Co-Chair: Rev. Sheila Sholes-Ross was ordained through American Baptist Churches and called as the 30th pastor of First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, November 2013; historic as the church's first African-American female pastor. She is "Recognized Clergy" in the Alliance of Baptists, and a former board member. As Executive Director of Communities in Schools of Orange County, North Carolina, she obtained two US Education Department grants at $1.3 million each for drop-out prevention programs. With a 2011 request to the Alliance of Baptists, she initiated Equity for Women in the Church. An advocate for women's issues across cultures and ethnicities, she co-chairs this group--a nonprofit that became a reality after a 2013 conference held at Wake Forest Divinity School. Thirty people across cultures and denominations gathered at this conference and made a recommendation to create a non-profit, which began in 2014.
Co-Chair: Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, PhD, is a feminist theologian and teacher who leads workshops and conferences nationally and internationally. She serves as co-chair of Equity for Women in the Church, adjunct professor at Richland Community College, Dallas, Texas, co-leader of New Wineskins Feminist Ritual Community, and on the Dallas Workers' Rights Board, and has served as a council member of Christian Feminism Today. She is the author of books and a blog which advocate for clergywomen and gender equality. Among her book publications are In Whose Image? God and Gender, Changing Church: Stories of Liberating Ministers, Seeking Wisdom: Inclusive Blessings and Prayers for Public Occasions, Earth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship, and Building Bridges: Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Friends (co-authored with Dr. Kendra Weddle). She blogs on her website: jannaldredgeclanton.com
Joanne Chadwick served as Executive Director of the Commission for Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for 15 years. Called to ministry as a lay person and advocate for women’s ordination, truth teller and risk taker, Joanne has also served as Assistant to the Bishop of the Southeast Michigan Synod ELCA, Executive Director of San Francisco Suicide Prevention, Executive Director of YWCA, and founder of San Francisco Night Ministry. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Martin Luther Tower, an independent senior living facility, YWCA Berkeley-Oakland, and consults with women clergy of many denominations.
Rev. Andrea Clark Chambers currently serves as Assistant Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her pastoral responsibilities at Antioch, she served as the first female President of the North Tulsa Baptist Minister’s Conference, is a founding member of the Women’s Clergy Fellowship, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Leadership Tulsa, and serves on various boards including Equity for Women in the Church, WomanPreach! Inc., and the Oklahoma Center for Community Justice. She has also done mission work with women and children living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa and has also served as a delegate of the first ever women’s delegation to explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East.
Rev. Dr. Sid Hall, III, is an activist, ordained minister, and writer. Since 1988 he has served as the lead minister of Trinity Church of Austin, a progressive congregation affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. He is author of Christian Anti-Semitism and Paul’s Theology and co-author with Jim Harrington of Three Mystics Walk Into A Tavern: A Once and Future Meeting Between Rumi, Meister Eckhart and and Moses de León in Medieval Venice. He is a frequent speaker and workshop leader in the areas of nature-based Christianity, Mysticism, Holocaust Studies, and LGBTQ inclusion in the church. He holds a bachelors degree in History and Religion at the University of Indianapolis, a masters in Theology from Perkins School of Theology, and a doctorate in Holocaust Studies from Southern Methodist University. He has served on the board of Political Asylum Project of Austin and currently serves on the national board of Creation Spirituality Communities.
Rev. Lynn Casteel Harper is a writer, minister, and chaplain. An ordained Baptist minister, she is currently writing fulltime. Her book of essays in progress, When I Have Dementia, explores dimensions of spirituality, dementia, and social justice. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Huffington Post, Kenyon Review Online, Tiferet, changingaging.org, New Delta Review, CALYX, So to Speak, the Journal of Religion and Abuse, and elsewhere. She also facilitates workshops about spiritual care and dementia. Before relocating to South Carolina in 2014, she served as a nursing home chaplain in New Jersey. She received her M.Div. from the Divinity School at Wake Forest University and completed her CPE residency at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. She currently resides in New York City where she ministers with older adults at The Riverside Church as the Associate for Parish Care. She can be reached at lynncasteelharper.wordpress.com.
