“Do You Want to Be Well?” 2024 Conference

WHY THIS CONFERENCE?

Over the past few years, people have paid increased attention to various dynamics afflicting the White Evangelical church in America.  The maladies that afflict this particular expression of the Christian faith have their roots in the movement’s formative years and continue through this day.  They need to be honestly identified so lament can be made and repentance committed to for healing to occur, so that Jesus can have a truer witness in this tradition, and so that folks within it can encounter him more fully.

We love the church and grieve for the church.  We love Jesus and want to make his love known.  For the sake of the church’s healing and care of her members, we are offering an online conference “Do You Want to Be Well?:  Diagnosis, Treatment, and Healing for the Church in America” on Saturday, June 8 from 10am ET– 3pm ET.

We are grateful for more conversations, increased awareness, and insightful analyses that are being offered about issues of Christian nationalism, racism and white supremacy, and patriarchy.  Still, we have noticed that these three threads are less often talked about in the same conversation. We have also noticed that most current conversations spend far more time on critique than on finding paths forward for healing.  We hope this conference and conversation can weave these threads together and offer more than critique. 

We will offer something constructive, something we hope can be at least deeply encouraging if not transforming.  While we will identify and explore the issues plaguing the church, we won’t stop there.  We’ll move towards hope and healing, with opportunities for spiritual practice along the way.  In view of the sicknesses afflicting the Body of Christ in America, we feel called to walk into the light and toward Jesus for our own healing and for the sake of others.

PRESENTERS

Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

Bio

Dr. Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is President & CEO of T3 Leadership Solutions, Inc., Natasha Sistrunk Robinson Ministries, and the Visionary Founder and Chairperson of the nonprofit, Leadership LINKS, Inc. She is a graduate of the Naval Academy, a former United States Marine Corps Captain, and former federal government employee of the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Robinson is a Leadership Consultant and Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and North Park Theological Seminary, she is a sought-after international speaker and facilitator with more than 20 years of leadership and mentoring experience in the military, federal government, academic, and nonprofit sectors. Dr. Robinson intentionally serves as a credible witness of Jesus Christ’s leadership to engage, equip, and empower people to live and lead on purpose. She is the author of several books including Voices of Lament (editor), Journey to Freedom, A Sojourner’s Truth, Hope for Us Bible study, and Mentor for Life. She hosts A Sojourner’s Truth podcast and is passionate about using her influence to create access and opportunities and equitable workspaces for Black Indigenous Women of Color, and especially Black women, while mentoring the next generations of Black girls who lead.

Carolyn Custis James

Bio

Carolyn Custis James is an international speaker and award-winning author. She speaks at church conferences, colleges, and other Christian organizations both in the US and abroad.  She is a frequent guest lecturer at various theological seminaries.  As a cancer survivor, she is grateful to be alive and determined to address the issues that matter most.  Her work centers on biblical studies and focuses on the intersection between Christianity and twenty-first century cultural issues facing women and men.

Gregory Thompson

Bio

Dr. Gregory Thompson is a writer, artist, cook, and creative leader who works at the intersection of the contemplative, the critical, and the convivial. He currently serves as Co-Founder and Creative Director of Voices Underground, a team of scholars, artists, and activists devoted to racial healing through storytelling. He is author of The Welcome Table, a column on Hospitality and Culture at Comment Magazine, of Blood From the Ground: Racial Healing and Public Memory (forthcoming), and co-author of the award-winning Reparations: A Christian Call to Repentance and Repair. He holds an MA and a PhD from the University of Virginia, and can most likely be found in the kitchen.

Mariah Humphries

Bio

Mariah Humphries is a Mvskoke Nation citizen. She is a speaker and writer on the intersections of Christianity and racialized identities. With over 25 years of vocational ministry service and a masters in theology, she is focused on using her theological education and lived experience to challenge and encourage the Church to lead the conversation around racial literacy and cultural humility.

David Swanson

Bio

David is an author and the founding pastor of New Community Covenant Church who lives with his family on the South Side of Chicago. He is the founder and CEO of New Community Outreach, a non-profit organization dedicated to healing community trauma through restorative practices. David’s first book, Rediscipling the White Church: From Cheap Diversity to True Solidarity was published with InterVarsity Press in 2020. His forthcoming book with IVP, Plundered: The Tangled Roots of Racial and Environmental Injustice, will be published in October 2024.

PANELISTS

Jin Cho

Bio

The Rev. Dr. Jin H. Cho is an Anglican priest committed to helping local congregations have courageous conversations about race and justice.  He received his doctorate of ministry from Fuller Seminary for his project to encourage such dialogue among pastors in his city entitled “Race, Evangelicalism, and the Local Church.”  He leads the diocesan task force for diversity and inclusion, and works with the Brehm Center (Fuller Seminary) to help pastors integrate worship, preaching, and justice.  He has over twenty years of experience leading churches and is currently working on a missional church plant in Orange County, California.  He and his far more interesting wife Esther have two extremely extroverted teenagers.

Sandra Maria Van Opstal

Bio

Sandra Maria Van Opstal is a second-generation Latina pastor, activist, author, and a powerful leading voice on the intersection of faith and justice. She is executive director of Chasing Justice, a BIPOC-led movement that mobilizes the next generation of Christians to live justly. Sandra’s distinctiveness comes from working in both local and global contexts as a practitioner and academic, which has solidified her calling to disrupt oppressive systems within the church and center marginalized voices. She served as executive pastor at Grace and Peace Church on Chicago’s west side and as an activist in her community. She holds a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is currently pursuing doctoral work in Urban Leadership and Transformation. Sandra is the author of The Next Worship, Forty Days on Being An Eight as well as contributor to the New York Times bestselling book A Rhythm of Prayer.

Lisa Rodriguez-Watson

Bio

Lisa Rodriguez-Watson, for nearly two decades, has served as an urban church planter, collegiate minister, seminary professor, international missionary and community development practitioner.  Her heart to see people reconciled to God and to one another has led her to invest her life, family and ministry in places and people that have often been looked over by the world.  Lisa served as co-founder of a grassroots organization in Memphis, TN that was committed to mobilizing Christians to love their undocumented neighbors and consider an appropriate Christian response to our nation’s immigration crisis.  In addition to her role as National Director of Missio Alliance, she serves as Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Equipping at Christ City Church. Educated at Florida International University and Golden Gate Seminary, she now lives in Washington, DC where she is a mom to 3 fantastic children, Nathan, Elias, and Annelies, and a wife to her best friend Matthew, who serves as Pastor of Teaching and Outreach at Christ City Church.

SCHEDULE

10:00 AM – Welcome and Opening Prayer

DIAGNOSIS

10:10 AM Introduction from Rev. Bill Haley (Coracle Executive Director)

10:30 AM – “Racism & White Supremacy in the American Church” with Dr. Gregory Thompson

10:55 AM – “The New Christian Nationalism” with David Swanson

11:20 AM – “Patriarchy and Power” with Carolyn Custis James

11:45 AM – Break Out Discussion Groups

12:05 PM – Guided Lament

12:15 PM – Break for Lunch

TREATMENT:

12:45 PM – “Hope, Call, and Posture” with Mariah Humphries

HEALING:

1:10 PM – “Practices of Healing” with Dr. Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

1:30 PM – Break Out Discussion Groups

2:00 PM – Discernment Panel Discussion

2:35 PM Guided Prayer for Renewal

2:45 PM Closing Remarks with Bishop Todd Hunter

An Offering of…

Conference Partners