July 16-22, 2017
The Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI) is a weeklong intensive continuing education event for clergy and laity for training, worship, and fellowship. The institute is designed for clergy and lay leaders who would like to deepen their thinking and preaching by learning from preeminent scholars of theology and religion. All are urged to apply, including those who may not have formal theological training. The Institute is limited to 50 fellows.
ROBUST ACADEMICS &
The week-long demanding schedule includes:
- In-depth Orientation of the week
- Plenaries on key theological doctrines on biblical interpretation
- A one-day immersion on Leadership
- Access to Princeton Seminary’s world-renowned libraries and generous study time
- Daily Q&A
- Guided discussions in cohort groups
- Worship and intimate mentorship experiences
Particular to the Black Theology and Leadership Institute is an emphasis on direct mentorship from outstanding church, civic, and academic experts. Time will be set aside for one-on-one appointments as well as deliberate moments in the schedule for networking and fellowship.
Marlon F. Hall is a curator of human potential who has worked to curate multiple social innovations in the cities of Houston, TX; Detroit, MI; and Nairobi, Kenya. Trained in Anthropology, he has gone from irritation to intrigue to innovation to curate projects like The Eat Gallery (the only restaurant / culinary art gallery in the world that incubated seven culinary artists and restaurants) to Folklore Films (a film project commissioned by the mayor of the city of Houston to tell better stories to Houston about Houston, one folkloric character at a time). 2016 Betsey Stockton Lecturer on the Theology of Leadership.
Tony McNeill is Minister of Worship & The Arts at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (Atlanta, GA). Prior this appointment, he was Guest Lecturer in choral music at Appalachian State University. He has served on the Advisory Board for the National Religious Music Week Association and as a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Community School of the Arts of Charlotte. He is a fellow of the Inaugural Black Theology and Leadership Institute and second time worship leader for BTLI.
Yolanda Pierce is the Elmer G. Homrighausen Associate Professor of African American Religion and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary. She teaches courses in African American Religious History, Feminist/Womanist Theology, and Religion and Literature. She is also the Director of the Black Church Studies Program. She was recently names supervisory curator of religion and the head of the Center for African American Religious Life at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Her book, Hell Without Fires: Slavery, Christianity & the African American Spiritual Narrative, argues for the existence and retention of certain African religious practices and ceremonies in slave culture, and the transformation of traditional Western Christian practices by enslaved people. She has a forthcoming book examining the contemporary practice of religious rituals including glossolalia, divine healing, and spirit possession. Widely published, Pierce’s most recent publications include an essay in Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies on womanist theology and Pentecostalism; a chapter in The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence on religious justifications for racial violence; an essay in the Southern Literary Journal on postbellum black women’s autobiography; and a chapter in the Cambridge Companion to the Slave Narrative on the religious connections between captivity narratives and slave narratives.
In addition to her teaching and research, Yolanda Pierce is an ordained minister, dedicated mentor, and community activist who is deeply interested in the relationship between religion and social media.
The Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, a distinguished scholar and leader in theological education, is dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School. She is also the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society.
Townes’ broad areas of expertise include Christian ethics, cultural theory and studies, postmodernism and social postmodernism. She has been a pioneering scholar in womanist theology, a field of studies in which the historic and current insights of African American women are brought into critical engagement with the traditions of Christian theology. Townes has a strong interest in thinking critically about womanist perspectives on issues such as health care, economic justice, poetry and literary theory.
She is the author of the groundbreaking book Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2006). Other books include Breaking the Fine Rain of Death: African American Health Care and A Womanist Ethic of Care (Continuum, 1998), In a Blaze of Glory: Womanist Spirituality as Social Witness (Abingdon Press, 1995) and Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope (Scholars Press, 1993). She co-edited Womanist Theological Ethics: A Reader (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) with Katie Geneva Cannon and Angela D. Simms. In addition, Religion, Health, and Healing in African American Life (Praeger, 2008) was co-edited by Townes with Stephanie Y. Mitchem.
The ordained American Baptist clergywoman earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Joint Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary/Northwestern University Program in Religious and Theological Studies in 1989. She also received a doctorate in ministry from the University of Chicago in 1982. Previously, Townes earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees at the University of Chicago. She continues her research on women and health in the African diaspora in Brazil and the United States.
Townes currently serves as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion (2012–2016). She was the first African American woman elected to the presidential line of the American Academy of Religion, which she led in 2008. Townes was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.
Townes, who was born in Durham, N.C., came to Vanderbilt from Yale Divinity School, where she was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology and associate dean of academic affairs. Previously, she was the Carolyn Williams Beaird Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary.
