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Guest Preachers

The Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III

Senior Pastor, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX
August 10, 2014

Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III Senior Pastor of the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas Texas for now 29 years leads with a commitment to Christ, passion for people and yearning for community transformation. To that end, he has grown Friendship-West to nearly 12,000 during his tenure as Pastor.

Possessing a commitment to education he has a Bachelors Degree from Bishop College, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation.

Dr. Haynes is an author, radio show host and foremost a Pastor. In all he does he exudes the mantra of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – believing in the urgency of now, marrying theology with a call to impact our sociological issues. Dr. Haynes serves in various leadership capacities for organizations who champion social change. He is the Chair - Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference; Board of Directors – National Action Network; and Board of Directors – Conference of National Black Churches, just to name a few and; demonstrates a commitment to intellectual excellence in both the church and academia as he is a Board Member of Paul Quinn College where he has also served as adjunct professor. Notably, Dr. Haynes served as a committee member for the MLK Memorial Foundation, leading to the erection of the first African American Monument on the Washington D.C. Mall, has been honored by and inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame and noted in EBONY Magazine 2012 Power 100 - a list of the nation’s most influential African Americans.

Dr. Haynes is married to Debra Peek-Haynes, founder and president of Quorum Commercial, a Dallas commercial real estate firm. They are the parents of one beautiful daughter, Abeni Jewel Haynes.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Pfleger

Senior Pastor, The Faith Community of St. Sabina, Chicago, IL
July 13, 2014

Rev. Dr. Michael Louis Pfleger received his B.A. in Theology from Loyola University, his Master of Divinity from the University of St. Mary of the Lake and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary. He has also completed post-graduate studies at Mundelein College and the Catholic Theological Union.

Father Pfleger was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 14, 1975. In 1981, at the age of 31, he became the youngest full pastor in the diocese when he was appointed Pastor of Saint Sabina Church.

In 1981, Father Pfleger became the proud adoptive father of an eight-year-old son, Lamar. In 1992, he also became the adoptive father of Beronti. In 1997, he became a foster father to Jarvis Franklin, who was tragically killed as a result of gang crossfire, May 30, 1998.

Since 1968, Father Pfleger has lived and ministered in the African-American community on both the west and south sides of Chicago. He spent two Summers working in a Native American community in Oklahoma, and did his seminary internship as a Chaplin at Cook County Jail and at Precious Blood Catholic Church, both in Chicago.

Father Pfleger has been recognized for his fight against alcohol and tobacco billboards, drugs and racism in People, Time, Ebony, Newsweek and Jet magazines; The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, U.S.A. Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Reader and numerous other papers an journals. He has also been profiled on the following television shows: "Day One" ABC; "60 Minutes" (CBS); BBC in Great Britain, the Larry King Show and Nightline.

Father Pfleger was cited in the December 20, 2004, Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the best and entertaining preachers in Chicagoland. Also, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina was written up in the December 2004 issue of Ebony Magazine as one of the churches symbolizing the "New Black Spirituality."

In the course of his extensive and active ministry, Father Pfleger has been recognized for his commitment to equality and passionate stance against injustice. Some of the awards and honors he has received include: "Keeper of the Dream", Rainbow/Push; Distinguished Service Award, Nation of Islam; "Thurgood Marshall Award", National Black Prosecutors Association; "Monsignor Egan Social Justice Award", DePaul University, "I Am A Man Award" from the April 4th Foundation in Memphis, TN, "Rosa Parks Award" from the SCLC and the "Unsung Hero Award" from the Wade's World Foundation.

Father Pfleger has been involved in many issues, such as, campaigns against the sale of drug paraphernalia, billboards that targeted children with alcohol and tobacco advertising and saturated communities of Color, negative music that glorified violence and degraded women, the violence and disrespect of women on The Jerry Springer Show and the easy access to guns and the violence that is snatching the lives of children across the country.

Father Pfleger developed a program called "Operation Empowerment" that trained Saint Sabina members to inspect neighborhood stores for poor conditions. He also developed a team of church members who, rather than have the prostitutes arrested, went out and paid prostitutes for their time so they could talk about how they could turn their lives around.

Father Pfleger is the founder of the Employment Resource Center, the Ark Youth Center, Saint Sabina Social Service Center, Thea Bowman Spiritual Advance Center, Samaritan House for the homeless, Saint Sabina 80-unit Elders Village and the Beloved Community, Inc.

As a minister, Father Pfleger has sought to break down the walls of racism and denominationalism by building unity among all people founded on truth and based on Jesus’ command to love one another. This holy calling has led him to be parent, a preacher, a teacher, a lecturer and an activist. However, he believes his most important role is an errand boy for Jesus!


SPECIAL HONORS:
At the request of Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Father Pfleger was the keynote speaker for the national Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service. This event was held on January 20, 2003, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

At the request of the King Family, Father Pfleger was one of the speakers to eulogize Mrs. Coretta Scott King on February 8, 2006.

Father Pfleger was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame on January 24, 2009, in Atlanta Georgia.

Father Pfleger was honored by the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference on February 18, 2009, with the "Beautiful Are Their Feet" award.

Father Pfleger was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Office of Racial Justice of the Archdiocese of Chicago on April 7, 2010

Father Pfleger was honored with induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. International Board of Preachers on April 7, 2011.

The March 2012 issue of Chicago Magazine has named Fr. Pfleger as one of “THE POWER 100” of Chicago
See more by clicking here.


Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen, III

Founder/Senior Pastor of The Vision Church of Atlanta
June 29, 2014

Bishop O.C. Allen III is a religious trailblazer, human rights advocate, national LGBT community leader, entrepreneur and Presiding Bishop of the United Progressive Pentecostal Fellowship of Churches.The UPPC oversees senior pastors, ministers, churches and faith-based organizations throughout the United States. There is also an international presence in England, India, and Central and South America. He is the Senior Pastor and Founder of the internationally known Vision Cathedral which boasts 3500+ members, making it one of the largest African-American Affirming congregation in America. The Vision Cathedral is one of few churches in America that combines a theology of inclusion while staying rooted to Black Biblical traditions. Bishop Allen is best known for his oratorical gifts, scholarly and dynamic preaching, authenticity and innovative leadership. He is the author of the motivational self-help book, “Master Your Emotions.”

He is also the Executive Director of The Vision Community Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization created to address socioeconomic and health gaps in the greater Atlanta community. The Vision Community Foundation has annually fed over 20,000 families through its “Bread of Life” program, over 2000 women and children in it's local shelters program, provided clothing and toys specifically for homeless children, provided GED training for students completing diplomas, provided Breast Cancer awareness education, and provided HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. The Vision Community Foundation hosts the annual “Atlanta Black-Pride Community Festival,” which provides education and entertainment for over 30,000 people.

Bishop Allen has been honored by a host of community and national groups including the Georgia House of Representatives in 2012. As a strong proponent for economic justice, he also serves as a regional spokesperson for the National Black Justice Coalition LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour for communities of color. He has worked closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide support to LGBT and other minority entrepreneurs in the community.

Oliver Clyde Allen was born on January 24th, 1973 in Los Angeles, California. He studied at Morgan State University, Morehouse College, and Harvard University-Harvard Extension School where he majored in Philosophy and Religion. He is married to his life-partner, Mr. Rashad Burgess of Chicago, Illinois. Rashad Burgess is currently the Community Liaison for Gilead Sciences, Inc. and was formerly the branch Chief of the Capacity Building Branch at the CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. They are the proud fathers of 2 beautiful children, Joshua and Caylee. In 2013, Bishop Allen and his family made history by being the first same-gender-loving couple to be selected as one of Ebony Magazine’s “top 10 Coolest Black Families” in America. On April 3, 2014, he was inducted into the historic and prestigious Martin Luther King International Board of Preachers of Morehouse College.


The Rev. James O. Stallings

Regional Minister, American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York
June 22, 2014

The Reverend James O. Stallings has served as the Regional Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York since 1992. The American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York, founded in 1791, comprises membership of 191 churches in New York City, Long Island and southern Westchester. It is one of the most ethnically, socially and culturally diverse regions in the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

Prior to coming to ABC Metro New York, Rev. Stallings served on the staff of National Ministries, now the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, of ABCUSA. Earlier in his career, he served the Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland and was Executive Director of the Cleveland NAACP.

Rev. Stallings holds degrees from Morehouse College and Howard University Divinity School. He is a published author and has spoken widely both nationally and internationally.

Throughout its history, the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York has engaged in a wide variety of ministries with its member churches, the denomination, international and ecumenical partners, including, since 1994, the operation of Flemister House, a residential program for persons with AIDS. Rev. Stallings serves as the President of Flemister House. Currently, the region is engaged in a joint ministry, with the Haitian Baptist Convention and Baptists from England, in the development, construction and operation of the Hospital in Quartier Morin, outside Cap Haitien in Northern Haiti. This has been an ongoing ministry since 2006.

Rev. Stallings was inducted onto the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Board of Preachers of Morehouse College in 1989, and, in 2004, he was the recipient of the Council of Churches of the City of New York’s Extraordinary Leadership Award.

Rev. Stallings is a member of The Riverside Church.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Micah Institute, New York Theological Seminary
May 25, 2014

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., is a son of the parsonage and hails from a family steeped in educational achievements. A third generation family member to matriculate at Virginia Union University, Dr. Wright followed in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Dr. Hamilton Martin Henderson who graduated from Virginia Union with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the late 1800s and finished seminary at Virginia Union in 1902.

His father, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., also graduated from Virginia Union with two undergraduate degrees and from the VUU seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1938. The senior Wright also received a Master of Sacred Theology degree (S.T.M.) from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Dr. Wright’s mother, Dr. Mary Henderson Wright, also graduated from Virginia Union and earned her first master’s degree before age 19 from the University of Chicago. She also earned a second master’s degree and her doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania. His family laid a strong educational foundation for him and he has built upon that foundation all of his life.

With four earned degrees, a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Howard University, a Master of Arts in The History of Religions from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. grew up in a home where reading books was a daily way of life. Wright read a wide range of sources from the Greek philosophers and Shakespeare to African American authors such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carter G. Woodson (the Father of African American History) to Sterling Brown (one of the Harlem Renaissance artists).

As Providence would have it, moreover, Dr. Sterling Brown – one of the authors Dr. Wright read as a child -- ended up being both one of Dr. Wright’s parent’s college professors and also Dr. Wright’s mentor when he attended Howard University. A student of Black Sacred Music, ethnomusicology and African Diasporan studies, Dr. Wright is trained as an historian of religions. He came from a family where diverse ideas were discussed and lessons in critical thinking were learned. In that context, his faith was formed and his commitment to the continent of Africa and to social justice was born. These foundational strengths shaped Dr. Wright’s vision for prophetic ministry.

For more information about The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., D.Min., visit his Website, www.JeremiahWright.com.


The Rev. Dr. Peter G. Heltzel

Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Micah Institute, New York Theological Seminary
April 27, 2014

The Rev. Dr. Peter Goodwin Heltzel is Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary. He is the author of Resurrection City: A Theology of Improvisation (Eerdmans) and Jesus and Justice: Evangelicals, Race and American Politics (Yale University Press). His edited volumes include The Chalice Introduction to Theology (Chalice Press), Evangelicals and Empirei> (Brazos Press) with Bruce Ellis Benson, and Theology in Global Contexti> (T&T Clark Press) with Amos Yong.

In addition to writing for USA Today, Books & Culture,i> and Sojournersi>, he has published numerous articles in journals, such as Political Theology, Princeton Theological Review and Scottish Journal of Theology. Heltzel won a Theological Research Fellowship from the Association of Theological Schools (2006-2007), a Sabbatical Fellowship from the Louisville Institute (2008-2009), and was a participant in the Luce/AAR Program in Comparative Theology and Theologies of Religion (2010-2011).

An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he serves as Assistant Pastor of Evangelism at Park Avenue Christian Church. He also serves on the Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Team and the Commission on the Ministry in the Northeastern Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is currently writing a systematic theology that demonstrates the relevance of prophetic Christianity for the growing global movement for justice.

Heltzel lives in Harlem with his wife, mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel. His personal website is PeterHeltzel.com.

Prophetic Voices Series:
The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Goldsboro
President, North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP
Leader of Moral Mondays

April 13, 2014

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II was born in Indianapolis two days after the 1963 March on Washington. His parents moved him from Indiana’s integrated kindergarten to the segregated kindergarten in his father’s black belt home in Washington County, a conscious act to desegregate NC’s dual school systems. His father was one of the first black teachers of physics and his mother was the first black office manager in a Washington County high school. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration at NC Central University; his master’s from Duke; and his doctorate from Drew University in public policy and pastoral care.

Civil Rights and Progressive Movement-Building: In 2005 Rev. Dr. Barber was elected President of the NC NAACP. He quickly began the difficult job of transforming it into one of the largest membership-based progressive organizations in the state. In 2006 he gathered leaders of 16 progressive NC organizations to hammer out a 14-Point People’s Agenda; in February 2007 he convened the first Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) Peoples Assembly to approve the Agenda and post it in front of the NC General Assembly on Jones Street. The original sweet 16 has now grown to over 200 partners, and it includes virtually every African American denomination, a majority of the predominantly white mainstream protestant denominations, thousands of Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Ethicists. The Forward Together Moral Movement has almost eight years of experience fighting with (and sometimes against) Democratic Party leaders in the General Assembly to win Same Day Registration, the Racial Justice Act, and building cross-racial unity in the marriage equality fight.


