Dr. Joy J. Moore will bring her wealth of knowledge and experience to the Hoosier state this summer as she joins the staff of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University as associate professor of homiletics and Christian ministry.
Moore, who comes to Indiana from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, is an ordained Elder in the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. While at Fuller, she served as an assistant professor of preaching and was the founding associate dean of the William E. Pannell Center for African American Church Studies. Prior to that, Moore served as associate dean for Black Church Studies and Church Relations at Duke University, where she also was a visiting professor of preaching.
The Recorder caught up with Moore to discuss her life and experiences as a Black woman in theology and academics, as well as her future in Indiana. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper: Tell us about your background in ministry and theology. What brought you to this point?
Moore: I am excited to be returning to the Midwest. Chicago is my home. In truth, what brings me back is my mom. Her health is declining and I’m an only child, so as much as I hoped she’d come out to California, she’s bringing me back home. I like to say that I had the privilege of being raised in a Christian home and a part of a Christian community that taught us our responsibility as Christians in the world. It’s not that I have this celestial ATM that fights my enemies and hits them with lightning rods but rather that we are image bearers of God and God’s good. We were taught as kids to be ambassadors for Christ. It was a privilege to be raised in my community on the south side of Chicago, and several of us still keep in contact. We were in a small town in the middle of the big city. My grandmother was ordained in the Baptist church. I was surrounded by this witness to the promising goodness of God.
You have had decades of experience in both the church and academic sectors. When did you first decide to go into ministry work, and how did you know this was a good fit for you?
When I was a preteen I said, “OK, I’ll do this, I’ll go into ministry,” which sounded like a good idea, being raised in the church and all. Then I realized, when you go to high school and you tell people you’re gonna be a preacher, you’re not going to be real popular. I went and kind of renegotiated the contract with God. I said, “You must have meant teach, right? Not preach?” I got my undergrad in elementary education and taught sixth grade math. I thought that I had landed there and realized the issues that the kids were facing, even though I was a kid myself in my early 20s, the most important thing I could do wasn’t just getting them into algebra by high school. I realized that the issues they were dealing with then were life threatening, and that the promise of God I’d been graced with was the best thing I could offer. I got back involved with the church. The church I was in in Evanston, Illinois, required that we go to seminary if we were to be leaders in the church. I went to Garrett, a Methodist seminary. I said to God, I’ll get involved, but I won’t quit my job or move. Those were my conditions. I thought I could put limits on God, because I didn’t want to do this preach thing. I realized at Garrett that my theological perspective was Wesleyan. That was the beginning of this journey that led me eventually to being ordained in the United Methodist Church, and my credentials are in Michigan, where I served as pastor.
Source: Indianapolis Recorder | EBONY CHAPPEL