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Presbyterian Mission Agency accepting applications for Katie Cannon scholarship beginning April 1

Scholarship supports leadership development opportunities for Presbyterian women of color

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

Applications for the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Katie Cannon scholarship will be accepted beginning April 1. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Mission Agency will accept applications for the Katie Cannon scholarship beginning April 1.

The scholarship, created to honor the name and legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, supports Presbyterian clergywomen and college women of color and other Presbyterian women of color with opportunities for leadership and spiritual development as well as mission opportunities in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Cannon, a pioneer scholar and legend in the PC(USA), died of leukemia on Aug. 8, 2018.

Up to $1,500 will be awarded to qualifying applicants for expenses for a leadership development event. Applications may be found online at

To be eligible for funding, individuals must complete a scholarship application and provide supporting documentation. Applications will be reviewed by a staff team in the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries ministry area. The deadline for applications is June 1. 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.

A leading voice in the subjects of womanist theology and women in religion and society, Cannon was a renowned lecturer on theological and ethical topics and the author or editor of numerous articles and seven books, including “Katie’s Cannon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community and Black Womanist Ethics.”

In 1974, she became the first African-American woman ordained in the United Presbyterian Church and in 1983 became the first African-American to earn the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Union Theological Seminary (New York).

She lectured frequently to diverse audiences on a wide range of topics relating to African-American social ethics. Cannon 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, Calif., to name a few.

She 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, Cannon was the recipient of the Union Medal, the highest award of distinction presented by Union Theological Seminary in New York. At the 223rd General Assembly (2018), she was bestowed the Excellence in Theological Education Award.

“Katie Cannon had a heart of gold and mentored many women of color, myself included,” said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “I have been tremendously blessed by her life. She taught us to be radically inclusive and touched many lives. Though her passing was a tremendous loss, Katie’s imprint is on us. It is her shoulders that we stand on today. She is now among that great cloud of witnesses.”

“The Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon is an important part of the landscape and contemporary history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” said the Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, director of Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries. “Katie was a mentor and a colleague. She was also a role model, breaking ground and providing opportunities for women of color to lead in ministry positions in the PC(USA).

“That is why donations to this PC(USA) fund, in honor of Dr. Cannon, are meaningful to so many of us,” Hunter said. “Women of color, clergywomen, and other women will continue to be provided with opportunities to attend national and regional church events, connect with others like themselves, network with those who are involved in searches and nominations processes, and be equipped for ministry. This work is some of the work that Katie did, so her legacy continues. And she continues to live in our hearts. I am forever grateful for the witness and ministry of Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon.”

Gifts in memory of Cannon can be made online or by mail. Those wishing to donate toward the scholarship should click here to donate online. To send a check, please make it payable to “The Presbyterian Mission Agency” and write “In memory of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon —  E049991” on the memo line. Please mail your gift to:

Presbyterian Church USA
PO Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

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