Kelli Donley – is executive director of COAR, a program that supports resettled refugees in AZ. She has a Masters in Public Health, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon and has managed health projects in the US, Bolivia, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Mexico. A writer, photographer and triathlete, Kelli is an active United Methodist layperson.
Jason Fleck – is a high school drama and voice instructor. He appeared in Show Boat in London and has toured with productions of Evita, The Secret Garden and The Who’s Tommy, among many others. He presently serves as Director of Music at The Fountains, A United Methodist Church, in Fountain Hills, AZ.
Winnie Varghese – Also a contributor in DTBD, Winnie is the Episcopal Chaplain at Columbia University in New York City. She is a contributing editor to The Witness, and is an active member of both the National Executive Council of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and the 20/20 Strategy Group of the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Domestic Mission. She has served as a resource for Claiming the Blessing and Integrity events, and participated in the Via Media education project.
Nancy Ammerman – Professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University School of Theology and author of Congregation and Community and the soon to be released Organizing Religious Work: American Congregations and their Partners, Building Faith, Building Community.
John Bell – An ordained minister in the Church of Scotland, Rev. Bell has produced many collections of original hymns, songs, and liturgies through Wild Goose Resource Group, including two collections of songs of the World Church. He lectures throughout the world and is primarily concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at the grass roots level. Rev. Bell is a member of the Iona Community.
Marcus Borg – Hundere Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. Author of over ten books including Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, and The Heart of Christianity. Dr. Borg lectures extensively throughout North America and overseas. His work has been translated into five languages.
Rita Nakashima Brock – Founding Co-Director of Faith Voices for the Common Good (www.faithvoices.org), an organization dedicated to creating a nationwide community of conscience and a visiting scholar at Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is the author of the award-winning Journeys by Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power and co-author of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us.
Walter Brueggemann – Old Testament scholar and retired professor from Columbia Theological Seminary. Also a United Church of Christ minister, Brueggemann has authored hundreds of articles, several biblical commentaries and more than 50 books, including The Prophetic Imagination, Genesis: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, Finally Comes the Poet, and Theology of the Old Testament.
Ron Buford – The visionary behind the United Church of Christ’s “God is still speaking” campaign. He served as the coordinator and spokesman of the initiative until mid-2006. Ron speaks and conducts workshops regularly on a national level.
Minerva Carcaño – Having served as an organizer of various cooperative ministries and a pastor in churches from Texas to California, Bishop Carcaño is the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Episcopacy in the United Methodist Church. Former Director of the Mexican-American Program of Hispanic Studies at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, she is currently serving as the Bishop of the Desert Southwest Conference.
John Cobb – Emeritus Professor at the Claremont School of Theology and Graduate School and Founding Co-Director of the Center for Process Theology. Recipient of the Grawemeyer Award of Ideas Improving World Order, his many writings include Christ in a Pluralistic Age, God and the World, For the Common Good, and Reclaiming the Church.
John Dominic Crossan – Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at De Paul University, John Dominic Crossan is generally acknowledged to be the premier historical Jesus scholar in the world. He has written twenty books including Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, Who Killed Jesus? and The Birth of Christianity. A Roman Catholic monk for nineteen years and a priest for twelve years, Crossan is a former co-chair of The Jesus Seminar and chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Yvette Flunder – Senior Pastor of City of Refuge Community Church UCC in San Francisco and Residing Bishop, Refuge Ministries/Fellowship 2000 – a multi-denominational fellowship of 50+ primarily African American Christian leaders and laity representing churches and faith-based organizations from all parts of the country and Africa. Rev. Flunder serves as Executive Director of the Ark of Refuge, Inc., and a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Congressional Black Caucus Health Brain Trust and the Department of Health and Human Services. She also serves as chair of the Social Justice Commission for the World Bishop’s Council and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Justice and Witness Ministry of the United Church of Christ.
James Forbes – Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church in NYC, President of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, and host of “The Time Is Now” on Air America Radio. Newsweek magazine recognized Forbes as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world (03/04/96). An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America, he is the first African American to serve as Senior Minister of one of the largest multicultural congregations in the nation.
Matthew Fox – Founder of the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California (1996), which became Wisdom University in 2005. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1967. Due to his controversial teachings, he was silenced (forbidden to teach) by Cardinal Ratzinger of the Holy See in 1988, and in 1992 was dismissed from the Dominican order. In 1994 he was received as an Episcopal priest. He is the author of Original Blessing, Creation Spirituality, and The Coming of the Cosmic Christ.
