Dean Jan Love has announced that Natalya A. Cherry, assistant professor of Methodist studies and theology at Brite Divinity School, will serve as the Russell E. Richey and Merle Umstead Richey Visiting Professor in Methodist and Wesleyan Studies for the 2023-2024 academic year.
In this role, Cherry will teach the August-term course “Missions and Marginalization: Theology of Reparations” and a May-term course that will stem from her current research on Methodism co-founder John Wesley’s singleness and communal living, through the lens of current conversations around human sexual ethics and ecclesiology.
An ordained elder in the Susquehanna Conference of The United Methodist Church, Cherry pastored local churches for over a decade and served on the ministry staffs of Bethesda UMC in Bethesda, Maryland, and Metropolitan Memorial UMC in Washington, DC. She has taught at Brite since 2018. Cherry earned her MDiv from Wesley Theological Seminary and her PhD in systematic theology from Southern Methodist University.
Cherry’s research interests include early Christianity, epistemology of religious experience, Wesley studies, theologies of liberation, and postcolonialism. She is the author of Believing INTO Christ: Relational Faith and Human Flourishing (Baylor University Press, 2021).
Russell E. Richey—who served as dean of Candler from 2000 to 2006 and a member of the faculty until his retirement in 2011—and his wife, Merle, established the professorship in 2018 to benefit the growth of Methodist Studies at the school. Candler is one of 13 seminaries of The United Methodist Church.