What is the conversation about race Christians in the U.S. should be having? 

Speakers and Preachers for Remind & Renew 2016


William Barber    Sharon Watkins    Jennifer Harvey    Leah Gunning Francis    Chebon Kernell 
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 Preachers and Worship Leader: 

Jesse Jackson    Shannon Craigo-Snell    Emily Bowen-Marler
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Biographies of Speakers and Preachers

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II
Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church, Goldsboro, North Carolina, President of the North Carolina NAACP, and Founder of  Moral Monday-Forward Together Movement

Dr. Barber has been the pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina  for 20 years.  Under Barber's leadership, the congregation has assisted in community development, purchasing land, leveraging resources and built homes for low to moderate income families, a senior citizens’ home, pre-school academy, and a community center that includes an  after school program, a computer lab for youth and adults, and an HIV/AIDS information and testing center.

In opposition to regressive policies pushed by the governor and state legislature including draconian cuts to Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and public education funding, Dr. Barber has mobilized the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, a multi-racial, multi-generational movement of thousands for protests at the NC General Assembly and around the state. Hundreds, have also engaged in non-violent civil disobedience to expose what the politicians in North Carolina are trying to do in the dark. 

Barber is also the President of the North Carolina NAACP.  He and the Peoples Assembly Coalition have aided in the passage of the Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed death row inmates to appeal their sentences on the grounds of racial bias in the court system; and successfully advocated for voting reforms such as same-day registration and early voting, and has re-framed marriage equality as a civil rights issue and helped mobilized black churches to support a ballot initiative in 2012.

Barber holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from North Carolina Central University, a Master of Divinity from Duke University, and Doctorate in Public Policy and Pastoral Care from Drew University, as well as an honorary Doctorate in Human Letters from NCCU.

Barber is also the author of Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation (Chalice Press, 2014) which tells the story of a new fusion civil rights movement, a big tent, in which black and white, gay and straight, rich and poor, young and old, Republicans and Democrats are all welcome. 

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The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins
General Minister & President
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States & Canada

As General Minister, Dr. Watkins is general pastor of the denomination, responsible for representing the wholeness of the church, for reconciling differences, and for helping the church retain its clarity of mission and identity. Her work includes interpreting The Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and convening tables for cooperative work. 

Watkins is former pastor of Disciples Christian Church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma where she served for eight years. In the academic world, she held positions as Director of Student Services at Phillips Theological Seminary and Associate Vice-President for University Relations at Phillips University. She has been a member of the Church's General Board Task Force on Reconciliation Mission, Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma, and part of the Stone-Campbell Dialogue Group, which looks, in part, at the traditions and history of the Disciples. She also served as pastor of Boone Grove Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Boone Grove, Indiana, and Assistant Minister at Spring Glen Church (United Church of Christ) in Hamden, Connecticut.

Dr. Watkins has been engaged in a number of ecumenical discussions, conversations on stewardship, and has made presentations on worship, Bible study and women in the ministry. She also has served as an adjunct professor at Phillips Theological Seminary, teaching about pastoral vocation, history, theology and practices of worship as well as spiritual dimensions. 

She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Phillips Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from the Yale Divinity School, and a Bachelor's Degree in French and Economics from Butler University.

She is the author of a 2014 book, Whole: A Call for Unity in Our Fragmented World (Chalice Press, 2014). In the book, Dr. Watkins brings stories from her wide experience in Christian and interfaith circles, as well as a distinctly Disciples ethos. She shares an invitation to live out God's unconditional love that heals divisions and divisiveness in both North America and the global community.

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The Rev. Dr. Jennifer Harvey
Associate Professor of Religion, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa

Dr. Harvey is the author of Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (Eerdmans Press, 2014) Whiteness and Morality: Pursuing Racial Justice through Reparations and Sovereignty (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and a co-editor of Disrupting White Supremacy: White People on What We Need To Do (Pilgrim Press, 2004). Her recent publications include work on contemporary reparations movements in Protestant traditions, queer articulations of Christian traditions, and Native-Colonial dialogues on issues of environmental justice.

She is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, an author for the Feminist Studies in Religion blog and keeps her own blog formations. living at the intersections of self, social, spirit. She is also an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches. 

The courses Dr. Harvey teaches at Drake run the gamut in relation to her research interests. Broadly speaking, they focus on encounters of religion and ethics with race, gender, activism, politics, spirituality, justice and any other aspect of social life in which religiosity decides to “show up.”

She received her Doctorate in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. 

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Dr. Leah Gunning Francis
Assistant Professor of Christian Education and Associate Dean of Contextual Education
Eden Theological Seminary  

Leah Gunning Francis’ vocation as a Christian educator has been shaped by her understanding of the interconnected-ness between the church, academy and society as well as the mind, body and spirit of individuals. For Dr. Gunning Francis, Christian education can form and yet transform. Through her research, teaching, pastoral leadership and community involvement, Dr. Gunning Francis has explored and reflected on various ways in which Christian education can provide a process by which transformation occurs. She joined the faculty of Eden Theological Seminary in 2008. 

