Dr. Kirk-Duggan Featured in Triangle Tribune
January 25, 2012 - Dedurie Kirk says her sister, the Rev. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, has a lot of gifts.
"She writes. She teaches. She plays the piano," Kirk said. "She also has the gift of networking, and it's something she values, using each of those abilities to help people connect to God, to connect to one another."
Kirk-Duggan is on the ministerial staff at Young Missionary Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Raleigh. She is also a professor of religion at Shaw University, where she's committed to helping her students use their own talents to minister to people.
But she didn't always know that she would go into teaching or ministry.
"I was a born performer," she said. "I never wanted to be a teacher. Between ages 3 and 8, I knew I had a calling in life to be an international operatic singer. I sung my first song at 4, and I took piano lessons at 5. But I felt compelled to talk about social justice issues."
Kirk-Duggan has a laundry list of issues she's passionate about discussing, including domestic violence, the prison system, education, religious tolerance, racism, sexism and classism.
"I have a calling to be an international ambassador for God, to inspire people, to connect them in a spiritual way, to really get them to understand the beauty that's within them, and the magnificence and incredible gift of what it means to be human," she said. "I understand I can't help everybody, but I can be an intellectual instigator."
Kirk-Duggan was inducted last November into the 2011 class of the Young Women's Christian Association Academy of Women in the greater Triangle region for education. The YWCA honored her as a teacher and mentor that engages students in critical thinking..
"We were actually very honored to induct Rev. Kirk-Duggan into the Academy of Women because we feel that her life work really does reflect our mission, which is eliminating racism and empowering women," Executive Director Folami Bandele said. "The work she has done really highlights the need of those in our community - women, children, communities of color - that are most in need, and her leadership there is just tremendous."
Kirk-Duggan serves on the board of the American Academy of Religion, the largest international guild for religious studies. She is also a volunteer mentor to doctoral students, holds workshops on domestic violence topics for clergy and social workers, and conducts training around the country on leadership and holistic living.
"I talk to people about how they need to love themselves, get proper nutrition, exercise and reduce stress. I try to plant those seeds wherever I am," she said. "If you can be gracious with people you interact with, that will have a domino effect."
Young Missionary Temple Pastor Ronald White (above with Kirk-Duggan) nominated her for the induction. "Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan is a phenomenal woman," he said. "She just stays on the go, trying to better the people, God's people and the community."
Originally written by Sommer Brokaw and published on January 11, 2012 in the Triangle Tribune.
Media Contact: Odessa Hines, Public Relations
Shaw University was founded in 1865 and is the first historically black university in the South. Shaw is a private, co-educational liberal arts university that awards degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The primary mission of Shaw University is teaching with the commitment to maintain excellence in research and academic programs that foster intellectual enhancement and technological skills.