Archives: Speakers

Post Type Description

Marcie Alvis-Walker

Writer @ Black Coffee With White Friends

Marcie Alvis-Walker is a writer based in Chicago, IL. She is the curator of the popular Instagram handle @blackcoffeewithwhitefriends, which focuses on race, theology, and current events with a corresponding blog of the same name. She is also the writer and creator of Black-Eyed Bible Stories, a Substack newsletter and podcast focused on Black Womanist readings of the Bible.

Her goal in life is “to be the voice of my unheard ancestors by creating a written archive of the Black stories for my child and for future generations of children.” She is married to typographer and letterer Simon Walker and has one child, Max, and a dog named Evie. In her spare time, Marcie loves hoarding books (of all genres, though she’s partial to folk and fairytales, inclusive theology, and cookbooks), watching classic movies, reflecting on astronomy and cosmology, and spending time with her family.

Ally Henny

@ Writer/Speaker

Ally Henny is a writer and speaker. She holds a Master of Divinity (2020) from Fuller Theological Seminary, with an emphasis in Race, Cultural Identity, and Reconciliation and a B.S. in Psychology from Missouri State University (2008). She hopes to pastor a church someday.

Ally has been writing about race, identity, culture, and racial conciliation on Twitter, her personal Facebook profile, and on her blog, The Armchair Commentary, since 2014. She is Vice President of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, where she also writes about Black liberation, Black motherhood and other topics related to the Black experience.

Ally has participated in several panels and facilitated discussions on America’s race issue and has conducted numerous personal education and coaching sessions for individuals seeking to participate in racial conciliation.

Ally is a dynamic and engaging speaker who is able to draw connections from history to speak to current issues. Her style is thoughtful and engaging, challenging her listeners to think beyond their current paradigms to see a unique perspective. She has the ability to speak to and engage a variety of audiences. Ally is more than a speaker, she is also an excellent teacher who is able to appeal not only to her audience’s hearts but also their minds.

In addition to speaking on issues of race, identity, and culture, Ally is a student of the Bible and can speak and write on issues of faith. She has more than a decade of experience ministering to people of all ages in the context of the local church. Most of her time in ministry has been ministering to youth and serving as a senior leader within various church contexts.

Alicia Crosby Mack

@ Writer, Speaker, Justice Advocate

Alicia T. Crosby (she/hers) is a justice educator, activist, and minister whose work addresses the spiritual, systemic, and interpersonal harm people experience. Through her teaching, writing, speaking, and space curation, Alicia helps individuals, communities, and institutions explore and unpack topics related to identity, justice, journey, and intersectional equity. This native New Yorker channels her creativity into her writing, speaking, and work with nonprofits, educational institutions, corporate entities, faith grounds, and communities around the US.

Alicia’s passions for justice, spiritually engaged activism, and community engagement led her to pursue a M.A. in Social Justice and Certificate in Non-Profit Management & Philanthropy at Loyola University Chicago. She also holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Education, Psychology, and Pastoral Studies from Hollins University.  Her interest in religious violence, abuse, and trauma led her to Duke Divinity School where she obtained a Master of Theological Studies degree.

Above all, Alicia loves people and considers it a joy to accompany them as they work to consider who they’ve been, who they are, and who they desire to be.

Stephen Lewis

President @ Forum for Theological Exploration

The Rev. Stephen Lewis is the president of the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE).

Stephen is a former banking executive with experience at Moody’s Investors’ Service and Bank of America. Prior to joining the Fund, he served as a training manager for the Institute for Church Administration & Management, where he focused on developing business and administrative capacities among clergy and lay leaders. He was a teaching assistant for the Black Church Studies Department of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University while serving as assistant pastor of Trinity Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta. Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University. He is affiliated with the American Baptist Church, the National Baptist Church and the Progressive National Baptist Church.

Kevin Garcia

Digital pastor, Creative healer, Public theologian @ Digital Pastor/Public Theologian

Kevin Garcia is a digital pastor, a mystical theologian + practitioner, and intuitive soul coach based in Atlanta, GA. After coming out in the fall of 2015 as a queer Christian, Kevin has reached thousands of individuals across the globe with messages of God’s unending love for all people. regardless of who they are, what they profess, or what they actually believe. Kevin’s the author of Bad Theology Kills: undoing toxic beliefs and reclaiming your spiritual authority, published Janurary 2020. Kevin’s work also appears in several anthologies by queer people of faith.

