The Reverend Doctor Melbalenia Evans
Rev. Dr. Melbalenia Evans is a native of Scottsburg, Virginia. Her academic career began in a small school in Virginia and continued in the Public School System of Chicago. She graduated from Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois, earning a Bachelor of Arts, Summa cum Laude. She earned a Master of Divinity Degree, with academic honors, from Howard University School of Divinity, Washington, District of Columbia. She studied Clinical Pastoral Education at the Washington Hospital Center Washington, District of Columbia. She became certified as an HIV/AIDS Prevention - AIDS Educator, through the Department of Human Services, in Washington, District of Columbia. She earned a doctorate degree in May, 2008 from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Her thesis was entitled “Preaching into Belovedness: The Role of the Sermon in Disrupting and Dismantling Racism.”
Dr. Evans became a Commissioned Minister/Worker in the United Church of Christ in 1980, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, specializing in Bible Study. She served as the Administrator for the Center for African Biblical Studies, until 1990. She served as Student Assistant to the Pastor at Heritage United Church of Christ in Baltimore, Maryland, 1992-1994. During which time, she received a Ford Foundation Fellowship and served in the Department of Spiritual Ministry at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland.
She was ordained to the Christian ministry on March 27, 1994, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. She accepted a call serve in the National Offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio as the Minister for Local Church Renewal and the Editor of Growing Plans Magazine. She taught Religion in Black America at Cleveland State University and Black Literature in Project Upward Bound at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. In 2000, she accepted a call to return to Trinity UCC and serve as their Executive Minister. She served Trinity until 2005. At which time, she began her doctoral studies and her service as an adjunct professor at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Chicago Theological Seminary. In 2011, Dr. Evans began serving as the Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Church Vitality in the Illinois Conference. She retired in May, 2016.
Dr. Evans began serving as the Designated Pastor at Plainfield Congregational Church on December 3, 2017. She shares her life with her beautiful daughter, Otisa. Otisa is the author and illustrator of “Tough Love.”