Dr. Joanne J. Noel
Professor of English
Bio: In addition to being a Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellow and Ralph Bunche Graduate Fellow, Dr. Noel has also received various awards and scholarships. This includes High Honors in English, Sue Shankar Award, Hageman Scholarship, James Eelman Prize in Preaching, M.K. and Kamala Mitra Scholarship, Daniel J. Ransohoff Scholarship, Helen Hendricks Award, and commendations from various Provosts and Deans as she pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in English and practical theology. Additionally, she has published in The Department Chair, The Journal of the Association of Biblical Higher Education, Motivational Moments for Women and in the book of homilies, These Sisters Can Say It Vol. II. She is an ongoing featured columnist with The Positive Community and has contributed various articles on faith, theology, culture, and education to that publication. She is also the recipient of the 2015 and 2018 Distinguished Faculty Awards and Excellence in Teaching Award from Pillar College and the recipient of the Dean’s Residency Scholarship Award in Interdisciplinary Studies at Union Institute & University where she earned her Ph.D.
What does Pillar College mean to you? Through its embrace of Holy-Ghost inspired prayer in the classroom, during meetings and other events, Pillar College is a place where prayer functions as a counter narrative that deconstructs and delegitimizes narratives that oppress, marginalize, dehumanize, detract, and distract from Kingdom impetus.
The ebb and flow of daily experiences can distance us from God. Agendas and what Dr. Schroeder calls “the pecking order” in Follow Me can skew purpose and detract from mission. Prayer is not passive discourse but powerful petition to a merciful God who can change the situation and change us. Prayer, rather, mobilizes us for mission. Prayer mobilized the Civil Rights Movement. Some of the most powerful images from the movement show Dr. King and protestors kneeling in prayer before rallies and sit-ins. Although demonstrators were greeted with violence, prayer kept their hearts turned to God so that persistent non-violent, peaceful protests against racial injustice moved a nation to repentance and to enact just laws.
At Pillar, prayer is not a last resort; nor a cop-out; nor a weakness. Prayer is really one of the most powerful spiritual weapons we possess as an institution because prayer, motivated by the Holy-Spirit, really invites God into our lives and the lives of our students; invites God to change mindsets that are more politically-oriented rather than biblically oriented; invites God into spaces that are still dark and require light; invites God to bring flavor to the blandness of our communal discourses and behavior, especially when they are not in tandem to kingdom agenda.
So, let us pray.