“I must see my understandings produce results in human experience. Productivity is my first value. I must make and mold and build life. As an artist, I must shape human relationships. To me, life itself is the greatest material. I would far rather build a man [or a woman] than form a book. My whole being is devoted to making my small area of existence a work of art. I am building a world.”
~Jean Toomer, author of Cane
An ordained minister, educator, dreamer and anti- race writer, the Reverend Starlette McNeill was born in Pensacola, Florida. She began her relationship with Jesus Christ at the age of twelve at Bibleway Holiness Church #3 in Foley, Alabama where her grandmother served as her first theologian, prayer partner and spiritual advisor. Her Pentecostal roots have inspired her unshakeable faith in God’s love for all people and is the impetus behind her passion for the ministry of reconciliation.
Tired of being black, existing within the confines of stereotypical blackness and living the repetitive, prepackaged existence of a racialized life, the Reverend Starlette McNeill seeks to build a world without race and its progeny by stripping race of its pseudo- foundational position in the construction of human identity by discussing its purpose in the lives of Christian believers when placed alongside our faith. A visionary, she now calls for persons to join her in living a race- less life, believing that race is not divinely inspired or approved but instead is an idol that paints and taints the sacred image of God.
Taking the material of her life to weave a new design into the fabric of society, she seeks to provide a new lens through which to view humanity that enhances our understanding of the spiritual life while redefining the purpose of our exterior existence and external appearance. A firm believer in the race-less life, Reverend McNeill hopes to inspire others to again see themselves as human beings rather than racial beings.
A graduate of both Buffalo State College and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Reverend McNeill has spoken before the World Council of Churches North America on the Church’s role in the ministry of racial reconciliation and is currently writing her first book on the impact of race on Christian spiritual identity formation. She is happily married to the Reverend John C. McNeill, Jr. whom she met while attending seminary. They have one amazing son, John C. McNeill III.