Category: News

Leader of Peace and Justice Ministry Certificate Joins Faculty

Central Seminary is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. Toya Richards has joined the faculty as the Director of the Peace and Justice Ministry Certificate Program.

“Central has long been committed to advocating for peace and justice,” said President Pam Durso. “The culmination of that commitment was the establishment of the Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence in 2018, whose mission is to ‘theologically engage, educate, and connect people of faith for seeking justice, nurturing peace, and caring for creation.’ The Certificate Program that Dr. Richards will direct is an outgrowth of the Buttry Center’s vision to offer educational opportunities and practical training for students who share Central’s commitment to peace and justice.”

As director, Dr. Richards will help prepare ministry leaders who desire to serve the church and their communities through social change. She will be recruiting students for the program, teaching classes, and helping to assess the program for impact and effectiveness.

When describing her preparation for this position, Dr. Richards says, “I come to this work from a lifetime of service focused on justice, equity and inclusion. My first foray into these areas was as a young newspaper reporter and editor working for publications throughout the United States. I covered poverty in the Arkansas Delta, universal health care in Vermont, and the challenges to earn a living wage in manufacturing in Kentucky, among other things. Later, as a communications leader serving in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), my work included highlighting injustices in the U.S. immigration system and spotlighting the New Sanctuary Movement. My most recent efforts related to peace and justice involve doctoral work on the impact of prolonged racism and white supremacy on black women in South Minneapolis, Minnesota, and cross-cultural mission work via my social enterprise, Grace Multimedia LLC.”

Dr. Richard’s holds a Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in pastoral care from McCormick Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University.

Speaking about Dr. Richards appointment, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, Kathy Maxwell said, “Dr. Richards’ focuses on understanding the need for peace and justice in context. She is gifted at hearing and sharing people’s stories. With that knowledge, Dr. Richards builds and maintains networks across denominations and geographical locations for effective, practical, and transformative work in peace and justice. For these reasons and more, we are delighted to welcome Dr. Richards to Central.”

Dr. Richards’ first day of service at Central was January 1, 2024.