Paula Owens ParkerAdjunct Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics; Program Associate, Center for Womanist Leadership
Our students learn from and develop relationships with our highly regarded faculty, many of whom are globally recognized as leading experts in their field of study.
San Francisco Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry
Union Presbyterian Seminary, M.Div.
Paula Owens Parker is a teacher, minister, and author. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church
(USA), she has experience in the church, the world, and the academy.
In the church, she served as an interim pastor, guest preacher, and lecturer. As program director
at Richmond Hill, a retreat center in Richmond, VA, she created Christian Social Transformation,
a course to facilitate vocational discernment for clergy and lay. She also developed SOZO: a
school of healing prayer, and Rapha: a curriculum of contemplative healing prayer.
In the world, Dr. Parker was the founder and executive director of The Daughters of Zelophehad
(Numbers 27:1-11), a transitional housing program for mothers and children in crisis. She
created Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, and Renewing Hope, a course in
healing generational trauma in the African American community, and leads generational healing
prayer classes, workshops, and services in the community. She presented a paper Severed
Stories: Healing Transgenerational Hauntings of Chattel Slavery in the African American
Family, at the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race (TRRR) London, England,
and Embodied Changes Even in the Re-Membering at the Association for the Study of African
American Life and History(ASLAH) Conference Richmond, VA.
In the academy, she was a design team member who launched the inaugural Katie Geneva
Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership Conference at Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2018.
She was the interim director from 2018 to 2019 and is currently the program associate. At
UPSem, she has taught classes in spiritual formation, trauma and faith, and womanist spirituality.
She also has been a guest lecturer at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, McCormick Theological
Seminary, the Academy of Homiletics, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at
Virginia Union University.
As an author, her publications are Roots Matter: Healing History, Honoring Heritage, Renewing
Hope, July 2016; co-author of “Internal Liberation” Kaleidoscope: Broadening the Palette in the
Art of Spiritual Direction. November 2019 and contributor, “Walking Through the Valley:
Leadership Exemplar,” Walking Through the Valley: Womanist Explorations in the Spirit of Katie
Geneva Cannon, (forthcoming November 2022), and articles in The Christian Century, Healing
Line, and Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology.
As a researcher, her interests are healing modalities for generational trauma in the African
American community, womanist spirituality, and spiritual formation. She appreciates the
opportunity to share her expertise.
When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys working on community service projects with her
sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., and the company of her friends, colleagues, and family,
especially her grandchildren.