Barbara Essex

Barbara Essex

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Rev. Barbara J. Essex is the Minister for Higher and Theological Education at the national setting of the United Church of Christ. Before moving to the Cleveland offices, Rev. Essex served for ten years as the Minister and Director of Pastoral Services at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA; she also was professor of philosophy and religion at Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo, CA. She has served as adjunct faculty for the Hartford Seminary’s Women Leadership Institute in Connecticut since the late 1990s.

Her other professional work includes serving as Program Director and Co-Convener for the National Religious Leadership Program, co-sponsored by Pacific School of Religion and Hartford Seminary. She has provided consultant assistance in the areas of leadership, education, spirituality, and program development and evaluation for individuals, diverse congregations, denominational agencies, seminaries and other institutions across the nation. She pastored and served on the staffs of several churches in the Chicagoland area.

Rev. Essex is a Pilgrim Press best-selling author of such works as: Bread of Life: Lenten Reflections for Individuals and Groups; Bad Girls of the Bible: Exploring Biblical Women of Questionable Virtue; and Women in the Bible: Insights Bible Study for Growing Faith.


She received a Pilgrim Press Mayflower Award for Spirituality for Bad Boys of the Bible: Exploring Men of Questionable Virtue. Her recent titles include Krazy Kinfolk: Exploring Dysfunctional Families in the Bible; Misbehavin’ Monarchs: Exploring Biblical Monarchs; Bible for Vital Congregations and More Bad Girls of the Bible. Her latest work is Bold and Brazen: Exploring the Hebrew Prophets and connects scripture with social activism and justice work. Her books are making a difference in how we study the Bible and in how we view ourselves as children of God.

Before entering the ministry, Rev. Essex taught English and Reading to high school students in the Chicago Public School System. She has earned degrees from Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, both in Evanston, IL.

Rev. Essex is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, member of Mt. Zion Congregational United Church of Christ in Cleveland and associate member of Sycamore Congregational United Church of Christ in El Cerrito, CA.

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