Through his work as a digital pastor and public theologian, Kevin has used their writing, podcast, and YouTube Channel to help foster communities of authentic spiritual seeking, pulling apart the bad theology and beginning to reconstruct sustainable spiritual practices. Kevin believes that by telling our stories, we set others free to tell their own.

Kevin holds a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology from Columbia Theological Seminary (2020) and a Bachelors of Music in Choral music education from Christopher Newport University (2013). They are also the creator of Queerly Beloved Apparel and Big Queer Adventure Co.

In addition to LGBTQ advocacy and spiritual awakening, Kevin’s passions include good music, tacos, and really horrible dad jokes.

Leroy Barber

Author, Pastor, Activist @ Neighborhood Economics

Leroy Barber has dedicated 30 years living and working towards what Dr. King called “the beloved community.”

Leroy starts projects that shape society. In 1989, burdened by the plight of Philadelphia’s homeless, he and his wife, Donna, founded Restoration Ministries to serve homeless families and children living on the streets. In 1994 he became Director of Internship Programs at Cornerstone Christian Academy. Leroy was licensed and ordained at Mt Zion Baptist Church where he served as Youth Director with Donna, and also served as Associate Minister of Evangelism.  In 1997 he joined FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta, GA working with the Atlanta Youth Project to serve as the founding Executive Director of Atlanta Youth Academies, a private elementary school providing quality Christian education for low-income families in the inner city.  Leroy also helped found DOOR Atlanta, Community Life Church, South Atlanta Marketplace, and Community Grounds Coffee shop in Atlanta, as well as Green My Hood and The Voices Project. Leroy is an innovator, entrepreneur and lover of the arts. Leroy has a Masters Degree in Divinity and D. Min.

Leroy is currently Director of Innovation for an Engaged Church serving the Greater NW area of the United Methodist Church. Leroy is the Co-Founder of the Voices Project and Adjunct professor at Multnomah University. Rev. Barber has served on the boards of The Simple Way, Missio Alliance, The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), and the Former Board Chair of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA).

He is the author of four books:

  • New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community (2008, Mission Year)
  • Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World (2012, Intervarsity Press)
  • Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White: Who’s More Precious In His Sight? with Velma Maia Thomas, 2014, Faith Words/Hachette Book Group)
  • Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom For A Divided World (2016, Intervarsity Press)

Leroy currently lives in Portland Oregon and has been married to Donna for the past 35 years. Together they have six children.

Timoth Sylvia

Pastor @ First Congregational Church

Reverend Timoth Sylvia or “Rev. Timoth” as he is known on social media, serves the community as Pastor from First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Randolph, Massachusetts and has been serving in various ministry roles for nearly three decades. A graduate of Bangor Theological Seminary, Timoth has served the community as Youth Pastor, University Campus Chaplain and local church Pastor. In addition, as a byproduct of the COVID pandemic, Timoth has cultivated a vibrant TikTok ministry where he engages with a vast number of individuals, many of whom have been hurt by the institutional church in the past.

With an ever-growing passion for church history and the ways that the institutional church is shifting into the future, Timoth brings a depth of authenticity to his ministry noted by some of his colleagues to be unlike many others. Timoth’s sermons, writings and conversations are often built upon an understanding that a fair amount of the healing our world so desperately needs can be found in our shared work and ministry. He makes it very clear that we, as followers of Jesus are to assist in breaking the Jesus movement out of the institutional church box and releasing it back into the world.

Outside of the local faith community, Timoth has been serving in leadership on the Conference level for nearly seven years and now serves the Southern New England Conference of the UCC as Moderator. He is a trained Professional Coach at the PCC (Professional Certified Coach) level, and incorporates these skills into his work alongside those in the local church.

He has a deep and ever-growing passion for the church, the ways it has shifted throughout the years, and especially how it is navigating next steps into what many are calling “the post-pandemic church” experience.

Outside of his time in ministry, Timoth enjoys the life he and his husband, Peter, have been creating for nearly 19 years together. They, and their three sons enjoy spending their spare time at their family home in Maine where they soak up the sun and continue to be captivated by all that lakeside living provides.

