Unless indicated, these individuals are featured as forum session leaders/speakers.
- Cheryl Anderson
- Dale Andrews
- Tanya Linn Bennett, worship leader
- Mariah Britton
- Sharon Burniston
- Abigail Rian Evans
- David Fewell
- Carolyn Johnson
- Laurel Kearns
- Gerald Liu
- Mark Miller, music leader
- Joe Monahan
- Kenneth Ngwa, Bible study leader
- Jea Sophia Oh
- Kate Ott
- Arthur Pressley, preacher
- Jae Quinlan
- Michael Sniffen
- Althea Spencer-Miller, preacher
Cheryl Anderson is professor of the Old Testament at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. She joined the faculty there after completing her doctoral work at Vanderbilt University in 2000. Anderson is also an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church (Baltimore-Washington Conference). She is the author of Women, Ideology, and Violence: Critical Theory and the Construction of Gender in the Book of the Covenant and the Deuteronomic Law (T & T Clark, 2004) and Ancient Laws and Contemporary Controversies: The Need for Inclusive Biblical Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2009).Her current research interests involve contextual and liberationist readings of scripture in the age of HIV and AIDS. Anderson is an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature and has served as a member of its council and as the chair of the nominating committee.
Dale Andrews joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University Divinity School and the Graduate Department of Religion in 2010 as Distinguished Professor of Homiletics, Social Justice and Practical Theology. Previously he served on the faculty of Boston University School of Theology as the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology. Andrews earned his MA and PhD at Vanderbilt University and MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford and has conducted two international study tours in Guatemala and Brazil. An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Andrews has served AME Zion churches in Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. He has received numerous fellowships and awards for his studies. In addition to multiple chapters in diverse edited volumes and journal articles, he is the author of Practical Theology for Black Churches: Bridging Black Theology and African American Folk Religion (Westminster John Knox, 2002). He also co-authored Listening to Listeners: Homiletical Case Studies (Chalice, 2004) and New Proclamation: Advent through Holy Week, Year A, 2004–2005 (Augsburg Fortress, 2004), and is coeditor of a multivolume lectionary commentary series, Preaching God’s Transforming Justice (Westminster John Knox, 2011, 2012, 2013). Andrews formerly served as co-editor to the journal Family Ministry, and now serves as co-editor of the journal Homiletic.
Tanya Linn Bennett
An ordained elder in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, Tanya Linn Bennett T’00, G’05, T’11 serves as university chaplain/director of the chapel and religious life at Drew University. She is also associate professor of Christian practice at Drew Theological School, and teaches in the areas of emerging worship, educational ministries and church and society, with particular interest in youth and urban ministries. Her PhD from Drew is in sociology of religion; her research work focused on the millennial generation and Christian church. Linn Bennett served on the worship team for the UM General Conference 2008, and was a delegate in 2012. She has designed worship for the NEJ 2011 Jurisdictional Conference, the Reconciling Ministry Network 2012 Convocation, the Love Your Neighbor General Conference gathering 2012 and the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference. She leads worship and workshops for various national and global United Methodist events, and has led retreats and seminars throughout the Northeast jurisdiction.
Mariah Ann Britton
Mariah Ann Britton currently serves as the founder and chief executive officer for the Moriah Institute Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to youth development through Rites of Passage and a second focus on comprehensive sexuality education for faith-based leaders. She served as the minister to youth and young adults at the Riverside Church in New York City for 17 years prior. She is a master of divinity graduate of Union Theological Seminary and completed the doctoral program at New York University, focusing on family, marriage and human sexuality. She has taught at New York Theological Seminary, the Blanton Peale Institute, Drew University Theological School, Howard University School of Divinity and Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. She has led numerous workshops on youth ministry, human sexuality and ministry, poetry and liturgy and Rites of Passage. A native New Yorker, Britton’s writings have appeared in Women’s Sermons, New City Voices, Essence, Sisterhood is Powerful, Conscience, YES, The Baptist Leader, American Baptist Women, Confirmations: An Anthology of African American Women, The Journal of Religious Women, A More Excellent Way and a solo book, With Fire. In 2005, she climbed 16,000 feet of the 19,000-foot-climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, for which she is most thankful.