Moral Mondays: In the face of regressive extremism, Rev. Dr. Barber, the NC NAACP, and the Forward Together Moral Movement that had been building for eight years, were ready to challenge the ultra-right’s efforts to return NC to the 1950s.

In late April 2013, Rev. Dr. Barber, with 16 other ministers and activists, peacefully petitioned their representatives on Jones Street to stop the regressive attack. The General Assembly leaders had the police arrest the peaceful moral witnesses. Almost twice as many witnesses came the next Monday, and they too were thrown in jail. For 12 Mondays, the number of arrests grew and the number of supporters who came to sing, pray and cheer them on grew. By the end of the legislative session, 944 people had been arrested and about 25,000 people had participated in the Moral Mondays. Upwards of 80,000 people participated in the 8th HKonJ Moral March on Raleigh in early 2014, the largest civil rights march ever in the south. The movement has held more than 117 events since 2013 in NC alone.

Rev. Dr. Barber practices what he preaches: He led the Greenleaf Christian congregation in analyzing and then buying the two-mile circle surrounding the church; in investing $1.5 million into building more than 60 homes for low-income families, a 41-unit senior citizens’ residence, a 90-student pre-school, an academic after-school, a computer lab for youth and adults, an HIV information and testing center, a Second Chance program for training formerly incarcerated men and women in the culinary arts, landscaping and technical jobs.

Honors include:

Honorary doctorate of human letters
Featured on CNN and MSNBC, and in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times
2013 Person of Year several NC newspapers
Campaign for America's Future, the Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award
blockquote> Recently Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II has received numerous awards and recognitions, including:
Listed First among The Center for American Progress; 14 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2014
The Martin Luther King Award by the National Education Association
The President's Award from Greensboro Branch of the NAACP
Named among the top 100 grassroots leaders in the nation for 2013 from the NBC Grio Blog

Prophetic Voices Series:
The Rev. Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak

Desmond Tutu Chair for Peace, Global Justice and Reconciliation Studies
March 16, 2014

The Rev. Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak was born in Kakamas, Northern Cape, in 1946, the second youngest of eight children. He grew up and finished high school in Somerset West, studied at the University of the Western Cape and received his PhD in Theology from the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands in 1976.

1976 also marks the Soweto Uprisings and Allan Boesak’s entry into public life in South Africa. Dr Boesak served the church and the ecumenical movement in various senior capacities since 1978, including as President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the first person from the global South and youngest ever to be elected into that position. Under his leadership the world body adopted the apartheid is a heresy declaration and suspended the two Dutch Reformed Churches from membership for their theological and moral support and justification of the apartheid system. In 1983 Allan Boesak called for the formation of the United Democratic Front, which became the largest organised, non-racial anti-apartheid movement in the history of the country. Allan Boesak became its most visible leader and spokesperson until its closure by the ANC in 1991. Although he has retired from active party politics, Dr. Boesak still is deeply and passionately involved in global struggles for human rights, social, economic and ecological justice, gender and sexual justice across the world.

Allan Boesak is the author of 17 books, co-author and editor of four. His most recent publication, Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism, published by Orbis, is co-authored with Curtiss Paul DeYoung. Allan Boesak’s 2005 Afrikaans work, Die Vlug van Gods Verbeelding, Bybelverhale van die Onderkant, (“The Flight of God’s Imagination: Biblical Stories from the Underside”), received the Andrew Murray/Desmond Tutu Prize, South Africa’s highest award for theological publications. His most recent publication, Dare We Speak of Hope? Searching for a Language of Life in Faith and Politics, was published by Eerdmans Publishing Company in February 2014. Boesak is recipient of numerous awards including the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award, and the King Hintsa Bravery Award from the Royal Xhosa House. He is also the recipient of thirteen honorary degrees from such institutions as Yale University, Morehouse College and the University of Geneva.

Dr. Boesak is the first holder of the Desmond Tutu Chair for Peace, Global Justice and Reconciliation Studies, and founding director of the Desmond Tutu Centre for Reconciliation and Global Justice at Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University in Indianapolis.

Prophetic Voices Series:
The Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook

Former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
February 23, 2014

The Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, a native of New York, is the founder and senior pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship, a new church plant for the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York. Prior to this, she served for 13 years as the senior pastor of the Mariners' Temple Baptist Church, the oldest American Baptist Church in New York City where she was the first African-American woman to be elected senior pastor of an American Baptist congregation in its 200-year history.

Rev. Cook is the Executive Director of the Multi-Ethnic Center Inc., located in the Bronx, New York. The Center is a vehicle for Rev. Cook to continue the work she initiated as a White House Fellow. She was one of seventeen in the nation appointed by President William J. Clinton to serve on the Domestic Policy Council, with a focus on issues of violence, homelessness, and community empowerment. Rev. Cook served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1994-1997 with Secretary Henry Cisneros.

Motivation and empowerment are the common threads in the diverse work of Rev. Cook. Her efforts to inspire and uplift are demonstrated via sermons, motivational speaking, seminars, and workshops. She leads by example as the first woman officer of the historical 7,500-member Hampton University Ministers' Conference, the largest gathering of African American clergy in the world.

Rev. Cook's most recent endeavors include Sujay Ministries, an exciting and relevant audio and video ministry designed to meet the needs of urban professionals, and youth and Jonco Productions, established to promote her oral, video and written motivational works and concepts. She is also the editor of Judson Press' Wise Women Bearing Gifts and co-author of Preaching in Two Voices (Judson Press, 1995). Her latest release, Sister to Sister: Devotions for and from African American Women, is a best seller and has won her international accalaim (Judson Press, 1996). At the end of 1997, she will release a book on spirituality for women in the work force with Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Rev. Cook received a B.S. from Emerson College, an M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University, an M.Div. from Union Theological Sminary, and a D. Min. from the United Theological Seminary as a Sam Proctor Fellow.

She is married to Mr. Ronald Cook. They are the parents of two sons: Samuel David and Christopher Daniel.



The Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess

Executive Minister of the United Church of Christ's Local Church Ministries
November 17, 2013

The Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess, is Executive Minister of the Executive Minister and a member of the UCC's four-person Collegium of Officers.

Guess was first elected by the UCC General Synod in 2011 to fill an unexpired two-year term and was subsequently re-elected to his first full term in 2013. He is the first openly gay person to serve as a national officer of 1.1 million-member denomination, based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Local Church Ministries' purpose is to encourage and support the UCC’s 5,100 congregations in the fulfillment of God's mission, especially in faith formation, worship and music; congregational assessment and support; ministerial formation and authorization; research and analytics; evangelism and church development; and loans for new church construction.

Guess has worked for the UCC's national setting since 2000, first as Justice and Witness Ministries' communications minister and, later, as editor of United Church News and the UCC's news director. In 2007, he was named the UCC's communication director, where he helped steer the UCC's Stillspeaking Ministry; United Church News; video, web, and social media; print design and production; marketing and distribution; special events, including General Synod; and the denomination's historic advocacy work in media justice and reform. In 2010, Guess was asked to oversee the creation of a new, cross-ministry department called Publishing, Identity and Communication that successfully merged staff from the Office of General Ministries and Local Church Ministries and fostered more cooperative and strategic work for the whole national setting.

Guess has written more than 500 articles on all aspects of the church, earning him more than 60 awards. His writing demonstrates his broad knowledge of the UCC and local-church life and his demonstrated capacity to think critically as well as creatively about the opportunities and challenges the UCC faces as a denomination. He is a member of numerous ecumenical and social justice organizations.

Guess earned a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky. He completed graduate studies in public administration and public policy at Murray State University, and earned a Master of Divinity in 1991 from Vanderbilt University Divinity School. He received the Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2001.

Prior to coming to the UCC's national offices, Guess was a local church pastor for 12 years, including eight years as pastor of Zion UCC in Henderson, Ky., a congregation that grew from 12 elderly members to a vital, justice-focused, multiracial, open and affirming congregation of more than 300 people. He also helped create the Paff Haus Justice and Peace Center, a justice cooperative that housed offices for more than a dozen regional and statewide advocacy organizations in Kentucky and southern Indiana. In 1992, he co-founded the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, the state's largest LGBT rights organization. Guess received the UCC's Just Peace Award at the 1997 UCC General Synod in recognition of his life-long commitment to justice advocacy. Guess and his spouse, Jim Therrien, live in Cleveland, where they are proud to be an active part of the city’s renaissance. They are members of Cleveland’s Pilgrim Congregational UCC and the worshipping community of the UCC’s Amistad Chapel in the heart of the city.



The Rev. Al Miles

Hospital Chaplain, Honolulu, Hawaii
October 27, 2013

The Reverend Al Miles, a national trainer in adult and teen intimate partner violence awareness, works for Pacific Health Ministry as the coordinator of the Hospital Ministry Department at The Queen's Medical Center, in Honolulu.

Reverend Miles speaks frequently to nationwide audiences on topics such as: domestic violence, teen dating violence awareness, caring for our elders, ethical dilemmas, maintaining healthy boundaries as we care for others, racism and other forms of bigotry, and spirituality.

He is the author of Domestic Violence: What Every Pastor Needs to Know, 1ST and 2nd editions; Violence in Families: What Every Christian Needs to Know; and Ending Violence in Teen Dating Relationships: A Resource Guide for Parents and Pastors. Reverend Miles sits on many national boards and committees and is a former member of the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women, and the American Bar Association's Commission on Domestic Violence.



The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson

Executive Pastor of The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY
October 20, 2013

The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson is the Executive Pastor of The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY. The beneficiary of public programs like the first generation of Head Start and free after school programs run by local churches in Newark, she knew early on that she wanted to live a life of service. She preached her first sermon at the age of 17 at House of Prayer Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ. She attended public schools in Newark before going on to Fisk University in Nashville, TN as a “first-generation” college student.

While at Fisk, Rev. Dr. Jordan-Simpson was a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Fisk University Choir, and the Black Mass Gospel Choir. She served the Fisk Memorial Chapel as student chaplain, and she served as chaplain to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Alpha Beta Chapter. She graduated with honors in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the double major - Religious and Philosophical Studies and Music. She graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York City with a Master of Divinity degree in 1988. When the Concord Baptist Church of Christ ordained her in 1989, she became the second woman in the church’s history to be set apart for the Gospel Ministry. She earned the Certificate in Not for Profit Management, Executive Level from the Columbia Business School Institute for Not for Profit Management in 1995, and earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree (with distinction) from Drew Theological School in 2009.

As a bi-vocational minister, she has pursued the welfare of the city. As the Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund – New York, she championed the closure of upstate youth prisons and brought attention to New York’s cradle to prison pipeline crisis. Prior, she was the Executive Director of Girls Incorporated of New York City and Executive Vice President for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

She was the Chair of the New York State Office for Children and Families Services Brooklyn for Brooklyn Community Advisory Board. Currently she serves on the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Union Theological Seminary, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, and the Concord Christ Fund. She is married to the Rev. Dr. Gary V. Simpson. They have three amazing children - Candace Yonina, David Michael and Jordan Elizabeth.

The Reverend Raphael Gamaliel Warnock, Ph. D

Senior Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA
September 1, 2013

The Rev. Dr. Raphael Gamaliel Warnock has served, since 2005, as the Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Having responded to the call to ministry at a very early age, Dr. Warnock became, at age 35, the fifth and the youngest person ever called to the senior pastorate of this congregation, founded in 1886. Yet, before coming to Ebenezer, “America’s Freedom Church,” he was blessed to train and serve within the pastoral ranks of leading congregations also known for their deep spiritual roots and strong public witness. He began as an intern and licentiate at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama, a leading light during Dr. King’s Birmingham Campaign. From there, he served for six years as the Youth Pastor and four years as the Assistant Pastor of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City – also one of the nation’s leading congregations. Finally, before taking the helm of Ebenezer, Pastor Warnock immersed himself further in the challenges of urban ministry, in the 21st century, while serving for 4 ½ years as the Senior Pastor of Baltimore’s Douglas Memorial Community Church, also a spiritual base of social activism.

The Rev. Dr. Warnock graduated from Morehouse College cum laude in 1991, receiving the B.A. degree in psychology. He also holds a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Union Theological Seminary, New York City, from which he graduated with honors and distinctions. Seeing his pastoral work as tied to the ministry of scholarship and the life of the mind, Rev. Warnock continued his graduate studies at Union, receiving a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in the field of systematic theology. His research interests and writing have included a distinguished Master’s Thesis and on-going research on the activist ministries of two Twentieth Century Martyrs: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and their challenges to the church and the world in their time and ours. However, his primary research is focused in the area of investigating black religion and spirituality and interpreting the theological meaning and historical mission of black churches born fighting for freedom.

