Jeani Rice-Cranford

#Vanderbilt Divinity Grad (#MDiv); M.S.E. Candidate Curriculum & Instruction (#KURockChalk) #Writer; #Theologian; #Educator; #Pastor #Chaplain

Jeani Rice-Cranford graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School with a Master's degree in Divinity in May 2016. During her time at Vanderbilt, she focused her work on the intersections of theory and praxis—always seeking the “golden nuggets” of theory while attempting to translate them into compassionate, practical actions of love toward our neighbor. Jeani participated in five semesters of Field Education—where theological theory is practiced. During those semesters, she interned in both secular and sacred settings as both a Chaplain and a Pastoral Intern. In both settings, Jeani designed and utilized a curriculum to guide conversation regarding the ways in which changes in our lives cause us to grieve, and how we might better prepare ourselves to respond to these changes in healthier ways through gaining a deeper understanding of self-awareness and right relationship. Jeani believes when we know ourselves and practice creating healthier relationships, we are better equipped to intentionally respond to the grief we experience rather than reacting to inevitable change in unhealthy ways. Jeani also utilized the opportunity within Field Education to reflect upon and pursue her own healing journey. Upon graduation, Jeani received The Nella May Overby Memorial Prize[1] for her work in field education.

Jeani is currently discerning the vocational aspect of her calling to ministry. She is a candidate for the M.S.E. degree in Curriculum & Instruction through the University of Kansas. She enjoys a variety of writing projects related to faith, healing, and theology; she continues to fine-tune her current curriculums for future conversations around faith and grief, and faith and racism; and she continually examines, explores, and practices ways to participate in discipleship honoring the life of Jesus within the Christian tradition.


Jeani lives in Tennessee with her wife and their Golden Retrievers and Dachshunds. They also have three cats! She adores their nieces and nephews on both sides of the family; and enjoys spending time with family as often as they can. In addition to time with family, Jeani enjoys several hobbies which include reading, photography, puzzles, do-it-yourself projects, and video games (still a kid at heart!)


Jeani’s main goal with her online presence is to share her experiences, her strength, and her hope--which is centered around the core of her understanding of the Christian tradition and theology discovered through both her study of and experience of God’s Love.


[1] The Nella May Overby Memorial Award was endowed in 1993 by the nieces and nephews of Nella May Overby in recognition of her dedication to community service. The award is presented to the degree candidate who has received the grade of Honors in field education and who, in the judgment of the field education faculty, or has enriched the life of a congregation or has offered significant service through a community agency. Evidence of this academic award by Vanderbilt Divinity School can be found here.

Jeani and her wife, Sandi, at the Isham wedding October 22, 2016. 

  • Jeani graduated from Friends University, in Wichita, KS in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. 

  • Jeani's favorite sport is basketball; and her favorite college team is the Kansas Jayhawks! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

  • Jeani experienced her call into Ministry in 1995 during a meditation in her religion class.

  • Jeani most admires persons who work toward justice, equity, and peace.

  • Jeani has 14 tattoos!

  • Jeani acquired the nickname "JRae" in High School. 

  • Her favorite color is blue.

  • Jeani was baptized in 1978, and rededicated her life in baptism again in 2007! She followed the call to Divinity school in 2012.

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