Sharon Burniston T’10 is the palliative care chaplain at Overlook Medical Center. She is a board certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and is certified in thanatology from the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Burniston is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and is endorsed in hospital chaplaincy by the United Methodist Endorsing Agency. In her role as palliative care chaplain, she works daily with families in the midst of crisis and challenging decisions. Many of her patients and their families struggle with decisions about feeding tubes or life support. She regularly participates in bioethics consultations covering a wide range of issues, including questions of medical futility and social justice. She teaches didactic sessions on palliative care and disability for the Overlook Clinical Pastoral Education program, and spirituality and grief work to nurses. She often speaks to community groups about the need for religious leaders and congregations to confront modern end of life themes within the context of spiritual life.
Abigail Rian Evans
Abigail Rian Evans has more than 25 years’ experience in the development of innovative approaches to health and wellness. Currently she is a senior scholar-in-residence at the Center for Clinical Bioethics and an adjunct professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center as well as theological associate at Fairfax Presbyterian Church. She is an emerita professor of Princeton Theological Seminary, where she served from 1991 to 2009. Evans was also an adjunct clinical professor of medicine in the Department of Psychiatry of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She is widely known as a dynamic speaker and teacher, having lectured extensively both domestically and internationally on topics ranging from bioethics to health care reform. Evans wrote a comprehensive strategy for the collaboration of the National Council on Aging and faith communities, which is currently being implemented. She co-authored the Ethical Foundation’s concept report for the Clinton Administration’s proposed health care reform and prepared a critical review of contemporary medical practices. Her books include Is God Still at the Bedside? Medical ,Ethical and Pastoral Issues in Death and Dying, The Healing Church and Healing Liturgies for the Seasons of Life and dozens of bioethics book chapters and articles. Evans was the first female in almost every position she has occupied, including chaplain at Columbia University and chair of the practical theology department at Princeton Seminary.
David Fewell has been teaching biology in public secondary schools since 1979, including positions in Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and New Jersey, as well as a four-year stint as an assistant professor at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He is currently teaching human anatomy and physiology and AP environmental science at Mountain Lakes High School, in Mountain Lakes, N.J. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in science education from Louisiana College, a master’s degree in science education from Georgia State University and a master’s degree and ABD in molecular and cell biology from the University of Texas at Dallas. He lives in Boonton Township with his wife, Drew Professor of Biblical Studies Danna Nolan Fewell, and daughter, Aubrey, an aspiring singer/songwriter. He enjoys outdoor activities, and is an enthusiastic gardener, angler and bird watcher.
Carolyn Johnson is director of the Office of Diversity Resource at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Her professional experience includes school administration and teaching at all levels of the public schools. She served as the first executive director of the Hanna Community Center, a neighborhood-based social service in Lafayette, Ind., and has served as a consultant to numerous school districts, corporations, civic organizations and textbook companies. Johnson is a founding partner of J&W Associates, a consulting firm with offices in Indiana and Tennessee. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Indiana University in Bloomington, and earned her doctoral degree in educational administration with a specialty in educational law from Purdue. Active within the United Methodist Church, Johnson is the annual conference secretary of the new Indiana Annual Conference and serves in numerous ways in her local congregation. She is a past treasurer of the Wesley Foundation at Purdue, and a past trustee of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., and the Foundation for Evangelism. Johnson has served nationally and held offices on the General Board of Global Ministries, General Council on Ministries and others. She is the author of published articles in scholarly, commercial and religious journals, and was honored by Purdue University for her significant contribution to the advancement of gender equity in education.
