The Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership is an interdisciplinary, multidimensional academic, formation and professional leadership process for developing and supporting pastoral/church leaders committed to ministry and proclamation. All Institute programs foster an understanding and appreciation of African Americans’ contributions to Christian faith, life, and witness in North America and the world.
About the Name
The concept of SANKOFA is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. SANKOFA is expressed in the Akan language as “se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenkyi.” Literally translated it means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.”
SANKOFA teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated.
Visually and symbolically SANKOFA is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg symbolizing the future in its mouth.
Sankofa Institute programs provide opportunities for intellectual, professional, and inspirational development of transformative leadership. Resources, partnership, and cultural engagement enhance classes, lectures, symposia, worship conferences, workshops, internships and practical field education, and support our programming across North America, and include sister and brother communities from Africa.
A Web of Connections
In recognition of the web of connections and faith traditions represented in the African American Christian community, the Institute is committed to partnering with other academic and cultural institutions for our mutual benefit and for the most effective and efficient way to reach the programmatic goals of our students and the mission of the Oblate School of Theology.
Become a Sankofa Scholar
The Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership is committed to developing and supporting pastoral leaders, men and women of all races and backgrounds, for the African American Christian community within the context of the universal Christian mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Institute aims to foster within Church leaders an understanding and appreciation of African Americans’ contributions to the entirety of Christian faith, life, and witness in North America. The Sankofa Institute will provide opportunities for the intellectual, professional, and inspirational development of transformational leadership within the African American community, offered through classes, lectures, symposia, worship, leadership workshops, internships and practical field education, as well as social outreach and cultural celebrations.
Those leaders who enter the Institute as an avenue for completing a degree program at OST will find integrated into the curriculum critical methodological approaches from the African American Christian tradition as well as theological reflection and social witness experiences that flow from that tradition. The curriculum for degree students (Masters level and DMin level) is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary enterprise consistent with the pastoral orientation of OST practical and reflective engagement with the multi-cultural, global reality of church and society. The interdisciplinary categories specific to the Sankofa Institute will include:
• Black Church History
• Black Biblical Studies
• Black Theologies
• Sociology of Black Religion
• Contemporary Issues in the Black Church
• African American Christian Social Ethics
• African American Christian Education
• Black Church Worship and Nurture
• Black Preaching
• Social Justice
Leaders can enter the Institute to complete a degree program at OST via an integrated curriculum of critical methodological approaches from the African American Christian tradition, theological reflection and social witness experiences from that tradition. The curriculum for degree students (Master and Doctoral levels) is multidisciplinary enterprise consistent with the pastoral orientation engagement with the multicultural, global reality of the church and society.
Sankofa Institute Events
For information regarding any program, please contact the Registrar’s Office
(210) 341-1366 EXT 226
Sankofa Affiliated Faculty
Rev. Dr. Dwight Webster
History of the Black Church: Black Worship and Nurture; Black Preaching
(New Orleans, adjunct faculty at Xavier’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS))
Dr. Stephen Reid
Black Biblical Hermeneutics
(Baylor, Truett Divinity; adjunct faculty at Xavier’s IBCS)
Dr. Diana Hayes
Black Theology; Liberation Theologies, African American Spirituality, Womanist Theology
(Emeritus, Georgetown University, DC; adjust faculty at Xavier’s IBCS)
Dr. Shawnee Marie Daniels-Sykes
Black Ethics; Medical Ethics
(Mt. Mary University, Milwaukee, WI; adjunct faculty at Xavier’s IBCS)
Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.
Black Preaching, Black Church, Leadership Development
(Oakland, CA; esteemed faculty GTU/American Baptist Seminary of the West)
Rev. Dr. Michael Battle
Black Church; African American Spirituality
(Peace Institute; regular speaker at OST on Bantu Spirituality)
Dr. Sharon Grant, PhD
Black Church History, Methodist History, Polity, and Doctrine
(adjunct at University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX)
Rev. Dr. Dwight Hopkins, PhD
Black Theology, contemporary models of theology, liberation Theologies, and East-West cross-cultural comparisons
(Professor of Theology and Director of MA Studies in the University of Chicago Divinity School, adjunct faculty Xavier’s IBCS)
Rev. Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, PhD
Womanist Theology, Social Justice, Contemporary Issues
(Professor of Religion at Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, NC)