THE REVEREND WALTRINA N. MIDDLETON serves as the Associate Dean of the historic Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, located on the main campus of Howard University in the nation’s capital, has historically served as a center for cultural and religious activities of the university. Rev. Middleton, is an alumna of Howard University.
Rev. Middleton is actively engaged in social justice issues domestically and throughout the diaspora. Her advocacy work addresses systemic cultures of violence and racism against marginalized communities from Charleston, SC and Cleveland, OH to Hebron, Palestine and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
She was founder and organizer of Cleveland Action, a bridge organization and resource in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. (Cleveland Action is now managed by its fiscal sponsor and is no longer a part of Rev. Middleton’s portfolio).She is a preacher, poet, social critic and community organizer committed to actualizing the vision of a Beloved community.
Rev. Middleton, a passionate preacher and keynote, has been invited to share this vision and message of faith, love and justice in diverse settings across the world including the World Council of Churches Forum on Peace and Justice in Trondheim, Norway; National Council of Churches; The Carter Center; Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Ecumenical Advocacy Days; Churches Uniting in Christ; Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; and as a part of a United Nations delegation addressing U.S. drug policies and mass incarceration.
Recently, Rev. Middleton was recognized by Rejuvenate Magazine as one of its 40 Under 40 Professionals to Watch in Non-Profit Religious Sector and Center for American Progress’ “16 to Watch in 2016”. In the summer of 2015, she was awarded the Jonathan M. Daniels Memorial Fellowship by the Episcopal Divinity School to support a research project on the parallels between activism, arts and lament in the Black Live Movement in the US and anti-apartheid movement in Palestine.
She is the inaugural Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Fellowship Scholar and one of the inaugural William “Bill” Lucy Social Justice and Globalization Fellows, both received while matriculating as a Master of Divinity Student at Chicago Theological Seminary where she graduated with distinction. Her Master’s thesis explored “Reconciling a God of the Oppressed: A Look at Sexual Abuse, Rape, Incest and Other Forms of Sexual Exploitation Within the Black Church”.
She is a proud alumna of DePaul University (MS, 2007)and Howard University (BA,2002).
She served in the National Setting of the United Church of Christ (Cleveland, OH) for six years (2010-2016)as its National Minister for Youth Advocacy and Leadership Formation and the Program Director for the denomination’s National Youth Event which brought together 4,000 youth from across the country and four continents. In that role, Rev. Middleton helped transform the youth conference to go deeper, centering not only on faith and leadership; but also service and social justice, challenging youth participants(ages 13 to 18) to imagine themselves as the future today and not just tomorrow.
The program witnessed significant growth in attendance under Rev. Middleton’s tenure, challenged and influenced the national setting’s involvement on issues including Black Lives Matter and racialized violence, Same Gender Loving Families and their children and global human rights advocacy issues such as Immigration and HIV/AIDS and “Bring Back Our Girls” in Nigeria. Rev. Middleton produced three biennial General Synod programs for youth and young adults (Tampa, Long Beach, and Cleveland) and two quadrennial National Youth Events (Purdue University and Walt Disney World), respectively.
As a minister in the local church setting, Rev. Middleton served on the staff of Trinity United Church of Christ under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III and Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
Additionally, she is proud of the mentorship of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference and its General Secretary, Dr. Iva E. Carruthers.
She holds fast to the principles of Ubuntu which declares, “I am because we are. We are because God is.”