As a pastor, Rev. Warnock sees the whole community as his parish. Accordingly, he has defended voting rights in his own state of Georgia. And when, in 2006, the State of Louisiana failed to protect the voting rights of recent Katrina evacuees, he led a “Freedom Caravan” of citizens back to New Orleans to vote. Dr. Warnock has addressed his ministry to urban men through a barbershop ministry called “Cutting Thru Crisis” and through a series of Bible Studies held in a local car wash. Newsweek magazine covered this example of his unconventional approach to ministry in an article entitled, “For Those Who’ve Fallen, Salvation Amid the Suds.” Dr. Warnock has taken on the contradictions in our criminal justice system through his preaching and through his fierce public advocacy. Along with many others, he stood up for Genarlow Wilson, a high school student ensnared by a poorly written law and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Wilson was released on appeal and is now a student at Morehouse College. His bold and visionary leadership has been further demonstrated through his public policy work with The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS and his ongoing efforts to provide tuition support for young people pursuing post-secondary education. Dr. Warnock is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, the Leadership Program sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Committee and a graduate of the Summer Leadership Institute of Harvard University.

Rev. Warnock has been listed by Ebony magazine as one of “Thirty Leaders of the Future,” one of “Twenty to Watch” by The African American Pulpit journal, one of the “Top 25 Pastors in Metropolitan Atlanta” by Concerned Black Clergy, one of the “New Kingdom Voices” by Gospel Today magazine, one of “God’s Trombones” by the Rainbow Push Coalition, a “Good Shepherd” by Associated Black Charities, one of the “Chosen Pastors” by The Gospel Choice Awards, one of the “Up and Comers -Forty Under Forty’ leaders in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, “A Man of Influence” by the Atlanta Business League, one of The Root 100 2010, 2011 and 2012 (a division of the Washington Post), one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Black Ministers” by Loop 21, one of the “20 Top African American Church Leaders” by TheRoot.com and he has received the Reverend Dr. William A. Jones Justice Award from the National Action Network. He is a National TRIO Achiever Award recipient and has been honored by induction into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers. As an opinion leader, his perspective has been sought out by electronic and print media, locally, nationally and internationally. He has been featured on the CBS Evening News and in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution which hailed him “a leader among Atlanta – and national – clergy, a fitting heir to the mantle once worn by The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” At President Barack Obama’s request, Dr. Warnock delivered the closing prayer at the 2013 Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral.

Rev. Warnock has preached his message of salvation and liberation in such places as The National Cathedral, The Riverside Church of New York, the Chautauqua Institute, the International Festival of Homiletics. But he is just as comfortable in a small, country church or an urban storefront. Through it all, Dr. Warnock is seeking to be faithful to his calling through an abiding commitment to Christian ministry, disciplined scholarship and diligent struggle on behalf of the oppressed.


The Rev. Dr. Barbara K. Lundblad

Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching, Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY
August 25, 2013

The Rev. Dr. Barbara K. Lundblad is the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary. Before coming to Union, she served as pastor of Our Saviour's Atonement Lutheran Church in Washington Heights, NY, for 16 years. She also served as campus pastor at Lehman College and New York University. While in the parish she also taught preaching at Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institution of Religion.


Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor

Butman Professor of Religion, Piedmont College
July 14, 2013

Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor is the Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College in rural northeast Georgia. An Episcopal priest since 1984, she has been named one of the Best Preachers in the English language, and is the author of twelve books, including the New York Times bestseller An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. Her first memoir, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, met with widespread critical acclaim, winning a 2006 Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association.

Taylor and her husband Ed live on a working farm in the foothills of the Appalachians with wild turkeys, red foxes, two old Quarter horses and too many chickens.


Dr. Kenneth Lee Samuel

Pastor, Victory for the World Church
June 30, 2013

Dr. Kenneth Lee Samuel is a native of Darlington, South Carolina, one of four children born to Mr. & Mrs. Bessie and Albert Samuel, Sr. He has been the recipient of many scholastic and civic honors, including ‘A Better Chance Scholarship’, which allowed him to attend high school at the prestigious Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey. He graduated in 1978 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History. He continued his academic pursuit by matriculating at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received the Benjamin E. Mays Theological Fellowship Award, among others. In 1981, he received his Master of Divinity Degree. In 1996, he received the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His theological focus is in the field of homiletics and social ethics.

Dr. Samuel was licensed as a Minister of the Gospel on his 23rd birthday, August 5, 1979, at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, under the pastorate of the Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., and Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. He was ordained in 1982 also at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In November 2002, Dr. Samuel was granted full ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ through the Georgia/South Carolina Association of the United Church of Christ.

In March of 1987, Dr. Samuel organized the Victory for the World Church which has dual standing as an Independent Baptist Church and an active congregation of the United Church of Christ. Situated in a growing eastern suburb of Atlanta called Stone Mountain, the Victory Church seeks to address the total needs of the total person through a broad array of ministries and services which promote the spiritual development, educational enhancement, physical fitness and social empowerment of every child of God – regardless of race, gender, culture, class or sexual orientation. In 2001, Dr. Samuel and the Victory Church completed construction on a 3000 seat Worship Center, replete with classrooms, offices, library, bookstore, recording studio and a 500 seat banquet hall. In addition, the Kenneth Lee Samuel (KLS) Community Life Center houses a full court gymnasium, additional classrooms, offices and a computer lab.

Dr. Samuel has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Clark Atlanta University and has served as a Teaching Assistant in homiletics at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Dr. Samuel’s first book, entitled ‘Solomon’s Success: Four Essential Keys To Leadership’ has appeared as a number one best seller in The Christian Century Magazine.

Believing that our love for Jesus should never be separated from our passion for Justice, Dr. Samuel has engaged himself in the struggle for Human Rights through numerous agencies, which most recently include serving as Vice-Chair of the African American Leadership Council of People For the American Way (Washington, D.C.), Trustee Board Member of the Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, CA), Advisory Board Member of the Interdenominational Theological Center (Atlanta, GA), Board Member of Leadership DeKalb (the premier Leadership Development program in DeKalb County, GA), Religious Advisory Board Member of the National Black Justice Coalition, Past appointed member of the Georgia Council on Adult Literacy, Past member of the Citizens Panel Review Board of DeKalb Juvenile Court (CASA), Volunteer Chaplain of the DeKalb County Jail, Past Board Member of the Scottdale Child Development Center, Past Southern Regional Chaplain of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Past Chair of the United Way Ministerial Campaign, and Past President of the DeKalb County, Georgia Branch of the NAACP. Additionally, Dr. Samuel has been elected as a Georgia delegate to the last four Democratic National Conventions.

As the founder of Victory Outreach In Community Empowerment (VOICE) 501c3, Dr. Samuel has led community services that have enriched the Stone Mountain vicinity in the following areas; customer service training, career development workshops, foreclosure prevention programs, homebuyer down payment assistance workshops, and basic computer skills training. Currently, VOICE provides free GED preparatory courses for ages 17 and older, financial literacy classes, and physical recreation for youth ages 12-18. VOICE will soon offer loan modification counseling. All of these services are open and available to the Stone Mountain/DeKalb Community.

Dr. Samuel is the proud parent of one daughter, Kendalle Marye, and resides in Lithonia, Georgia.


Daoud Nassar

Director, Tent of Nations
June 2, 2013

Daoud Nassar is a Palestinian Christian farmer whose family works its 100-acre farm and orchard just outside the town of Bethlehem. It is on his farm that the family members strive to maintain a haven of peace and brother/sisterhood through activities at Tent of Nations (TON), a dynamic peace and local education center established by the Nassar family in 2000. International visitors, including many Israelis, join together to plant trees, harvest olives and fruit, teach at the Women’s Education Center, lead activities in Youth Summer Camps, and come together in solidarity and shared goals in the pursuit of a just peace through non-violent activities.


Rev. Byron LeaVance Benton

Pastor, Berean Baptist Church of Raleigh, NC
May 12, 2013

Rev. Byron LeaVance Benton serves as the Pastor of the Berean Baptist Church of Raleigh, NC. Rev. Benton’s pastoral focus is on worship, pastoral care, youth and information technology. He sits on the board of directors for the Berean Community and Family Life Center and is the Vice President of the Garden on Millbrook Catering Company LLC in Raleigh, NC. In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Rev. Benton has traveled extensively throughout the United States preaching the gospel and Liberia, Africa preaching and partnering with the National Baptist Convention in Liberia as well as local churches and pastors in that area.

Rev. Benton is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina and a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where he majored in Business Education with a concentration in Administrative Systems. He completed his Master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary focusing his studies on homiletics and pastoral care and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at Eastern University in Philadelphia, PA. During his tenure at A&T and Princeton, he juggled university, church, and community endeavors. At A&T he sat on the board of several programs that reached out to troubled youth in the Greensboro area and served as the percussion section leader and chaplain of the A&T University Band, also known as The Marching Machine. He has served as a chaplain at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey and Chaplain of the Association of Black Seminarians at Princeton Theological Seminary.

There, he also served on the African American Concerns Committee. While at Princeton he was awarded the Aaron E. Gast Award in Urban Ministry, Jagow Award in Homiletics and Speech, and the Ray Lindquist Award in Pastoral Care. February of 2011 the Amsterdam News featured Rev. Benton as the “Black New Yorker” and was rewarded with a congressional record in December of the same year for his community involvement.

Alongside his ministerial endeavors, Rev. Benton instructed an urban charter middle school drumline at the Imani Institute in North Carolina and started a community drumline in Brooklyn, NY through the Berean Community and Family Life Center known as the Berean Community Drumline (BCD). BCD’s vision is to encourage positive holistic health in youth by providing physical activity that combats obesity, prevents disease, and encourages an overall healthy lifestyle, while simultaneously creating self discipline and encouraging community service. The awarding winning drumline has performed at various venues including museums, numerous church and youth ministry events, as accompaniment for the Jamal Jackson Dance Company at Dance Theater Workshop and Mark Morris Dance Theater, and for the New York Mets. They were also featured in the 2011 Black History Calendar by Aetna Healthcare for the month of February.

Rev. Benton is married to his best-friend and soul mate, Mrs. Yasmeen Anya Nicole Benton and owes many of his accomplishments to her love and support.


Bill McKibben

Author, Activist, Environmentalist
April 28, 2013

Click here to read a recent UCC news artice, "Bill McKibben encourages UCC fight for environmental advocacy"

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him 'the planet's best green journalist' and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was 'probably the country's most important environmentalist.' Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bill grew up in suburban Lexington, Massachusetts. He was president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper in college. Immediately after college he joined the New Yorker magazine as a staff writer, and wrote much of the "Talk of the Town" column from 1982 to early 1987. He quit the magazine when its longtime editor William Shawn was forced out of his job, and soon moved to the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Several editions have come out in the United States, including an updated version published in 2006. Subsequent books include The Age of Missing Information, Hope, Human and Wild, Maybe One, Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously, Enough, and Wandering Home.

In March 2007 McKibben published Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. It addresses what the author sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise. In 2007 he founded Step It Up 2007 to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050. A guide to help people initiate environmental activism in their community coming out of the Step It Up 2007 experience entitled Fight Global Warming Now was published in October 2007. March 2008 saw the publication of The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of 44 essays written for various publications over the past 25 years.

Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine.

Bill has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College. Bill currently resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and his daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1993, in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

Singer/Composer, Historian, Author, 'Songtalker'
March 17, 2013

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon - For more than a half century; as artist, singer/composer/producer, as scholar and author specializing in African American cultural history, Bernice Johnson Reagon has been a cultural voice dedicated to freedom and justice. Born in Southwest Georgia, the third child of eight, her parents, Rev Jesse and Beatrice Johnson, grounded their family with a linked partnership of home, school and church. While in college during the early 60s, then Bernice Johnson's activism as a student leader in the Albany Civil Rights Movement resulted in her expulsion from Albany State College.

She continued her work in the Movement joining the SNCC Freedom Singers formed by Cordell H. Reagon. After marriage and the birth of her children, Toshi and Kwan, Reagon returned to school; first to Spelman College, and on to Howard University for graduate work in history. Reagon kept her hands in music and singing when she became the music director for the newly formed D.C. Black Repertory Theater. In 1973 she organized the internationally renowned African American women's a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock, a group she led for 30 years, known for its singing and for its repertoire advocating historical and contemporary struggles for respect, and freedom against oppression and inequities.

She is Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and Professor Emeritus of History at American University. Reagon's work as public history scholar, producer, and score composer includes a number of documentary projects among them: the Emmy Award winning, Eyes on the Prize (Blackside/PBS), We Shall Overcome (Ginger Productions); the Peabody Award-winning radio series, Wade in the Water: African American Sacred Music History (National Public Radio and Smithsonian Institution); the Peabody Award-winning PBS film series on slavery: Africans in America.

She is composer and librettist of the Robert Wilson Opera, The Temptation of St. Anthony, (2003 premiere in Germany), orchestrated and conducted by her daughter, Toshi Reagon. Joined by her daughter and jazz pianist/composer Jeri Allen, Dr. Reagon created the score for the HBO Peabody award winning film Beah: A Black Woman Speaks (Jonathan Demme and LisaGay Hamilton, producers). 

       Reagon's pioneering work has been recognized with the Heinz Award for the Arts and Humanities (2003), the Leeway National Award for Women in the Arts (2000), the Presidential Medal for contribution to public understanding of the Humanities (1995), the MacArthur Fellowship (1989), and the 2009 Howard University Distinquished Alumni Award in Humanities, Music, and Civil Rights. In December, 2011, marking the half century observance of the 1961 student expulsions, Bernice Johnson Reagon was the Commencement speaker at the ceremony that saw 31 survivors of those formally expelled students re-united with their alma mater with honorary bachelor degrees. On that occasion, Reagon was awarded both the bachelor and doctoral degrees.