Craig Henry has practiced law in Monroe, Louisiana, for over 40 years. He is a former president of the Alliance of Baptists and a founding member of Equity for Women in the Church. He is a founding and active member of Northminster Church in Monroe, a progressive Baptist Church, where he has led the church's partnership with its Cuban partner, Iglesia Bautista Enmanuel, for 20 years. On a pro bono basis, he incorporated the local Habitat for Humanity chapter and the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana. He has served on the boards of the food bank and the local AIDS education and service organization, and has been a leader in Monroe’s arts community. He is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University and The Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University.
Rev. Patricia Hernandez, DMin, currently serving as National Director for American Baptist Women in Ministry, has also served as a community organizer, leadership consultant, and pastor. Growing up, Pat developed a deep sensitivity towards those who live on the margins of mainstream society. Out of this concern emerged her call to a ministry of equity for all. She recently received her Doctor of Ministry degree with a dissertation focused on creating access for women seeking to fulfill calls to senior pastoral ministry. More than degrees or position, what is important to her is breaking barriers, building bridges and becoming the Beloved Community where all God’s people are able to fully utilize their God-given gifts and fully live out their God-given calls.
Christopher Hutson, PhD, is Associate Professor of Bible and Associate Dean of the College of Biblical Studies at Abilene Christian University. He previously taught at St. Xavier University in Illinois and at Hood Theological Seminary in North Carolina. Among his research interests are the letters of Paul in their social contexts and issues pertaining to women in ministry, which he approaches through studies of biblical texts and American religious history. He is a co-founder of the website gal328.org, which pushes the issue of gender justice specifically within Churches of Christ.
Rev. Judith Liro, MDiv, is an Episcopal priest who co-founded and continues to co-lead The Servant Leadership School of Austin (Texas) and St. Hildegard’s, an intentional community. Since 1992 The Servant Leadership School has been offering classes and retreats that include feminist and womanist perspectives promoting gender equity in theology, Biblical studies, liturgy, and ethics. For almost twenty years St. Hildegard’s Community has sung justice: celebrating weekly Eucharists with inclusive liturgical language and practices that embody gender equality. Judith has served on the Board of Christian Feminism Today.
Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Moore has had a 40-year career as pastor, advocate, and author. She has served as the Director of Public Policy at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Senior Advisor for Religious Affairs to the Mayor of DC. Hailed by Ebony Magazine as one of the Top Black Women Preachers in America, she has been called “down-to-earth,” “powerful,” “life-changing,” and “a reality check for the church.” In Atlanta, she was Senior Pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ. She is an inductee into the Board of Preachers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College, which honors clergy for their lifetime work in social justice. Her publications include With Heart and Hand: the Black Church Working to Save Black Children; Oh God! A Black Woman’s Guide to Sex and Spirituality; and Your Inner Eve: Discovering God’s Woman Within. She received a BA in Journalism from George Washington University, a Master of Divinity from Howard University School of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary. She is married to Mr. Obra J. Moore, III.
Rev. Courtney Pace, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Church History at Memphis Theological Seminary. She has a PhD in Religion from Baylor University (2014), a Masters of Divinity in Theology from George W. Truett Theological Seminary (2007), and an Honors Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Engineering, with minors in Mathematics and Psychology, from The University of Texas at Arlington (2004). She researches social justice movements in American religion, particularly race and gender. She is the author of Freedom Faith: The Womanist Vision of Prathia Hall and numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, book reviews, and encyclopedia articles. She is an ordained Baptist minister and the proud mother of Stanley. She is also the creator of the Stole Sisters podcast, which features women preachers of all Christian traditions.
