Soul food theology : the proclamation of health and wellness.

Date of Award


Document Type



Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


This dissertation examines the various aspects of health and wellness in the Black church, particularly the cultural relationship with food. A rich history of culinary expressions and ritual retentions can be traced from the native land of Africa to the plantations in North America and the Caribbean. As these culinary expressions interfused in the Southern states of North America, there emerged a new creative culinary expression known as Soul Food. Explicit notions of sacrament exist within the convoluted concepts of Soul Food. These notions of sacrament are linked to understandings about God, self, faith, family, community, and health and wellness. Soul Food and its primitive sources were primarily contrived from the necessity of survival-and they are now known to be categorically unhealthy. This project seeks to establish a theological framework to preserve the sacramental nature of soul food, while promoting healthy lifestyles in a church context. This study examines the sacramental link between food and religion. Extracting from biblical and personal narratives, stories, and myths, it will be argued that churches are called to promote health and wellness through the proclamation of the Word.