The Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale is the founding and Senior Pastor of the Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia. The Ray of Hope Christian Church is a congregation that has a vision to “impact and transform this present world into the Kingdom of God” through Housing, Healthcare and Education Initiatives. It is recognized in the book, Excellent Protestant Congregations: Guide to Best Places and Practices, as one of 300 excellent Protestant congregations in the United States. Dr. Hale is a native of Roanoke, Virginia. Her natural talent in music led her to study at Hollins College in Virginia, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Hale also holds five Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees.
The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III is part of a new generation of ministers committed to preaching prophetically that the message of love and justice are inseparable companions, forming the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has a unique gift to communicate across generations. His creative bible-based messages have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Reverend Moss a popular speaker on college campuses, at conferences and churches across the globe. Reverend Moss is a native of Cleveland, OH, an honors graduate of Morehouse College, Yale Divinity School, and he has earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. He is highly influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Howard Thurman, Jazz and Hip-Hop music. The work and legacy of Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the pastoral ministry of his father, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. of Cleveland, OH, have been primary mentors for his spiritual formation.
The Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana is the President of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE) in Chicago. Originally from Sri Lanka, he was most recently the director for the program Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches (WCC), a worldwide fellowship of 349 Protestant and Orthodox churches/denominations based in Geneva, Switzerland. His work there included helping global church bodies articulate a comprehensive theological basis for interreligious dialogue and cooperation relevant for contemporary contexts. He spearheaded a joint initiative between the Vatican, World Evangelical Alliance and the WCC, seeking agreement on a code of conduct for Christian witness. In addition, he worked on the project Accompanying Churches in Situations of Conflict, which encourages churches to stand in solidarity with other churches facing religious persecution. His primary task was to bring religious leaders from such contexts to dialogue tables to seek together ways of resolving conflicts and finding means of reconciliation.
The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell was the Director of Religion at the historic Chautauqua Institution for 14 years. She retired in 2013. Before coming to Chautauqua, the Rev. Campbell, a distinguished life-long ecumenist, served as the first ordained woman to serve as General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Prior to her time at the NCCC USA, the Rev. Campbell served as Director of the U.S. Office of the World Council of Churches. During those years her commitment to peace with justice, crafted during her life changing work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was deepened in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speaking about Joan Campbell, referred to her as “a woman of courage and compassion.” He pointed out that the Rev. Campbell was the only woman in the clergy procession of over 200 for his installation as Archbishop of South Africa, commenting, “Her voice helped to bring an end to the evil of apartheid.”
Joan Campbell is an activist who believes deeply that in a democracy citizens must act on their conscience. During her time as General Secretary to the NCC, the Rev. Campbell, in concert with Paul Gorman, Carl Sagan, Dean James Morton, and Albert Gore, was a founder of what is today the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, and continues to serve as Chair of the Board.
Racism Contradicts Christianity