SBC21 Collaborative Coaching and Training Network

Strengthening the Black Church for the Twenty first Century (SBC21) is committed to offer trained professional coaches to local church settings assigned to clergy, partner congregations and annual conferences in a contractual agreement.

The goal of this network is to identify clergy and lay leaders with proven expertise, who are willing to be trained as SBC21 coaches and deploy them to work with clergy and lay leadership teams in local church settings.

Strategic Planning and Training is also offered in a series of steps, where church leadership teams are engaged in developing a fresh vision, clear mission, SMART goals, and action steps with measurable benchmarks that ensure evaluation is an on-going process.

These coaches serve as resources that offer the United Methodist church effective models to increase our gifts in mission and ministry, develop lay and clergy leaders who are seeking church growth, discipleship, and ministry to a hurting world.

The Clergy/Coach Relationship

Coaching is about developing a partnership to assist you in fulfilling your vision and mission for the church and your ministry. The Pastor sets the agenda for our relationship and takes responsibility for making the changes. The coach’s responsibility will be to establish activity-driven accountability relationships; and assist you in staying focused on your SMART goals.  The coach/clergy relationship will generate measurable outcomes in worship, stewardship, leadership development, and ministry involvement.

SBC21 Coaches challenge and support pastors and teams to find their voices, listen deeply to others, and exercise leadership on behalf of stronger, healthier, and more vital congregations.

This coach/clergy relationship is assigned for one year and focuses on the following:


To optimize the leadership acumen, develop innovative and collaborative skills, and enhance the ministry impact of each high-potential pastor and their church.

Strategic Planning

To collaboratively create a vision-driven and mission-focused Strategic Ministry Action Plan for each partner church.


To establish goal-driven accountability with monthly coaching calls. To stay focused on actions that generate measurable outcomes in worship, Christian Education, congregational stewardship, new leader development and ministry involvement over a 12-month period.

Meet SBC21 Coaches,

Mentors and Master Trainers

The Reverend “Danny” Anthony Everett is the owner of Alpha Management LLC (an organizational consulting firm), the president of Nia Urban Ministries Inc. (a for purpose, faith-based 501 (c) 3 organization), and the lead pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.  He is also a Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century ( Coach.

As a preacher, pastor, public servant, lecturer, coach, consultant, and Christian social activist, Everett is frequently sought after to help churches, for purpose, and for profit organizations and leaders reach their strategic goals.  He is a passionate advocate for faith-based community transformation and engagement. A sought-after preacher and lecturer, Everett has made numerous presentations before church, civic, and collegiate bodies on topics of interest ranging from social justice to para-church ministry. 

Everett holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Paul Quinn College, magna cum laude, and a Master of Divinity degree with Urban Ministry and the National Plan for Hispanic-Latino Ministry Pastor Training Certifications from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University where he serves as a member of the executive board.  He is a Doctor of Ministry student at United Theological Seminary in the Prophetic Preaching and Praxis Focus Group.

He also serves on the board of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, the Kentucky Council of Churches and was appointed by the governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as an at-large Commissioner and serves as vice chair of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Prior to ministry, Reverend Everett was an executive with EDS Corporation (now Hewlett Packard Enterprise) for 19 years.

Everett loves to travel.  He has traveled throughout North America, Central America, the Caribbean and to 35 of the 50 states in the United States as well as two U.S. Territories – St. Thomas and Puerto Rico.  The countries he has visited include Mexico, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Honduras.  He has also visited the British overseas territory of Grand Cayman.

Born in Washington, D.C., Everett is married to Dr. Angelique Clay Everett, an internationally acclaimed soprano soloist for the American Spiritual Ensemble and Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Kentucky School of Music.  They reside in Lexington, Kentucky as an empty nest blended family with four adult children and one grandchild.

Dr. Deborah M. Bell is the Director of Community Development for Better Community Development, Inc. (BCD, Inc.) of Little Rock, Arkansas.  BCD is a non-profit community and faith-based organization dedicated to providing social services to low-income and homeless individuals and their families.   The mission of BCD is to improve the quality of life for underserved children, youth and families.

She is a charter member of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church and the Better Community Development Inc.   She has been actively involved at Theressa Hoover UMC serving in many capacities but presently as the Lay Leader and Worship Committee Chairperson.

Ms. Bell serves as the Program Chairperson for Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, Coordinating Committee.  In 2012 and 2008, she was elected as

a delegate of the Arkansas Annual Conference to General Conference and as a  delegate to Jurisdiction Conference.

Nationally, Ms. Bell has served in the following capacities: Vice Chairperson for Black Methodists for Church Renewal; National Chairperson for the Policy Committee of the Community Developers Program of the General Board of Global Ministries;  Program Chairperson for Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, Coordinating Committee; former Consultant for the General Board of Global Ministries-Community Program division; the Nominations Committee for the AR Annual Conference UMW; and the Arkansas Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministries.

