Ending Racism: Confronting Our Past, Revisiting Our Present and Naming God’s Preferred Future
October 13-16, 2019
Holiday Inn Newport News – Hampton
Dr Agnes Abuom, Moderator of the WCC Central Committee
Dr Agnes Abuom, from the Anglican Church of Kenya, was elected unanimously by the WCC 10th Assembly on 8 November 2013 to serve as moderator of the WCC Central Committee. She is the first woman and the first African in the position in the history of the World Council of Churches.
Abuom has served on the WCC Executive Committee, representing the Anglican Church of Kenya. She is also a development consultant serving both Kenyan and international organizations coordinating social action programmes for religious and civil society across Africa.
Abuom was the Africa president for the WCC from 1999 to 2006. She has been associated with the All Africa Conference of Churches, National Council of Churches of Kenya and WCC member churches in Africa, as well as Religions for Peace.
Abuom’s areas of work include economic justice, peace and reconciliation.
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Elected as the ELCA’s fourth presiding bishop at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Music Education from the College of Wooster.
Ordained in 1981, Eaton served three congregations in Ohio before being elected bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod in 2006 and re-elected in May 2013.
In 2015, under Eaton’s leadership, the ELCA underwent an extensive vision process to help this church journey faithfully and effectively together in the years ahead. The process resulted in Future Directions 2025, a strategic framework that serves shared leadership across the ELCA to realize common aspirations and better face the challenges of this church.
Eaton also called together a task force in 2016 to draft a policy statement for inter-religious relations in the ELCA. As the chief ecumenical officer of the ELCA, she represents this church in a wide range of ecumenical and interfaith settings. She is the vice president for North America on the Council of The Lutheran World Federation and serves on the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA Governing Board and Development Committee, and Religions for Peace USA Council of Presidents.
As presiding bishop, Eaton travels extensively, representing the ELCA in a variety of capacities. This has included a visit to a Syrian refugee camp, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with Lutherans from around the world in Namibia and participating in an ecumenical service commemorating the Reformation in the Lund, Sweden, cathedral with Pope Francis.
Ibram X. Kendi, Award-Winning Author and Speaker
Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. He is a New York Times bestselling author and the Founding Director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington, DC. A professor of history and international relations, Kendi is an ideas columnist at The Atlantic. He is the author of THE BLACK CAMPUS MOVEMENT, which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF RACIST IDEAS IN AMERICA, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction. He grew up dreaming about playing in the NBA (National Basketball Association), and ironically he ended up joining the other NBA.
Kendi has published fourteen academic essays in books and academic journals, including The Journal of African American History, Journal of Social History, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of African American Studies, and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture. He has published op-eds in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times, The The Guardian, Washington Post, London Review, Time, Salon, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Paris Review, Black Perspectives, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He commented on a series of international, national, and local media outlets, such as CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Al Jazeerah, PBS, BBC, Democracy Now, and Sirius XM. A sought after public speaker, Kendi has delivered hundreds of addresses over years at colleges and universities, bookstores, festivals, conferences, libraries, churches, and other institutions in the United States and abroad.
His third book, HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, was published on August 13, 2019 by One World, an imprint of Random House.
Archbishop Mark L. MacDonald
The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald became the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop in 2007, after serving as bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Diocese of Alaska for 10 years.
Archbishop MacDonald was born on Jan. 15, 1954, the son of Blake and Sue Nell MacDonald. He holds a B.A. in religious studies and psychology from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., an M.A. in divinity from Wycliffe College, and did post-graduate work at Luther-Northwestern Theological Seminary in Minneapolis.
He has had a long and varied ministry, holding positions in Mississauga, Ont., Duluth, Minn., Tomah, Wis., Mauston, Wis., Portland, Ore., and the southeast regional mission of the Diocese of Navajoland. Immediately prior to his ordination to the episcopate, Archbishop MacDonald was canon missioner for training in the Diocese of Minnesota and vicar of St. Antipas’ Church, Redby, Minn., and St. John-in-the-Wilderness Church, Red Lake, Red Lake Nation, Minn.