Pastor Darius G. Pridgen

Senior Servant, True Bethel Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY
February 24, 2013

Pastor Darius G. Pridgen is a mentor, servant, community leader and organizer who serves as the Senior Pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church located in the city of Buffalo, New York. His teachings and preaching are heard worldwide though the internet as well as weekly with four services in two locations on the East side of Buffalo.

Pastor Pridgen and his congregation have learned that “To whom much is given much is required”; the church provides the community with food, clothing and shelter through True Bethel Charities, Taste of Faith Food Pantry, True Bethel Clothes Closet and Nehemiah Arms emergency housing. They provide resources for individuals who find themselves homeless due to fire or have been reentered into the community and need a helping hand.

Pastor Pridgen is known for speaking out for those who are often not heard. In 2007 Pastor Pridgen and the True Bethel Family combined efforts with the community and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in order to clean-up a hazardous toxic waste site across the street from the church, the clean up of this effort was over 9.5 million dollars making the area safe for residential use. In 2010 Pastor Pridgen and his congregation reached out to help restore a historic landmark of the Underground Railroad, Michigan Street Baptist Church. The loan of over a hundred thousand dollars assisted in the repairs of windows in order to preserve history.

He has received countless awards and appointments such as the New York State Minorities in Criminal Justice and the “Do Something for Others Award”, exemplifying the teachings and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He serves as the New York State Overseer for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton. Pastor Pridgen serves as the Ellicott District Common Council Member for the City of Buffalo. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Medaille College. He was the recipient of their First Student Veterans Alumni Award from the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs at Medaille College and earlier this year he received the 2013 Interfaith Community Leader Award from National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, Inc. for his service to all people.

His education began in the Air Force and continued where he completed and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Buffalo State College along with obtaining his Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership from Medaille College.

He fully accepts his calling which is to “love” and “to change a generation” giving others hope and having “NO Fear” of reaching their full potential.


The Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins

Senior Pastor, Nineteenth Street Baptist Church Washington, DC
January 20, 2013

The Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins serves as the senior pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC.  During the 2012 presidential campaign, Rev. Harkins was appointed National Director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee. Prior to beginning his pastorate at Nineteenth Street, Dr. Harkins served as the Senior Minister of the New Hope Baptist Church of Dallas Texas.

Dr. Harkins' ministerial career began at the Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York where he was a seminarian intern before becoming Assistant Minister. He frequently represented the church in local and national media on issues ranging from racially motivated violence, to unfair billboard advertising. He has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities including, Bucknell, Cornell, Iona College, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Doctor Harkins also served as a consultant for the 1989 Academy Award nominated documentary on the life of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. 

Formerly a Vice President with the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance, Dr. Harkins continues to be engaged with a number of religious and civic organizations. He has preached and been extensively engaged in relief and development work in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Jamaica, and has also contributed to the work of Search for Common Ground USA on the issue of marriage equality.  An active voice in the debate for comprehensive immigration reform, he has worked closely with the Immigration Policy Center, and Esperanza for America to expand the combined immigration reform efforts of the African American and Hispanic communities. He has appeared in a number of media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC and NPR, and was one of the platform speakers, addressing over 250,000 attendees on the National Mall at the March, 2010 March for America Rally. Along with writing for the Sojourners blog God’s Politics, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors for World Relief, Faith in Public Life, Sojourners, and Union Theological Seminary.

Dr. Harkins was a contributing author for The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama (Judson Press) He has earned a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film, from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, NY, and a Doctorate in Homiletics from United Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio. He is also a Fellow with the Christian Leadership Initiative of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He and his wife Juli are the parents of two daughters Lauren and Shannon.


The Rev. Tony Lee

Founder and Senior Pastor, Community of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church, Hillcrest Heights, MD
December 30, 2012

The Rev. Tony Lee is the founder and Senior Pastor of the Community of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland. Rev. Lee formerly served as Senior Minister to Young Adults at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Ft. Washington, Maryland and prior to that assignment, Rev. Lee served as Ebenezer’s Senior Minister to Youth. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of a wide range of youth ministries that engaged young people in a style of praise and worship that embraced their unique styles and interests. These ministries included nationally recognized scouting and rites of passage programs, educational outreach, clothing design, cartoon ministries and an exceptional persons ministry to focus on youth with special needs. In October 2004, Rev. Lee used his leadership role in ministry at Ebenezer to bring two gang/“crew” leaders to the table to sign a “Treaty for Peace,” pledging to stop the violence in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Rev. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland at College Park. Upon completion of his theological studies at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C. and the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Rev. Lee earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary.


The Rev. Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D

Visiting Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Hood Theological Seminary, in Salisbury, NC
September 30, 2012

The Rev. Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D., is Visiting Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Hood Theological Seminary, in Salisbury, NC.  She earned the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (Phi Sigma Tau) from Fordham University, Lincoln Center, NYC in May 2002. Dr. Turman immediately pursued graduate study at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and The Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University School of Continuing Education. She was awarded the Master of Divinity Degree in Social Ethics (2005), the Master of Philosophy Degree in African American Religion & Social Ethics (2008), and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, where she served as as Adjunct Professor of Social Ethics, 2010-12.  Her forthcoming book is entitled Moving the Body: Toward a Womanist Ethic of Incarnation.  She is also currently working on a manuscript entitled, Prophetic Disruptions: Sexism and the Black Church.

Dr. Turman is a member of a number of professional societies, including the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Christian Ethics, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. She is the co-founder of the Society for Black Critical Thought & Empowerment, and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Turman is the youngest woman to be licensed and ordained to the Gospel Ministry by the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York (2005 and 2007, respectively). In 2004, Dr. Turman began serving at Abyssinian as Intern Minister for Christian Education & Youth under the tutelage of Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III. Shortly thereafter she joined the ministerial staff as Assistant Minister for Youth and became the second and youngest woman to preside over the ordinances in Abyssinian’s 204-year history.

Dr. Turman served as the Assistant Minister of the Abyssinian Baptist Church from 2010-12.  In addition to her priestly duties, Dr. Turman’s ministry at Abyssinian involved the spiritual formation and retention of church membership through the implementation of cutting-edge pedagogical methods and learning opportunities for adults and youth. This included the preparation and dissemination of Sunday School, New Members, Christian Parenting, Pre-marital, and Bereavement curriculum. Dr. Turman supervised Abyssinian’s 65+ ministries, with particular focus on the Usher, Security, Joshua, Medical, Women, and Men’s ministries.  Prior to joining Abyssinian’s ministerial staff, Dr. Turman served as Intern Minister at Union Baptist Church in Montclair, NJ under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Walter L. Parrish, III.

Dr. Turman is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In March 2012, Dr. Turman was featured in a segment entitled “The Gender Gap in Christian Leadership” on Odyssey Networks. In 2011, she was also featured speaking about Christian marriage on a 2011 PBS segment of “Need to Know.”  Dr. Turman was awarded the 2010 Rebirth Renaissance Award by the New York Urban League Young Professionals. In 2009, she was named one of The Network Journal’s “40 Under Forty” for her outstanding leadership in the African American community. She was also featured in EBONY Magazine’s April 2009 Issue as one among Young Leaders under 30 Serving God and the community.

Dr. Turman was published (“Do You Have The Fruit of the Spirit?”) in the Summer 2008 issue of The African American Pulpit’s “20 to Watch,” honoring emerging ministers under 40. She was a 2009-10 Dissertation Fellow for The Fund for Theological Education and was the recipient of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 North American Doctoral Fellowships for The Fund, as well. Dr. Turman was awarded Union Theological Seminary’s 4-year Howard Moody Fellowship that is given to the doctoral student who demonstrates exceptional promise in the area of urban social justice. In 2007, she was honored as a “Woman In Action” by the New York Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.

A trained violinist and gifted performing artist, Dr. Turman’s presence has graced theaters around the world. She is trained in a number of disciplines including: classical ballet, Horton, Graham, and West African techniques, and worked on The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s national “Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach Tour” for several years.  Rev. Dr. Turman is a native New Yorker and currently resides in both Manhattan and Charlotte with her wonderful husband, Rossie E. Turman, III, Esq.


The Rev. Kanyere Eaton

Pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church, Bronx, NY
August 26, 2012

The Rev. Kanyere Eaton the pastor of Fellowship Covenant Church, a Bronx-based congregation of the Evangelical Covenant Church that is committed to growing spiritually and numerically. Known for her down-to-earth style, engaging delivery and broad knowledge of scripture, she has preached, taught and led workshops in churches across the United States, as well as in Korea and South Africa. Prior to coming to Fellowship Covenant Church, Pastor Eaton served as associate minister at The Redeemed Church of Jesus Christ in Mount Vernon, NY. She is founder of Making It Plain Ministries, Inc.

Rev. Eaton has worked in both public and private sectors as a social service professional with backgrounds in early childhood education, substance abuse recovery, direct service management, hunger prevention and philanthropy. For the last ten years, she led The Sister Fund, a private women’s foundation in New York City, as its executive director. In this post, she received several awards and commendations, including the Changing the Face of Philanthropy award from the Women’s Funding Network, the Emerging Leader in Philanthropy award from the Association of Black Foundation Executives, and a social justice leadership award from the North Star Fund.

She serves on the Boards of Auburn Theological Seminary (New York, NY), Faith Partnership, Inc. (Raleigh, NC) and the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic (Brooklyn, NY).

Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, Pastor Eaton holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University, a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a Master of Science and Social Work degree from Columbia University. She is passionate in her quest to nurture, equip and inspire believers to reach their divine destinies through the simple message of God’s love and the reality of His power to transform.


The Rev. Dr. Dale T. Irvin

President and Professor of World Christianity at New York Theological Seminary
July 29, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Dale T. Irvin is President and Professor of World Christianity at New York Theological Seminary, in New York City.

He previously served the school as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div., 1981) and Union Theological Seminary in New York (Ph.D., 1989), he has been a member of the Seminary’s faculty since 1989. He is the author of several books, including History of the World Christian Movement, a three-volume project he has written with Scott W. Sunquist. Over the past several decades his articles have appeared in a number of journals such as Christianity Today, Christian Century, The Ecumenical Review and The Journal of Pentecostal Studies.

He is a founding editor of The Journal of World Christianity and serves on the editorial board of The Living Pulpit. Dr. Irvin has held visiting or adjunct appointments at a number of theological schools and universities, including the University of Uppsala in Uppsala, Sweden, and has lectured throughout the world.

An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, he is amember of The Riverside Church in New York City.


The Rev. Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks

Associate Professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies
July 22, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks is an Associate Professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies. He is also an ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church-USA. Jelks is a graduate of the University of Michigan, McCormick Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity) and Michigan State University (Ph.D. in History).

Dr. Jelks is an award-winning professor and scholar. He is the author of the award winning book African Americans in the Furniture City: the Civil Rights Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan (The University of Illinois Press, 2006) and Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography (University of North Carolina Press 2012).


The Rev. Mary Foulke, Ed.D

Senior Associate at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields (Episcopal) and Chaplain at St. Luke's School
June 24, 2012

The Rev. Mary Foulke, Ed.D., has been the Senior Associate at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields (Episcopal) and Chaplain at
St. Luke’s School since 2002. She is adjunct faculty at The General Seminary, Pacific Oaks College, and the Cornell School of Industrial Relations.

Foulke is a graduate of Earlham College, Union Theological Seminary (New York) and Columbia University; she also has extensive
training in diversity and anti-oppression efforts. She and her partner, the Rev. Dr. Renee Hill, have two children ages 14 and 11.


The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson

President of Auburn Seminary
May 20, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson is President of Auburn Seminary. Auburn is a “seminary of the future,” a think-act tank committed to building a new, progressive multifaith movement for justice. Auburn works through its movementbuilding initiative, Groundswell, as well as its programmatic areas of education, research, and media.

The Rev. Dr. Henderson was raised in Louisville, Kentucky; she earned her Masters of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and her doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is the author of God’s Troublemakers: How Women of Faith are Changing the World (2006).

She is an internationally known religious leader who has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Crain’s New York Business, MSNBC’s The Melissa Harris-Perry Show, andNPR’s On the Media.


The Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou

Founding Senior Minister of The Freedom Church of New York City
April 15, 2012

The Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor and theologian. Rev. Sekou is the founding Senior Minister of The Freedom Church of New York City.

He has written two collection of essays, urbansouls (Urban Press, 2001) and Gods, Gays, and Guns: Essays on Race, Religion, and the Future of Democracy (Campbell and Cannon Press, 2012). Gods, Gays, and Guns takes up the topics of gay marriage, economic justice, and social movements. Gods, Gays, and Guns is a spiritual tour-deforce— challenging the reader to rethink the meaning of the role of religion in our
global democracy.

As an “International Ambassador” for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Rev. Sekou is a statesman for peace and justice throughout world. He was a delegate to the Interdependence Day Conferences in Istanbul, Turkey and Berlin, Germany. He has played a key role in civil and interfaith diplomacy negotiations with the Iranian government.

He is the author of the forthcoming, Riot Music: British Hip Hop, Race, and the Politics of Meaning (Hamilton Books, 2012), which is due out in August 2012.

Recognizing his distinguished work as a public intellectual, the Institute for Policy Studies-the nation’s oldest multi-issue progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. appointed Rev. Sekou as the first Associate Fellow in Religion and Justice. Recently, Rev. Sekou received the Keeper of the Flame Award by the National Voting Rights Institute and Museum in Selma, AL.


The Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan

Pastor of St. Paul's Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA
February 26, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan a native of Gary, West Virginia is a 1992 graduate of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Union Theological Seminary, in New York, New York. Following her seminary degree, Leslie moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where she simultaneously pursued her doctorate in religion at Princeton University and served as the Minister of Christian Education at the First Baptist Church of Princeton. On May 18, 1997, she was ordained to Christian ministry at Judson Memorial Church in New York City.

In the fall of 2002, Dr. Callahan became a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania and became active in the Philadelphia Baptist Association. In April 2005, she was called as the interim pastor of the Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown.

In her two years at Salem, Dr. Callahan’s ministry gifts blossomed further as she preached to, taught, loved, and nurtured the congregation, encouraging them always to expand their capacity for receiving God, God’s presence, and God’s word.

In 2008 she joined the New York Theological Seminary faculty as Assistant Professor of Modern Church History and African American Studies and began to pray for a call to a congregation. The Lord answered that prayer on May 17, 2009, when the St. Paul’s Baptist Church, 1000 Wallace St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, took the courageous step and extended a call to her to become the fifth pastor and first woman pastor in what was then their 119-year history.
She serves on the board of trustees of The Living Pulpit. Her published writings include a chapter in The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama by Marvin A. McMickle (Editor). She also maintains two blogs.

In addition to her ministry and scholarly pursuits, she enjoys traveling, reading, golf, movies, hanging out with friends, and watching Philadelphia sports teams, especially the Phillies. She is also an active member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The scripture that provides the theme of her life is Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in [God’s] temple.”


Rabbi Michael Lerner

Political activist and editor of Tikkun
January 22, 2012

Rabbi Michael Lerner is a political activist and the editor of Tikkun, a prominent progressive Jewish and interfaith magazine based in Berkeley, California. Rabbi Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God: Taking Our Country Back from the Religious Right (Harper San Francisco, 2006) and Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East (North Atlantic Books, 2011) is also rabbi of Beyt Tikkun. Lerner received a B.A. from Columbia University, studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary and became a protégé of Abraham Joshua Heschel.

In 1964, he started his graduate studies in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, eventually earning in 1972 a Ph.D. in philosophy. Rabbi Lerner completed a second Ph.D. in 1977; this one is social/clinical psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley. He is also the co-author with Cornel West of a book entitled Jews and Blacks: Let the Healing Begin.


The Rev. Dr. Gary Dorrien

Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University
November 27, 2011

The Rev. Dr. Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. An Episcopal priest and lifelong athlete, he was previously the Parfet Distinguished Professor at Kalamazoo College, where he taught for 18 years and also served as Dean of Stetson Chapel and Director of the Liberal Arts Colloquium.

Prof. Dorrien is the author of 14 books and approximately 250 articles that range across the fields of ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics, and history. He is described by Princeton University philosopher Cornel West as “the preeminent social ethicist in North America today”; by Boston University philosophical theologian Robert Neville as “the most rigorous theological historian of our time, moving from analyses of social context and personal struggles through the most abstruse theological and metaphysical issues”; and by University of Georgia philosopher Frederick Ferré as “a superstar interpreter of modern religious thought.”

A frequent lecturer at universities, conferences, civic groups, and religious communities, Prof. Dorrien is a recent past president of the American Theological Society and has a long record of involvement in social justice organizations. His book, “Imperial Designs,” grew out of his extensive lecturing against the U.S.’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. His book, “Economy, Difference, Empire: Social Ethics for Social Justice” (Columbia University Press, 2010), features his lectures on economic democracy, racial and gender justice, and anti-imperial politics.

He has two books forthcoming in early 2012: “Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology” (Wiley-Blackwell), which makes an argument about the impact of Kantian and post-Kantian idealism on modern religious thought, and “The Obama Question: A Progressive Perspective” (Rowman & Littlefield), which makes a progressive critique and defense of Barack Obama’s presidency.


Mr. Frank Schaeffer

New York Times best selling author of 12 books
October 16, 2011

Mr. Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best-selling author of 12 books. The Los Angeles Times described Frank's writing as "A rich brew of cross-cultural comedy." The Guardian says "funny and wonderfully observed."

Writing in the Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winner and novelist Jane Smiley says of Schaeffer’s latest book Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway-- “Schaeffer is a good memoirist, smart and often laugh-out-loud funny. For those of us not raised in religious homes, he is like a visitor from another planet who marvels at things that we take for granted — like letting children form their own opinions… Frank seems to have been born irreverent, but his memoirs have a serious purpose, and that is to expose the insanity and the corruption of what has become a powerful and frightening force in American politics.”

Frank is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director and producer of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as “pretty terrible,” and a author of both fiction and nonfiction


The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

President of Union Theological Seminary
September 25, 2011

The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the 16th president of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 174-year-old nondenominational seminary, which is in Manhattan and neighbors with Columbia University,
Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and chair of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was co-principal investigator on the “Women, Religion, and Globalization Grant” for the Henry T. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs at Yale. Dr. Jones is a prolific and popular scholar in the fields of theology, religion, globalization, and gender studies. Her most recent book, Trauma and Grace: Theology in a Ruptured World, explores the devastating social and personal effects of violence on the human psyche and the role religious communities can play, both negative and positive, in healing wounds.

Her book, Feminist Theory and Christian Theology, is a standard textbook in feminist theology. In addition to three other books, and 37 articles and book chapters since 1991, she has delivered a long list of professional papers and public lectures across the United States and around the world. She holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Yale Divinity School and Yale University. Jones is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.


The Rev. Dr. Barbara K. Lundblad

Founder and CEO of Wisdom Women Worldwide, WWW
February 20, 2011

Described by the New York Times as “Billy Graham and Oprah all rolled into one,” The Rev. Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook has joined the Distinguished Preacher Series at The Riverside Church.

Known as “Dr. Sujay”, she is a minister, motivator, activist, and author and has been described as the “Female Dean and Queen of Preachers.” Dr. Sujay is the founder and CEO of Wisdom Women Worldwide, WWW, the first international, intercultural, interfaith center for women leaders, housed in Washington, DC.

The Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook

Founder and CEO of Wisdom Women Worldwide, WWW
February 20, 2011

Described by the New York Times as “Billy Graham and Oprah all rolled into one,” The Rev. Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook has joined the Distinguished Preacher Series at The Riverside Church.

Known as “Dr. Sujay”, she is a minister, motivator, activist, and author and has been described as the “Female Dean and Queen of Preachers.” Dr. Sujay is the founder and CEO of Wisdom Women Worldwide, WWW, the first international, intercultural, interfaith center for women leaders, housed in Washington, DC.

The Reverend Raquel A. St. Clair

Executive Minister of the historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, N.J.
March 20, 2011

The Reverend Raquel A. St. Clair is the first woman to serve as the Executive Minister of the historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, N.J., where Rev. William D. Watley is the Senior Pastor. Dr. St. Clair has served as Chaplain of the Association of Black Seminarians at Princeton Theological Seminary and as the first African American Co-Coordinator of the Women's Center. She also has served on the Advisory Board for The African American Pulpit, the only journal devoted exclusively to African American preaching

The Right Reverend V Gene Robinson

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire
November 21, 2010

The Right Reverend V Gene Robinson was elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003. He was consecrated a Bishop on All Saints Sunday, November 2, 2003, and invested as the Ninth Bishop of New Hampshire on March 7,2004. Clergy wellness has long been a central point of his ministry, which has focused on helping congregations and clergy, especially in times of conflict, utilizing his skills in congregational dynamics, conflict resolution and mediation

Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek

President, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
November 7, 2010

Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek is the founder and president of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. Formerly, Ateek served as Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. He holds degrees from Hardin-Simmons University (TX), The Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CA), and the San Francisco Theological Seminary (CA). He is author and editor of numerous books, including Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation; Faith and the Intifada: Palestinian Christian Voices; Jerusalem: What Makes for Peace; Our Story: The Palestinians; Holy Land, Hollow Jubilee: God, Justice and the Palestinians; and A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation ( Orbis Books, October 2008). Naim was born in 1937 in the Palestinian village of Beisan, south of the Sea of Galilee. His family went to live in Nazareth after Zionist troops occupied Beisan in 1948.

Ateek lectures widely in Palestine and Israel as well as internationally.

Rev. Dr. Traci West

Professor of Ethics and African American Studies, Drew University Theological School
October 10, 2010

Rev. Dr. Traci West is Professor of Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School.  She is the author of Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter, Wounds of the Spirit: Black Women, Violence, and Resistance Ethics, and the editor of Our Family Values: Same-sex Marriage and Religion. She has also published many articles on violence against women, clergy ethics, racism, sexuality, and other justice issues in church and society. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist church who previously served in campus and parish ministry in Connecticut.

Harville Hendrix, Ph. D.

Clinical Pastoral Counselor
October 10, 2010

Harville Hendrix, Ph. D. is a Clinical Pastoral Counselor who is known internationally for his work with couples. He and his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. cocreated Imago Relationship Therapy and developed the concept of “conscious partnership.” Their partnership and collaboration has resulted in nine books on intimate relationships and parenting.

Harville holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Theology from the University of Chicago and has received an honorary doctorate and two distinguished service awards. Harville has appeared on many national television shows including seventeen guest appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show. One of his appearances won her an Emmy award for the "most socially redemptive" daytime talk shows and was included by Ms. Winfrey in her top twenty shows. In addition to many radio shows, Harville’s work has been written about in numerous newspapers and magazines internationally, including the November 2005 issue of The Oprah Magazine where he was referred to in an article as the “marriage whisperer.” He is a member of the Redbook Marriage Institute, serving on the magazine’s team of marriage experts.

Harville is the author of GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT: A Guide for Couples and KEEPING THE LOVE YOU FIND: A Personal Guide, both New York Times best sellers. With Helen he co-authored GIVING THE LOVE THAT HEALS: A Guide for Parents, also a best seller, and RECEIVING LOVE: Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved plus three meditation books, two study guides and a video for couples seen on more than 300 public television stations. Their books are published in over 57 languages.

Harville and Helen have six children and live in New York and New Mexico

The Rev. Rachel Richardson Smith

September 26, 2010

The Rev. Rachel Richardson Smith is a Baptist minister ordained through the Alliance of Baptists and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C. After graduating from Meredith College in Raleigh, Rachel earned M.Div and Th.M degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She taught in the Department of Religion at Meredith College for thirteen years, leaving to spend more time at home with her four children.

During her time at home Rachel wrote articles and essays published in The Christian Century, Newsweek magazine’s “My Turn” column and local newspapers.

In 2000 she was the N.C. Director for the Million Mom March on Washington, D.C. to protest gun violence and in support of sensible gun legislation. For the last eight years, Rachel has been a member of the national Board of Directors of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and in that capacity led the work to create the God Not Guns Sabbath. She also provides clergy leadership for Vigils Against Violence in Raleigh, prayer vigils seeking peace and reconciliation for murder victims and their families and communities. Rachel is currently a chaplain at Rex Hospital in Raleigh.

Irene Monroe

Pacific School of Religion
June 27, 2010

Rev. Irene Monroe lives in Cambridge and is the Coordinator of the African American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) at the Pacific School of Religion, a Huffington Post blogger, and a syndicated religion columnist. A native of Brooklyn, Rev. Irene Monroe is a graduate from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor at an African-American church before coming to Harvard Divinity School for her doctorate as Ford Fellow. As a syndicated queer religion columnist, Monroe columns appear in 43 states across the country and in the U.K.

Her award-winning essay, Louis Farrakhan’s Ministry of Misogyny and Homophobia, was greeted with critical acclaim. Monroe states that her “columns are an interdisciplinary approach drawing on critical race theory, African American, queer and religious studies. As an religion columnist I try to inform the public of the role religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Because homophobia is both a hatred of the ‘other’ and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,’ by reporting religion in the news I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism and anti-Semitism.”

Monroe has been profiled in O, Oprah Magazine. She was also profiled in the Gay Pride Episode of “‘In the Life’ TV” where the segment on her was nominated for an educational Emmy. She has received the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching several times while being the head teaching fellow of the Rev. Peter Gomes, the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard who is the author of the best seller, THE GOOD BOOK. She is in the film, “For the bible Tells me so,” an exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community, and her coming out story is profiled in “CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing up Gay in America” that was just released in September 2008. Monroe sits on the advisory boards of several national LGBTQ organizations.

Rev. Paul Robeson Ford

Senior Pastor, Avalon Park Community Church
June 13, 2010

The Rev. Paul Robeson Ford is the Senior Pastor of the Avalon Park Community Church, where he began serving in March 2009. His leadership at Avalon is focused on stimulating growth and revitalization at the historic congregation on Chicago’s South Side. Rev. Paul was born and raised in New York City, and grew up at the Riverside Church under the leadership of Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. He answered the call to ministry in 1997 and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College and a Master of Divinity Degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Rev. Paul is currently completing a Ph.D. in Theology at the University of Chicago, where his research interests focus on the intersection between prison ministry, mass incarceration, and the practice of theology that is centered on transformation and liberation. During his tenure at the University, he also served as program coordinator for the Race and Religion Workshop from 2005-2008. Recently, he has served as Adjunct Faculty and Teaching Pastor at the Divinity School. He has twice been named a Fellow of the Fund for Theological Education.

