The Louisville Institute is pleased to announce Rev. Dr. Tomeka Jacobs has been awarded a 2023-25 Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship and will be placed as Visiting Assistant Professor of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Care at Lexington Theological Seminary. As part of the Institute’s Vocation of the Theological Educator Initiative (VTE), the Postdoctoral Fellowship program provides early-career scholars with two-year visiting professorships at North American theological schools, colleges, or universities. Fellowship recipients are accompanied by a faculty peer mentor and a pastoral peer mentor throughout their fellowship. They participate in a peer cohort for ongoing professional development and vocational formation. The Louisville Institute is funded by the Religion Division of Lilly Endowment Inc. and is based at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Louisville Institute’s mission is to bridge Church and academy by awarding grants and fellowships to those who study North American religious institutions, practices, and movements, thereby promoting scholarship that strengthens Church, academy, and society and contributes to the flourishing of the Church.

Dr. Jacobs earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from the University of Louisville, a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Claremont School of Theology. As an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, she has had the privilege of working in Level 1 Trauma Centers as a Complex Care, Cardiac, and Psychiatric chaplain. She has also been a research fellow in Neuroscience and Contemplative Studies with Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, a Spiritual Director and in Internal Family Systems Fellow. “With years of experience in spiritual and contemplative modalities, I am drawn to spacesof deep connection, pain, and transformative possibilities,” she says. “I believe in the cocreative power of beauty, awe, and curiosity that draws us into connections of engaged compassion, commitment, and communion with all creatures and the earth.”

Dr. Jacobs calls the displaced lands of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, and Osage people (Kentucky) home. “I have been shaped by the acknowledgement of the connective tissue of ancestral and ancient wisdom, knowledge, and intuition that draw us closer to the cosmic realm of creations and mystery through what I name as ecocosmology,” she says. “I believe this connection to land and sky is integral in our healing journeys.

“I have lived many lives in conjunction with my current embodiment,” she adds. “I am informed by science, as a chemist, and by my love for physics and by neuroscience and its creative possibility in transforming our reactivities through mindfulness, and contemplative and spiritual practices. Theology as spirituality is my expertise and ethos, my ethic; and I am deeply informed by artistry and story.”

Dr. Jacobs journeys with those seeking to unburden and (re)member as decolonization their systems. She also uses spiritual practices and incorporates mindfulness in her encounters with those who identify as seekers. “I believe in the healing power of nature and the brain that allow for wholeness and creativity,” she says.

“We are excited that Dr. Jacobs will be returning to the LTS community as a member of the faculty,” said LTS President Dr. Charisse Gillett.