Panelists, Professors, Liturgists and Artists
David Barnhart (M.Div '05) is an award winning Producer, Director, and documentary filmmaker. His latest project, “Locked in a Box” is a documentary which traces the lives of individuals who fled their homelands in search of safety and freedom only to end up in U.S. prisons under a mandatory bed quota system run by Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE). Since the 1990s, there has been a massive expansion of the immigration detention system up to 34,000 immigrants in detention on any given day in approximately 200 different facilities, many of which are for-profit prisons. “Locked in a Box” helps strip away the political rhetoric to see the human cost of detention.
Robert Biekman is a Public Theologian who serves as a Pastor and Urban Ministry Coordinator with the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is a Certified Life Purpose and Career Coach, Community Organizer, and Talk Show Co-Producer. As Urban Ministry Coordinator, he is responsible for facilitating implementation of the Northern Illinois Conference, Chicago Urban Strategy. This strategy focuses on building the capacity of congregations for community engagement and positively impact people in the neighborhoods they are called to serve in the areas of community safety, education and literacy, food security, and restorative justice.
Allan Boesak is the Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice and Reconciliation Studies at Christian Theological Seminary, Rev. Boesak helped organize the United Democratic Front in South Africa, which became the largest non-racial, nonviolent, anti-apartheid movement in the history of his country. He is a theologian, humanitarian, prolific author and tireless advocate for social justice. Since gaining international acclaim for his doctoral dissertation, “Farewell to Innocence,” nearly four decades ago, Boesak has emerged as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on liberation theology.
Shawn Casselberry (D.Min 2016) is a passionate advocate for God’s justice, author of God is in the City, and Executive Director for Mission Year, a leading national Christian ministry that invites 18-29 to love God, love people, and be a force for justice in the city (www.missionyear.org). Shawn has a passion for mentoring young adults and mobilizing the church around issues of racial and economic justice, particularly mass incarceration and youth violence.
Marlon Cummings, Assistant Professor of Education at Governors State University, is an advocate for improving equity in education. Throughout his career, he has worked with schools and districts on improving environments and student achievement. Marlon has worked as a teacher, program director of a national non-profit, a consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, and in outreach for a non-profit bipartisan, policy advocacy organization. Dr. Cummings holds a BS in Biological Engineering, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy. Marlon is currently married to Alexandria M. Cummings, a financial coach, and they welcomed their first child Isaac Alexander on July 2015.
Shirley Fleming is a long-time advocate for equity and social justice in health and human services. She has dedicated more than thirty years of her public health career and ministry to working locally and nationally as a provider, administrator, and advocate to assure liberation of all people, especially those who have been pushed to margins of society. Her greatest desires are that all have the opportunity to enjoy the highest level of holistic health, develop their God-given gifts and talents, and contribute to the health and healing of the larger society.
Georgianna Gleason, holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. She serves as the Executive Director of Episcopal Charities and Community Services in the Diocese of Chicago and is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement. She has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over forty years, in both religious and secular organizations, including several years at Trinity Wall Street as a grant maker. She serves on the boards of RefugeeOne, Recovery on Water, and is the president of the board of the national Industrial Areas Foundation, the largest and oldest network of faith-based and community-based organizations in the United States.
Deborah Kapp is the Edward F. and Phyllis K. Campbell Professor of Urban Ministry at McCormick, where she has served since 1995. In addition to teaching urban ministry courses, she offers courses in leadership and preaching. Deborah is a sociologist whose current research examines the work of women engaged in urban ministry, using photo elicitation interviewing. She holds degrees from Brown University, Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of Worship Frames: How We Shape and Interpret Our Experience of God. Dr. Kapp is a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Prior to joining McCormick’s faculty she served three congregations and worked briefly for her denomination’s women’s program.
Je Myoung Lee (M.Div 2016) was born in Seoul, Korea. He was raised in a Buddhist family and learned from his father, who is a Confucianism scholar. He studied linguistics in college. He converted into Christianity in the army where all Korean men serve. After working several years in software companies, he moved to Canada where he lived another several years. In Winnipeg, MB, he decided to study theology and become a Presbyterian pastor. At the same time, he met his wife, Hannah who is from Naperville, IL, where they eventually moved. Je is under care of Knox Presbyterian Church of Naperville in the Chicago Presbytery.