In 2010 Townes was honored as Distinguished Religious Scholar by the Black Religious Scholars Group. She also received a Doctor of Human Letters from the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary that year. She has also received honorary doctorates from Washington and Jefferson College and Franklin College.
Townes is a contributing blogger for the religion page of the Huffington Post and the Feminism in Religion Forum.
P. Kimberleigh Jordan
P. Kimberleigh Jordan, PhD is is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of religion, dance, and Black Studies. She is director of Craig Chapel at Drew University. Dr. Jordan previously served as director of worship at The Riverside Church and as associate minister at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. She is currently a lecturer at Fordham University and Alvin Ailey in their joint BFA program. She completed a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Jordan earned her PhD at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in performance studies and religion and earned a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary. In addition to directing Drew’s weekly chapel experiences and teaching the chapel practicum, she also teaches in their DMin and master’s programs as associate professor in the practice of religion and the arts. Dr. Jordan was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
William E. Coleman, Jr. is an Associate Minister at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, NJ and an Interim Pastor at Second Baptist Church in Asbury Park. He also serves as a chaplain at St. Francis Hospital. A retired NYC police detective, he is a crisis counselor and conflict resolution specialist. He is married to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the first black woman in Congress from New Jersey.
Maureen Gerald is an ordained Elder, Spiritual Director, licensed Social Worker, and NJ licensed counselor. Her expertise in training, teaching, and preaching personal and organizational growth solutions for 21st century Christian leadership to multicultural communities has led her across the globe. Her niche is in transition care which integrates her theological, contemplative and clinical social work training. She has helped thousands to map out new ways to move forward. She is the Founder and CEO of Momentum, Counseling, Coaching, & Consulting LLC. One of her private practice offices is located on the campus of a multi-site church in Princeton, NJ, where she services the congregants, representing 4 different Continents. Using virtual technology, she has clients residing as far as Japan. She is also a founding leadership team member at Kingdom Church in Ewing, NJ, an 11 year old urban ministry and multi-site church of over 6,000 congregants.
In 2010, Dateline NBC featured her mission trip survival story during the historic Haiti earthquake. Since then, she has been a part of an ecumenical team of Pastors that rebuilt schools, clinics and a Church for the Christian Haitian community which was dedicated on June 28, 2015. Her ministry has also touched civil war rape survivors in Monrovia, Liberia, empowering women to transform pain into purpose. And, as a result of her 2012 pilgrimage to Palestine-Israel, there is now an urban ministry clergy care organization in the capital city of NJ where she serves as President.
Maureen Gerald is a Princeton Theological Seminary alumna and proud wife and mother.
Charles Fischer, III is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA. Prior to this, he served parishes in the Diocese of Washington and the Diocese of Maryland. As well, he was Director of Alumni at Virginia Theological Seminary, leading two of VTS’ highest grossing annual fund campaigns. Rev. Fischer is a fellow of the Inaugural Black Theology and Leadership Institute.
Brian Rainey, assistant professor of Old Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, earned his MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and his PhD from Brown University. He is interested in ethnicity in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near East, including anthropological, sociological and cognitive theories of “ethnicity” and their usefulness for the study of ancient societies. He is also particularly fascinated by the way in which modern Christian and Jewish communities bridge the gap between modern ethical concepts and the ethically problematic social context of the Bible. Other interests include Assyriology, biblical mythology and Christian theology, and the development of “monotheism” in the ancient world.
Walter Earl Fluker
Walter Earl Fluker is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership, the editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project and the Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Initiative for the Development of Ethical Leadership (MLK-IDEAL) at Boston University School of Theology. As part of the MLKIDEAL, Professor Fluker has developed a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled Ethical Leadership: Character, Civility and Community that launched on May 24, 2016. Over 7,000 participants from all over the globe engaged the course which explores theoretical and practical elements of ethical leadership through engagement with prominent leadership theorists and leaders in the areas of education, business, government, philanthropy, and global citizenship. He was founding executive director of the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership Center and the Coca-Cola Professor of Leadership Studies at Morehouse College. Dr. Fluker is a featured consultant, speaker, lecturer and workshop leader at foundations, businesses, corporations, colleges, universities, governmental and religious institutions, nationally and globally.
Known as an expert in the theory and practice of ethical leadership, Fluker has served on numerous committees and boards, including the Urban League of Rochester, NY; the National Selection Committee for U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Leaders; the Board of Liberal Education (the flagship quarterly for the Association of American Colleges and Universities). Dr. Fluker has served as a consultant and workshop leader for organizations as diverse as Democratic Leadership Council National Conversation, Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program, Eastman Kodak, the Department of Education, the Department of State, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and the Georgia State Superintendents’ Association.
