Estrelda Y. Alexander, Ph.D.

2017 President’s Award for denominational Support  

Early Christian Life

The Rev. Dr. Estrelda Yvonne Alexander was born, raised and educated in Washington, DC, and has lived most of her life in the surrounding suburbs of the Nation’s Capital. She accepted Christ at the age of seven, was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the age of nine and spent the first fifteen years of her Christian life as a member of the United Church of Jesus Christ (Apostolic) where she active in youth ministry and music.

Estrelda's Education & Ministerial Career

Dr. is an ordained Pentecostal minister who has served most of her ministerial career as a church planter and pastor, as well as a pastoral staff member within the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). She has also served in the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and be an active member of a Church of God in Christ congregation. She has preached and lectured in pulpits and in academic settings across the United States and in the Caribbean.

Dr. received her B.A. in Sociology from Howard University in 1971, where she was a Howard University scholarship recipient; her M.A., Sociology from Columbia University in 1973, where she was a Ford Foundation fellow. She received her M.Div. from Wesley Theological Seminary, cum laude in 1995, and her Ph.D. in Political Theology from The Catholic University of America, where she was a Quasten Fellow 2002.

A sociologist and political theologian, Dr. Alexander is president of William Seymour College in Lanham, Maryland. As a sociologist, she has worked in private consulting and state and local government agencies in the areas of program evaluation and social research.  In the 1980’s she formed her own consulting firm, Data Resources, to assist small business and churches in developing strategies from incorporating newly developed computer technologies into their operations.

Impact As Church Leader

After sensing a call to ministry, she returned to school in 1990, after a seventeen-year hiatus, to pursue theological training. In 1992, she was credentialed as a minister in the Church of God, and was ordained in that organization in 2000.

In 1994, she became co-founder and president of the Association of Full Gospel Women Clergy, an organization established to bring attention to the disparity in opportunities for women to fullest serve the church within the Pentecostal movement and equip and support women in moving into positions of leadership.  In that year, she became a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies and assumed the one year position as president in 2010. In 2012, she received the Society’s Book of the Year Award and in 1915, its Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also served on the board of several organizations including Redeeming Africa and the Tidewater Virginia Chapter of Teen Challenge.  

In 1998, Dr. Alexander, she was called to serve as Associate Dean of Community Life at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC and served in that capacity until 2002. She left Wesley to serve on the theology faculty at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia until 2013, rising to the rank of full professor. 

Since its founding in 2010, William Seymour College has become the first African American led, Pentecostal institution of higher education able to award accredited degrees through a partnership affiliation, and is currently pursuing its stand-alone accreditation. Additionally, Dr. Alexander is Executive Editor of Seymour Press, the publishing arm of the college and Executive Director of the Pan-African Pentecostal Archive, a print and digital collection of artifacts of renewal movements throughout the African Diaspora.  Her newest project is co-founding the Ida B. Robinson Institute for Prophetic Community Engagement as a vehicle for addressing the critical issue or churches and communities are facing in the 21st century. 

She is a visiting professor at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington, and at the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Divinity at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia.  

Scholar of African American Pentecostalism

Her published works include Black Fire Reader: A Documentary Resource on African American Pentecostalism; Black Fire: One Hundred Years of African American Pentecostalism; Limited Liberty: The Ministry and Legacy of Four Pentecostal Women Pioneers; and The Women of Azusa Street (2005), She also co-edited two works (with Amos Yong) Phillip’s Daughters: Women in the Pentecostal Movement and Afro-Pentecostalism: Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture (2011).  Her latest project, the Dictionary of Pan African Pentecostalism is slated for publication later this year.  Additionally, she has is author of more than thirty essays and journal articles and has lectured on college campuses and in conferences and preached in pulpits across the United States.  Because of this work, she is respected as one of the foremost scholars of African American Pentecostalism in the Nation.