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Velma Love, Co-Founder

Velma E. Love, author of Divining the Self: a Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness (Penn State University Press, 2012), is currently the Project Director for “Equipping the Saints: Promising Practices in Black Congregational Life,” a Lilly Endowment funded project at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. 

Formerly an Associate Professor of Religion at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL, she received the BA from the University of South Carolina, the M. Div. from Union Theological Seminary and the Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. Love’s primary research interests include sacred texts in society, the contemporary application of Ifa spiritual technology, Africana spiritual narratives, spirituality and holistic health, and the spiritual memoirs of women of African descent. 

Love says it is a fascination with story, the stories we tell and the stories we live by, that defines and shapes her work. Her publications include: Scriptures as Sundials in African American Lives,” in Wimbush, ed. Reading Scriptures, Reading America: Interruptions, Orientation, and Mimicry among US Communities of Color (Oxford University Press, 2013).  Divining the Self: A Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness (Penn State University Press, 2012). “Netnography and the Study of Religion,” Teaching Theology & Religion Volume 14, Number 3, July 2011. “Casting the Sacred Reading the Self: The Material Culture and Storied Environment of Ifa Divination and the Holy Odu,” Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds Vol. 4 No. 2 (2008). “Making and Re-Making Worlds: African Americans and the Bible,” Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Volume 56, 2002, Number 1-2. “The Bible and Contemporary African American Culture: Hermeneutical Forays, Observations, and Impressions” in African Americans and the Bible: Sacred Texts and Social Textures, ed.,Vincent L. Wimbush (New York: Continuum, 2000).

Her research has been supported by the Fund for Theological Education, the United Methodist Women of Color Scholars Program, The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Dumbarton Oaks Library, the Womanist Scholars Program of the Interdenominational Theological Center, and the Baylor University Oral History Center.  

Love is also a cultural worker with extensive experience in non-profit management, youth development, and community arts, having served as the Executive Director of a Big Brothers Big Sisters Agency, a United Way Youth Leadership Program Director, and a Community Arts Program Chair.  Dr. Love’s community service awards include: United Way of America’s 21st Century Youth Initiative Award, University of SC Black Faculty’s Community Service Award, and the I have A Dream Award.