Gregory C. Ellison II

Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Gregory C. Ellison II
Phone: 404.727.7291
    • PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2008
    • MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2002
    • BA, Emory University, 1999

    The Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Ellison II joined the Candler faculty in 2009. His teaching draws primarily from his work with the organization he founded called Fearless Dialogues, a non-profit organization that creates unique spaces for unlikely partners to have hard, heartfelt conversations on taboo subjects like racism, classism, and community violence. 

    Ellison’s research focuses on caring with marginalized populations, pastoral care as social activism, and 20th and 21st century mysticism. He is the author of Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men, and Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice and is the editor of Anchored in the Current: Discovering Howard Thurman as Educator, Activist, Guide, and Prophet.

    Ellison is a board trustee of the Forum for Theological Exploration, and a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology and the American Academy of Religion. At Emory, Ellison is a member of the Task Force on Community Memory, Difference, and Reconciliation. 

    Ellison has twice been the recipient of Candler’s “Faculty Person of the Year” award, in 2010-2011 and 2016-2017. Also, in 2014, Ellison received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University’s most prestigious faculty teaching honor. He is an ordained Baptist minister who has served in Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

    Selected Publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication


    Editor,Anchored in the Current: Discovering Howard Thurman as Educator, Activist, Guide, and Prophet, Westminster John Knox Press, 2020

    Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice, Westminster John Knox, 2017

    Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men in Today's Culture, Abingdon, 2013

    Chapters and Articles

    "Impractical?: The Curious Life of a Scrappy Pastoral Theologian," in The Journal of Pastoral Theology, vol. 29, no.1, 2019

    "From Idea to Book: A Conversation with authors Duane Bidwell, Pamela Cooper- White, and Greg Ellison, hosted by Eileen Campbell-Reed," in Journal of Pastoral Theology, vol. 29, no. 1, 2019

    "Holy Activist and Wholly Other: Youth, Vocation, and the Problem of Fit," Princeton Theological Seminary Presidential Lecture, Princeton Theological Seminary Library Digital Collections, March 01, 2018

    "The Paradox of Empty Cups." in Leadership Directions from Moses: On the Way to the Promised Land, Abingdon, March 30, 2017

    "Open Wide Shut: Sensing Theologically in the Midst of Chaos," in Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy, Davies Group, September 21, 2016

    "The Way It Is and the Way It Could Be: Fear, Lessness, and the Quest for Fearless Dialogues," in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 63, no. 5, Springer US, June 07, 2014

    "The Dark Night of Rage in a Culture of Nihilism: An Interdisciplinary Examination of Remembered Faces," in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 62, no. 5, Springer US, January 30, 2013

    "Navigating the Borderlands of Fantasy: Reckoning with Fantasy Aggression in a Culture of Violent Media," in The Journal of Pastoral Theology, vol. 22, no. 2, The Society for Pastoral Theology, February 01, 2012

    "Fantasy as Addition to Reality? An Exploration of Fantasy Aggression and Fantasy Aggrace-ion in Violent Media," in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 61, no. 4, Springer US, January 21, 2012

    "Intimacy Versus Isolation (Erikson's Young Adult Stage)," in Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development, Vol. 2, Springer US, January 01, 2011

    "From My Center to the Center of All Things: Hourglass Care (Take One)," in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 59, no. 6, Springer US, December 01, 2010

    Selected Awards

    Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for research project "Fearing Less and Seeking Anchors: Interactive Digital Platforms to Enhance Pastoral Leadership in Uncertain Times," 2020

    Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice recognized as one of "The Best Spiritual Books of 2017" by Spirituality and Practice and Decatur Book Festival's 2018 winner of Judy Turner Book Prize for Best Book on Community

    Fearless Dialogues Awarded by Atlanta Hawks as Community Organization of the Year

    Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice recognized by a Starred Review in Publisher's Weekly, 2017

    Invitation to join Think Tank sponsored by the Fetzer Institute to Practicing Democracy Project

    Faculty Person of the Year, Candler School of Theology, 2016-2017

    Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University

    Research Leave Grant for First or Second Book, Louisville Institute, 2012-2013

    Faculty Person of the Year, Candler School of Theology, 2010-2011

    Baccalaureate Speaker, Candler School of Theology

    Postdoctoral fellowship in Practical Theology and Religious Practices, Emory University, 2008-2009