Laurel Kearns is associate professor of sociology and religion and environmental studies at Drew Theological School and the Graduate Division of Religion. She received her MA and PhD in the sociology of religion from Emory University, and has researched, published and given talks around the globe on religion and environmentalism for over 20 years. In addition to helping found the Green Seminary Initiative, now hosted at Drew, she has been a board member of GreenFaith since 1995, and is now serving on the sustainability committees of Drew University and the religion and ecology group of the American Academy of Religion. A list of her publications, in addition to EcoSpirit, co-edited with Catherine Keller, can be found on her website. She has contributed chapters to volumes such as The New Evangelical Social Engagement, The Oxford Handbook on Climate Change and Society, The Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology and their Companion to Religion and Social Justice, Religion in Environmental and Climate Change, God’s Earth is Sacred, Love God, Heal the Earth, Earth and Word, The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature and The Spirit of Sustainability, as well as a many others.
Gerald Liu is assistant professor of homiletics and worship arts at Drew Theological School and an ordained United Methodist Elder in the Mississippi conference. He has pastored congregations in greater Atlanta and the United Kingdom. Liu is the author of book chapters and articles concerning theological education, Asian-American preaching and worship and the interplay between theology and music: “Reading Generously” in Reading Theologically (Fortress, 2014), “Chin Toy and Yong-Seen-Sang: Chinese American Proclaimers of the19th Century” in Picturing God in a Fragmented World: Studia Homiletica, Vol. 8 (Delft, 2012), “Tehching Hsieh and Liturgical Time” (Palgrave Postcolonialism and Religions Series, forthcoming), “Twig and Tafash: HIV/AIDS, Hip Hop and Ugandan Female M.C.’s” in The Culture of Aids in Africa: Hope and Healing Through the Arts (Oxford UP, 2011).
Mark Miller believes passionately that music can change the world. He also believes in Cornell West’s quote that “Justice is what love looks like in public.” His dream is that the music he composes, performs, teaches and leads will inspire and empower people to create the beloved community. Mark serves is assistant professor of church music at Drew Theological School and is a lecturer in the practice of sacred music at Yale University. He also is the minister of music of Christ Church in Summit, N.J. Since 1999 Miller has led music for United Methodists around the country, including directing music for the 2008 General Conference. His choral anthems are best sellers for Abingdon Press, and his hymns are published in Worship & Song, Sing! Prayer and Praise, Zion Still Sings, Amazing Abundance, The Faith We Sing and others. Mark received his bachelor of arts in music from Yale University and his master of music in organ performance from the Juilliard School.
Joe Monahan T’03 is senior pastor at Medford United Methodist Church in Medford, N.J. He received his MDiv from Drew after earning a BS in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech and working at IBM for several years. Throughout his ministry, Monahan has frequently taught youth groups, confirmation classes and adults wrestling with questions of faith and science. His wife, Stephanie, has spent more than 10 years working for environmental nonprofits. They are the parents of two young daughters, Zoe and Lilly. He is an active member of Drew’s alumni community, and currently serves as president of the Theological School Alumni Association. His ministry interests include leadership, technology and communications.
Kenneth Ngwa is associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Drew Theological School. He holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and teaches courses on the Hebrew Bible, ancient Israelite wisdom literature, Proverbs in the Bible and in African literature, Africana studies and religion, exodus traditions and Haggai. His teaching and scholarship combines exegesis with postcolonial and cultural approaches to the Hebrew Bible, with particular interest in memory and mnemohistory, reception theory and narrative ethics. Ngwa is the author of The Hermeneutics of the “Happy” Ending in Job 42:7–17 (2005) and a number of articles, including “Did Job Suffer for Nothing? The Ethics of Piety, Presumption and the Reception of Disaster in the Prologue of Job” (2009) and “Ethnicity, Adoption and Exodus: A Socio-Rhetorical Reading of Exodus 2:1–10” (2013). He is currently working on a book-long project on Exodus titled: “Postwar Hermeneutics: Exodus and Colony-Related Necropolitics.” Ngwa is an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon and the current convener of the Center for Christianities in Global Contexts (CCGC) at Drew Theological School.