His international experience includes serving as consultant to youth development initiatives in Sierra Leone, West Africa and South Africa sponsored by the Ford Foundation and as a lecturer for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Havana, Cuba. He has served as faculty for emerging global leadership at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria and the Global Friends Initiative in Hong Kong; emerging African leaders in the Johannesburg, South African City Council; lecturer for the U.S. Embassy Speaker/Specialist Program in South Africa, Nigeria, India and China; Distinguished Lecturer to the International Human Rights Exchange Programme; visiting professor for the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa; and has worked with the African Presidential Center at Boston University and the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race (Birbeck College, University of London and the University of Pretoria, South Africa).
His recent publications include three volumes of a multi-volume series entitled The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman, published by University of South Carolina Press. The first three volumes include My People Need Me (2009), Christian, Who Calls Me Christian? (2012), and The Bold Adventure: The Fellowship Church (2015). Volume four, The Soundless Passion of a Single Mind is scheduled for release in 2017, and volume five is in process. He is also the editor of Educating Ethical Leaders for the Twenty-First Century (Cascade Books, 2013). Recent articles include “Now We Must Cross a Sea: Remarks on Transformational Leadership and the Civil Rights Movement,” Boston University Law Review, 95, no. 3 (2015), 1225-1232; “Looking For Martin: Black Leadership in an Era of Contested Post-Racism and Post-Blackness,” in The Domestication of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Lewis V. Baldwin and Rufus Burrows, Jr., (Cascade Books, 2013) and “Leaders Who Have Shaped U.S. Religious Dialogue: Howard Thurman” in Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook , edited by Sharon Henderson Callahan, (Sage Publications, 2013). Dr. Fluker is also the author of Ethical Leadership: The Quest for Character, Civility and Community (Fortress Press, 2009). His most recent manuscript, The Ground Has Shifted: The Future of the Black Church in Post-Racial America, will be published with New York University Press in 2016.
Fluker is recipient of major awards and grants from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, National Endowment of the Humanities, the National Archives (National Historical Publications and Research Commission), the Lilly Endowment, the Henry Luce Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Coca-Cola Foundation, Goldman Sachs Foundation, J. P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, The Zeist Foundation and other charitable and philanthropic organizations. He is a 2016 recipient of a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers.
His prior academic experience includes professorial and administrative positions at Vanderbilt University, Harvard College, Dillard University and Colgate-Rochester Divinity School; and has served as visiting professor and scholar at Harvard Divinity School, The Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Columbia Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. Ordained at Second Baptist Church, Evanston in June, 1980, he served as Pastor of the historic St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts and Dean of the Lawless Memorial Chapel at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He earned a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Seminary, a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and biblical studies from Trinity College; and received the Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina. He is married to Dr. Sharon Watson Fluker and is the father of four children and five grandchildren.
Leslie D. Callahan
On May 17, 2009, the congregation of the historic 119-year-old St. Paul’s Baptist Church, located in the heart of Philadelphia, called the Reverend Dr. Leslie D. Callahan as the church’s first female pastor. Dr. Callahan delivered her first sermon as St. Paul’s pastor titled “It’s Time” on May 31 to an excited congregation of St. Paul’s members and friends. After a series of pre-installation celebrations, St. Paul’s installed Dr. Callahan as their 5th Pastor on September 27, 2009.
A native of Gary, West Virginia, Dr. Callahan experienced her first Christian education and formation at Apostolic Temple Church where she developed an enduring love for Jesus Christ and for Christ’s body, the Church. Having experienced her call to ministry at an early age, Dr. Callahan began the public proclamation of the gospel at age 19.
Committed to education, Dr. Callahan earned the Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Harvard University/Radcliffe, the Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Religion from Princeton University. Her research interests include religious history in the United States, particularly independent African American Christianity and Pentecostal studies.
Dr. Callahan was ordained in 1997 at Judson Memorial Church and served as Minister of Christian Education at the First Baptist Church of Princeton, New Jersey. She also served as interim pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
A gifted professor, Dr. Callahan, served on the faculty of New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) as Assistant Professor of Modern Church History and African American Studies. Prior to her time at NYTS, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as assistant professor of religious studies.
Dr. Callahan currently serves as a Commissioner for the Philadelphia Housing Authority. She is also an active member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In addition to her ministry and scholarly pursuits, Dr. Callahan enjoys traveling, golfing, reading, movies, and sports.
