Kelly Brown Douglas ’82, ’88

Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union and Professor of Theology


3041 Broadway, AD 136
New York, NY 10027


B.S. Denison University
M.Div. Union Theological Seminary
Ph.D. Union Theological Seminary


The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the inaugural Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, leads EDS at Union in the education and preparation of students in fulfilling requirements for ordination in the Episcopal Church while receiving their degree from Union.

Prior to coming to Union, Dean Douglas was the Susan D. Morgan Professor of Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore. Previously, she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity (1987-2001) and Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College (1986-1987) and was an Associate Priest at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. for over 20 years. Since 2017, she has served as the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and continues in that role today.

A leading voice in the development of womanist theology, Dean Douglas is widely published in national and international journals and other publications. Her groundbreaking and widely used book Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective (1999) was the first to address the issue of homophobia within the black church community. Her latest book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (2015) examines the deep roots of “Stand Your Ground” culture in America and the challenges it brings for the Black Church community. Other books include The Black Christ (1994), What’s Faith Got to Do With It?: Black Bodies/Christian Souls (2005), and Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant (2012) which seeks to move the black church beyond its oppressive views toward LGBT bodies and sexuality in general.

Dean Douglas is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Denison where she earned a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in Psychology. She went on to earn a Master of Divinity and a Doctoral Degree in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Dean Douglas was ordained at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in 1985 — the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Southern Ohio Diocese, and amongst the first ten to be ordained nationwide.