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Johnson C. Smith Seminary opens registration for 2022 Drum Major for Justice cohorts

The five-month certificate program in public theology is open to faith, civic and justice leaders

by Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary plans a pair of 2022 cohorts of its signature Drum Major for Justice certificate program.

LOUISVILLE — Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary has opened registration for two new cohorts in its signature Drum Major for Justice Certificate Program. Applicants may visit the seminary’s website,, for more information and to register.

Drum Major for Justice is a five-month certificate program in public theology designed to equip pastors, civic and community leaders, and activists to find their voice in collaboration and organized action with others. The program explores the common roots of racial oppression and resistance movements (e.g., the Black Church, Black and Womanist Theology, Liberation Theology, Indigenous Peoples’ Theology), in order to mobilize communities to pursue racial justice and societal transformation.

The Rev. Paul Roberts

“Dr. King used the role of drum major as a metaphor many times in his oratory,” says the Rev. Paul Roberts, President of JCSTS. “In his 1968 ‘Drum Major Instinct’ sermon, he encourages listeners to do justice not for the sake of public prominence but as public acts of service and faith. This certificate program picks up on Dr. King’s themes.”

“I am totally moved by the Drum Major for Justice Program,” says 2021 graduate the Rev. Richard Clements Jr., an adjunct faculty member at Barry University in Miami. “The content is fresh, and the approach is FUBU! [For Us, By Us]

“Economic justice is more than overflow justice,” says Priscilla Wilkinson, another 2021 graduate, who says the program helped her bridge a deeper understanding of the relationship between economics and justice.

JCSTS will roll out two cohorts in 2022. The first cohort, known as the MLK Cohort, starts on January 14, 2022, and has a registration deadline of December 15, 2021. The second cohort, known as the Juneteenth Cohort, starts June 17, 2022, and has a registration deadline of May 15, 2022. Each cohort is limited to 12 persons. The cost of the program is $1,249.00. Scholarships are available.

The mission of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary is to advance communities of faith, justice, and compassion through innovation in theological education. JCSTS is one of the 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the only one that is historically African American. In 2014, JCSTS adopted a competency-based educational model and moved to a digital online platform. This has proved prudent in light of the pandemic and other societal circumstances. In 2022, JCSTS will celebrate its 155th anniversary. For more information, go here.

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