The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins is the General Minister and President of the the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Elected in 2005 to her first six year term as leader of the Disciples of Christ denomination, Watkins was the first woman to hold be elected to head a Mainline Protestant denomination.
Before becoming the General Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she was pastor of Disciples Christian Church of Bartlesville, OK and an adjunct professor at Phillip’s Theological Seminary, where she had earlier served as Director of Student Services at Phillips Theological Seminary and Vice President for University Relations at Phillips University, Enid, OK. Earlier in her career, Watkins served for two years as a missionary in the Congo with the Disciples of Christ Division of Overseas Ministries. She was educated at Butler University (BA in French and Economics), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.), and Phillips Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry).
Although her election as General Minister in 2005, a calling reaffirmed for a second term in 2011 was an important moment for women in ministry, she gained further notoriety for her selection to be the preacher at the President’s Inaugural Prayer Service. She would later serve as one of President Barack Obama’s religious advisors and served a term on the advisory board of President Obama’s Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.