Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership

About the name...

The concept of SANKOFA is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. SANKOFA is expressed in the Akan language as "se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki." Literally translated it means "it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot." "Sankofa" teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated. Visually and symbolically "Sankofa" is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolizing the future) in its mouth.

A program overview...

The Sankofa Institute for African American Pastoral Leadership is committed to developing and supporting pastoral leaders, men and women of all races and backgrounds, for the African American Christian community within the context of the universal Christian mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Institute aims to foster within Church leaders an understanding and appreciation of African Americans' contributions to the entirety of Christian faith, life, and witness in North America. The Sankofa Institute will provide opportunities for the intellectual, professional, and inspirational development of transformational leadership within the African American community, offered through classes, lectures, symposia, worship, leadership workshops, internships and practical field education, as well as social outreach and cultural celebrations. Those leaders who enter the Institute as an avenue for completing a degree program at OST will find integrated into the curriculum critical methodological approaches from the African American Christian tradition as well as theological reflection and social witness experiences that flow from that tradition. The curriculum for degree students (Masters level and DMin level) is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary enterprise consistent with the pastoral orientation of OST practical and reflective engagement with the multi-cultural, global reality of church and society. The interdisciplinary categories specific to the Sankofa Institute will include:

  • Black Church History
  • Black Biblical Studies
  • Black Theologies
  • Sociology of Black Religion
  • Contemporary Issues in the Black Church
  • African American Christian Social Ethics
  • African American Christian Education
  • Black Church Worship and Nurture
  • Black Preaching
  • Social Justice
In recognition of the web of connections and faith traditions represented in the African American Christian community, the Institute is committed to partnering with other academic and cultural institutions for our mutual benefit and for the most effective and efficient way to reach the programmatic goals of our students and the mission of the School.

The program director...


Sister Addie Lorraine Walker, SSND, PhD
Director, Sankofa Institute for
Oblate School of Theology
285 Oblate Drive
San Antonio, TX 78216-6693
Fax: 210-341-4519