Deborah is a graduate of Philander Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Education.  She completed the three-year course of Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas.  She has had additional training from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute, Faith Based Community and Economic Development.  She was a Faculty Fellow for the Foundation for the Mid-South and a graduate of Class XII of the Leadership Greater Little Rock.

She is the oldest daughter of the Rev. Dr. William H. and the late Sara Robinson. Deborah is the proud mother of one son, Darryl, daughter-in-law Karen Stewart Swinton and two beautiful grandchildren, DJ & Taylor.

Deborah Bell, Director

Better Community Development Inc.

3604 West 12th Street

Little Rock, AR  72204


Dr. Gloria Brown is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi, a Master of Music from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, and a PhD in K-12 Educational Leadership from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She is licensed by the state of Ohio for Music, All Areas of the Humanities, and as high school principal. She is, also, lifetime certified in Bridges out of Poverty.

Brown has taught Music and English in Mississippi, served as Director of Early Childhood Education in Illinois, taught middle school Music, served as middle school assistant principal, high school assistant principal, high school principal, and was first to bring Parent University to Cleveland Metropolitan Schools. She served as Director of Racial-Ethnic Ministry for the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. In addition, Brown works as a Lead Evaluator for AdvancED, an agency that accredits schools in 70 countries. She engages in 21st Century and McKinney-Vento grant proposal reading and scoring for the Ohio Department of Education. She also teaches online courses entitled, Leading for Differentiated Instruction, Diversity, Community and Cultural Relational Leadership (a principal licensure course) for Indiana Wesleyan University in the Adult and Graduate Studies Department. 

 She develops and facilitates workshops on Dimensions of Diversity in Ashland University’s Professional Development Department. Other workshops include Group Dynamics, Team Building, and the Israel/Palestine Conflict for ecumenical audiences. She has, also, written a course entitled, Discipline with Dignity (2011) which is currently being used in the national foster care licensure curriculum. Her latest publication is a non-fiction book entitled, Through it All: A Compilation of Short Stories based on Lived Experiences.

Brown received a White House Honor for her Working Women Count project in which she was named National Honor Roll Woman by Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Commendations for this project were awarded by Former US Secretary of Labor, Robert B. Reich, the US Women’s Bureau, Cleveland Metropolitan Schools, and numerous political figures in the state of Ohio.

Her peace advocacy work includes a trip to Israel/Palestine. Her work on the Israel/Palestine Conflict took her to the Carter Center in Atlanta to participate in a forum at the request of President Jimmie Carter.

She has led Wesley Sermon Studies in partnership with Ashland Theological Seminary and the Methodist Theological School in Ohio that spanned the North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. Locally, she is Chair of the Staff, Pastor-Parish Relations Committee at Faith United Methodist Church in Twinsburg, OH, is a member of the East Ohio Conference Commission on Equitable compensation, serves on the National Black Staff Forum Nominating Committee, and as Chaplain of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Lambda Phi Omega Chapter in Cleveland.

One of her favorite scriptures is, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, King James Version). Her favorite song is, If I Can Help Somebody.

Dr. Linda Johnson Crowell, a native of Columbus, Georgia received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee, a Master of Science in Social Administration (Social Work) from Case Western Reserve University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Welfare from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

She is an Associate Professor Emeritus- Social Work University of Akron.  During her teaching tenure she taught courses in Research, Dynamics of Racism and Discrimination, Poverty and Minority Issues, Community Organization, and Social Policy.  She is the author of 101 Helps for Helpers (a book of meditations, inspiration and insights for helpers and everyone).

She is the president of Linda Crowell Consulting Associates. Most recently Dr. Crowell served as the Evaluation Consultant for Northern Ohio Recovery Associates and serves as the Campus Coordinator for the Cleveland State University Child Welfare University Partnership Program. She was formerly a Research Project Coordinator and Director of Admissions and Career Services at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University. Prior to working there, she worked for nearly 20 years at the Cuyahoga County Department of Human Services as a Social Worker/Supervisor.

She serves Aldersgate United Methodist Church as Chairperson of Church Council and sings in the Aldersgate Choir. She is also a member of The Heritage Chorale. She currently serves on the East Oho Conference Board of Pensions and is a member of the Conference Council on Ministries committee, and Conference Secretary for Global Ministries. She is a member of the Bishop 3Cs mission committee and has served in Sierra Leone and Liberia, West Africa. She has served the United Methodist Women in several capacities. She was selected by the United Methodist Women to serve as a team leader for Ubuntu Journeys and led a team that traveled to Liberia in March 2014.

