Reverend Debra McKnight talks about her journey to being ordained in the United Methodist Church, living her faith as a practice, and a love for liturgy. She also talks about founding Urban Abbey, a congregation flourishing in downtown Omaha despite national trends showing church attendance in decline, and shares how, as an advocate for social justice, women’s rights, and the LGBTQ+ community, she seeks to heal the wounds created by conservative Christianity.
Reverend Debra McKnight earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in 2008 and she was ordained in the United Methodist Church in 2010. Reverend McKnight is the founding pastor of Urban Abbey, a United Methodist congregation in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. In 2015, Urban Abbey became an independent, chartered congregation and grew to three Sunday services and weekday programming. During an era in which attendance at mainline protestant churches in the United States has declined, Urban Abbey has succeeded as a new church start and is continually growing.