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Katie Cannon Scholarship

The Presbyterian Mission Agency has created a scholarship to honor the name and legacy of The Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, a pioneer and legend in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  The Women’s Ministry Fund (E049991) supports Presbyterian women of color, clergywomen, college women, and other women with opportunities for leadership and spiritual development as well as mission opportunities in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Now accepting applications

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Applications are now being accepted for the Katie Cannon Scholarship, sponsored by the Women’s Ministry Fund.

The scholarship supports Presbyterian clergywomen and college women of color as well as other women of color with opportunities for leadership and spiritual development… helping women to develop leadership gifts and be equipped for even greater service in the PC(USA).

Up to $3,000 will be awarded for expenses for a leadership development event in the United States for qualifying applicants.

Individuals must complete a scholarship application and provide supporting documentation to be eligible for funding. Applications will be reviewed by a staff team in the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries ministry area. The deadline for applications is July 1st. Scholarships will be announced and disbursed by July 31.

  • Following the awarding of the scholarships, award recipients must submit a report to Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries detailing how the scholarship was used.
  • The awardee must submit this report before she is eligible to apply for another scholarship.

About the Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon and the Katie Cannon Scholarship

Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon was the first African-American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1974 and in 1983 became the first African-American to earn the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Union Theological Seminary (New York).

Dr. Cannon lectured frequently to diverse audiences on a wide range of topics relating to African-American social ethics. She presented papers on the intersectionality of race, gender and class, at several institutions of higher learning including Harvard University, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wellesley College, Smith College, MIT, University of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Emory University, Duke Divinity School, University of North Carolina, Boston University School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley to name a few.

Dr. Cannon received the Distinguished Professor Award from Spelman College in 2006 during the Global Conference, “Sisters of African Descent Connecting Spirituality, Religion, and Vocation.” She was the Annie Scales Rogers Professor at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia and served on the faculties of Temple University, Episcopal Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School.

In May 2016, Dr. Cannon was the recipient of the UNION MEDAL, the highest award of distinction presented by Union Theological Seminary in New York city. At the 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Dr. Cannon was bestowed the Excellence in Theological Education Award.

Show Them Who You Are: A Reflection on the Katie Geneva Cannon Womanist Leadership Conference

By Anita Wright

Show Them Who You Are.  This was the theme for the Katie Geneva Cannon Womanist Leadership Conference and that is exactly what it did. From the opening greeting to the final benediction, this conference was a time of reconnection, refreshing, and rest. Womanist leaders from every corner of the discipline were present.  This conference was like a balm to the weary soul as it helped attendees reconnect with who they are, with others, and with the work their souls must have.

The plenary sessions led by Dr. Stacy Floyd Thomas reminded attendees of who they are. She built on the foundation of our ancestors and womanist forebearers to bring us into the present, while contemplating our futures.  Dr. Angela Parker preached our souls happy as she helped us consider that the mother and child in Revelation could be Hagar and Ishmael, even as she regaled us with her real time translation from the biblical language.  Rev. Jennifer Carner called the roll of our ancestral mothers as she helped conference attendees to reclaim their identity and remember who they are. 

Tricia Hersey helped conference participants to reclaim their identity through rest. She encouraged participants to remember that they are not here simply to produce and that the work cannot be affected if one is not rested.  Hersey adjured participants to remember that they are not required to participate in the grind culture, but that they can resist by resting.  Her keynote was both a roadmap and invitation for attendees. In being at the conference (either virtually or in-person) attendees were invited to set aside time to fully engage and enjoy the conference.  Space was provided to reflect and reconnect with colleagues, to connect with new colleagues, and to network with one other and the work that each does.

The gathering was centered around refreshing, resting, and reconnecting. There were specialized networking sessions that provided space for groups of clergywomen, activists, and students to share and connect with each other.  There was time to dance, sing, worship, connect with the primal beat of the drum, break bread, laugh, and cry together.  The Katie Geneva Cannon Womanist Leadership Conference was a gathering of family—old and new. It was a reunion that felt like there had never been any time of separation.  All who attended left with a renewed sense of self, connection to the work their souls must have, and commitment to forging ahead. We were attended were reconnected with who they are, what they are called to do, and refreshed to continue the work.


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