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Board of Directors
Lisa Sharon Harper
Author, Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican…Or Democrat (The New Press)
Cofounder and Executive Director, NY Faith & Justice
Speaker, Activist, Author, Playwright, Poet
Ms. Harper is a graduate of the USC School of Theatre’s MFA Playwriting class of 1995. Her thesis play, An’ Push da Wind Down, won the 1996 Kennedy Center / American College Theatre Festival “Michael Kanin National Student Playwriting Award” and is published through Samuel French, Inc. An’ Push da Wind Down explores Ms. Harper’s own Cherokee/Chickasaw and African-American heritage.
Having worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as an Arts Specialist and as the Greater Los Angeles Director of Racial Reconciliation, Ms. Harper helped develop the Ethnic Reconciliation tool “Race Matters” and co-wrote the “Race Matters” Handbook. She conducted ethnic reconciliation training conferences, wrote analyses of and consulted with IVCF campus movements throughout Southern California. She also conducted staff training in ethnic reconciliation through Intervarsity’s National Institute of Staff Education and Training (NISET) and spoke for students throughout the U.S.
Ms. Harper earned her masters degree in Human Rights, with a concentration in Religion & the Media, from Columbia University in New York City in 2006. She is a featured op-ed writer for the God’s Politics blog and BeliefNet’s Progressive Revival blog. She is an editor-at-large for the prolific magazine Sojourners, and a contributor for Urban Faith and Conspire magazines.
Ms. Harper co-founded and co-directed the Envision: The Gospel, Politics, and the Future conference on the campus of Princeton University in June 2008. She is also co-founder and executive director of NY Faith & Justice, a movement of churches, organizations and individuals dedicated to following Christ, uniting the church and ending poverty in New York through spiritual formation, education, and direct advocacy. NY Faith & Justice is at the hub of a new ecumenical movement in New York City to address issues of environmental injustice and violence in black and brown communities.
Ms. Harper’s work and her Shalom Talk Series has been a catalyst for ethnic reconciliation and systemic justice across the country. She was the recipient of Sojourners’ inaugural Organizers Award and the Harlem “Sisters of Wisdom” Award. She was recently celebrated on Rick Warren’s website Purposedriven.com as one of the site’s inaugural seven “Take Action Heroes.”
Ms. Harper is author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican … Or Democrat (The New Press), a power-packed look at the roots of evangelical faith, how evangelicals strayed so far from those roots, and what is bringing them back.
Rev. Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns
Cheryl Bridges Johns serves as professor of Christian Formation and Discipleship at the Church of God Theological Seminary. She also ministers at the New Covenant Church of God, a church she planted along with her husband, Jackie.
Cheryl's passion for ministry may be placed in three categories: nature, nurture, and newness.
Nature. Cheryl is involved in creation care initiatives such as the "Sandy Cove Covenant" and the "Urgent Call to Action: Scientists and Evangelicals Unite to Protect Creation." She and her husband are stewards of a small farm where they raise horses and grow blueberries.
Nurture. Cheryl's teaching ministry includes the seminary classroom, the local church, and lectureships around the world. She preached her first sermon at the age of 16, in the church founded by her great-grandmother. Her preaching engagements include serving as chaplain/preacher at the Chautauqua Institute. She has been a plenary speaker at the Academy of Homiletics and delivered the Jamison Jones lectures in preaching at Duke Divinity School.
Newness. Cheryl's ecumenical vocation involves bridging the gap between historic Protestant Christianity and emerging forms of Pentecostal Christianity. As a fourth-generation Pentecostal, she is interested in the work of the Holy Spirit in renewing the global church.
Katie Paris is Program and Communications Director at Faith in Public Life, a Washington, DC-based strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a positive and unifying force for justice, compassion and the common good.
Katie leads a team at Faith in Public Life that builds coalitions, organizes media campaigns, commissions polling, and engages in rapid response to ensure that the faith community's values-based common good message is represented in the media. Katie has extensive professional political experience, having worked on gubernatorial, senatorial and presidential campaigns and as Research Director at Media Matters for America and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell
Julie Pennington-Russell has served as lead pastor of the First Baptist Church of Decatur, GA, since August of 2007. Prior to moving to Decatur Julie was pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, TX and Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco. She earned her B.A. from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, an M.Div. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA, and hopes to complete her D.Min. through Baylor's George W. Truett Baptist Theological Seminary before Jesus returns. Currently Julie serves as a Trustee for Mercer University and is on the board for the Center for Christian Music Studies at Baylor. Her messages have been featured on the television broadcast 30 Good Minutes, Day-1Radio and at the Festival of Homiletics.
Julie is married to Tim Pennington-Russell, a website designer and sometimes poet and bass player. They have two teenage children, Taylor and Lucy. Willie the bulldog completes the family. Julie reports that because of their “ridiculously long last name,” many people simply refer to them as "The P-Rs." She loves the poetry of Billy Collins and Mary Oliver, movies about redemption and second chances, and jotting down notes for that book she’s been writing for about 20 years.
Mostly Julie loves seeing the gleam in people’s eyes when they have a life-changing encounter with Jesus. She is crazy about the Church and loves to lean with the people of God toward “big picture, kingdom of God stuff.”
Rev. Gabriel Salguero
Executive, The Latino Leadership Circle
Senior Pastor, The Lamb’s Church
Director, Hispanic Leadership Program, Princeton Theological Seminary
Rev. Gabriel Salguero and his wife, Jeanette, are the Senior Pastors of the multicultural Lamb’s Church. He has distinguished himself by his leadership in the church and public sphere. He is the founder of POG International, a faith-based organization focused on diversity leadership empowerment and training. He presently serves as the Director of the Hispanic Leadership Program at Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to his own faith-based work he serves on the boards of the Latino Leadership Circle, Sojourners, and Evangelicals for Social Action.
Rev. Salguero has received several recognitions for his distinguished leadership. He was honored by El Diario/ La Prensa with the “El Award” as one of the 25 most influential Latinos in New York. Moreover, Charisma Magazine has named him one of 20 emerging voices in Christianity. He has written extensively on immigration reform, public policy, ethics and race, and multicultural and indigenous leadership. He serves as a panelist for The Washington Post’s OnFaith blog and has written featured articles in Perspectivas: Occasional Papers, Apuntes, and PRISM magazine.
Rev. Salguero and his wife Jeanette have two wonderful sons Jon-Gabriel and Seth.
Dr. Glen Harold Stassen
Lewis Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary
Glen H. Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller, and an expert in issues of social justice, incarnational discipleship, and peacemaking.
His Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, with David Gushee, received Christianity Today’s Award for Best Book of 2004 in Theology or Ethics. He published Living the Sermon on the Mount (Jossey-Bass: 2006), Just Peacemaking: Transforming Initiatives for Justice and Peace (Westminster John Knox: 1992), Just Peacemaking: The New Paradigm for the Ethics of Peace and War (Pilgrim: 1998/2004/2008), Authentic Transformation: A New Vision for Christ and Culture (Abingdon: 1996) with D. M. Yeager and John Howard Yoder, and edited The War of the Lamb, by John Howard Yoder (Brazos: 2009).
Glen recounts, "At the end of World War II, my dad rushed into Japan with three other sailors in a single jeep, freeing prisoners from one POW camp after another so they would not die in the chaos of the Japanese surrender. When he came home, he showed me pictures of suffering prisoners, of tragic destruction and death. 'War is horrible,' he said. 'We have to do all we can to prevent it.' He spent the rest of his life working for peace. My work developing the ten practices of just peacemaking stems from the challenge to follow in my father’s footsteps."