Jea Sophia Oh
Jea Sophia Oh T’10 is an expert in comparative theology, environmental ethics and postcolonial studies. She is a visiting professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and cross-cultural for alternative intersections of philosophy and theology, religion and ecology, Eastern learning and process theology. She has developed a new area “Comparative Postcolonial Ecotheology” by combining her research areas of comparative theology, process theology, environmental ethics, postcolonialism, and ecofeminism. Her book, A Postcolonial Theology of Life: Planetarity East and West (Upland: Sopher Press, December 2011), is the first approach to bridge postcolonialism and ecological theology with the use of Asian spirituality as the philosophical underpinning for the argument that all forms of life are sacred and divine. She is working on a book project currently entitled You Are What You Eat: An Ethics of Food Hybridity with Rowman & Littlefield.
Kate Ott is a feminist, catholic scholar addressing the formation of moral communities with specializations in sexuality, technology, children/youth and professional ethics. She is assistant professor of Christian social ethics at Drew University Theological School. Her writings include Sex + Faith: Talking with Your Child from Birth to Adolescence and the co-edited volume Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation. Her chapter contributions are entitled “Created for Pleasure” in Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith and “Sexual Heath and Integrity” in Professional Sexual Ethics: A Holistic Ministry Approach. In addition, Ott writes curricula for adults and teens at TheThoughtfulChristian.com. Prior to Drew, she was the deputy director of the Religious Institute; there she led the project and publication of Sex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexual Health and Justice. To find out more about her work, visit kateott.org.
Arthur Pressley is an associate professor of psychology and religion at Drew Theological School. His teaching and research center on cross-cultural studies focusing on culture and personality, pastoral care and counseling, and psychology of trauma and recovery. He contributed three essays for two books published in 2008: Being Black, Teaching Black: Politics and Pedagogy in Religious Studies and African American Religious Life and the Story of Nimrod. He earned his doctorate from Northwestern University, his MDiv from Garret-Evangelical Seminary, and his BA from Allegheny College.
Jae Quinlan began her career in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the early ’90s shortly after her own positive diagnosis. Observing alarming trends of disparity among women and people of color with HIV/AIDS as the years progressed, those populations became her primary focus. Presenting HIV 101 sessions along with condom demonstrations with unedited scripts and real-to-life conversations gained her recognition in the downtown Newark, N.J., area. She became known as a reputable agent of change, working towards eradicating the prevalence of AIDS in our community at the Open Door Drop-In Center. She swiftly rose from health education specialist to prevention case manger, working with both infected and affected populations. Over the past 20 years, Quinlan has presented at national AIDS conventions as facilitator and panelist, and continues to do the work of change agent as a visible PWA in her community, utilizing her gifts as an abstract artist and a youthful liturgical presence to engage and provoke stimulating interactions between a multitude of audiences that cross gender and ethnic boundaries.
Michael Sniffen was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 2007. He serves as rector of the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, N.Y. Sniffen understands the gospel of Jesus Christ to be a prophetic word of freedom, reconciliation and peace in a world fraught with division and oppression. He believes the primary work of the church is in our time is to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and set at liberty all those who are oppressed—the essence of Christ’s redeeming work as it is summed up in Luke 4:18–19. Sniffen accepts as true the proclamation of this message and the actions that flow from it are the work of the body of Christ in this broken world. Sniffen is a doctoral candidate in liturgical studies at Drew, writing on the topic of preaching and social change in urban contexts. He currently serves on the executive committee of Drew’s Theological School Alumni Association.
Althea Spencer-Miller, assistant professor of New Testament at Drew Theological School, earned her PhD from Claremont Graduate University, her ThM from Candler School of Theology and her BA, diploma in ministerial studies from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Her teaching interests include the Gospels, Acts, the Pauline corpus, New Testament Apocrypha, Biblical languages and ancient and contemporary mythologies. Her research interests include the cross-cultural politics of writing, comparative cultural studies, reconstruction of early Christianities within the Greco-Roman empire using gendered and post-colonial perspectives, comparative mythology and contextual, feminist and post-colonial hermeneutics and the implications of all these for textual criticism and historical reconstruction. To both her teaching and research Spencer-Miller brings post-colonial, liberationist, feminist and subaltern perspectives.