Editor’s note: Read part two of this interview.
Ekemini Uwan is a public theologian and co-host of the popular “Truth’s Table” podcast. She received her Master of Divinity in 2016 from Westminster Theological Seminary. Uwan’s writings have been featured in several influential publications, including The Huffington Post Black Voices, Christianity Today, and The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, and her insights have been quoted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker.
This is part one of Faithfully Magazine’s interview with Uwan, conducted by phone. It has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Tell us briefly about your background and how you became a Christian. Is your current church affiliation the same as when you first became a Christian?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. My parents are originally from Nigeria. They immigrated here in the early ’70s, so they were among the first wave of African immigrants. I am the oldest of three girls. My parents grew up in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod—that’s the church they grew up with in their village before they came here to America, and they remained in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Naturally, that’s the church I grew up in as well. However, I did not come to a saving faith until my senior year at California State University, Northridge. I got saved in a Black nondenominational church, which was completely different from the church I grew up in. In 2004, I got converted and felt like I really heard the gospel for the first time because the church I grew up in was more moralistic. By God’s grace, I’ve been walking with the Lord for 14 years, and I’m not tired yet. Currently, I attend a Black Baptist church, even though I’m actually Presbyterian and theologically align that way, but due to the racism and sexism within those denominations I don’t think I could ever join one of them at this point. But, that could change. Anything is possible.