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    2016 Annual Gathering Workshops Announced!

    At our 2016 Annual Gathering Bearing Courage: Rooted in Hope, we are excited to announce the following workshops will be offered: 

    Friday and Saturday workshops

    1. Handing on Wisdom: Teaching and Learning in Story Circles with Eileen Campbell-Reed Both workshops will present basic guidance for teaching and learning in story circles, launching the conversation with stories about gender and race shaping church leadership. Friday’s Workshop will use Lectio Divina (read, reflect, respond, rest) and Saturday’s Workshop will use the Ignatian practice of Examen (testing for consolation or desolation) to invite participants into exploring their personal stories and seeking wisdom for church leadership.

    Eileen Campbell-Reed is associate professor of practical theology at Central Seminary's Tennessee campus, where she works with the Women's Leadership Initiative. She also co-directs the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project, a national, ecumenical and longitudinal study of ministry. 

    2. #BlackLivesMatter and/as the Church with Ben Sanders III This workshop will analyze the #BlackLivesMatter movement in social and historical perspective paying particular attention to the ethical and theological challenges the movement poses to the Christian Church in the United States.

    Ben Sanders III is committed to transformative, justice-centered theological education and this commitment is at the center of his academic research, pedagogy, and ministry. He is A.B.D. in the joint Ph.D. program at University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology in Christian Theology and Sociology. The working title of his dissertation is “Traditioning Blackness: Theo-ethical Analysis of Black Identity in Black Theological Discourse.” He is Assistant Professor of Theology & Ethics as Eden Theological Seminary. 

    3. Redefining Masculinity with Zach Walker Masculinity is not what is used to be and thank goodness for that. We’ ll talk about what manhood means in contemporary culture and where those changes present challenges. But those changes are also providing opportunities to be a better person, a better partner, and to live into a more expansive, and arguably more Christ centered, view of what it means to be a man.

    Zach Walker attended college at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where he graduated with degrees in psychology and gender studies. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2007. He has served in youth ministry for nearly 10 years and currently serves at Village Presbyterian Church, Prairie Village, Kan. Zach enjoys pretty much anything outdoors, reads as much as possible, and married his incredibly awesome and intelligent wife, Meredith, last March.

    4. Calling in the Key of She: Bearing Courage in the Local Church with Andrea Clark Chambers, Sheila Sholes-Ross and Jann Aldredge-Clanton Explore an innovative project for local churches that was developed to empower local church leaders to address the gap of female leadership in Protestant churches by educating and empowering congregations to become more “female-friendly.” Designed to impact adolescent girls and boys at an early age through education, exposure, and exploration, “Calling in the Key of She” centers on re-examining patriarchal understandings and views of biblical passages, exploring diverse images of God including female and gender-neutral images, addressing and reducing sexist practices in congregations, and promoting gender equity in every aspect of the church that may prevent females from fully participating in God’s kin-dom.

    Andrea Clark Chambers currently serves as the 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 70-year-old North Tulsa Baptist Minister’s Conference, is a founding member of the Women’s Clergy Fellowship, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Leadership Tulsa Empowerment Program, and serves on various boards including Equity for Women in the Church, WomanPreach! Inc., and the Oklahoma Center for Community Justice.

    Sheila Sholes-Ross was ordained through American Baptists Churches, and called as the 30th pastor of First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 2013; historic as the church’s first African-American female pastor. She is a former board member of the Alliance of Baptists, and an advocate for women’s issues across cultures and ethnicities; and co-chairs Equity for Women in the Church—a non-profit (formed out of an Alliance of Baptists Community) that became reality after a 2013 conference held at Wake Forest School of Divinity. 

    Jann Aldredge-Clanton is a feminist theologian, chaplain, and teacher who leads workshops and conferences nationally and internationally, and serves as co-chair of the Equity for Women in the Church Community, adjunct professor at Richland Community College, council member of Christian Feminism Today, and on the Dallas Workers’ Rights Board. She is the author of numerous books, including She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World andEarth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship, andblogs on her website:

    5. Congregational Song in Today’s Church: Resources for Progressive Congregations with Deborah Carlton Loftis, Jock Lewis and Paul A. RichardsonNew hymns and songs that inspire and challenge the congregation in worship and faith formation; locating the resources you need to engage your congregation in lectionary-based worship, especially in the areas of social justice, peace-making, and interfaith understanding.

    Deborah Carlton Loftis is Executive Director of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canda, a post she has held since 2009. She is a member of Grace Baptist Church, Richmond, VA. 

    Jock Lewis is a Christian who has been blessed by God in the Music Ministry as a Saxophonist, Keyboardist/Organist, Bass Guitarist, Drummer and Vocalist. Jock majored in Music at the University of Texas at Arlington; he now serves as Music Director at Harvest United Methodist Church, VanZandt Guinn After School Choir, Fort Worth East Side Montessori School Choir, and several local theatre companies.