Joanne Lindstrom (M.Div 1994, D.Min 2005) is the Jean and Frank Mohr Director of Experiential Education and Field Studies and Associate Professor of Ministry. Her passions for ministry are focused on preparing men and women for ministry in the Church and the world and nurturing the spiritual life of individuals and communities. For over twenty years, she has served as Associate Minister at The First Baptist Church of Chicago with a primary focus on teaching and worship. In addition, she has served in numerous leadership capacities with the American Baptist Churches of Chicago, most recently developing and nurturing a global partnership with the Ghana Baptist Convention.
Sarah McDonald (M.Div 2007) is a Ph.D. candidate in Christian ethics at Emory University, with a concentration in Religion, Conflict, and Peace building. Prior to beginning this study, she worked full-time with Christian Peacemaker Teams, doing international accompaniment and supporting grassroots nonviolent resistance in Colombia and the West Bank of Palestine. Building on her experiences as an activist, she is currently writing her dissertation about the ethics of solidarity, with attention to the moral demands and challenges posed by systemic privilege.
Stephanie Quintana-Martinez is a middler Masters in Divinity student at McCormick Theological Seminary. Before moving to Chicago, Stephanie worked as a community organizer at Southside Worker Center and the Tucson Protection Network Coalition, working on issues of immigration justice in Arizona. Stephanie also worked with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project providing legal and social services to men and women incarcerated in Arizona in deportation proceedings. Stephanie is an ordained Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church and is currently under care of Southside Presbyterian Church in her pathway to Ordination. Steph loves chocolate, poetry and justice!
Felisa Roman ( M.Div 1998) is Pastor of the Iglesia Vision de Dios in Hobart, Indiana, and a school social worker in Chicago. She is ordained by the Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, MI-Midwest Region. Committed to the theological education of Latin@s, she has served as Director of the Institute Bíblico Ebenezer and presently as President of its Theological Board. She was a founding partner and Program Coordinator of the Advanced Latino Theological Program(ALTE-SCUPE) Program.
Nicole Symmonds is a doctoral student in the Ethics & Society course of study in Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion. Her research interests focus on the influence of cultural structures and products on the ethical development and formation of individuals. She is specifically interested in exploring, through ethnography, how these mediums influence sexual and embodied ethical development and moral formation among a range of populations from adolescents to aging adults. This work of analyzing cultural structures, products, and their impact on ethical development is compelling due to her personal experience within Evangelical Christian culture, her position as a consumer of popular culture, and her over a decade long career as a journalist. Nicole also holds a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Theology and Ethics from the Candler School of Theology.
Frank Yamada Dr. Frank M. Yamada is the President and Cyrus McCormick Professor of Bible and Culture at McCormick Theological Seminary. He is the first Asian American to serve as president of a PC(USA) seminary. As an active member of the academy, Frank belongs to the Society of Biblical Literature, where he has served as a co-chair and steering committee member of the Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics Group. He is currently on the steering committee of the Feminist Hermeneutics of the Bible Section and is serving on the Committee for Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession. He is a member of the Ethnic Chinese Biblical Colloquium and the American Academy of Religion. He is also co-chair for the Managing Board of the Asian Pacific Americans and Religion Research Initiative annual conference. Prior to becoming president, Dr. Yamada was the Director of the Center for Asian American Ministries and Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at McCormick. He also taught Hebrew Bible/Old Testament for nine years at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. He has numerous published essays and is the author of Configurations of Rape in the Hebrew Bible: A Literary Analysis of Three Rape Narratives and an editor for and contributor to The Peoples’ Companion to the Bible and The Peoples’ Bible, a cross-cultural study bible.
Miea Walker brings a wealth of knowledge regarding mass incarceration and the roadblocks that returning citizens face as they are released from prison. Her passion as a social justice advocate is geared towards building authentic relationships between the church and those returning home by training church leaders on the power of mentorship. She is the training and reentry specialist with Jobs for Life, a non-profit organization that helps local churches address the impact of joblessness. Her vision is to amplify the voices of those directly impacted by the criminal justice system by creating awareness and challenging the status quo.
Pedro Windsor is Pastor of La Capilla Del Barrio (The Neighborhood Chapel). His passion for Urban America, has led him to organize local and national initiatives such as “The Apprenticeship School for Urban Ministry,” “The National Alliance of Hispanic Evangelical Ministries, (AMEN)” “The Coalition of Latin-American Ministers,” The Chicago Public Schools Interfaith Community Partnership, and The Latino Pastoral Action Network (LPAC) Mid-west. He also coordinated the Humboldt Park/Logan Square Ceasefire Violence Prevention Campaign for six years which contributed to a decrease in the shootings and killing in the 13th and 14th police districts in Chicago.