Dr. Gunning Francis is the author of Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership & Awakening Community (Chalice Press, 2015). Her research and teaching focuses on womanist approaches to Christian Education, practical theology, and youth ministry. In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious Engaged Scholars Fellowship, a congregational studies award that supports her current research project Also at Risk?: Middle-Class Black Boys and the Reimaging of Christian Education as Social Transformation.

As a frequent lecturer and preacher for local, regional, and national audiences, Dr. Gunning Francis teaches and preaches for many groups including colleges, churches, and denominational events. The thread weaving through all her work is her commitment to the holistic development of the individual alongside the embodied faith that, when shared, can be transformative to society.

Dr. Gunning Francis is a board member of the Religious Education Association. She has provided pastoral leadership for congregations in Georgia, Illinois, and Ohio. Two of her essays have recently been published in the Bible commentary series Feasting on the Gospels

Gunning Francis holds a Bachelor's Degree from Hampton University, a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology-Emory University, and a Doctorate from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. 

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The Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell
Executive Secretary, Native American and Indigenous Ministries
General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church

Since 2001, Rev. Kernell has represented Native American Young Adults on the Native American Comprehensive Plan of the General Board of Global Ministries and as a board member on the United Methodist denominations General Board of Church and Society, a social justice entity.  While working for the OIMC Office, Rev. Kernell worked closely with the conference’s mission interpreters who raised awareness of the OIMC and Native American Ministries throughout the United Methodist Church.  In 2011, he began serving as the Executive Secretary of Native American & Indigenous Ministries of the General Board of Global Ministries. In 2013, Kernell was appointed to staff the Act of Repentance follow-up work and relates to the Justice and Reconciliation Leadership Team of the Council of Bishops. 

Rev. Kernell is an ordained Elder in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church (OIMC). He has previously served at Pawnee Indian United Methodist Church and Norman First American UMC. He is a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Mekusukey Band. 

Kernell is a contributing author to Coming Full Circle: Constructing Native American Theology  (Fortress Press, 2015) 

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Oklahoma City University and a Master of Divinity from Phillips Theological Seminary.  

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The Rev. Jesse Jackon, Jr. 
Pastor, East Sixth Street Christian Church, Oklahoma City

A fourth generation minister, Rev. Jackson is currently the pastor at East Sixth Street Christian Church, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is the longest serving pastor in the history of the congregation founded in 1919. He is also the current President of the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.  He is an officer and board member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); and board member of One Church-One Child of Oklahoma. Jackson is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Phillips Theological Seminary. 

He has organized and led workshops on Mass Incarceration across the state of Oklahoma for Leadership Training School in Oklahoma City and Enid, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and the Oklahoma Alliance of Black School Educators.  

Jackson holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, and a Master of Divinity from Phillips Theological Seminary. 

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The Rev. Dr. Shannon Craigo-Snell
Professor of Theology, Louisville Seminary

From 2001 to 2011, Craigo-Snell taught in the Religious Studies department at Yale University, where she also earned several Yale fellowships and professional research grants. She joined the Louisville Seminary faculty in 2011 as a constructive systematic theologian. Her students have included undergraduates with diverse religious backgrounds in the secular context of the University; denominationally diverse Divinity School students; and doctoral students in religious studies. These varied contexts have been part of her formation as a theologian. In 2014 Craigo-Snell was ordained to the Office of Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  

Her writing spans a similar scope of interdisciplinary diversity. In addition to several articles for journals such as The Ecumenist, Quaker Religious Thought, Jump Cut and Modern Theology, she has written The Empty Church: Theater, Theology, and Bodily Hope (Oxford University Press, 2014); Silence, Love, and Death: Saying Yes to God in the Theology of Karl Rahner (Marquette University Press, 2008); and Living Christianity: A Pastoral Theology for Today (Fortress, 2009) with Shawnthea Monroe.

She is faculty director of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion, a $100,000 annual prize given jointly by Louisville Seminary and the University of Louisville for creative ideas that best illuminate the relationship between human beings and the divine. (www.grawemeyer.org).

Craigo-Snell earned her degrees (PhD, MPhil, MA and MDiv) from Yale University and Yale Divinity School. 

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The Rev. Emily Bowen-Marler
Associate Minister, Brentwood Christian Church, Springfield, Missouri        

Bowen-Marler will return to Phillips for a sixth year to lead the worship on both days of Remind & Renew. 

 She has served at Brentwood Christian Church since October of 2001. Her primary responsibilities include the  cultivation of vibrant, rich expressions of worship, music, and the arts, as well as offering oversight to children’s ministries and assisting with congregational care. An accomplished singer and musician, Bowen-Marler has led worship at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly and was the music director for the 2010 Disciple Women’s Ministries event Quadrennial.

She holds a Bachelor's degree from Chapman University, a Master's Degree from Christian Theological Seminary, and a Master of Divinity from Phillips Theological Seminary. She is the co-author with Phil Snider of Toward a Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church is Good News for Mainline Congregations (Pilgrim Press, 2010).

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