    Expanding Horizons Dissertation Fellow, Fund for Theological Education, 2007-2008

    Scholar-in-Residence, Historic Concorde Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, 2004-2005

    Doctoral Fellowship, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2003-2008

    Expanding Horizons Doctoral Fellow, Fund for Theological Education, 2003-2004

    "Faithfulness with Special Guest Dr. Gregory Ellison II" on the "For People with Bishop Rob Wright" Podcast, September 17, 2021

    “The power of Fearless Dialogues- Presbyterian News Service, June 11, 2019

    The Growing Edge, interviewed by Parker J. Palmer and Carrie Newcomer, Episode 11, May 31, 2019 Waking Up to Wisdom and Stillness in Community, interviewed by Preeta Bansaal and Aryae Coopersmith, May 25, 2019

    “Speaking the Truth in Love: Engaging in Fearless Dialogues”- The Presbyterian Outlook, May 14, 2019

    "Gregory Ellison II: Fearlessly Encountering God and Each Other" - Reports from the Spiritual Frontier podcast episode, October 11, 2019 

    Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story. Featured in this Emmy Award Winning PBS Documentary with contributors such as John Lewis, Vernon Jordan, Barbara Brown Taylor, Luther Smith, Jesse Jackson, and Otis Moss, Jr., released February 2019

    "Gregory C. Ellison II: 'It's good to see you. Welcome to Fearless Dialogues. Are you ready for change?'" - Interview with Faith & Leadership, February 19, 2019

    “Fearless Dialogues” - 2018 Decatur Book Festival, Decatur First Baptist Church, September 1, 2018

    “In the Fearless Dialogues Movement, People Truly try to See Each Other” - The Christian Century, July 16, 2018

    “A Picture of an Activist?” - TheoEd Talk, First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, September 24, 2017

    TheoEd Talk Q&A, First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, September 24, 2017

    Art Inspiritation Justice Podcast, November 10, 2017

    Service of Word, Cannon Chapel, March 14, 2017

    "When Activism is Worth the Risk" - Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2015

    "What’s Missing When Black Men are Missing?" - Georgia Public Broadcasting, May 13, 2015 

    Service of Word, Cannon Chapel, January 22, 2015 

    "Cut Dead But Still Alive: Seeing the Invisible with New Eyes," - Candler Connection Magazine, Winter 2014

    "Opportunity: Caring for African American Young Men," - Circuit Rider Magazine, Fall 2014  

    "Cut Dead But Still Alive" - Candler Practical Ministry Webinars, March 18, 2014

    "T.D. Jakes Presents: Mind, Body and Soul: Continuing the Violence Conversation: Greg Ellison and Tamika Mallory" - BETOctober 28, 2013

    "Why Ministry Matters" - Interview with Fund for Theological Exploration, September, 2013

    "Odd Man In: Seeing, and believing, the potential in African American men," - Emory Magazine, September 2013

    "Three Leaders Who Will Change your Perception of Young Black Men," - .Mic, August 2013

    "In passionate speech, Obama bares his Black self," Associated Press, July 2013

    "Learning to Notice Marginalized Teenagers" - The Youth Cartel, March 3, 2013

    Selected Courses

    A.C.T.I.O.N. Research Methods: Methods, Social Change, and the Vocation of the Researcher

    Blessed are the Uninvited: Quakerism, Womanism, and the Innovative Power of Liberating Circles

    Care-Full Preaching

    Care of Souls, Care of World

    Caring with Adolescents

    Caring for Marginalized Populations

    Caring with Marginalized Populations II: From Theory to Practice

    Confessions 'Round Midnight: An Integrative Examination of Augustine's Confessions, Black Literary Figures, and Improvisational Jazz

    Fearless Dialogues First Year Course

    Fearless Dialogues in Church and Community

    Historical and Global Perspectives of Pastoral Care and Counseling 

    Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling  

    Moral Leadership in International Context

    Psychologies of Power

    SELF.CARE.HOPE.: Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling

    Spirituality, Silence, and Social Action