Black History Month Series: Living Legends
I met Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil at one of the most challenging times in my career. She was called in as a diversity consultant to help us in the aftermath of a series of racial incidents on campus. I’ll never forget picking her up from the airport in my red Ford F-150 truck. She and I shared a laugh about this bougie black woman driving a pick up truck (there is a sentimental story attached to my truck that I’ll share at a later time).
I am eternally grateful for that first visit. She came in and cast a vision that compelled our diversity team to dig deeper and examine our personal and institutional intercultural integrity. However, it was the time she spent with me that had the most profound effect. She asked the hard questions, she was a safe place for me to vent, she allowed me space to lament and then she prayed with me and encouraged me to fight the good fight of faith. I can honestly say that if it had not been for her wisdom and pastoral presence I would not still be doing this work today!
2010 MESA (Multi-ethnic strategic alliance) cohort
Over the years, I’ve called her on numerous occasions. I participated in a mentoring initiative with her and I’ve read all of her books. I’m grateful for her support and mentoring over the years. However, nothing has ever impacted me deeper than those pickup truck moments. The amazing thing about this woman and the reason she is a featured “living legend” is that I am one of the HUNDREDS of people who have benefitted from one on one coaching and intervention with Dr. B! A blog dedicated to the pursuit of radical reconciliation would be remiss without highlighting the remarkable work of Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil!
Excerpt from Dr. B’s website IGNITING RECONCILIATION:
Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a dynamic speaker, author, professor, and thought-leader with over 30 years of experience in the ministry of reconciliation. Her mission is to inspire, equip and empower emerging Christian leaders to be practitioners of reconciliation in their various spheres of influence around the world. Dr. Brenda earned a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, a Doctorate of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary, and was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from both North Park University and Eastern University. She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and is currently serving as interim pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, WA.
Presently, Dr. Brenda is an Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies at Seattle Pacific University, where she also directs the Reconciliation Studies program. For 14 years, she was on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a Multiethnic Ministries Specialist. Currently she serves on the board of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA, and was previously on the Board of Directors for Wycliffe USA and Christians for Biblical Equality. Dr. Brenda is known as an international trailblazer, leading individuals, communities, and organizations to biblical reconciliation. She was featured as one of the 50 most influential women to watch by Christianity Today in 2012. She is the author of Roadmap to Reconciliation (2016), A Credible Witness: Reflections on Power, Evangelism and Race (2008), and The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change (2005), coauthored with Rick Richardson.