University Professor’s Research Turns Spiritual

Professor Kellie D. Brown Source: UM News

When researching and writing a book about music among Jewish people suffering during the Holocaust, Kellie D. Brown, a member of First Broad Street United Methodist Church in Kingsport, Tenn., had no idea her journey would move her to study for the ministry.

“There were so many times my husband would walk in the room and I’m writing and working on it, and there were tears,” Brown said in an interview with United Methodist News.

“I decided a long time ago that if I could write about this and tell the stories and not feel any emotion, then it was time for me to be done with this. And so I’m thankful that hasn’t happened,” Brown, a member at First Broad Street United Methodist Church, said.

Brown, a professor of music and chair of the department at Milligan University, published the book “The Sound of Hope: Music as Solace, Resistance and Salvation During the Holocaust and World War II” last summer. The book weaves together stories about Jewish musicians caught up in the Nazi regime’s genocidal policies during the 1940s.

When writing the book, Brown said she began contemplating the role of the church dealing with race.

“We’re still fighting these same kinds of battles about race and us versus them,” Brown said. “So I began to think, ‘What is the church’s role in all of this? What is our role as followers of Christ?’”

Brown’s book does not talk about these issues, but she said it inspired her to earn her credentials as a licensed lay minister.

“What can we do today, as followers of Christ, as ministers, to recognize these things and to make change for social justice, racial justice?” she said. “And I wanted to have a heart for that kind of ministry.”

Brown recently began classes to earn her credentials as a licensed lay minister. Her friend Miriam Perkins, professor of theology and society at the Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan University, said she is excited to see where the new direction takes Brown.

“Her teaching has always been in the spirit of someone who cares about faith and cares about how young people are formed in ways that might make them servant leaders within the community and within the church,” said Miriam Perkins, a friend of Brown, and professor of theology and society at the Emmanuel Christian Seminary said.

“In some ways, her intellectual journey has become a spiritual journey, and I think it’s beautiful in the way that God has sort of matured her interests in ministry toward becoming a certified lay minister,” Perkins said.

Source: UM News