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2013 Presenters

Macky Alston serves as Senior Director of Auburn Media at Auburn Theological Seminary, dedicated to informed, engaging coverage of religion and justice in the media. Alston is an award-winning producer and documentary filmmaker (Love Free or Die, premiered Sundance Film Festival 2012, PBS 2013; Hard Road Home, PBS 2008; The Killer Within, Discovery Films 2006; Questioning Faith, HBO/Cinemax 2002; Family Name, PBS 1998), an educator on issues of media and religion, an organizer within the worlds of philanthropy and media-making, and a writer and reviewer on film and religion. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Alston comes from a long line of ministers in the American South and grew up exposed to the power of the media and the pulpit, as charismatic leaders on the Left and the Right shaped society and politics for generations to come.

Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus, traveled through nine states in June 2012 to protest Representative Paul Ryan’s federal budget (two months before he was nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate). She voiced that Ryan’s budget cut social services, food stamps, and taxes for the wealthy. Campbell is a lawyer, a poet, and the executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C. Nuns on the Bus traveled throughout the U.S. after the Vatican spoke out against Network and nuns working in social justice issues, and became a 21st-cenury protest at food banks, town squares, and churches which highlighted the stories of those on the economic margins. Campbell has extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. She lobbies on the issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare, and economic justice.

Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre serves as a professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology. He focuses on ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race, class, and gender oppression. He specializes in applying a social scientific approach to Latino/a religiosity within this country, Liberation theologies in the Caribbean and Latin America, and postmodern/postcolonial social theory. De La Torre came to the U.S. as a refugee from Cuba when he was six months old. He earned his M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a Ph.D. from Temple University in social ethics. He has authored numerous books, including Reading the Bible from the Margins; Santería: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America; and Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins. He has served as a director to the Society of Christian Ethics and the American Academy of Religion. In 2011, he was elected Vice-President of the Society of Christian Ethics.

Kerry DochertyKerry Docherty is a lawyer, writer, and founder of The Mindful Mentors, a company that provides mindfulness meditation workshops to schools, law firms, corporations, and sports teams. Graduating from Yale University with a B.A. in psychology, she received her J.D. from Pepperdine Law School and obtained a Certificate in Trauma Studies form the International Trauma Studies Program in New York City. She has conducted human rights fact-finding missions in Thailand, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Thai-Burma border, and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge Joan Azrack in the Eastern District of New York. She has completed mindfulness training from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, the Insight Center, Wat Singpong in Thailand, and the OMEGA Institute. A contributor to Darling Magazine, and winner of Donna Karan’s Women: Inspiration and Enterprise essay writing contest, she is currently writing a book titled Enoughness, The Struggle to Feel Complete as We Are. She is a 2011 graduate of The Middle Project’s Young Adult Leadership Initiative.

Rev. Dr. Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and an Episcopal priest. He is the author of 16 books and approximately 275 articles that range across the fields of ethics, social theory, theology, philosophy, politics, and history. He is described by Boston University philosophical theologian Robert Neville as “the most rigorous theological historian of our time, moving from analysis of social context and personal struggles through the most abstruse theological and metaphysical issues.” More than 40 reviewers have described his trilogy, The Making of American Liberal Theology, as the definitive work in the field. Dorrien holds a Ph.D. from Union Graduate School (1989), a Th.M., Princeton Theological Seminary (1979) and a M.Div., Union Theological Seminary (1978). A frequent lecturer, Dorrien is a recent past president of the American Theological Society and has a long record of involvement in social justice organizations.

Christina FlemingChristina Fleming is an editor, producer, and an organizer. She has served on the production teams of Frontline, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and public radio’s New Dimensions. She independently produced a public radio documentary, Kenya: Taking It Personally which featured Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Kenya: Taking It Personally aired nationally and was honored by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Fleming earned her master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and her bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College. She is a Certified Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church. She guest preaches and leads classes on prayer and spiritual growth. She is director of communications for The Middle Project and Middle Collegiate Church. She also coordinates young adult programming at Middle Church.

Rev. John Janka is a consultant to congregations and non-profits, and is an experienced trainer and coach with a focus on systems intervention, educational design, training models, staff supervision, coaching, and evaluation. He has trained, coached, and led teams in diverse settings and across racial/ethnic, generational, gender, and socio-economic lines. Janka’s experience includes strategic planning and visioning, managing change and resistance, dealing with difference, cultural diversity, human relations training, and conflict management. He is currently on the Doctor of Ministry faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary. Janka is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and the Director of Program for The Middle Project.