Recently, an online ministry participant commended Timoth on what they felt appears to be at the core of his ministry… the ability to remind people that they are loved. To which he replied; “That’s what it’s all about!”

Josephine Jael Jimenez

Podcaster, Writer, Artist @ Speaking in Church

Josephine Jael Jimenez is a Latinx artist, writer, and podcaster from Southern California. She is a passionate voice for change and justice for all people and is a proud member of the Irreverent Media Group, a new podcast collective bursting at the seams with some of the greatest creative minds in the Deconstruction space. Co-host of the Speaking in Church podcast, Josephine aims to amplify the voices of people who may not otherwise be passed the microphone. Through projects like her book, On Love, she pushes all types of envelopes in the hope to get rid of them altogether. In other words, she’s just trying to make it through life without causing too much trouble. Just kidding, she loves trouble.

Lawrence Richardson

Senior Pastor @ Salem Church UCC

Rev. Lawrence T. Richardson is a pastor, prophet, and writer. He is a graduate of St. Catherine University and Liberty Seminary. Rev. Richardson is Senior Pastor at Salem United Church of Christ, is a doctoral candidate at Berkeley School of Theology, and an executive clergy coach for Convergence US. The author of, I Know What Heaven Looks Like, Rev. Richardson writes about and advocates for LGBTQ people, people of color, and the flourishing of all Creation; with his works appearing in Huffington Post Religion, The Root, Believe Out Loud, The Salt Collective and numerous national and international publications. When he is not ministering, researching, or writing about what he researches, Rev. Lawrence loves reading, trying different cuisine, traveling, spending time with family, and empowering people to live life from a place of joy, abundance, faith and gratitude.

Molly Baskette

Senior Minister @ First Church Berkeley UCC

Molly is the senior minister of First Church Berkeley UCC in Berkeley, CA, where nonagenarian Nobel laureates worship cheek-by-jowl with pink-haired trans activists and young multiracial adoptive families. On any given day at First Church, you might hear Bach or Sara Bareilles, people praying for climate justice or speaking in tongues. The ministry bug bit Molly at progressive Christian church camp when she was a nerdy teenager, and she has worked for God for a living ever since, in a wide variety of settings: Mexican orphanages; large, quiet suburban Anglo churches where the median age was 65; less-quiet urban multiracial churches where the median age was 9; and most recently, First Church Somerville, a radically renewing UCC that boasts its own Drag-Queen-in-Residence in Berkeley’s doppelgånger, Somerville, Massachusetts. She takes the Bible seriously, but herself, not so much. She loves Jesus and really does believe he is “God with skin on,” but is not above fighting with him in the back seat of the car, like you would any true sibling.

She writes books to fill gaps in the progressive Christian canon: so far, a book about church renewal (Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back from the Dead and Yours Can Too), a manifesto for the vulnerability revolution and a blueprint for spiritual transformation (Standing Naked Before God: The Art of Public Confession), two grief workbooks for children (co-authored with Nechama Liss Levinson: Remembering My Pet and Remembering My Grandparent) and (co-authored with Ellen O’Donnell)  Bless This Mess: A Modern Guide to Faith and Parenting in a Chaotic World, for parents who want to raise their kids with a different kind of Christian spirituality that is also grounded in good science. She is a cancer survivor and her newest book, How to Begin When Your World is Ending: A Spiritual Field Guide to Joy Despite Everything, is about post-traumatic resiliency: how we really live and thrive through all the hardest parts of being human.

She is a popular writer of whimsically pious and always relevant Daily Devotionals for the UCC Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, archived here, and which you can subscribe to here, and other resources including a modern bible study on that ancient curmudgeon, Ecclesiastes, and an anthology of devotions for weary parents.

A graduate of Dartmouth College and Yale Divinity School, she teaches and coaches individuals and church teams online and in the flesh. If you ask her to come do a keynote, she will probably say yes but will likely make you confess your sins to a roomful of friends and strangers (which you will, surprisingly, turn out to enjoy).

She shares a home in the Bay Area with her husband Peter and her two teens. A perfect sabbath for her would include a swim, a hike in the hills, readin gin the hammock and making people happy with home-cooked food.

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