The Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman, associate professor of Hebrew bible/homiletics and worship at Lancaster (Pa.) Theological Seminary, was inducted April 1 into the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Along with the Board of Preachers and Board of Sponsors, the Collegium of Scholars forms the Martin Luther King, Jr. College of Ministers and Laity. The Collegium, which strives to sustain the non-violent civil and human movement in the public consciousness, is sanctioned by Coretta Scott King as a way to keep her husband's philosophical legacy alive. Members are charged with providing ethical and spiritual leadership to society at large, as well as serving as moral and intellectual role models for students.
The proclamation cites Bridgeman, in part, for her "life's mission, the relevance and the universality of your scholarship for the 21st century, and work with the teachings and activism of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Karamchand 'Mahatma' Ghandi and Dr. Daisaku Ikeda."
Bridgeman came to Lancaster in 2009 after several years of teaching at Memphis Theological Seminary, where she was founding director of the Return Beat Theology and Arts Institute. She served as general editor and consultant for The United Methodist Church's Africana Worship project. An acclaimed published poet, Bridgeman's latest poems appear in a unique collection of narratives, essays and poems on which she shares the dust jacket with Maya Angelou. The collection is titled "Risk, Courage, and Women: Contemporary Voices in Prose and Poetry" (University of North Texas Press).
Bridgeman is an ordained minister of the Church of God in Anderson, Ind. As part of her ministry, she founded The Tribe, a collective of young multimedia artists who use art as a spiritual discipline in service to ending violence among young adults, especially gang members.