Since 2003, Rev. Paul has served at Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland, Illinois, where he is the Associate Pastor for Justice Witness Ministries. At Covenant, he works with various outreach ministries and pens a page dedicated to justice and witness ministry that is published weekly in the church bulletin. He has worked throughout his tenure at Covenant with the prison ministry there and at Trinity United Church of Christ, providing leadership and administration for pastoral ventures at prisons in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Rev. Paul currently sits on the governing council of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, and in January 2010, he was elected President of the Chicago chapter of the Ministers for Racial, Social, and Economic Justice (MRSEJ). In addition to leadership within the denomination, he served as the Co-Chair of Committed Clergy in Action for the National Action Network – Chicago Chapter, and he sits on the Workers Rights Board, an initiative of the Jobs with Justice Coalition. He has been featured on Howard Saffold’s Positive Anti-Crime Thrust (P.A.C.T.) public access television broadcast, the International Sunday School Broadcast, and as a panelist on the DVD companion to the book Saving Our Sons. He was recently named to the Board of Trustees of the Branch Family Institute. His academic work has been published online.

Rev. Paul has a heart for ministry, and he is dedicated to empowering all of God’s people to walk into the fullness of God’s promises for their lives. He resides in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago with his wife and partner in ministry, the Rev. Kirstin Boswell Ford, and their three children: daughters, Cheyenne and Ayanna, and son, Jackson.

Dr. Josef Sorett

Assistant Professor of Religion and African-American Studies, Columbia University
May 30, 2010 : Youth Sunday

Dr. Sorett is an assistant professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Columbia University. His research and teaching interests include American religious history, African American religions, religion in/and the arts and popular culture, and the role of religion in public life. Dr. Sorett earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from Harvard University, and he holds a B.S. from Oral Roberts University and the M.Div. from Boston University. He is currently at work on a book project that explores the significance of religion and spirituality in debates regarding racial aesthetics. Dr. Sorett is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He lives with his wife and son in New York City.
www.josefsorett.com

Rev. Dr. Dale T. Irvin

President, New York Theological Seminary
April 25, 2010

Dale T. Irvin is the eleventh President of New York Theological Seminary and Professor of World Christianity. He was elected to this position by the Seminary's Board of Trustees on July 19, 2006 after serving as Acting President since January 1, 2006, and his permanent appointment became effective on August 1.

Previously, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of the Seminary and is a long-time member of the Seminary's Faculty. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1981) and Union Theological Seminary in New York (Ph.D., 1989), he has been a member of the New York Theological Seminary Faculty since 1989. he is the co-author with Scott W. Sunquist of History of the World Christian Movement, a two-volume project that is being written with a consulting team of more than 50 scholars from around the world and published by Orbis Books of Maryknoll, NY. Volume 1, Earliest Christianity to 1453, is now in its fifth printing. Dr. Irvin's previous books include Christian Histories, Christian Traditioning: Rendering Accounts (Orbis Books,1998), and The Agitated Mind of God: The Theology of Kosuke Koyama (Orbis Books, 1996), which he edited with Akintunde E. akinda. His articles have appeared in a number of journals, among them Christianity Today, The Ecumenical Review and The Journal of Pentecostal Studies.

Dr. Irvin has held visiting or adjunct appointments at the University of Uppsala, Sweden; Drew University Theological School; Union Theological Seminary, New York; Wake Forest University Divinity School; New Brunswick Theological Seminary; and Regent University School of Divinity. He is currently the Executive Vice President and member of the Editorial Board of The Living Pulpit, a higly acclaimed journal for preaching. He is also a regular teacher and preacher in churches throughout the New York City region. An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA, he is a member of The Riverside Church in New York City.

Rev. Dr. Jill Crainshaw

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Ministry Studies
March 28: Palm Sunday

Jill Y. Crainshaw graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelor’s degree in religion. She earned a doctor of philosophy degree in homiletics and liturgical theology from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in 1998. Crainshaw’s research interests include liturgical theology, the theory and practice of preaching, vocational formation for ministry, and feminist perspectives on church leadership. Crainshaw is the author of two books, Wise and Discerning Hearts: An Introduction to a Wisdom Liturgical Theology, published by The Liturgical Press in 2000; and Keep the Call: Leading the Congregation Without Losing Your Soul, published by Abingdon Press in 2007.

Crainshaw was ordained in 1987 and is now a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Prior to joining the School of Divinity faculty, she served for six years as pastor of Neriah Baptist Church in Buena Vista, Virginia, as a hospice chaplain, as interim pastor of Buena Vista Presbyterian Church in Buena Vista, Virginia, and as a chaplain for the Sunnyside Presbyterian Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.

February 21, 2010

The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past forty years he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.

Reverend Jackson has been called the "Conscience of the Nation" and "the Great Unifier," challenging America to be inclusive and to establish just and humane priorities for the benefit of all. He is known for bringing people together on common ground across lines of race, culture, class, gender and belief.

Born on October 8, 1941, in Greenville, South Carolina, Jesse Jackson graduated from the public schools in Greenville, then enrolled in the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. He later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University and graduated in 1964. He began his theological studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary but deferred his studies when he began working full-time in the Civil Rights Movement. Reverend Jackson received his earned Master of Divinity degree in 2000.

The Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs

February 14, 2010

The Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs has been attending The Riverside Church since 1985 and singing in the Chancel Choir since 1987. She joined Riverside in 1991 and was ordained here in 1996 by the United Church of Christ. She was the chair of Riverside’s Ordination Committee for several years. For almost eight years, Martha was the Director of Pastoral Care at New York United Hospital in Port Chester New York. She is currently the Managing Editor of PlainViews – an e-newsletter connecting chaplains and other spiritual care. Martha received her Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from New York Theological Seminary, where is an adjunct professor. Martha is a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains. Her just published book, A Clergy Guide to End-of-Life Issues, is expected to be a “must” for clergy and seminarians alike. Martha is the editor of Faithfully Facing Dying, the study guide that is being used by UCC churches throughout the country to educate congregations about end-of-life issues during this Lenten season.

The Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado

June 6, 2009

Born in Cuba and raised in New York, The Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado became the first U.S. Latina ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1981 and has served inner-city congregations in Connecticut, Brooklyn, Spanish Harlem, Houston and Fort Worth. She is currently Professor of Church History with a special focus on United States Christianities.

A widely published and sought-after speaker, Dr. Machado has a strong interest in the concept of “borderlands,” a multi-layered term that not only refers to a specific geographic location, but for Latinas and other women of color, also refers to a social, economic, political, and personal location within the dominant culture. She is a persuasive advocate for comprehensive reform of current U.S. immigration laws.

Ann Holmes Redding

April 19, 2009

Dr. Ann Holmes Redding is a Christian minister, writer, singer, and teacher. A graduate of Brown University (A.B.) and the General Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Dr. Redding has a PhD in New Testament from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Dr. Redding has served and taught in parishes and seminaries for over 25 years. She also practices Islam, a faith tradition that “makes me a better Christian,” she says. Dr. Redding has conducted bible studies, retreats, and quiet days nationally and internationally. She has recently founded Abrahamic Reunion West, a non-profit committed to the task of healing the global dysfunction of the Abrahamic family of faith. With Jamal Rahman and Kathleen Elias, she co-authored Out of Darkness Into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Jewish and Christian Sources (Morehouse, 2009). She is also a musician, specializing in jazz and classical music, and a bead jeweler, creating tangible, wearable art and prayer beads.

The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones

November 16, 2008

The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones became the sixteenth president of Union Theological Seminary, and the first woman president in the Seminary's 172-year history, on July 1, 2008. She is the Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology.

Previously the Titus Street Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School, Dr. Jones comes to Union after seventeen years on the Yale University faculty, where she also served as chair and faculty member of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Jones has held faculty appointments at Yale Law School and in the Department of African American Studies and Religious Studies.

Dr. Jones is a prolific and popular scholar in the fields of theolgoy, religion and gender studies. In addition to publishing 37 articles and book chapters since 1991, she has delivered a long list of professional papers and public lectures across the United States and around the world. She is the author of Feminist Theory and Theology: Cartographies of Grace (2000) and Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety (1995). She co-edited Feminist and Womanist Essays in Reformed Dogmatics (2006), Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Engagement with Classical Themes (2005), Liberating Eschatology: Essays in Honor of Letty Russell (1999), and Setting the Table: Women in Theological Conversation (1995).

Dr. Jones earned her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (1985) as well as her Ph.D. in theology from Yale University (1991). She holds a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma (1981) and is an ordained minister in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.

Dr. Jones is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. She has received grants from the Pew Scholars and the Louisville Institute and was co-principal investigator on the "Women, Religion, and Globalization Grant" for the Henry T. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs. From 1996-2006, she served on the advisory board of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology at Wabash College in Indiana, and from 1999 to 2005 she co-convened the Constructive Theology Workgroup, a national organization of progressive theologians.

The Rev. Dr. Nora Tubbs Tisdale


October 5, 2008

The Rev. Dr. Leonora (Nora) Tubbs Tisdale joined the Yale University Divinity School faculty in 2006 as the Clement-Muehl Professor of Homiletics.

Her research and teaching interests include: congregational studies and preaching, women and preaching, and prophetic preaching.

Dr. Tisdale is author or editor of seven books, including participating as one of six authors of The History of the Riverside Church in New York City, writing the chapter on Riverside’s rich prophetic preaching tradition.

Before coming to YDS, Dr. Tisdale served as Consulting Theologian at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, as Adjunct Faculty at Union Theological Seminary in New York and taught Preaching and Worship at both Princeton Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia (now Union-PSCE).

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Tisdale attended Queens College in Charlotte, N. C., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A.), Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (D. Min.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Ph.D.).

Dr. Tisdale is married to The Rev. Dr. W. Alfred Tisdale, Jr.. The Tisdales are parents of two adult children, Leonora and William.



Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman


September 28, 2008

Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Leave No Child Behind® mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

Mrs. Edelman, a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund. For two years she served as the Director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in l973 began CDF.

Mrs. Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College which she chaired from 1976 to 1987 and was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation on which she served from 1971 to 1977. She has received many honorary degrees and awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include eight books: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours; Guide My Feet: Meditations and Prayers on Loving and Working for Children; Stand for Children; Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors; Hold My Hand: Prayers for Building a Movement to Leave No Child Behind; I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; and I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children. Her latest book The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation will be in bookstores September 23, 2008.

She is a board member of the Robin Hood Foundation, the Association to Benefit Children, and City Lights School and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Marian Wright Edelman is married to Peter Edelman, a Professor at Georgetown Law School. They have three sons, Joshua, Jonah, and Ezra, two granddaughters, Ellika and Zoe, and two grandsons, Elijah and Levi.

For more information about the Children's Defense Fund, click here.



The Rev. Dr. Brad R. Braxton


September 14, 2008

Salem, Virginia native Dr. Brad Braxton hails from a family of spiritual leaders. His father and lifelong mentor was a Baptist pastor for 46 years. His understanding of the ministry literally started at his father’s knee, and he has since followed in his footsteps, not only in profession, but also in spirit

Dr. Braxton has published three books, and countless articles and sermons, in addition to preaching across the country and around the world. Dr. Braxton has carved out a reputation as a man deeply committed to pastoral work and to the theological academy, and who is able to move seamlessly between these two communities. He is also renowned for his passion for justice and inclusion as well as for his experience in interdenominational, interracial, international, and interfaith communities among persons of all ages.

While Dr. Braxton’s work has taken him all over the world, he has never forgotten his roots, his home, and his family, who have sustained and inspired him throughout his life.

Dr. Braxton’s partner in life and in ministry is his wife, Lazetta, to whom he has been married for ten years. A certified financial planner, she is a Principal and CEO of her own financial planning firm. They have a three-year-old daughter, Karis.





Dr. Harville Hendrix


August 24, 2008

Harville Hendrix, Ph. D. is a Clinical Pastoral Counselor who is known internationally for his work with couples.

He and his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. co-created Imago Relationship Therapy and developed the concept of “conscious partnership.” Their partnership and collaboration has resulted in nine books on intimate relationships and parenting.

Harville holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Theology from the University of Chicago and has appeared on many national television shows including sixteen guest appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show. One of his appearances won her an Emmy award for the “most socially redemptive” daytime talk shows and was included by Ms. Winfrey in her top twenty shows.

Harville is the author of many fine books on relationships, several of which can be found in the Visitors Center today after the service.

Harville and Helen have six children and live in New York and New Mexico.



The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.


August 17, 2008

Theologian, pastor, and civic leader, The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., has been involved in advocating civil and human rights and social justice issues for most of his adult life.

Having been a staff member of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he currently serves as a national board member and trustee for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change.

His work in the international community has taken him to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. He also traveled as a member of a clergy mission to the Far East in 1970 and to Israel in 1978. In 1994, he was the special guest of President William Jefferson Clinton at the Peace Treaty signing between Israel and Jordan, and, in that same year, he led a special mission to South Africa.

Moss served as pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church, LaGrange, GA; Providence Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA; Mount Zion Baptist Church, Lockland, OH; and in 1971, he served as co-pastor, with The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA. In 1975, he was called to his present position as Senior Pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH.

