdom Visible: Black Women’s Literature as Embodied Mediated Knowledge.” Rev. Cannon described “embodied mediated knowledge” as an invitation for each of us to participate in the process of understanding ourselves. In order to make better sense of chaos in their daily lives, Canon encouraged students to discover messages of freedom through the written stories of others so they could understand the ethics of their ideas, faith and value systems.

Rev. Cannon -- who works in the area of Christian ethics, Womanist theology and understanding women’s roles in religion and society -- lectures nationally on these issues and is the author and editor of numerous articles. She has written seven books, including “Katie’s Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community” and “Black Womanist Ethics.” Cannon was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She is currently the Annie Scales Rogers Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia.

This week, Cannon also spoke at Peanut Butter and Gender about how to read the experiences, people, places and things which prevent us and keep us from being everything that God has created us to be. She felt that learning to do so would better prepare students to be able to face life’s experiences. Cannon believes people must do inner inventory work so “we can know where we’re being contorted, made into an oppressor, put into a straight jacket, denied the freedom of God’s grace and God’s love to be the person God has created to be one hundred percent?” She encouraged those who don not feel as if they hold painful experiences to use their inventory work to figure out how to use that privilege to share with others “so that those people who are being denied can have that kind of freedom.”

Rev. Cannon also shared with students, the importance of listening to their bodies and being intuitive to the realities their “gut” may be warning them about when something is wrong. She also spoke about the importance of being honest with themselves when they experience pain. Rev. Cannon shared that by seeking professional help, as she encouraged all of her own doctoral students to do, students would be able to help students to translate their new worlds and realities. She believes that the help of a professional therapist, counselor or spiritual guide would help students work through their fears of failure or success. “Your friends can’t be your therapy. If you’re from a family, where you’re the first generation to go to college, or you’re from a family where your home of origin will not understand all of the changes that you’re going through here at Berea College, you’ve got to work with professional people who can help you translate this new reality so you don’t sabotage your gifts and your grace.”

Cannon also gave sermons earlier in the week on “Confidence in the Ableness of God,” "Life Lessons: Mortals Obeying Divine Mandates” and “Prophets for a New Day.” For more information about Reverend Katie Cannon, contact Shalimar Sandifer at (859) 985-3134.

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