Dr. Callahan’s written expressions and thoughts can be found on her blog, as well as in her published article in the The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama by Marvin A. McMickle (Editor).
Dr. Callahan’s chief joy is being the proud mother of Annabelle Inez Callahan.
Dr. Callahan’s favorite scripture is Psalm 27:4: One thing have I desired of the LORD; that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to seek God in God’s temple.
Ms. Austin-Connor is the founder and program director of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute and program administrator for Continuing Education at Princeton Seminary. Austin-Connor realizing a critical need at the seminary for an innovative, theologically robust program for black clergy and lay leadership founded the program in 2011. Over her 15+ career in religion and media, she has been a regional manager for the national offices of the United Church of Christ, the protestant chaplain at Wellesley College and the Administrative Director of the Summer Leadership Institute at HDS. She earned her MA in Media and Visual studies from Emerson College as well as her Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School (HDS). She is currently in-care of the New Jersey Association towards ordination in the United Church of Christ. She tweets at @sushama.
Founder and Program Director
Bonnie Watson Coleman
Bonnie Watson Coleman, a long-time and influential advocate for the people of New Jersey, is currently serving her sophomore term in the United States Congress. Prior to her election as Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Watson Coleman served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly.
The daughter of legendary state legislator John S. Watson, Watson Coleman has continued a family legacy of public service fighting for women, economically and socially disadvantaged populations, and other vulnerable groups in our society. Watson Coleman shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first African American woman to serve as Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, and as the Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. Her election to the House of Representatives makes her the first African American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress.
Watson Coleman has led the call for reforms to prisoner re-entry programs, fighting tirelessly to shut the revolving door of recidivism for individuals who have returned from incarceration. During her time as Majority Leader, Watson Coleman convened a year-long series of public hearings on the topic while shepherding legislation through the New Jersey Assembly that The New York Times called “a model for the rest of the nation,” on prisoner rehabilitation and release.
For her second term, as a member of the 115th Congress, Watson Coleman was recently selected by her colleagues as the Vice Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee, where she is also Ranking Member on both the Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security, and the Task Force on Denying Terrorist Entry into the United States. She also serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In 2016, Watson Coleman was a founder of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, the first House caucus to study policy issues related to the continued success and accomplishments of that population. Watson Coleman is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. Watson Coleman has championed legislation to protect vulnerable Americans and communities related to gun safety, environmental protection, and long-term unemployment. Watson Coleman is also the author of the Healthy MOM Act, which would allow women to enroll in, or change their health coverage if they become pregnant, and the End For-Profit Prisons Act, which would prohibit the federal government from contracting with for-profit prison corporations.
Watson Coleman graduated from Thomas Edison State College. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and an honorary member of the Girl Scouts of America. She is also a Deaconess at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, N.J.
Watson Coleman and her husband William reside in Ewing Township and are blessed to have three sons; William, Troy, and Jared and two grandchildren; William and Kamryn.
Simeon Spencer is the Senior Pastor of Union Baptist Church in Trenton, New Jersey, where he has served for thirteen years. He led Union Baptist in founding of Trenton HOPE, a community development corporation that is partnering with government and private entities in the revitalization of the city of Trenton. Trenton HOPE has been instrumental in efforts to build housing, open new neighborhood businesses and develop a wellness program targeting urban communities.
CLERGY & LAY LEADERS
FOLLOWERS & FRIENDS
ON SOCIAL MEDIA
BTLI welcomes applications from clergy and lay leaders with or without an MDiv degree; current students in an M.Div. or other graduate program in religious studies (broad definition); and nonprofit leaders in faith-‐based organizations.
Eligible applicants must hold clearly identified vocational goals relevant to the Institute and be able to clearly state how BTLI would be helpful in the applicant’s ministry/work.
HOW DO I APPLY?
The application must be completed and submitted online. We require one personal reference. You may save your work and return to finish the application as needed. Only applications that are completed applications will be reviewed for admission to the program. Decisions will be made and emailed by mid-April 2017.
The total cost for the Black Theology and Leadership Institute is $745 and includes program and meals. On-‐campus residence is required during the duration in the Institute and is paid separately. Each year partial scholarships are available. Requests for the financial aid application should be made during the application process by emailing [email protected]. We are no longer accepting requests for scholarships.
- Sunday, July 16
- Monday, July 17
- Tuesday, July 18
- Wednesday, July 19
- Thursday, July 20
- Friday, July 21
- Saturday, July 22
5th Annual Reunion Weekend
On July 21 & 22, Princeton Seminary looks forward to convening and hosting you and your Black Theology and Leadership Institute cohorts for the 5th BTLI Reunion Weekend Celebration!
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