10th Anniversary Sankofa Institute | Well-being and the Arts

Oblate School of Theology

Originally Published on OST.EDU.ORG

April 12, 7:00PM – 9:00pm CST (Concert)| April 13, 9:00AM – 12:00PM CST (Lecture) | IN-PERSON AND ONLINE OPTIONS AVAILABLE

By Oblate School of Theology

Date and time

April 12 · 7pm – April 13 · 12pm CDT



Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

Eventbrite’s fee is nonrefundable.

About this event

  • 17 hours

10th Anniversary Sankofa Institute | Come, Taste and See: Well-being and the Arts

April 12, 7:00PM – 9:00pm CST (Concert)

April 13, 9:00AM – 12:00PM CST (Lecture)


Continuing Education events are free* to all OST faculty and staff, and to all students currently enrolled in certificate, credit, or graduate programs at OST.

All other students receive 50% off with student ID.

To receive this discount, register with Victoria Rodriguez, Associate Registrar, at vrodriguez@ost.edu or (210) 341-1366 EXT 240.

*Does not apply to meals and lodging.


Culture, collective manifestations, or expressions, including customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of human intellectual achievement, provide meaning for who we are and afford a creative way to practice our beliefs or faith. Black culture sustains us and allows us to heal and keep going when times get rough. In traditional Black or Africana culture, there is no separation between sacred and secular, the arts serve as therapy when we know dis-ease, and are disconnected from our whole, holy selves. The Oneness and awesomeness of God gift us with talent and embrace our rituals of expression. When our African ancestors arrived on these shores, culture provided a way for them to name our humanity despite the most heinous, violent practices of enslavement. This intergenerational trauma from those times remains today. Culture allowed Black folk to keep their heart, soul, and minds free even though their bodies were shackled. The arts provided a venue for shared coded communications. The resilience of our ancestors resides in us today. From the tapestry of their quilts, and their soul-food cuisine to the poetry, novels, masterful musical works, and sculptures—black art celebrates love and triumph, and provides a context for worship.

“Come Taste and See: Well-being and the Arts” celebrates the power of the arts to bring healing and wellness to Africana communities.

On Friday evening, Drs. Lisa Allen-McLaurin and Cheryl Kirk-Duggan present a musical conversation that honors this message: “Live, Loss, Love.” Each segment explores the various experiences we know through our seasons of life, our terrors and triumphs, and the power of love towards healing–individually and in the community.

On Saturday, this creative duo explores the intersection of the arts, healing, and worship from a womanist perspective. After providing an overview of womanist thought, the presentation: (1) introduces selected aspects of Africana art, (2) names some of the traumas and how they affect black life; (3) makes the case for a focus on wellness; and (4) concludes by sharing the intersections of well-being, spirituality, and the arts.

The presentation is sponsored by Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership.


Rev. Dr. Lisa Allen-McLaurin is an Emmy and Webby-award-winning pastor, professor, and public theologian is Professor of Worship, Music, and Spirituality at Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). She is an ordained elder and the Coordinator of Practical Ministries for the Sixth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) ChurchShe graduated from Millsaps College and the University of Southern Mississippi with Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in piano and music education. She also holds the Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

Dr. Allen-McLaurin’s teaching interests include spirituality and theology in worship and music, and gender issues in the Church. She has authored four books, including A Womanist Theology of Worship: Liturgy, Justice, and Communal Righteousness (Orbis Books, 2021) and the forthcoming text, The OneWord Worship Model: A New Paradigm for Church Worship Planning (Cascade Books, 2023). Dr. Allen-McLaurin was a featured contributor in the 2020 People’s Voice Webby Award-winning documentary, A King’s Place: Reclaiming the Black Church’s Civil Rights Past and a featured musicologist in the 2015 Emmy-award winning documentary, Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Sacred Music. Dr. Allen-McLaurin is a noted composer and arranger and, in 2019 debuted her Advent cantata, Christmas is Waiting to Be Born: An Advent Cantata Inspired by the Works of Howard Thurman at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

