Dr. Vanessa Monroe

Author, Convenor, Visionary, Spiritual Director, and Pastor

Author, convenor, visionary, spiritual director, and pastor Vanessa Monroe marries faith and social justice, holds space for individual and community healing, and believes that ancestral memory is central. Her lived experience as an engineer allows her to approach each situation analytically, asking questions about what exists and is possible. Her experience as a medical malpractice attorney gives her insight into the issues of institutions, their leaders, and their staff. It assures her ease with the new resident and the seasoned expert. And it is her considerable time in the faith community, where she has journeyed alongside people of all faiths and of no faith, where she widens the welcome and affirms that the care of each soul is essential.

Dr. Vanessa directs the Journey Conference and Retreat Center and pastors Bethel Church United Church of Christ. Dr. Vanessa holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction from Garrett Seminary, a Juris Doctorate from DePaul College of Law, a Master of Divinity from McCormick Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Northwestern University.

Dr. Vanessa has previously written for legal journals, a curriculum for youth, and a series of essays on religious pluralism. She co-authored the first in a six-book series, Exodus Women, Volume One, Securing the Sacred: Usable Truths, Secret Pledges and Clarion Calls, in the story of Shiphrah and Puah, the Midwives. Most recently, her essay, Excavating Darkness: Unearthing Memories in the Service of Social Transformation, was included in the 2022 release of Walking Through the Valley: Womanist Explorations in the Spirit of Katie Geneva Cannon. 

Dr. Vanessa volunteers time with several civic organizations and is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at Huston Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, a UCC-affiliated university. Vanessa and her husband, Kevin Monroe, have three young adult children: Paige, Kaleb, and Maya. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

"Kneel Deeply Where Others Have Prayed, for Surely the Spirit of God is in That Place."

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