Rev. Virginia Marie Rincón was the first Hispanic Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine and planted the first Hispanic church mission in the Diocese. She also fulfilled the call to serve her community by founding Tengo Voz/I Have Voice, an organization that advocates on behalf of Latina women and their children in their daily lives. Her passion and contributions for justice were recognized by the Maine Women’s Fund in 2001, and she is also the recipient of the Cesar Chavez award in the state of Maine. She currently resides in Austin, Texas, where she continues to work on issues of equality, social justice, and spiritual activism for self and others. She has a Masters in Divinity from The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Rev. Irie Lynne Session, D.Min., is ordained with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where she has pastored three congregations and is currently Co-founder and Co-Pastor (with two other African-American clergywomen) of the Gathering, a Womanist Church in Dallas, Texas. She has received numerous awards and recognition as a Distinguished Minister, Community Leader, and Women’s Activist. For 30+ years she has committed herself to ministry and social services in Dallas, providing spiritual support, leadership development, and mentorship to survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation; supervision and case management as a Parole Officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; investigating reports of child abuse and neglect with Child Protective Services; and, serving children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS for Bryan’s House, a Dallas non-profit. An avid writer, she’s authored several articles, a blog (on her website www.dririe.com) and a book, titled, Murdered Souls, Resurrected Lives. She uses her expertise and passion for trauma informed teaching and preaching, womanist theology, and curriculum development to increase the impact of the teaching, empowerment, and training she offers to non-profits, churches, community-based organizations, and survivors of trauma. She serves on the board of Metrocare Services, the largest provider of mental health services in North Texas.
Rev. Abraham Smith, PhD, serves as professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology. He previously taught at Andover Newton Theological School and Boston University School of Theology. He is an ordained Baptist minister, and has served as pastor of Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church in Tascaloosa, Alabama. His research interests are African American biblical hermeneutics and cultural studies, and his teaching specialties are Gospel of Luke, Gospel of Mark, and 1 Thessalonians. Among his publications are Mark: An Introduction and Study Guide (Shaping the Life and Legacy of Jesus) and Comfort One Another: Reconstructing the Rhetoric and Audience of 1 Thessalonians; forthcoming are Fighting with the Text: African American Biblical Hermeneutics and Imagining a Better World: The Bible and African American Visual Artist. He serves as a New Testament editor for The New Interpreter’s Annotated Study Bible. He holds a PhD from Vanderbilt University, MDiv magna cum laude from The Interdenominational Theological Center, and BA cum laude from the University of Alabama.
Rev. Christine A. Smith, MDiv, has served as senior pastor of Covenant Baptist Church (formerly Wickliffe, Ohio) Euclid, Ohio, since 2006 and was the congregation’s 1st female and African American Pastor. Rev. Smith is the founder and facilitator of Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland, a network designed to connect, encourage, and support women in ministry. She also produces a weekly blog, “Shepastor,” dedicated to equipping, supporting, and encouraging female clergy. She is the author of Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors (Judson Press, 2013). She is the proud wife of Aristide Smith, Jr. Together they have three children, Aristide III, Caleb and Aris Smith.
Rev. Dr. Christine Y. Wiley, a significant leader for justice, is the pastor of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington D.C. Her emphasis on justice in church and society is apparent in seminary courses taught in Clinical Pastoral Counseling, Prophetic Ministry, and Theological Reflection. Her most recent publications include “Psychotherapy with Members of African American Churches and Spiritual Traditions,” in Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Traditions: Second Edition; and “Called by God: Caregiving and Spirituality among African Americans,” in African American Caregivers: Seasons of Care. As a PhD candidate at the Howard University School of Social Work, her research focuses on the intersection of spirituality and mental health of African American women.
Dr. Alfie Wines, MDiv, PhD, is a pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian. Formerly Associate Pastor of Connections at First United Methodist Church, Arlington, TX, she currently serves as Senior Pastor of Union Memorial United Methodist Church, in the Sandy Community of Coolidge, Texas. In addition, she is Founder, President, and CEO of Living Water Drinking Deeply Ministries, a ministry committed to encouraging compassionate living through a deeper understanding of the biblical text. She draws from several approaches to biblical interpretation in her work, with focus on literary, womanist, and feminist perspectives. She draws upon her unquenchable passions for biblical interpretation, biblical and religious literacy, worship, music, prayer, and leadership to enlighten, edify, and empower others. She conducts a weekly #BibleStudyRemix on FB Live, Tuesday evenings, 7:00 pm CST. The study is also available 24/7 after the broadcast has completed. She writes commentaries and articles for the Working Preacher website. Blog article(s) appear on the Equity for Women in the Church website as well. Her book and online course, Take Back Your Life: How to Breakthrough When Life Breaks Your Heart as well as her book Seasons: The Stages of Life are forthcoming in 2017-2018.