114: Coffee with Sushama Austin-Connor

Sushama Austin-Connor has degrees from Emerson College, Fisk University, and Harvard Divinity School.  Today she is part of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Continuing Education staff where she directs the Black Theology and Leadership Institute
She worships with her husband and two boys in the United Church of Christ and appreciates coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. (Sometimes America really does run on Dunkin’!)


Sushama describes herself as “faith leader, mom, wife, religionista, and media generalist.” She’ll hit each one of those in our conversation for listeners.

Some listeners will definitely identify with a struggle Sushama is experiencing as she pursues ordination. Friends of this podcast will know that we love and support the Christian denomination called the United Church of Christ, UCC. It is the denomination which Sushama happily aligns herself to with its social justice values. You’ll here her say, regarding her ministry/job at Princeton about choosing a theme for the Black Theology and Leadership Institute, that if they’re not doing social justice then she doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Sushama, Lekh, Rowan, & Rob!

It’s that important to her sense of Christianity and theology at Princeton that one might expect a social justice denomination like the UCC to wholey celebrate and quickly affirm that value in a candidate for ordained ministry.

While some faith traditions are broadening their lenses about what ministries qualify for ordination, even the UCC is slow to empower a clearly otherwise strong candidate. I pray that our listeners stay connected to Sushama to find out how her ordination story develops. Maybe we can start an “Uncle Tony Campaign” to help Sushama. (You’ll have to listen to the episode for the inside joke.)

As you can hear in Sushama’s voice and see in her pictures, Sushama definitely has the ability to “let it all hang out” and have a great time.  Thanks for the boldness and security in who God made you to be, sister.


Sponsor: United Faith Leaders

Black Theology & Leadership Institute (BTLI)

Princeton Theological Seminary

Harvard Divinity School

Emerson College

Preston N. Williams portrait, 2011. Photo: Harvard University Portrait Collection, links to recommended essay

Fisk University

Reinhold Neibhur Documentary

Dr. Preston Williams

United Church of Christ (UCC)

Twitter: @Sushama