120: Coffee with Paula Owens Parker

The Rev. Dr. Paula Owens Parker is a Presbyterian minister and senior program developer of Roots Matter. Though Roots Matter’s approach to generational healing is rooted in the traumatic experience of chattel slavery and the African American spirituality created out of that experience, it has a deep and powerful connection with other groups and cultures who have experienced historical trauma.

Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, and Renewing Hope was published in July 2016.

Dr. Parker received her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary (San Anselmo, CA.). She is a professor of Spiritual Formation at Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA.), is a retreat leader, spiritual director, and healing prayer minister. She’s received many awards including the 2013 Union Presbyterian Seminary Black Alumni/ae Trailblazer Award. Dr. Parker takes her coffee with 100% pure, light amber maple syrup.

Dr. Parker is the founder and former executive director of The Daughters of Zelophehad, Inc., an ecumenical Christian transitional housing program for women in crisis and their children. The Daughters of Zelophehad name came from Numbers 27:1-11 when Moses was dividing up the promised land. Moses protected the rights of these women when there was no male heir. Dr. Parker is also a co-founder of SOZO School of Christian Healing Prayer at Richmond Hill, an urban ecumenical retreat center, and co-founder of Seven Sisters Sharing Seven Sayings, a Good Friday service that is held each year in the Richmond metropolitan area. SOZO means to save or to heal in Greek.

In November 2015 Paula heard these two inspirational women at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Dr. Katie Cannon (on left, Paula’s mentor) and Dr. Mercy Oduyoue from Ghana (a mentor of Dr. Cannon’s). Both are theologians and ethictists.

Both scholars and ministers in their own rights, Paula Parker and Katie Cannon are collaborating on the development of a Center of Womanist Leadership. United Faith Leaders and The Coffeepot Fellowship look forward to that exciting project which Dr. Parker discusses in this episode.

In conclusion, as you consider these two quotes from our interview, we urge the reading of Dr. Parker’s book, Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, and Renewing Hope, for people of all backgrounds.

“The decision you make today effects seven generations.” -Sioux proverb

“Trauma is trauma. It happens in all families, in all ways.” -Rev. Dr. Paula Owens Parker


Sponsor: United Faith Leaders

Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, and Renewing Hope (Wipf & Stock, 2016) by Paula Owens Parker

Roots Matter LLC

Roots Matter on Facebook

Katie Geneva Cannon

Simple Green Smoothie – Thrive

Richmond Hill Retreat Center

The Coffeepot Fellowship on Facebook