Moss is married to the former Edwina Hudson Smith. They have three children, Kevin, Daphne (deceased), and Otis, III (Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL).
The Rev. George Thomas


July 20, 2008

The Rev. George Thomas served The Riverside Church as Minister of Outreach and Institutional Relations in the newly formed 3-minister executive ministerial collegium from January 1977 until he was called to become Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church in Atlanta in 1986, the spiritual home for many of Atlanta’s leaders in education, business, medicine, social services and government (including Mayor Andrew Young).

While at Riverside, Rev. Thomas was responsible not only for ecumenical and denominational relations but also the art ministry of theater and dance. He also served as Chairman of City Community Board Number 9 for four years.

Rev. Thomas is a proud product of Toledo, Ohio’s public housing projects, the University of Toledo, Graduate School of Theology at Oberlin College and the Merrill Fellowship for study at Harvard Divinity School.

Rev. Thomas was the first African-American member of the executive staff of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ and Chairman of the ad hoc committee which gave birth to the Massachusetts Black Ecumenical Commission..



The Rev. Malcom Himschoot


June 29, 2008--PRIDE Sunday

The Rev. Malcolm Himschoot is a transgender man who, in December of 2007, became the proud father of twins. He lives in Colorado and currently serves as an educational resource to congregations of the United Church of Christ.

From the Fall of 2007 until very recently, Rev. Himschoot served The UCC Coalition of Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Concerns as Open and Affirming Program Interim Coordinator. Previously, he worked as Associate Pastor at the Denver Inner City Parish, and then as Associate Minister at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis.

Since 2004, he has traveled widely with the UCC-produced feature documentary on transgender issues, Call Me Malcolm. Rev. Himschoot has also worked extensively with UCC partners on advocacy toward immigration and prison reform, and community-organizing for responsible urban development. He brings a passion for creating justice among diverse communities, developed through a background in journalism, teaching and five years of pastoral ministry.



The Rev. Dr. Daisy Merchado


June 15, 2008

Born in Cuba and raised in New York, The Rev. Dr. Daisy L. Machado became the first U.S. Latina ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1981 and has served inner-city congregations in Connecticut, Brooklyn, Spanish Harlem, Houston and Fort Worth. She is currently Professor of Church History with a special focus on United States Christianities.

A widely published and sought-after speaker, Dr. Machado has a strong interest in the concept of “borderlands,” a multi-layered term that not only refers to a specific geographic location, but for Latinas and other women of color, also refers to a social, economic, political, and personal location within the dominant culture. She is a persuasive advocate for comprehensive reform of current U.S. immigration laws.



The Rev. Edwin M. Muller


June 8, 2008

The Reverend Edwin M. Muller is an ordained Methodist Minister and member of The Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. For thirty-five years he served in The New York State Department of Correctional Services as Chaplain to Green Haven Prison, Ministerial Program Coordinator, and Acting Director of Ministerial and Family Services. Presently he is Chair of The Commission on Chaplains for The New York State Council of Churches.

In the early 1970s, Rev. Muller was granted funding by the Riverside Church to start the first college prison program and Green Haven Prison, working with the incarcerated to earn their college degrees. He is currently a member of The Riverside Church and works with our Prison Ministry group. In 2005 he was one of two speakers for the Robert L. Polk Distinguished Lecture on Criminal Justice at The Riverside Church.



The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon


June 1, 2008

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) clergyman and a long-time educator and ecumenical leader, is the ninth General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.

He brings a long record of ecumenical activity to his office. He was General Secretary of the Consultation on Church Union, which became Churches Uniting in Christ, from 1999 to 2002. He was executive secretary of the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order from 1980 to 1983 and had a major role in drafting the World Council of Churches' major planning document, "Toward a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC."

He has been the Allen and Dottie Miller Professor of Mission, Peace and Ecumenical Studies at Eden Theological Seminary since 2000. He was professor of Theology and Ecumenical Studies at Lexington, Ky., Theological Seminary from 1988 to 2000 and was dean of the seminary from 1988 to 1998.

Kinnamon earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1980, in the field of religion and literature. He studied at Tel Aviv University from 1969 to 1970. His A.B. degree is from Brown University in 1971.

He is married to the Rev. Katherine Kinnamon, associate minister of Webster Groves Christian Church in St. Louis. The couple has two daughters, Anna and Leah.





The Rev. Susan Switzer



May 11, 2008

The Rev. Susan Switzer (United Church of Christ) is a consultant to New York Theological Seminary. Until May she was interim pastor of Emanuel United Church of Christ in Woodhaven, Queens. Formerly director of stewardship and fund development at The Riverside Church, she received her MDiv. degree from Union Theological Seminary in 2003.



Dr. Jeffrey Sachs


April 20, 2008

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs is also President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty.

He is widely considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation. For more than 20 years Professor Sachs has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and enlightened globalization, promoting policies to help all parts of the world to benefit from expanding economic opportunities and wellbeing. He is also one of the leading voices for combining economic development with environmental sustainability, and as Director of the Earth Institute leads large-scale efforts to promote the mitigation of human-induced climate change..

In 2004 and 2005 he was named among the 100 most influential leaders in the world by Time Magazine. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, a high civilian honor bestowed by the Indian Government, in 2007. Sachs lectures constantly around the world and was the 2007 BBC Reith Lecturer. He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including New York Times bestseller The End of Poverty (Penguin, 2005). Sachs is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining Columbia, he spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University.

Ms. Beth Stroud


March 30, 2008

Beth Stroud served as an ordained United Methodist pastor for six years before losing her clergy credentials in a 2004 church trial. In the trial, Beth was found guilty of “practices declared by the United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teaching” because she acknowledged living in a committed relationship with another woman.

Her congregation, the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, offered nearly universal support to Beth, setting up a legal defense fund and hiring her as a lay minister after she lost her credentials. The trial verdict was overturned on appeal, but the original verdict was reinstated by the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church in October, 2005.

Beth continues to serve the First United Methodist Church of Germantown as a pastoral assistant, teaches the youth confirmation class and is developing a youth curriculum, You! A Faith That Fits, for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Beth holds an MDiv from Union Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College. Beth and her partner Chris make their home in Philadelphia with their two-year-old foster child.

The Rev. Dr. Charles G. Adams


March 9, 2008

The Reverend Dr. Charles G. Adams joined the Faculty of Harvard Divinity School, as the first Nickerson Professor of the Practice of Ethics and Ministry in July 2007, starting a five-year term. Adams, an acclaimed preacher and expert on ministry and urban revitalization, has also served as senior pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit since 1969. Under his leadership, the church was nationally noted for establishing social, educational, and recreational programs for a congregation numbering at more than 10,000 members, as well as broader economic development initiatives that have helped revitalize much of northwest Detroit.

He has been president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP and holds memberships on numerous boards across the United States, including those of the National Council of Churches and Morehouse College. In a more global arena, he has been integral to the World Council of Churches' efforts to combat racism around the world, and in this regard addressed the United Nations on South African apartheid. In 1994, he accompanied President Bill Clinton to Jordan to witness the signing of the peace accord between Jordan and Israel.

He has honorary doctorates from many American institutions, including Morehouse, Dillard University, and Tuskegee University, and has received many awards, including the Katzenstein and Black Alumni/ae awards at Harvard Divinity School, where he has also been a central teacher for the Summer Leadership Institute for faith-based community and economic development.

The Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes


March 2, 2008

Dr. Emilie Maureen Townes, an ordained American Baptist clergywoman, is a native of Durham, North Carolina. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Religion in Society and Personality from Northwestern University.

She has served as the Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, professor of Christian social ethics and Black church ministries at Saint Paul School of Theology and instructor in the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University. Additionally, Townes served as an adjunct professor of ethics and society at Garrett-Evangelical and was a member of the field education staff. She has also been an adjunct professor at Chicago Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she served as interim pastoral leader of Christ the Redeemer Metropolitan Community Church for three years. She is a past-chair of the Board of Directors of reStart, Inc.—an interfaith agency for the homeless in Kansas City, MO. In the fall of 2005, she elected to the presidential line of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). She currently serves as president, the first African American woman to do so. Dr. Townes served on the Commission on Life and Theology of the American Baptist Churches and on the National Commission on the Ministry. She is a former member of the General Board of the American Baptist Church. Townes is a member of the Society of Christian Ethics, The Society for the Study of Black Religion, the American Academy of Religion, and the Ministers Council of the American Baptist Churches. She has served on the Women in Ministry Coordinating Committee of the National Council of Churches and the board of directors of the Ecumenical Women's Center. While a member of the Chicago Baptist Association, she served on its ordination commission and its long range planning committee. She was the director of the Lilly Endowment teaching workshop, “Mining the Motherlode of African American Religious Life” sponsored by the American Academy of Religion. Townes is a 2005-2006 Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology and was a Research Associate and Visiting Lecturer in Women’s Studies in Religion and Society of Harvard Divinity School in 2001-2002.

Dr. Townes' primary area of concern is African American women in the church. Her writing, teaching, and activism have centered on this and drawing the linkages among race, gender, class and other forms of oppression. She is one of the founding members of the Initiative on Religion and Politics at Yale, a progressive faith voice in the Yale Divinity School that seeks to foster the formation of religious leaders with prophetic vision and a passion for social justice, to develop a progressive think tank that explores the roles of religion in public life, and to speak forcefully in the public sphere about the social and political issues of the day. She is also the founder of the Yale Initiative on Black Religion in the African Diaspora that seeks to build an interfaith dialogue in the academy, religious communities, and society. Townes was a co-editor of The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. The author of numerous articles, she is also the editor of two anthologies entitled A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering and Embracing the Spirit: Womanist Perspectives on Hope, Salvation, and Transformation. Her own books are Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope, In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness, and Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health Issues and a Womanist Ethic of Care. Her most recent book, Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil, was released in November 2006. She continues her research on women, health, and activism in the African diaspora with special attention to Brasil and the United States.

Effective July 1, 2008, Dr. Townes will become the first African American and first woman to serve as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Yale Divinity School.

The Rev. Dr. Bill J. Leonard


February 24, 2008

Bill J. Leonard is dean and professor of church history at Wake Forest University Divinity School, Winston-Salem, NC. He has held teaching posts at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Samford University, and Seinan Gakuin University (Fukuoka, Japan). Leonard holds the B.A. from Texas Wesleyan College, the M.Div. from a Baptist seminary, and the Ph.D. from Boston University. He is the author or editor of 15 books, including A Dictionary of Baptists in America, Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism, and Baptist Ways: A History, a survey of Baptist history from 1600 to 2000 (Judson Press 2003). His most recent book is entitled Baptists in America, published by Columbia University Press (2005).

His spouse, Candyce Crew Leonard, is a professor in Humanities at Wake Forest. They have one daughter, Stephanie, and are members at First Baptist Church, Highland Avenue in Winston-Salem.

The Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock


February 17, 2008

The Reverend Raphael Gamaliel Warnock, Ph.D. serves as the Senior Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A native of Savannah, Georgia and the son of two Pentecostal-Holiness ministers, The Rev. Dr. Warnock preached his first sermon entitled, “It’s Time I Be About My Father’s Business” at age eleven. Having been licensed and ordained at the historic Sixth Avenue Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama, he served for six years as the Youth Pastor and four years as the Assistant Pastor of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City - also one of the nation’s leading congregations, led by the likes of The Rev. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., The Rev. Dr. Samuel Dewitt Proctor and now The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts. Before coming to Ebenezer, Pastor Warnock served for 4 ½ years as the Senior Pastor of Baltimore’s Douglas Memorial Community Church.

The Rev. Dr. Warnock is a graduate of Morehouse College cum laude in 1991 and Union Theological Seminary, New York City, where he graduated with honors and distinctions in both his Masters and Ph.D. degrees. His primary research is focused in the area of investigating black religion and spirituality and interpreting the theological meaning and historical mission of the black church. In 1989, The Rev. Dr. Warnock authored Educating Teens For Positive Peer Intervention, which today still serves as Georgia’s official curriculum guide for teen peer programs aimed at reducing the State’s teenage pregnancy rate.

The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy


February 10, 2008

Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, leads the national nonpartisan grassroots and educational organizations, The Interfaith Alliance and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation and serves as the Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana. Rev. Gaddy is the host of State of Belief, a weekly radio show by The Interfaith Alliance that is carried on AirAmerica. State of Belief is based on the proposition that religion has a positive and healing role to play in the life of the nation. Rev Gaddy is one of 20 international religious leaders on the Council of 100 Leaders, a group created by the World Economic Forum to improve dialogue and understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds.

In addition to being the author of over 20 books, Welton provides regular commentary to the national media on issues relating to religion and politics. Some of his appearances include CNN Presents: The Fight Over Faith; PBS's NOW with Bill Moyers; PBS Frontline's The Jesus Factor; PBS's The Newshour with Jim Lehrer; NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw; CBS Evening News with Dan Rather; ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings; numerous National Public Radio stations including KQED's Forum in San Francisco and KCRW's The Politics of Culture in Los Angeles; CNBC's Capital Report; CNN's The World Today with Wolf Blitzer; CNN's Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff; PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly; CBS's Freedom to Pray; C-SPAN's Washington Journal; NBC's Dateline. He is the former host of Morally Speaking on NBC affiliate KTVE in Monroe, Louisiana.

