Director of Me​ntal Health & Wellness Initiative

Joselyn Spence

Joselyn Spence serves as the Director of the NBA’s Mental Health and Wellness Initiative. In this role, Joselyn works to design and implement programs that promote holistic wellness across all NBA programs. This work is done through the creation of learning resources for clergy and community leaders, addressing the needs of pastors in a variety of ministry settings, sharing the stories that help to eliminate stigmas related to mental health and wellness. She is passionate about mental health care, holistic wellness, communal care ethics, and spirituality. As a holistic wellness specialist, she has worked at the intersection of these passions to develop research and provide empathic care to all she is called to serve.

Joselyn has a wealth of experience in mental health and community care. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Art Therapist (ATR), she received advanced education and training to provide trauma-informed services to diverse groups of people of all races, backgrounds, and ages from 3 to 80. She has worked in community agencies, school systems, and psychiatric hospitals working in acute adult mental health and with forensic patients in the prison system. She also has several years of teaching and supervising experience as an adjunct teaching faculty member in two graduate art therapy and counseling programs.

Joselyn’s time in seminary furthered her investment in holistic wellness, spiritual care, and mental health care advocacy. As a chaplaincy concentration at the Candler School of Theology, she engaged in multiple research projects on the role of the church and spiritual organizations in holistic wellness and mental health care, believing that the church has a moral obligation to address mental health care. Joselyn is a Registered Yoga and Meditation teacher (RYT-200), who has created embodied bible study experiences for the community.

Joselyn received a Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, a Master of Science in Art Therapy and Professional Counseling from Eastern Virginia Medical School, and a Bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Getting to Know Joselyn

Why do you feel “called to care” about Disciples health and social service ministry?

The NBA’s vision of creating communities of healing, compassion, and justice aligns completely with my ethics of care and my theology. Being deeply connected to humanity and caring for all of creation is my life’s work. I am truly committed to the call of helping communities experience shalom in mind, body, and spirit. I have the heart and great compassion to acknowledge and serve those in need. I believe that intentional communal care and radical love is what God intended for us to provide to one another while we are here. It is a blessing to be able to do this work alongside others who are also “called to care!”

Who is a hero of yours, and why?

Dr. Maya Angelou said, “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” So many people fall into that definition of a hero in my life, from Jesus Christ, to Stacey Abrams, my mother (the social worker who was the first to teach me love and care!), Ella Baker, Dr. Martin Luther King, Toni Morrison, Dr. Emmanuel Lartey, the essential workers who have braved the pandemic, the parents who get little sleep to provide, and every person who decides to get back up each day and choose to love themselves and others despite what they might face in the world.

If I tried to find you in a supermarket, what aisle would you be in?

There are three definite places to look for me in the supermarket: 1. the floral area where I might be fawning over rose bouquets and potted green plants, 2. meal planning in the produce section, and 3. in the vegan ice cream area deciding between all the new flavors that keep popping up!