Machado returns to Amp with exploration of borderlands in Week 5


Mary Lee Talbot
Staff writer

The Rev. Daisy L. Machado returns to Chautauqua for the fourth time as chaplain of the week. Machado was the first Latina preacher for morning worship at Chautauqua in 2008. She returned in 2013 and 2014; now, she will serve as chaplain for Week Five. 

Machado has a great interest in the concept of “borderlands,” which is a multilayered word that not only refers to a specific geographic location, but for Latinas and other women of color also refers to a social, economic, political and personal location within the dominant culture. She is also a strong advocate for a comprehensive reformation of current U.S. immigration laws.

She will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning worship service in the Amphitheater. Her sermon title is “A Midwife to God’s Vision.” She will preach at the 9:15 a.m. Monday through Friday morning worship services in the Amp, and  her sermon titles include: “Tethered to God,” “Looking Through God’s Corrective Lenses,” “Of Salt and Light,” “And Still Rachel Weeps,” and “An Extravagant Hospitality.”

Machado was born in Cuba and came to New York City when she was 3 years old with her parents. She completed a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College, a master’s degree in social work from Hunter School of Social Work, a master’s degree of divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and a doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago Divinity School. 

An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she was the first Latina ordained in the Northeast Region in 1981. Machado has served Latinx congregations in Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City as well as Gary, Indiana. She also helped to establish two new Latinx congregations, one in Houston and one in Fort Worth, Texas.

Machado, a historian of Christianity with a focus on the modern period in the United States and the Americas, has been teaching for more than 25 years. From 2007 to 2022, she was professor of the history of Christianity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In May 2022, she became professor emerita. She has also served as academic dean of Lexington Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary in New York City, the first Latina to serve as dean in both institutions. 

She has provided leadership to major Latinx organizations of theological education, serving as the founding director of the Hispanic Theological Initiative, created in 1996 to expand the presence and work of Latinx scholars in the academy by mentoring and supporting Latinx doctoral students. Currently, she is the executive director of the Hispanic Summer Program, the first Latina to hold this position, which is now in its 34th year of service. The HSP provides programs of theological education for Latinx seminarians from across the United States. Machado is the author of numerous book chapters and has been invited to speak at academic conferences throughout the United States and in Germany. Most recently, she is co-editor of an anthology on borderland religion that collects the work of scholars from South Africa, Norway, Austria, Denmark and the United States, titled Borderland Religion: Ambiguous practices of difference, hope and beyond. She has also written “History and Latino Identity: Mapping A Past That Leads to Our Future” in the anthology Companion to Latina/o Theology, edited by Orlando Espín.  

She has provided leadership for various groups at the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and in 2020 received a grant to work with four other Latinx colleagues on a series of workshops that focused on teaching in seminaries from a Latinx perspective called “Teaching Borderlands.” 

Machado was invited to give the 2022 American Academy of Religion’s American Lectureship in the History of Religion on the topic of “Borderlands.” In fall 2022, she spoke at Loyola Marymount University, the University of Southern California, University of California at Riverside, and gave the final lecture at the annual American Academy of Religion Meeting in November 2022.


The author Mary Lee Talbot

Mary Lee Talbot writes the recap of the morning worship service. A life-long Chautauquan, she is a Presbyterian minister, author of Chautauqua’s Heart: 100 Years of Beauty and a history of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She edited The Streets Where We Live and Shalom Chautauqua. She lives in Chautauqua year-round with her Stabyhoun, Sammi.