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. This year, we are welcoming anyone interested in experiencing BTLI to register for it as a two and a half-day gathering. Leader Roster Forthcoming.

In 2019, BTLI will return in its weeklong format with 50 admitted fellows.



11:00 am – 1:00 pm REGISTRATION
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm THE OCCASION
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm RECEPTION
5:00 pm - 6:30 pmDINNER
6:30 pm – 8:30 pmOPENING WORSHIP
8:00 am – 9:00 amBREAKFAST
9:15 am – 11:45 amPLENARY A
11:45 am – 12:45 pmLUNCH
1:00 pm – 2:45 pmPLENARY B
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm BREAK
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm COHORT BREAKOUTS
5:30 pm - 6:30 pmDINNER
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm WORSHIP
8:00 am – 8:45 amBREAKFAST
9:00 am – 11:00 amPLENARY C
11:15 am – 12:15 pmCLOSING WORSHIP
12:30 pm – 1:30 pmCLOSING LUNCH



For more information about BTLI 2019


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Tony McNeill

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.



Charles Fischer


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.



Sushama Austin-Conner

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.