The Rev. Ronné Wingate Sims works toward the Black church becoming a healing center for both inter-generational and current trauma in the Black community. Photo from Piedmont Community Church.
Born and raised in Oakland, CA, Rev. Ronné Wingate Sims, Executive Minister serving at Imani Community Church since 2003, was licensed as a Minister of the Gospel in 2011 and ordained by the American Baptist Churches USA in 2016. She studied at Howard University and lived for 13 years in Washington, D.C. before returning to the Bay Area.
Another well-prepared “Woman in Ministry,” Rev. Ronné, as she is fondly called, has a B.A. in sociology from Cal State East Bay, and a Master of Divinity with emphasis on youth, family and culture from Fuller Theological Seminary. There, she was chosen as a Fellow at the Black Theology and Leadership Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is currently a Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. Scholar earning her Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.
Rev. Ronné’s dissertation titled “Embracing the Wisdom of the Ancestors: An Afrocentric Trauma Informed Model of Pastoral Care,” reveals her commitment to the Black church as a trauma healing center and pastoral care for inter-generational and current Black mental health.
“In the case of African Americans, the phenomenon of intergenerational trauma originated with the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and has been institutionalized for generations by Jim Crow, systemic racism, and more recently mass incarceration. This foundation of trauma gains additional layers with each new instance of police brutality or racially motivated violence caught on tape and shared communally,” she explained.
Her dissertation project will explore “the capacity of the Black Church to embrace a variety of African and American spiritual practices, disciplines, and rituals…in an effort to foster healing.” She proposes a three-pronged approach: workshops on mental health to normalize conversations and outline ways trauma impacts the Black community; sessions with congregants to look at faith practices of our African ancestors as healing tools; and trauma-informed pastoral training to guard against the unintentional retraumatizing of congregants.
Rev. Ronné is married to Archie Sims, Jr., and they have three sons—Xavier, Gabriel, and Walter.