Friday, 16 August 2013 00:00
Before receiving the call to serve as the interim pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown, Reverend Terri Yvette Cisse served as the assistant Protestant chaplain and later the interim associate university chaplain to the Protestant community at Brown University. She also served as the chaplain at Emerson College, Wellesley College, Simmons College, and as seminarian chaplain and the director of the Harvard University Memorial Church School under the tutelage of the late Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes.
Cisse has also served the following congregations as the minister for Christian education and spiritual formation at the Flemington Presbyterian Church in Flemington, NJ and the interim minister of education at the Hingham Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Hingham, MA.
Cisse is a graduate of the Princeton Theological Seminary where she received her Th.M in Education and Spiritual Formation. She is a graduate of Harvard University where she received the Master of divinity degree. She also received a Master of Arts in cross cultural theology from Columbia International University. Cisse received her undergraduate degree in history from the Mississippi University for Women where she was inducted into the national honor society of history (Phi Alpha Theta) for outstanding historical scholarship. Her clinical pastoral education was completed at the Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals (Dana Farber Cancer Center and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital) where she served as an interfaith chaplain.
Cisse has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the following capacities: New Brunswick Presbytery Education and Missions Committee board member, national delegate for Presbyterian Women Association, Presbyterian youth triennium educator and team leader, delegate to Presbyterian Multicultural Church Institute and worship committee member for the Big Tent.
Cisse’s further ministry and professional developments include two term president elect of Harvard Harambee (representing students in the African diaspora) at the Harvard Divinity School, the Chalice Press Outstanding Seminarian award, the Fund for Theological Education Ministry Fellowship where she received a grant to conduct ethnographic research of griotte women in Mali, West Africa to examine the practice and tradition of the transmission of religion through oral narratives.
Cisse has also served as a delegate to the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona, Spain to examine and create models for interfaith dialogue. She has also served as multifaith coordinator for service learning to Wahat al-Salaam/Neve Shalom (Oasis of Peace) Village school in Jerusalem, Israel jointly established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding. She is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Biblical Literature, and the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators.
Cisse desires to approach ministry not just as a theoretical endeavor but also as a practical way of life. Like Jesus, she desires to use parables as a medium to contemporary, cross-cultural and multi faith conversation. She desires to create a ministry model that focuses on examining personal narratives for the pattern of the divine that is sometimes silently woven into the stories of their lives. Cisse believes that when people “find God” in the midst of their life stories this facilitates their faith journey towards lives full of purpose and passion.