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Patricia Bonilla to teach Christian education

Patricia Bonilla to teach Christian education

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary has called The Reverend Patricia Bonilla as instructor of Christian education, effective July 1, 2023. She fills the position formerly held by Professor Emeritus David White who retires at the end of the academic year. Upon the successful completion of her doctoral work at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, she will be promoted to assistant professor of Christian education. Her dissertation topic is “Anticolonial Latina Feminist Praxis: Toward a Decolonial (Re)framework of Christian Religious Education with/for Latinx Youth, A Case Study of the Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy.”

Bonilla has served in several roles with the Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy and is currently the national program director. She co-coordinated and implemented programing for a $100,000 grant received by Garrett Seminary from the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the Young Clergy Initiative (2015-19). She has teaching experience with the Hispanic Summer Program and at Lexington Theological Seminary, Garrett Seminary, and Drew University.

A native of Illinois, Rev. Bonilla received her education from Lake Forest College (BA, international relations and French), Drew University (master of philosophy), and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Master of Arts in Christian education and PhD in Christian education and congregational studies, ABD). An ordained United Methodist (UMC) deacon, Bonilla has served churches throughout Illinois since 2005, primarily in the area of Christian education and youth and family ministries. She has served as the chair of the Hispanic/Latinx Ministries Committee of the Northern Illinois Conference of the UMC since 2019.

Among many awards and honors, she is a 2022-2023 HTI (Hispanic Theological Initiative) / Lily Dissertation Fellow and was named the United Methodist Woman of Color Scholar (2018-21). Her professional affiliations include the Asociación para la Educación Teológica Hispana (AETH), the Association of Practical Theology (APT), and the Religious Education Association (REA. 2022). Bonilla has published in Religious Education, the official journal of the REA, Connecting Faith and Justice: Junior High Curriculum, Lectionary Year C (UMC Church and Society, 2018), and Wellsprings, A Journal of United Methodist Clergywomen (2015).

According to Jessica Love of the UMC General Board of High Education, “Bonilla’s research and work attempts to close gaps in academia, particularly gaps between the Latinx community and seminary. Her research examines ways to give voice to Latinx young people connected to the church by exploring how they practice their faith.”