Speakers

Brian Mclaren-small Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders.A frequent guest on television, radio, and news media programs, he has appeared on All Things Considered, Larry King Live, Nightline, and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. His work has also been covered in Time (where he was listed as one of American’s 25 most influential evangelicals), Christianity Today, Christian Century, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN.com, and many other print media. He has taught or lectured at many seminaries and has served on a number of boards, including Emergent Village (emergentvillage.com), Sojourners (sojo.net), Mars Hill Graduate School (mhgs.edu), International Teams (iteams.org), and Off The Map (off-the-map.org), and he is a founding member of Red Letter Christians (redletterchristians.org).
Lisa Anderson Lisa Anderson is director of women’s multifaith education at Auburn Theological Seminary, an initiative dedicated to equipping bold and resilient women faith leaders with the tools they need for a lifetime of prophetic social justice activism. Anderson has taught courses in black, womanist, feminist and LGBTQ theologies, Christian ethics and liturgy. She is a contributor to the recent book, “Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership” (Skylight Press, 2010) and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post..
Bruce Reyes Chow squared Bruce Reyes Chow has been an ordained Presbyterian Teaching Elder for nearly two decades serving as the pastor of a multi-generational congregation in San Francisco, CA as well as the founding pastor of a church plant made of up mostly 20′s and 30′s. A blogger, author and speaker, in 2008 he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the highest elected office of the denomination. While Bruce’s interests lie in many areas of ministry: one of his greatest passions is helping communities and individuals to thrive in that space where life, faith and technology converge. He believes that the better handle congregations and leaders have on the use of social media and technology, the better they will communicate the gospel and express faith in life and online.
Shawna Bowman 2 Shawna Bowman is a Presbyterian Pastor and a Theological and Liturgical Visual Artist. She pastors a quirky and radically gracious community called Friendship Presbyterian Church that meets in the Norwood Park Metra Station in Chicago IL. Shawna works with churches, faith communities and not-for-profit organizations to help them tell their story through visual arts. She also paints, builds and invites others to encounter God through art-making during worship and other events. Shawna is passionate about empowering others to integrate visual-arts in their spiritual and worshiping life. She teaches workshops and leads retreats in order to provides space for artists to integrate their spiritual and creative selves as well as learn how to incorporate the arts in their worshiping communities. You can find Shawna’s work and words at artforgodsake.com and her sermons and lectionary reflections at shawnabowman.com. Her church is also on the web at fpcchicago.org
Doug Pagitt Square Doug Pagitt is a possibility enthusiast who seeks to find creative, entrepreneurial and generative ways to enlist people to join in the hopes, dreams and desires God has for the world. Doug is a speaker and consultant for churches, denominations and businesses throughout the United States and around the world on issues of Inventive Age culture, social systems Christianity and Leadership. Doug has worked in churches, for a non-profit foundation and has owned three businesses in Minneapolis. Doug serves on the Center for Progressive Renewal team as the Director of Inventive Initiatives as well as being the Director of the CANA Initiative.
Stacey Harwell Stacey Harwell is our Minister of Community Building and a deacon in the South Georgia Annual Conference.  She graduated from Mercer University with degrees in journalism, Christianity, and photography; then went on to do her Masters of Divinity work at Candler School of Theology at Emory University.  Her concentration while at Candler was on Church and Community Leadership which includes an emphasis on Asset Based Community Development.
RuthdearnleySquare Ruth Dearnley is Chief ​Executive Officer of STOP THE TRAFFIK, building a global team of activists across 5 continents to build a strategic, systemic response to human trafficking. With a law degree and a background in theology and education, Ruth has spent the last 30 years communicating creatively and inspiring and enabling others to transform the world around them, starting at street level in their own communities. Ruth’s leadership of STOP THE TRAFFIK led to her being honored with the award of an OBE in the 2014 New Year Honors.
Carol Howard-Merritt has been a pastor for 13 years, serving growing Presbyterian Churches in the swamps of Cajun Louisiana, a bayside village in Rhode Island, and in an urban neighborhood in D.C. She served as a pastor at Western Presbyterian Church, an intergenerational congregation in Washington, D.C. Western’s deep commitment to serving the poor in the city has helped to initiate programs like Miriam’s Kitchen, a social service program for the homeless which provides a hot, nutritious breakfast and dinner for over 200 men and women. She is the award-winning author of Tribal Church (Alban 2007) and Reframing Hope (Alban 2010). Alongside this site, Carol blogs regularly at Huffington Post, Augsburg Fortress’s The Hardest Question, and Dukes Divinity’s Faith and Leadership sites. She hosts Unco (short for Unconference), open-space gatherings where participants support one another while dreaming about and planning for the future of the church.  And she co-hosts God Complex Radio, a podcast with Derrick Weston. Carol lives in Chattanooga, TN as a full-time writer and speaker.
Macky Alston is vice president for strategy, engagement and media at Auburn Theological Seminary, where he works to equip faith leaders to stand for justice through the media. Alston founded Auburn Media in 2002 and served for ten years as its director, innovating a range of programs related to media and religion and training over 3,500 faith leaders — among them many of the most influential religious leaders of our day — on a wide range of justice issues. Alston is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films include “Love Free or Die,” premiered Sundance, broadcast PBS October 29, 2012; “Hard Road Home,” PBS 2008; “The Killer Within,” Discovery Films 2006; “Questioning Faith,” HBO 2002; and “Family Name,” PBS 1998. He has won awards at Sundance twice, received the Gotham Open Palm Award and earned three Emmy nominations. He has appeared widely in the press, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show and The New York Times. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary, he comes from a long line of ministers in the American South and grew up exposed to the power of religion, politics and the media, as charismatic leaders on the Left and Right shaped society and history for generations to come. Read more about him at www.mackyalston.com.
JC Austin Rev. JC Austin is the director of Christian leadership formation at Auburn Theological Seminary. He works with faith leaders across the country to lead social and organizational change. He also conceived and leads Auburn’s Entrepreneurial Ministry Fellows program, which trains recent seminary graduates how to envision and cultivate new forms of faith communities. And he leads the Wisdom in Abundance program, which trains leaders to be confident and effective in their work around money and giving..
Michael-Piazza Michael Piazza is the Director of Congregational Vitality of the Center for Progressive Renewal. Michael is a spiritual visionary and social justice advocate who, in addition to his work with the Center for Progressive Renewal, is President of Hope for Peace & Justice, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is equipping progressive people of faith to be champions for peace and justice.  Rev. Piazza is an adjunct professor teaching church renewal with the Pacific School of Religion and Chicago Theological Seminary.Today, Michael is the senior pastor of Virginia Highland Church in Atlanta, GA.
cameron-trimble 140 Cameron Trimble is the Executive Director, CEO of the Center for Progressive Renewal. She teaches Church Planting and Renewal courses and is a sought after speaker across the country. Rev. Trimble is an adjunct professor teaching church planting and renewal at the Pacific School of Religion, Brite Seminary, and Chicago Theological Seminary. She has co-authored the book “Liberating Hope” with Michael Piazza in 2011. Cameron is also the co-pastor of Virginia Highland Church in Atlanta, GA.