The Rev. Dr. Richelle White knows exactly who God made her to be.
“I am unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian,” she recently told members of the Kuyper community assembled in the Vos Chapel for Ora Et Labora, a weekly time where speakers come to campus to talk about their work and how their faith impacts that work.
That means she is proud to be part of a resilient people who have endured both trauma and triumph throughout history and that she is committed to following God’s lead in her life, no matter the cost, she explained.
Kuyper’s Professor of Youth Ministry and Director of Field Practicum and Internships also knew from an early age that she was called to teach, although it took some time to discern the form that would take.
“I have been doing the work of a teacher since I was 14 years old, starting out in youth group and camp settings, but I didn’t know right away that it would become my life’s work,” she said.
Though White excelled at teaching in the Baltimore public school system after college, she knew this was not quite the right path for her. Then she experienced a call to ministry and entered seminary.
During her studies there, she discovered that she could combine her dual passions for teaching and ministry into one career.
“I realized that teaching Christian education to undergraduate and graduate students in a college or seminary setting was what I was called to do,” she recalled.
White said that she does not depend on the applause of others in order to feel confident in her own identity and call, which allows her to be her authentic self as she challenges her students to flourish.
After over 30 years of doing this, one of her favorite parts of her job is making theology practical for her students, she said.
“I would call myself a skilled backdoor theologian,” she added, to a ripple of laughter from the audience. “I present theological truths and slip them into everyday life.”
White has truly made this kind of education her life’s work.
She describes it this way: “My life’s mission is to assist God’s people in discovering their true identity and purpose by introducing resources that lead to continual growth.”