Teresa L. Smallwood

B.A.  - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.Div.  - Howard University
J.D. - North Carolina Central University
Ph.D.  - Chicago Theological Seminary (in Theology, Ethics, and Human Sciences

Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood was born and raised in Windsor, North Carolina, in a rural community with her mother, father, and extended family. She grew up Baptist in a community that leaned into the idea “it takes a village to raise a child.”

In 1978, she graduated from Bertie Senior High School and enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications and Afro-American Studies from UNC-CH and went on to obtain her Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1985. She began her legal career with Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont in Charlotte, NC, where she also worked as a staff attorney for the Children’s Law Center. In 1989, she served as an Assistant District Attorney until in 1991 she commenced her private practice that spanned more than two decades.

Dr. Smallwood graduated from Howard University School of Divinity in 2010 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2011, Dr. Smallwood pursued a Ph.D. from Chicago Theological Seminary, which she earned in 2017.

Dr. Smallwood has held ministerial staff positions at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Lewiston, NC, Israel Baptist Church, Washington, DC, and New Covenant Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Nashville, TN. She is currently on the ministerial staff of Saint John African Methodist Episcopal Church, Nashville, TN with Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Lisa Hammonds.

Dr. Smallwood has taught at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Religious Freedom Center in Washington, D.C., Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, and Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Smallwood served as the Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate Director of the Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative at Vanderbilt Divinity School from 2017 to 2021. Since 2021 she has the honor of serving as the James Franklin Kelly and Hope Eyster Kelly Associate Professor of Public Theology at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  As of July 1, 2024, Dr. Smallwood will serve United Lutheran Seminary as Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs.


Moved by the Spirit: Religion and the Movement for Black Lives co-edited with Emilie M. Townes and Christophe D. Ringer

African Americans and Religious Freedom - New Perspectives for Congregations and Communities

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Cities (Routledge Handbooks in Religion)

Contributor, Wisdom Commentary: Proverbs, Alice Ogden Bellis, (Liturgical Press: MN 2018), 70-72.


Mailing address:
61 Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg, PA 17325