Dr. W. Anne Joh areas of research interests include postcoloniality, gender, affect, war, militarism and trauma, political theory and race, economies of freedom, rights and debt, theorizing melancholia and loss, Asian America and Asia Pacific, and theorizing politics of love. Her contributed essays include “Teaching to Learn from the Other,” “Postcolonialism in Fugue: Contrapuntality of Asian American Experience,” “Loves’ Multiplicity: Jeong and Spivak’s Notes Toward Planetary Love,” “Interrogating Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in Feminist Theology,” “Gender and Sexuality in Asian American/Pacific Islander (API) Religious and Theological Studies,” “Violence and Asian American Experience: From Abjection to Jeong,” “Relating to Household Labor Justly.” She has also written Heart of the Cross: A Postcolonial Christology. Forthcoming are Terror, Trauma and Hope: A Spectrality of the Cross and co-edited volume, Engaging the United States as a Military Empire: Critical Studies of Christianity from Asian/Asian North American Perspectives.

Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis is Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City and Executive Director of The Middle Project. Lewis earned her M.Div.at Princeton Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion at Drew University. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Lewis is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and preacher on the topics of racial, economic, and gender/LGBTI justice. Lewis has been adjunct faculty at Princeton Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, The Graduate Theological Union, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Wesley Theological Seminary. She has been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition, WABC, WNBC, CNN, GritTV, Ebony.com, and Essence magazine, and The New York Times online. Author of The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations and a children’s book that celebrates diversity, You Are So Wonderful!, Lewis has published numerous articles and sermons, and blogs for The Huffington Post. She is married to her best friend, John Janka, with whom she works for racial reconciliation every day.

Luria-IsaacIsaac Luria, is director of Auburn Action at Auburn Theological Seminary. He is an organizer, communicator, and technologist with a decade of experience helping progressive political and faith-based advocacy organizations build constituency, raise money, and achieve impact on issues of pressing social concern. At Auburn, Luria leads Auburn’s advocacy and online campaigning efforts, as well as training programs helping faith leaders use digital organizing techniques to heal and repair the world. Previous to Auburn, he was the Vice President of New Media and Communications at J Street, where he developed and managed traditional communications, new media, and technology strategies at both the national and local levels, built a database of 170,000 members through viral advocacy campaigns and partnerships, and raised millions of dollars online from small donors for political candidates. Isaac holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Trinity College. From 2007 to 2008, Luria lived in Jerusalem as a Dorot Fellow.

Connie Rice is a prominent civil rights attorney and the author of Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman’s Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones. She is the second cousin to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In her legal work, Rice has led coalitions of lawyers and clients to win more than $10 billion in damages and policy changes, through class action civil rights cases redressing police misconduct, race and sex discrimination and unfair public policy in transportation, probation and public housing. In addition, her organization, The Advancement Project, released a seminal report on gang violence in Los Angeles—“A Call to Action” in 2007. Rice dedicates her life to creating greater equality. She was co-director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Los Angeles Office before co-founding and co-directing The Advancement Project. Rice graduated from Harvard and earned her law degree at NYU. She has received more than 50 awards for her leadership and unorthodox approaches to social change.

Chad Tanaka PackChad Tanaka Pack is an Associate Minister at Middle Collegiate Church. He graduated with a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. He also received a certificate from Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, a multidisciplinary program dedicated to religion and the arts. Tanaka Pack is a playwright, poet, and performer. He has been an active member of drama groups, gospel choirs, and the liturgical dance choirs. During his undergraduate studies, he co-wrote and directed a children’s musical that was performed for inner city schools. Prior to his ministry studies, Tanaka Pack was a Vice President in the Finance Division at Goldman Sachs. Tanaka Pack graduated cum laude from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics. He serves on the board of directors of Second Generation Productions, a not-for-profit Asian American theater company. Tanaka Pack is committed to inclusive, multicultural ministries that celebrate the voices of all God’s people.

Rev. Adriene Thorne is an Associate Minister at Middle Collegiate Church. She completed her Masters of Divinity degree with an emphasis in art and psychology at The Pacific School of Religion. Prior to ministry, she pursued a nearly 20-year career in the performing arts, including time as a Rockette. Thorne served the Reformed Church in America’s Commission on Christian Worship for three years and was the Visiting Artist at New Brunswick Theological Seminary from 2010–2011. She is currently pursuing counseling studies at the Blanton-Peale Institute where she is working towards a theology of healing in which the arts play a central role. Her key assertion is that the arts have the ability to drop us into the center of ourselves and our healing more quickly than anything else. Thorne is married to Colin St. Rose and together they are raising a little girl named Petal.