The Rice Institute
School of Theological Education
Rev. Dr. Figueroa
Study to show yourself approved unto God...
A worker who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15)
Rev. Dr. Marcella R. Figueroa
Chief Academic Officer &
Dean of Theological Education
Dr. Marcella Reid Figueroa was born in Jamaica Queens, New York to Elizabeth Dean and Marcellus Emanuel Reid. She received her early education in the NYC public school system through high school graduation. Marcella went on to attend and graduate from the City College of New York with her bachelor’s degree in both liberal arts and science—majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology; she also graduated that year with a diploma in Co-operative Education from City College for her work in the Department of Health Education & Welfare—Social Security Administration.
After 12 years of professional work as a college graduate Marcella began her graduate studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary; a newly licensed minister in training. While working on the 96 credits/4-year Master of Divinity degree Marcella became a Benjamin E. Mays scholar with focus in clinical pastoral education for her work in the Hospital Chaplaincy of New York; she also received the Frances Beardslee and Irving Decker academic prizes from the Seminary. Marcella received the Women in Ministry Award for her service within the Association of Black Seminarians of New Brunswick Theological Seminary; her creative work is preserved in the seminary archives. To her credit Marcella was inducted into the Marquis’ 20th Edition of Who’s Who in American Women by the publishers of the original Who’s Who in America editions. In 2003 the Doctor of Ministry (D. Min) was conferred on Marcella by New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
Marcella was also renowned as a classically trained professional dancer who founded the one and only Dance Explosion Dance Studio where she taught classes for more than 25 years culminating in a cultural exchange tour of Russia (USSR). As executive artistic director Marcella was among the pioneers who brought sacred dance/dance ministry into the church. Her background and training in dance has been rich and varied and her training curriculums/programs were funded in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts/Special Arts Services for 17 years.
Marcella met and married her lifetime companion and soul support—Mr. Steven Figueroa who is 23-year veteran/retiree of the NYC Department of Correction as an officer and union delegate.
Marcella says: ministry has taught me about the living human document—a creation of God.
The precious gift of life, packaged in a phenomenon called personhood—ideally expressed throughout our life journey in as many ways as there are people. With each birth, God says I love you. From a whisper to a shout; from silence to sensation; from the supernatural to the natural—God is among us. The living human document is proof of God’s existence because we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God our matchless Creator. One dead to literature may be awakened by music; dead to music but awakened by touch; dead to touch but awakened by sight; dead to sight but awakened by sound; dead to sound but awakened by dialogue…
How many ways can the Gospel story be told? How many places can the Holy Spirit go? As many ways and places as there are to say I love you. God’s Spirit speaks to us, calls us, leads guides and directs us. God permits His Spirit to move us, use us, empower us in as many ways as there are to say I love you.