    Paul Richardson 2.JPGPaul A. Richardson is a member of Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, Ala., and a former member of the Alliance board of directors. He is Professor emeritus of Music at Samford University and a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada

    6. Prophetic Preaching with J. Lee Hill Jr., and Deb Conrad Setting hearts ablaze with creative, imaginative prophetic preaching paradigms for activism, transformation and social change (Luke 24:32).

    Lee Hill.jpg

    J. Lee Hill, Jr. is pastor at Christian Fellowship Congregational Church-UCC, San Diego, Calif., and a former board member of the Alliance of Baptists. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in biblical interpretation and proclamation.

    Deb Conrad is pastor at congregational partner Woodside Church, Flint, Mich. She has degrees in journalism and divinity, a doctorate in education, with additional study in ministry supervision, organizational leadership, family and congregational systems, conflict mediation, photography and graphic design. She loves preaching, antiquing and cycling, and is still a pretty good bowler.

    7. Doing Justice with Carol Blythe, Isabel Docampo, Sarah Macias, Genny Rowley How to do advocacy on issues on which the Alliance has taken a stand. Learn more about two of the four issues and how you can make a difference by joining your voice with other progressive ecumenical and interfaith partners. Friday session: Immigration & Syrian Refugees/Islamaphobia and Preventing Gun Violence; Saturday session: Mass Incarceration and Climate Change & the Environment.

    8. Saying Yes: Conversations on Alliance Identity with Robin Bolen Anderson, John Ballenger, Leah Grundset Davis, Keith Menhinick, Daniel Pryfogle, Sally Sarratt and Mimi Walker. As we approach our 30th anniversary in 2017, we are committed to examining Alliance identity so we are able to communicate it well in our fourth decade and beyond. We want to know your dreams and hopes for our beloved Alliance.

    Robin Bolen Anderson, John Ballenger, Leah Grundset Davis, Keith Menhinick, Daniel Pryfogle, Sally Sarratt and Mimi Walker make up the Alliance Identity Discernment Group commissioned by the Board of Directors to ask questions surrounding Alliance identity. 

    Friday Only Workshops

    1. Curious Theology: Creating Worship Beyond Borders with Micah Bucey The church and the arts have always maintained an interesting relationship and Judson Memorial Church has, for decades, dissolved the boundary between worship service and arts event, believing something in-between might push us beautifully out of our comfort zones. Come to share your own experiences and learn how we might co-create vibrant and invigorating gatherings that delight in failure, question-asking, and foolishness.

    Micah Bucey currently serves as Associate Minister at New York City's Judson Memorial Church, where he facilitates Judson Arts, including their Judson Arts Wednesdays program (JAW), a free food-and-art series that has nurtured and developed the work of hundreds of artists and fed the stomachs and souls of thousands of audience members since 2009. 

    2. A Queer Call: Reveling in the Gift of LGBTQ Minister with Cody Sanders (facilitator), Keith Menhinick, Sally Sarratt, Maria Swearingen and Cathy Tamsberg (panelists) Beyond welcoming and affirming LGBTQ people, many churches are gifted by the ministry of LGBTQ people in their midst - both lay and ordained. This workshop will draw on the wisdom of panelists to develop practices of supporting LGBTQ people in(to) ministry and will cultivate an imagination for the ways that churches are gifted in a special way by the queer theological perspectives of LGBTQ ministers in their midst.

    Cody Sanders is pastor of Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Harvard Square, Mass. He is author of Queer Lessons for Churches on the Straight and Narrow and coauthor of Microaggressions in Ministry: Confronting the Hidden Violence of Everyday Church

    Saturday Only Workshops

    1. Grounded – does Diana Butler Bass go too far (or far enough) in her new book with Ken Meyers Diana Butler Bass asks, “Where is God?”. She moves the conversation away from why folks are leaving the church and focuses on their spirituality. See if you agree. (having read the book is not required).


    Ken Meyers is faith formation specialist for the Alliance of Baptists. 

    2. Anti-racism and the price of hope with Tammerie Day Committed to anti-racism and wondering what’s next? Let’s move beyond awareness to responsibility: how power, money and love must be rooted in the work for justice.

    Tammerie Day is the author of Constructing Solidarity, an ethic for white Christians working in coalitions against racism. She is an Alliance-endorsed chaplain educator, and lives with her spouse Mary in Hillsborough, NC.

    3. Contextual Bible Study- South African Model with Meredith Holladay Explore the Saturday morning session material in detail. 

    Meredith Holladay is an ordained Baptist minister and holds a Ph.D. in religion & society from Baylor University. She spends too much time watching HGTV with her husband Zach and half-blind cockapoo, Bernie.

    Learn more about the Annual Gathering and register today