Reverend Karla J. Cooper
Professor • Pastor • Co-Founder of AME India
The Reverend Karla J. Cooper, the seventh child of eight children of Joel and Kay Cooper, ordained an Itinerant Elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, serves as the proud pastor of Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has Dual Standing in the United Church of Christ and serves as Chaplain/Coordinator of Service Programs at Doane College. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Education and the Master’s of Management program at Doane. She is currently serving as a consultant /faith organizer for Nebraska with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Project One America, “an unprecedented effort lead by the Human Rights Campaign to advance LGBT equality and justice in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming.”
She is a graduate of Eden Theological Seminary where she received a Master’s of Divinity and studied abroad as part of a travel seminar to India studying in three seminaries, Gurukul Lutheran Theological Seminary in Chennai; Tamilnadu Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary in Bangalore. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Eden. She is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication. She is presently pursuing her PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has taught courses in service-learning and cultural immersion in India for Doane College since 2011 and has led various delegations to India annually.
In 2003, while a graduate student completing a required global field study project in India, Reverend Cooper build a friendship with fellow graduate student Reverend Sarah Peddiny in Chennai, India. The relationship with Reverend Cooper and Reverend Sarah and Rev. Abraham Peddiny (husband and wife) led to 20 small churches in India affiliating with the connectional AME Church in 2008. Now there are 105 churches in one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Read the whole story of AME India at www.embracingindia.com.
Cooper has served in various capacities throughout the State of Missouri. She has been a gubernatorial appointee under both Governors Carnahan and Holden working on issues such as National and Community Services, Senior Prescription Drug Policy Task Force and Systems Reform Initiative called “Caring Communities.” Cooper has also worked with former Secretary of State Colin Powell with the America’s Promise Initiative. Cooper has also gained national recognition from the Ford Foundation and Harvard University for her work with welfare reform. Cooper also developed the alternative school entitled DREAMERS and PASSAGES youth diversion initiative.
Reverend Cooper is a former Connectional Officer with Women In Ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church serving as its Financial Secretary for 2008-2009 and is one of the instructors for the Board of Examiners Midwest Annual Conference. Cooper has served on many boards and commissions including Girl Scouts–Cotton Boll Council, Girl Scouts—Homestead Council, Bootheel Heart Health Coalition, Minority Health Initiative, Fresh Start Board, Delta Sigma Theta National Executive Board/Central Regional Director. Cooper is a much sought after speaker on issues of child advocacy, public policy, systems reform and cultural diversity. She has worked as an adjunct professor at Doane College. She has served on the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights and the Interfaith Worker Justice. Currently, Karla is serving on the Mary Riempa Ross Theater Board, Family Violence Council Board, Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) Board where she is currently serving as editor of the monthly PFLAG newsletter. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Eden Theological Seminary. In 2009, the Women’s Global Initiative Awarded Karla with an ecological justice award during a convocation in Toronto, Canada for being the first black woman to write a book on ecology.
She is the author of “When Blacks Were Green” and is the co-author of a chapter entitled “Where Race, Gender and Orientation Meet” with Dr. Joretta Marshall in the pastoral care manual entitled: “Volume IV: Women out of Order: Risking Change and Creating Care in a Multicultural World, Fortress