The Rev. Suzan Denise Johnson Cook, the third U. S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and founder and president of Wisdom Women Worldwide Center, a global center for women of faith who are leaders, activists and advocates for female equality, will serve as chaplain-in-residence at Chautauqua for Week Nine.
Johnson Cook previously served as chaplain-in-residence in 2005.
She will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship service in the Amphitheater. The title of her sermon will be “The Timing of God.” She will share her faith journey at the 5 p.m. Vespers in the Hall of Philosophy.
Monday through Friday, she will preach at the 9:15 a.m. morning worship service in the Amphitheater. Her sermon topics are “Keep Your Eyes Opened,” “Responding to God,” “Greatness is Within You,” “Responding to God” and “A Benediction and a Blessing.”
As the third Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, a role she held from April 2011 (nominated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) to October 2013, Johnson Cook worked to incorporate religious freedom into foreign policy and national security initiatives. Prior to joining the U.S. State Department, Johnson Cook was a White House Fellow under President Bill Clinton.
She was the first and only female president of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, one of the world’s largest gatherings of clergy, representing more than 12,000 clergy leaders and over 2 million constituents.
Johnson Cook is a graduate of United and Union Theological Seminaries, Columbia University and Emerson College. She has two master’s degrees, a Doctor of Ministry degree, and graduated from the President’s Administrative Fellows Program at Harvard University. She has studied at Tuck Business Institute’s Minority Business Executive Program, been an officer and professor at Harvard, on the board of Emerson College, and taught at New York Theological Seminary and Riverdale Country School.
Johnson Cook was the first African-American woman to be ordained in the 200-year history of the American Baptist Churches of the USA and served three New York congregations: Mariners’ Temple Baptist Church, the Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist Church; and the Wall Street lunchtime congregation. She was also the first woman to serve as the official chaplain of the New York City Police Department, a position she held for 21 years.
In 1997, EBONY magazine named Johnson Cook one of the top 15 women in ministry; ESSENCE magazine named her one of the Top 40 Power Women in 2011; and New York Moves Magazine named her a Power Woman in 2013. That same year, she launched the ProVoice/ProVoz Movement to amplify the voices of women to be leaders in every sector of society.
She is the recipient of several awards, including the Woman of Conscience Award from the United Nations, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, the Visionary Leader’s Award, the Judith Hollister Peace Award and the Hellenic Award for Public Service.
Johnson Cook is the author of three best-sellers: Too Blessed to be Stressed: Words of Wisdom for Women on the Move; Sister to Sister: Devotions for and from African American Women; and Becoming a Woman of Destiny: Turning Life’s Trials into Triumphs.
Currently, Johnson Cook is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Catholic University of America.