Lloyd Geering – Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, a fellow of The Jesus Seminar, and an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand. He is the author of God in the New World, The World to Come, and Christianity without God. He was honored in 1988 as a Companion of the British Empire and in 2001 as Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Amy-Jill Levine – E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She has held office in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Association for Jewish Studies. Her most recent publications include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, the edited collection, The Historical Jesus in Context, and the fourteen-volume series, Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings.
Megan McKenna – An internationally known author, theologian, storyteller and lecturer, she teaches at several colleges and universities and does retreats, workshops and parish missions. She has graduate degrees in Scripture, Adult Education and Literacy from the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters in Systematic Theology from Catholic University. She has authored more than 25 books, including Praying the Rosary, The New Stations of the Cross and The Bible Diary. She resides in Albuquerque, NM.
Pat McMahon – An award winning talk-show host, editorial commentator, and host of the “The McMahon Group” and “The God Show” both on KTAR radio (Phoenix, AZ). Pat’s professional and personal contributions have been recognized with seven Emmys, major national and international radio awards, numerous civic, educational, religious and humanitarian awards. He is a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Ottawa University, the Arizona Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award, and is the only two-time Hall of Fame recipient of the Arizona Broadcasters Association.
Culver “Bill” Nelson – Founding Pastor Emeritus of the Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix (which grew into the largest church in the United Church of Christ under his leadership). A founding member of The Jesus Seminar, he serves as the editor of the Westar Institute’s magazine, “The Fourth R”, and is a much sought-after lecturer and speaker.
Rebecca Ann Parker – Seminary President, Professor of Theology of Starr King School. She is an ordained United Methodist minister in dual fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. She serves on the board of Faith Voices for the Common Good, an interfaith think-tank focused on progressive religion and politics, and is co-author of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us and author of a book of collected essays Blessing the World: What Can Save Us Now.
Stephen Patterson – A professor focusing on New Testament and Christian origins at Missouri’s Eden Theological Seminary, he is the author of The God of Jesus: the Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning and Beyond the Passion. He is currently working on a commentary on the Gospel of Thomas. Dr. Patterson is also a fellow of The Jesus Seminar and a contributing editor of Bible Review.
Helen Prejean – Roman Catholic Sister and leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. She has ministered to numerous inmates on death row, and has authored two books based on her experiences with several inmates on death row, Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Prejean bases her work at the Death Penalty Discourse Center in New Orleans.
Barbara Rossing – Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, a critique of fundamentalist “Left Behind” theology; The Choice Between Two Cities: Whore, Bride and Empire in the Apocalypse; two volumes of the New Proclamation commentary for preachers and articles and book chapters on the Apocalypse and ecology. She serves on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation, where she also chairs the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee.
Tex Sample – Former Academic Dean and Emeritus Professor of Church and Society at the Saint Paul School of Theology, Sample is a freelance lecturer, workshop leader, consultant. His books include Ministry in an Oral Culture: Living with Will Rogers, Uncle Remus, and Minnie Pearl, and co-editor of The Loyal Opposition: Struggling with the Church on Homosexuality. He is currently the coordinator of the Network for the Study of U.S. Lifestyles.
Bernard Brandon Scott – Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary, University of Tulsa, OK. He is a charter member of The Jesus Seminar, co-chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, and a consultant to the American Bible Society experimental film translations. He is the author of several books, including Re-Imagine the World and Hear Then the Parable.
John Shelby Spong – The retired Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, Spong is a columnist and author of over fourteen books including Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and Why Christianity Must Change or Die. Lecturer at Harvard, Humanist of the Year, and a guest on numerous national television broadcasts including The Today Show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, and Larry King Live, Bishop Spong lectures around the world.
Emilie Townes – Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity in New Haven, CT. Focusing on Christian ethics, womanist ethics, critical social theory, cultural theory and studies, as well as on postmodernism and social postmodernism, she is the author of such books as Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope, and Breaking the Fine Rain of Death. Professor Townes is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman.
Rick Ufford-Chase – A border mission worker from the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. He was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) on June 26, 2004. Ufford-Chase was 40 years old at the time, the youngest PC (USA) moderator in recent history. Ufford-Chase founded BorderLinks, a bi-national organization that tries to connect and educate people of faith on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. He has served BorderLinks for 17 years prior to being elected as the Presbyterian Church’s moderator.
Mel White – The President and Co-Founder of Soulforce, an ecumenical network of staff and volunteers committed to teaching and applying the principles of nonviolence on behalf of sexual minorities. In 1997, he was awarded the ACLU’s National Civil Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the “soul force” principles of Gandhi and King to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities. Mel is a former ghostwriter for fellow evangelicals, including Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, and Jerry Falwell. He is the author of over 16 books, including Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America and Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right.