He is the board chair for Church Innovations, Inc., and a third order Franciscan.
Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Pastor and Chair, Conference of National Black Churches
W. Franklyn Richardson is Senior Pastor of the historic Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, New York. He has been the head of this vibrant, diverse, multi-staffed ministry since April, 1975. Under his leadership, the congregation has continually thrived, growing to include more than 4000 members, as well as a second church in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Dr. Richardson began his career in 1969, serving as pastor of Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located in Richmond, Virginia, and then St. James Baptist Church in Varina, Virginia, prior to taking the helm at Grace Baptist. A graduate of Virginia Union University, Dr. Richardson received his Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and his Doctorate of Ministry as a Wyatt Tee Walker Fellow from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Richardson has received extensive recognition for his dynamic and impactful leadership in ministry with Honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from several colleges and universities including his alma mater, Virginia Union University.
A longtime community builder and organizer, Dr. Richardson has played a pivotal role in the grass root efforts of reestablishing a cultural bridge between community and education. He is singularly responsible for leveling the ground by fighting for equitable opportunities in public education in the Mount Vernon community and he has manned the front lines in the battle for just and affordable housing development. His steadfast efforts have resulted two Grace Church related Community Development Corporations which have constructed more than 100 million dollars in affordable housing to date.
Dr. Richardson served as General Secretary for twelve years of the eight-million-member National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., which thrust him into the international arena of the World Council of Churches where he served on its prestigious Central Committee. The World Council represents more than 400 million Christians in 150 nations. He also served on the boards of the Congress of the National Black Churches, the National Urban League, and the Constituency for Africa. A life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Dr. Richardson is also a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
Ruby Sales, Activist and Public Theologian
Ruby Sales is the founder and director of the Spirit House Project. She joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s as a teenager at Tuskegee University and went to work as a student freedom fighter in Lowndes County, Alabama. She is one of 50 African Americans to be spotlighted in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.
While studying at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Sales became involved with the state’s Freedom Summer voter registration drive. One afternoon, as she and Jonathan Daniels, a white seminarian, stood in line at a corner store, a man shot and killed Daniels for standing behind Sales in line. Unnerved and unable to speak significantly for seven months, Sales determined to attend the trial of Daniels’ murderer, Tom Coleman, and to testify on behalf of her slain colleague. Her perseverance moved her to a career of social activism.
In 1994, Sales entered the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She studied feminist, African American and liberation theologies with an emphasis on race, class and gender issues, and in 1998 received her master’s of divinity. Her training as a seminarian prepared her to launch SpiritHouse in 2000, a nonprofit organization focused on community organizing and spiritually based community building. Sales has written several articles and has appeared as a commentator on several television programs. She lives in Washington, D.C.
A deeply committed social activist, scholar, administrator, manager, public theologian and educator in the areas of civil, gender and other human rights, Sales has preached around the country on race, class, gender and reconciliation. She has done groundbreaking work on community and nonviolence formation, and also serves as a national convener of the Every Church A Peace Church Movement. Throughout her career, Sales has mentored young people and provided support and venues for an intergenerational community of developing and seasoned social justice performing and creative artists. She has a deep commitment to providing the education, practical experiences, and frame of references to contest racism and add their voices to the public conversations on the many streams of oppression that emerge from them.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, World Council of Churches general secretary
One of today’s greatest Christian leaders, The Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit was elected general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in August 2009, and was re-elected to a second term in July 2014. At the time of his nomination, Tveit was the general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations (2002-09).
In his home country, he served as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Christian Council of Norway, moderator of the Church of Norway – Islamic Council of Norway contact group and the same for the Jewish Congregation contact group. He also was a member of the Inter-Faith Council of Norway and a member of the board of trustees of Norwegian Church Aid.