Martell Named Vice President and Dean of Lexington Theological Seminary

Lexington, Ky. (May 30, 2017) – The Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell, former professor of constructive theology at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania and an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, has been named the next Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean at Lexington Theological Seminary. She will begin her work and ministry at LTS Aug. 1.

“Dr. Martell brings a wealth of experience as a scholar and pastor, and I believe she will be a tremendous asset to our students, the congregations we serve, and our Seminary community,” said LTS President Charisse L. Gillett.

Dr. Martell was selected following a nationwide search involving more than 20 highly-qualified candidates. She will follow Dr. Richard D. Weis, who will retire effective July 30.

“We are deeply grateful for Dr. Weis and celebrate his career as a dean at three ATS institutions, including his nearly seven years as the dean of Lexington Theological Seminary,” Gillett said.

Dr. Martell also is a licensed doctor in veterinary medicine. She is a bi-coastal Puerto Rican who has taught in various institutions of higher learning in addition to Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University, such as New York Theological Seminary, the University of Puerto Rico’s College of Allied Health Professionals, and Boston’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education. She pastored in New York City for 15 years and served as President of the Board of American Baptist Churches in Metro New York City for two years in the mid-1990s.

Dr. Martell pioneered the study of evángelica theology. She has published articles on evangélica soteriology, Christology, doctrine of God, use of Scripture for theology, vocation, and pedagogy. Her research on Taíno religious beliefs focused on its links with theological anthropology/embodiment, eschatology, and globalization. An article, “My GPS Doesn’t Work in Puerto Rico,” on evangélica spirituality was published in the American Baptist Quarterly. She co-edited Teología en Conjunto: A Collaborative Hispanic Protestant Theology (1997), and more recently co-authored the well-received Latina Evangélicas: A Theological Survey from the Margins (2013).

“I am deeply honored to accept the invitation to be the next Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Lexington Theological Seminary,” Dr. Martell said. “I am overjoyed to join President Gillett and become part of a Seminary community that has responded in such innovative ways to the challenges of theological education. I look forward to discerning prayerfully with them the new paths to be forged ahead. Above all, I am excited to be part of a Seminary whose excellent academic programs integrate intellectual scholarship, practical ministry, and spiritual practices.”

Dr. Martell is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is also a member of the American Academy of Religion, where she currently serves as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion. She was appointed to represent the American Baptist Churches USA on the National Council of Churches Convening Table for Theological Studies and Matters of Faith and Reason. The American Baptist Home Missions Societies awarded her the 2015 Richard Hoiland Christian Education Award, its highest recognition for “faithful and effective leadership in Christian education,” for her long-standing work in nurturing culturally and racially diverse classrooms and for exceptional leadership.

Dr. Martell is an avid amateur photographer.


Lexington Theological Seminary is an accredited graduate theological institution and the oldest seminary of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Consistent with the Disciples’ historic commitment to Christian unity, the Seminary is intentionally ecumenical with students, faculty, staff and trustees of various denominations. The Seminary has been preparing leaders for the church since 1865. For more information, visit