Assistant Professor of Christian Education
Associate Dean of Contextual Education
Hampton University, B.S. 1993
Candler School of Theology, Emory University, M.Div. 2001
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Ph.D 2009
Joined Eden faculty, 2008
Lean Gunning Francis’ vocation as a Christian educator has been shaped by her understanding of the interconnectedness between the church, academy and society as well as the mind, body and spirit of individuals. For Dr. Gunning Francis, Christian education can form and yet transform. Through her research, teaching, pastoral leadership and community involvement, Dr. Gunning Francis has explored and reflected on various ways in which Christian education can provide a process by which transformation occurs.
Dr. Gunning Francis’ research and teaching focuses on womanist approaches to Christian Education, practical theology, and youth ministry. In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious Engaged Scholars Fellowship, a congregational studies award that supports her current research project Also at Risk?: Middle-Class Black Boys and the Reimaging of Christian Education as Social Transformation.
As a frequent lecturer and preacher for local, regional, and national audiences, Dr. Gunning Francis teaches and preaches for many groups including colleges, churches, and denominational events. The thread weaving through all her work is her commitment to the holistic development of the individual alongside the embodied faith that, when shared, can be transformative to society.
Dr. Gunning Francis is a board member of the Religious Education Association. She has provided pastoral leadership for congregations in Georgia, Illinois, and Ohio. Two of her essays have recently been published in the Bible commentary series Feasting on the Gospels.
Dr. Gunning Francis and her husband, The Rev. Rodney T. Francis, have two sons, Evan and Desmond. Dr. Gunning Francis is also a proud parent of two stepchildren, Shayla and Rodney,Jr.
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