In addition to her work in the academy and the CME Church, Dr. Allen-McLaurin serves on the Music and Religion Program Unit Steering Committee of the American Academy of Religion, the editorial board of The Methodist Review Journal, and holds memberships in the Society for the Study of Black Religion, Hymns for Him Board of Directors, and the National African American Leadership Council. Dr. Allen-McLaurin is CEO/curator of Sunday’s Coming, a weekly online worship planning webinar, CEO/founder of Creating Collegiality, a collaborative leadership mentoring program, a member of the Sisters Chapel Advisory Council at Spelman College, has served as a mentor with the RISE Together National Mentorship Network, and is a 2018 inductee into the Morehouse College Board of Preachers. Dr. Allen-McLaurin feels a great responsibility to help leaders, particularly women, shape and hone their academic and ministerial gifts. She is married to Thomas McLaurin and their blended family includes five children and two granddaughters.

The Rev. Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, Ph.D.—Consultant, Scholar, Preacher, Author, and Performer—is the Founder and CEO of Dr. Cheryl Enterprises, LLC. A retired professor, Dr. Kirk-Duggan is at home and connects well with people across all areas of lived experience. Her family, friends, and clients span all ages, classes, races, belief systems, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. She helps people embrace their organic, authentic, sacred selves through love by assisting them to create a language to identify and make peace with loss, grief, and trauma in their lives; she helps people find joy and creativity through their writing. She provides workshops, online boot camps, inspirational blogs and podcasts, a bibliography, one-on-one coaching, and consulting. Kirk-Duggan has studied the anatomy of grief and embraces working with clients as a love of neighbor. Author and editor of over 25 books and numerous articles, she enjoys inspiring people to go from idea to completed document, finding their voice, and doing so with joy, creativity, and efficiency. Her chaplaincy internship at the Durham VA Medical Center (2023-2024) has heightened her capacity to listen and connect intergenerationally, interreligiously, and interracially with compassion.

Having served as Professor of Religion and Director of Women’s Studies at Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, NC, for 17 years, she now consults, writes, and makes music full-time. She served as a visiting Black Religious Scholar and Crump Professor, 2019-2020, at the Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, TX, and is an ordained minister in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Kirk-Duggan serves on staff at Young Missionary Temple CME Church, Raleigh, mentors, preaches, and provides support at YMT and in the Research Triangle Community.

2009, 2011, 2017 Recipient of the Excellence in Academic Research Award, Shaw University, Kirk-Duggan is also the 2011 YWCA Academy of Women Honoree in Education, a 2011 Black Religious Scholars Group Honoree, a 2012 Womanist Legacy Honoree Recipient, March 2012, New York City; the 2013-2014 National Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty member of the Year, Shaw University, 2013 Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession of the Society of Biblical Literature Mentor Award Winner; 2015 Austin Seminary Association of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary as Distinguished Alumna for Distinguished Service to the Church. She was the 2016 Westerfelt Lecturer at Austin Seminary.

She received the Shaw University Outstanding Achievement Award as International Recognized Womanist Scholar in 2016. Her current research includes: theology, justice, violence, sexualities, and sexual misconduct; spirituality, faith, and health; the Bible and culture; Womanist studies; women’s religious history and leadership experience; pedagogy; rage, grief, and transformation; and gender theory. Summer 2018 was a time of International Travel: Paris, France, for the Society of Black Religion; Salvador, Brazil, for the 2018 Consultation of the African and African Diasporan Women in Religion & Theology; and the 14th Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, Oxford, England: experiences for scholarship and ministry. In 2020, Kirk-Duggan appeared in “17 African American Women Theologians You Should Know About.” In 2021, Kirk-Duggan led a seminar for the Collegeville Institute, Collegeville, MN: “Writing Grief as Restorative Justice.”

Known as one who moves at various intersections, from professor and poet to preacher, performer, and polyhistor, Dr. Kirk-Duggan is an avid athlete (who completed her first full marathon in 2010; a musician, and hot yoga aficionado/teacher. Kirk-Duggan is a Great-grandmother, and family is central to her life. She loves to tinker with her roses, embraces laughter as her best medicine, and engages in the quest for a healthy, holistic, spiritual life as a foundation rooted in God/LOVE. Her metaphor for life: “Laughing, Dancing, and Singing with God!”