Founded in 1994, The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) has grown into a national grassroots organization of 150,000+ individuals of faith and goodwill drawn from more than 75 different religious traditions or beliefs with a cyber-network of 10,000 activists and 75 local activist groups. Dedicated to promoting mutual respect, cooperation and civility, TIA strives to promote religion as a positive and healing force in the life of the nation.

While ministering to churches with a message of inclusion, Welton emerged as a leader among progressive and moderate Baptists. Among his many leadership roles, he is the immediate past President of the Alliance of Baptists and is a twenty-year member of the Commission of Christian Ethics of the Baptist World Alliance. His past leadership roles include serving as a member of the General Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, President of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Chair of the Pastoral Leadership Commission of the Baptist World Alliance.

Prior to the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, Welton served in many leadership roles in the SBC including membership on the convention's Executive Committee from 1980-1984 and Director of Christian Citizenship Development of the Christian Life Commission from 1973-1977.

Welton received his undergraduate degree from Union University in Tennessee and his doctoral degree and divinity training from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Rev. Kanyere Eaton


January 27, 2008

The Rev. Kanyere Eaton is Executive Director of The Sister Fund, a small, private foundation dedicated to the economic, social, political and spiritual empowerment of women and girls.

As an ordained minister and trained social worker, Kanyere embraces the bridge-building work of uniting the complimentary energies of progressive women of faith and secular feminists.

She has worked in both the public and private sectors as a social service professional, with backgrounds in early childhood education, substance abuse, direct service management and hunger prevention.

Currently pursuing a Doctorate in Ministry degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary in International Feminist Theology, Kanyere holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University; a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a Master of Science and Social Work degree from Columbia University.

Ordained in 1991, she is an Associate Minister at the Redeemed Church of Jesus Christ in Mt. Vernon, New York.

The Rev. Dr. Roy A. Medley


January 20, 2008

The Rev. A. Roy Medley is general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, the pastoral and administrative leader of the 1.5-million-member denomination.

He has articulated a vision of ministry and service that focuses both on the local church--the fundamental unit of mission in American Baptist life--and on Christ-centered servanthood. He is committed to lifting up longstanding American Baptist distinctives of evangelical outreach, ecumenical cooperation, social justice, soul liberty, religious freedom, worship, and constructive dialog. He has challenged American Baptists to seek unity in Christ amidst the racial, ethnic, geographical and theological diversity of their denomination.

Previously Medley was executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, one of 34 regions within the denomination. Under Medley’s leadership from 1992-2001 the region emphasized congregational renewal, new church development and racial reconciliation. Medley previously was an area minister and minister of Mission Support for the region.

From 1979-1985 Medley was national director of the Neighborhood Action Program of American Baptist National Ministries, where he directed denominational Christian center programs, focusing on programmatic vision, recruitment, support for National Ministries home missionaries at the centers and mission interpretation with local churches. He represented American Baptist Churches USA at the National Council of Churches of Christ in the Domestic Hunger and Poverty Working Group and at the World Council of Churches through the Ecumenical Development Cooperative Fund.

Medley’s pastoral experience includes service as interim pastor at Christ Congregation, Princeton, N.J. (1977-1978) and associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Trenton, N.J. (1974-1977), where he also served as a seminary intern and was ordained in 1975.

Medley has been a member of the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Freedom and Justice and the Church Renewal Committee and served on the faculty for the American Baptist Churches USA Church Planters Institute. He has been a Bible study leader and speaker at numerous gatherings in the U.S. as well as in Haiti, the Philippines, India, Myanmar, Cuba, and Rwanda.

A native of Ringgold, Ga., Medley holds an A.B. degree (psychology) from the University of Chattanooga and an M.Div. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He currently is enrolled in a D.Min. program at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Ga. He has received honorary D.Div. degrees from Alderson-Broaddus College, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and Central Philippine University. He also participated in the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches, Bossey, Switzerland (1972-1973).

He is a member of First Baptist Church, Freehold, N.J. Medley is married to the Rev. Dr. Patricia Stauffer Medley, an ordained Lutheran pastor currently serving Hope Lutheran Church, Freehold, N.J. They have two sons, Ethan and Jordan.

The Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad
Joe R. Engle Associate Professor of Preaching.

December 16 & 23, 2007

Barbara Kay Lundblad, received a B.A. in English from Augustana College (1966), the M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (1979), and the D.D. from Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. An ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, she served 16 years as a parish pastor in New York City, as well as campus pastor at Lehman College and New York University. She has taught preaching at Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, and in the D.Min. program of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools. Her teaching interests include preaching in partnership with the congregation, preaching and social transformation, new forms of preaching, and preaching as an integral part of worship.

Dr. Lundblad's ongoing leadership in the Union community has included being a preacher and worship leader in James Chapel, a member of the Seminary Choir, a participant in the Academic Affairs Committee, an advisor to Lutheran students, and a Faculty liaison to the Poverty Initiative planning group and Advisory Committee. In her leadership beyond Union, she is currently serving as the President of the Academy of Homiletics and is on the Board of the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. She has also served as Pastoral Associate at Advent Lutheran Church in Manhattan, as Co-President of The Network for Inclusive Vision (ELCA), and as a member of the local committee for “One Voice” campaign working for full inclusion of GLBT people in the ELCA. She preaches and leads worship regularly at her home church, Advent Lutheran Church, and has preached and lectured at many different congregations and educational centers, both locally and throughout the United States.

Last year, Dr. Lundblad published several sermons in the journal Lectionary Homiletics, and “Prologue, ‘Down by the Riverside,’” in Women’s Voices and Visions of the Church: Reflections from North America (2005); her essays on “Narrative Theory” and “Feminism” were accepted for publication by The New Interpreter’s Bible Encyclopedia of Preaching. During her sabbatical in 2004, Prof. Lundblad participated in a study trip to Israel and Palestine, sponsored by the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, which proved to be a life-changing experience for her, though she felt the trip raised more questions than it answered. On her return to New York, she was acutely aware that her perspective on Israel/Palestine was shaped by the places she had visited and the voices she had heard. Though she still feels she knows very little, Lundblad now reads biblical texts in a new way, seeing the landscape as she reads the verses. She admits that “I lift up my eyes to the hills…” no longer sounds the same. However, her “journey though that beautiful, troubled land marked by many clashing images” and her “deeply moving visits with people in Israel and the West Bank” have undoubtedly only served to enhance the quality of her preaching and teaching.

The Rev. Dr. Donald W. Shriver, Jr.
President of the Faculty and William E. Dodge Professor of Applied Christianity, Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary.

November 25, 2007

Donald W. Shriver, Jr. is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He holds degrees from Davidson College, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, Yale Divinity School, and Harvard University (Ph.D.). He has taught at North Carolina State University, Emory University, and Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he was the thirteenth president (1975-1991) and served as the William E. Dodge Professor of Applied Christianity (1975-1996).

Dr. Shriver is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books, including Spindles and Spires: A Re-Study of Religion and Social Change in Gastonia (Atlanta: John Knox Press 1976), Beyond Success: Corporations and Their Critics in the ’Nineties (Oxford University Press, 1991), and An Ethic For Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics (Oxford University Press, 1995 and 1997). He serves as a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, remains active in various committees of the Presbyterian Church USA, and in the spring of 1999 became a Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin.

The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel
Senior Minister, First Congregational Church, Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

November 11, 2007

Lillian Daniel became the Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn in the summer of 2004, after moving there from the East Coast. When asked if she had family and friends in the Chicago area, she responded, “No, was I supposed to?” A graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Yale Divinity School, she was ordained into the Christian ministry in 1993, to the position of Associate Minister of the First Congregational Church in Cheshire, Connecticut. In 1996, she became the Senior Minister of the Church of the Redeemer, United Church of Christ, in New Haven, Connecticut, where she remained for eight years, earning her Doctorate of Ministry from Hartford Seminary in 2004.

Reverend Daniel is the author of "Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony", published by the Alban Institute in 2005. A frequent contributor to the Christian Century Magazine, Daniel also has a chapter in Anxious About Empire edited by Wes Avram, and From Nomads to Pilgrims: Stories from Practicing Congregations, edited by Diana Butler Bass and Joseph Stewart-Sicking. Her writing focuses on issues of economic justice, church vitality, and spiritual formation, but to be perfectly honest, most of her publications either begin or end up as sermons.

Reverend Daniel has taught preaching to seminarians at Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary. She writes for preaching periodicals such as the Journal for Preachers and the Biblical Preaching Journal, and also has a regular spirituality column in the denominational newspaper, the United Church News.

Married to Lou Weeks, a labor union organizer, Reverend Daniel is the proud mother of two school age children, Calvin and Abigail Weeks, and the not-so-proud owner of one badly behaved dog named Lucky. Reverend Daniel is delighted to have landed in such a vibrant church community, by the grace of God, and gives thanks every day that she can serve Christ as the Senior Minister of First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, where God is still speaking and all people are welcome.

The Rev. Dr. Doctor Kenneth Lee Samuel
Pastor, Victory United Church of Christ, Stone Mountain, Georgia.

October 21, 2007

Doctor Kenneth Lee Samuel is the pastor and organizer of Victory United Church of Christ in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He is a native of Darlington, South Carolina; one of four children born to Mr. & Mrs. Bessie and Albert Samuel, Sr. He has been the recipient of many scholastic and civic honors, including “A Better Chance Scholarship,” which allowed him to attend high school at the prestigious Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey. He graduated in 1978 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History. He continued his academic pursuit by matriculating at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received the Benjamin E. Mays Theological Fellowship Award among others. In 1981, he received his Master of Divinity Degree. In 1996, he received the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His theological focus is in the field of homiletics and social ethics. Dr. Samuel is an adjunct professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Clark Atlanta University, and has served as a Teaching Assistant in homiletics at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. An aspiring author, Dr. Samuel has recently published his first book, entitled “Solomon’s Success” for Pilgrim Press. It highlights the leadership of King Solomon as a model for leadership in the twenty-first century.

Doctor Samuel was licensed as a Minister of the Gospel on his 23rd birthday, August 5, 1979, at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, under the pastorate of the Reverend Doctor Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., and Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. He was ordained in 1982 also at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia.



The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar
Former General Secretary, National Council of Churches is now President of Common Cause

October 7, 2007

Robert William (Bob) Edgar, the general secretary of The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), and a former congressman who represented eastern Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1987, was elected president and chief executive officer of Common Cause in May of 2007 by the organization’s National Governing Board. Edgar succeeds Chellie Pingree, who stepped down in February.

Edgar is a 1965 graduate of Lycoming College with a bachelor of arts degree in history. He holds a master of divinity degree from the Theological School of Drew University in Madison, NJ. He also holds four honorary doctoral degrees.

As president and chief executive officer, Edgar will oversee all program activities, finances and communications for Common Cause, a non-partisan citizen lobby with more than 300,000 members and supporters. Common Cause has a 35-year history of helping citizens to effectively engage in the political process through reform advocacy on issues such as campaign finance reform, government ethics, election reform and media reform.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson
Founder and President, RainbowPUSH coalition, Inc.

September 30, 2007

The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, President and Founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, is one of America’s foremost political figures. Over the past thirty years he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.

Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Jesse Jackson attended the University of Illinois on a football scholarship and later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University. After graduating from North Carolina A&T, he attended Chicago Theological Seminary until he joined the Civil Rights Movement full time in 1965.

Reverend Jackson has been called the “conscience of the nation” and “the great unifier,” challenging America to establish just and humane priorities. He is known for bringing people together in common ground across lines of race, class, gender, and belief.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph C. Hough, Jr
President of Union Theological Seminary, William E. Dodge Professor of Social Ethics, and a member of Riverside’s Council

September 23, 2007

Previously, Dr. Hough served as Dean and Professor of Ethics at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville and was the first director of the Cal Turner Program in Moral Leadership, a program for the divinity, law, medial, and business schools of Vanderbilt.

Dr. Hough is a highly proficient fund-raiser, succeeding in raising nearly $30 million in capital funds for Union. On his watch, Union developed a strategic plan which has made the seminary fiscally viable while invigorating its academic programs and strengthening ties with neighboring institutions. He has earned numerous honors over the years and authored several books. A native of North Carolina who began his career as a Baptist minister, he is now an ordained minister of the UCC. Joe and Heidi Hough are the parents to two grown sons and the grandparents of three boys and one girl

The Rev. James O. Stallings
Regional Minister, American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New Yor

September 16, 2007

The Reverend James O. Stallings serves as the Regional Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York. He was elected to this position in 1992. The American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York comprises all of New York City, Long Island and southern Westchester. There are 191 churches with a total membership of 115,000. It is one of the most ethnically, socially and culturally diverse regions among the 35 regions of the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

Rev. Stallings is a member of The Riverside Church.

The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell
Director of Religion, Chautauqua Institution; former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches

September 2, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell is an ordained minister with standing in two Christian denominations, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the American Baptist Church. Like many women in her generation, the Rev. Campbell was first a wife, mother & community volunteer. At age 50, the Rev. Campbell was ordained. She was already a leader in the ecumenical interfaith movement where she gave leadership for over 30 years.




The Rev. Dr. Dale Irvin
President, New York Theological Seminary, and Professor of World Christianity

August 12, 2007

Dale T. Irvin is the eleventh President of New York Theological Seminary and Professor of World Christianity. He was elected to this position by the Seminary's Board of Trustees on July 19, 2006 after serving as Acting President since January 1, 2006, and his permanent appointment became effective on August 1.