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The Reverend Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D. is Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City and Executive Director and co-founder of The Middle Project, a leadership institute that trains faith leaders.

Rev. Lewis is a sought-after national preacher. She speaks throughout the United States and in South Africa on how to build multiracial/multicultural congregations. She tirelessly advocates for racial justice, marriage equality, and economic justice. She has preached at The Festival of Homiletics, at the Children’s Defense Fund’s “The Distinguished Preacher” series and at Princeton Theological Seminary’s “The Women in Church and in Ministry” and the Institute for Multicultural Ministry.

She has been adjunct professor at Union Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Graduate Theological Seminary, Wesley Theological Seminary, and New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Rev. Lewis has also been panelist at the Essence Music Festival’s Empowerment Experience. She has been seen in The New York Times Video, MSNBC, Associated Press, New York Daily News, New York Post, Essence, CNN iReport, NY1, WABC, WNBC, WCBS, and She blogs for The Huffington Post.

Rev. Lewis joined the staff of Middle Collegiate Church, located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in January 2004. Under her leadership, the church has grown by more than seventy percent. She is the first African-American and the first woman to be a senior minister of a Collegiate Church. The Collegiate Church was established in New York City in 1628. She is ordained Presbyterian USA. Prior to serving Middle Collegiate Church, she was a consultant with the Alban Institute. She earned her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1992, focusing on preaching and education. She earned both a Master of Philosophy (2002) and a Ph.D. (2004) in Religion and Society: Psychology and Religion from Drew University. She is the author of The Power of Story: A Guide for Leaders in Multiracial/Multicultural Congregations, the children’s book You Are So Wonderful! and contributed to the lectionary commentary series, Feasting on the Gospels. She is married to Rev. John Janka, the co-founder of The Middle Project.

Recent Posts

Jun 27, 2013

Thank you, God! What a joyful day. I am so excited about the historic Supreme Court rulings for marriage equality.

Jun 12, 2013

Central Point, Virginia. 1958: Richard and Mildred Loving jailed. Their crime: marriage. He was white. She was black. "We were married on the second day of June. And the police came after us the fourteenth day of July," Mildred Loving said in the documentary The Loving Story (HBO, 2011).

Mar 26, 2013

My parents wrestled with the idea of me marrying my partner. The sanctuary was packed but my father didn't come. Dad was brought up in the Deep South and my husband looked like the people who had practiced the nauseating hatred of Jim Crow in my father's hometown.

News of the support of our union, and the tremendous standing ovation the congregation gave us, traveled back to my dad. The testimony of the ones he sent—my mom and my brothers—was that our love was beloved; this coupling, no matter our race, was a cause of rejoicing.

Aug 01, 2011

Coming out as Christian means coming out for love. Last Sunday, July 24, I went to the Manhattan Marriage Bureau on the first day same-sex couples could marry legally in New York State, dressed in my purple clergy robe. I went to congratulate couples and offer a religious wedding to any who might want it.

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