She was the former chairperson of The East Ohio Commission on Religion and Race and East Ohio Black Methodists for Church Renewal.  She is a former member of the North Coast District Committee on Ordained Ministry. She was a delegate to the 2008 General and Jurisdictional Conferences and a reserve delegate for 2012 and 2016. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the United Methodist Publishing House, where she chairs the Client Focus Committee.  She served as Treasurer for National Black Methodists for Church Renewal, and Follow-Up Consultant for Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Initiative. She currently serves as a Coach for the Strengthening the Black Church for the 21St. Century.  In addition, she served on the board and as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Berea Children’s Home and Family Services (now OhioGuidestone) and is currently Interim President of Stepstone Academy, a charter school of OhioGuidestone.

Dr. Crowell presents workshops and training on various topics, and she has spoken at numerous church programs and events.  She also facilitates retreats for women’s groups and church groups.

She is married to Henry and they have one son, Mark.

Rev. Dr. Ouida F. Lee is the Senior Pastor of the Church of the Disciple located in the suburban city of DeSoto, Texas. Dr. Lee is known throughout the community because of her progressive and creative approach to ministry. She has a real passion for reaching the community for Christ and leads her congregation in facing the critical social ills that impede the growth of healthy families and communities.
Through her leadership the Church has sponsored a Summer Enrichment Program for Children, breaking the barriers of stereotypical children being left behind academically. The annual Community Health Fair, sponsored by the Methodist Health Systems, addresses the needs of the indigent and without health insurance through health assessments. The Back to School Festival provides school supplies and through the support of local educators motivate children and youth for the beginning of school. Annual Women and Men’s Celebration and a Purity Abstinence Programs focuses on the needs of families. As a concerned citizen Dr. Lee is a member of the Superintendent’s Advisory
Committee of the Desoto Independent School District and adopter of a local elementary school. As a community advocate she prays regularly for the DeSoto City Council and the County Commissioners Court of Dallas County.
Dr. Lee served as Executive Pastor of the St. Luke Community UMC with responsibility for the Administrative Committees of the 5000 plus member congregation. She further served a Pastor of Congregation Care coordinating the outreach to the many families in crisis, organizing the Prayer Ministry and has honed her skills for ministry through serving as Associate and Senior Associate Pastor on large church staffs. She is a visionary with the belief that through the power of the Holy Spirit, “nothing is impossible.” It is her belief that the Great Commission, “go and make disciples,” is the motivation for the formation of the ministry plan for the local church. In her earliest Pastoral
leadership, Dr. Lee formed the North Town Community Development Corporation building a community playground for the children in this impoverished neighborhood and offered minor home repairs to homeowners.
She has preached in Zimbabwe, Africa for the 2012 African Clergy Consultation, Nashville, TN for the Black Clergy Women’s Organization, Revivals in Nassau, Bahamas and Oklahoma. She is ecumenical in her outreach and has preached for the National body of the Cumberland Presbyterians, National body of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Baptist, Non-denominational, Pentecostals, and Christian Methodist Episcopal. She has conducted numerous women’s conferences and has taught many years in the United Methodist Schools of Christian Mission for the North Texas, Central Texas and the Texas Conference. 
Ouida is a graduate of the Dallas County Community Colleges, Dallas Baptist University, Southern Methodist University – Perkins School of Theology with both a Masters and Doctorate degrees. Her Conference related service includes, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, Pastoral Mentor,
pastor Member of Conference Leadership Team, Chair of Sending Servants Team, member of Committee on Nominations, and Ethnic Local Church Concerns. She currently serves as the President for the national body of the Black Clergy Women of the United Methodist Church, Vice-President of Communications for the African American Pastor Coalition, Board
of Directors for the Methodist Children’s Home and former Board Member of the Dallas Area American Red Cross and Chaplain for the North Dallas Suburban Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
She is married to Mr. John Lee and they are the parents of three adults, one who preceded them in death and grandparents of six.

Prior to her retirement in January 2013, The Rev. Dr. Dorothy Watson Tatem held the position of District Superintendent of the East District of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church. In this position she had oversight of 73 churches located in northeast and northwest Philadelphia and in Bucks and Montgomery counties and reported directly to the bishop. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Director of the Office of Urban and Global Ministries and assisted churches in partnering with the community, awareness of the assets of the urban environment and established a grant writing and search library. Dr. Tatem first came on conference staff as the Director of the Office of Resourcing which assisted churches in transitions, strategic planning, partnering in ministry with the community and conflict management.

She has served as the senior pastor of Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in Philadelphia which experienced significant new membership growth during her tenure. As lead pastor, she led the congregation in reviving the defunct community development corporation and the acquisition of its 5011©3 status. Dr. Tatem served as the president of the corporation and led this entity in acquiring an abandoned school building that was adjacent to the church; the edifice which had been a site for prostitution and drugs was renovated into a senior citizens residence and medical support services facility (a 4.5 million dollar project in collaboration with city, state and federal officials).

While Dr. Tatem was pastor of the St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Trevose, PA, the congregation acquired two lots adjacent to the church for future expansion. Membership increased to the point where it was a standing jest that the church could be cited for being overcrowded.

Dr. Tatem has served beyond the local church at the conference, jurisdictional, general church levels of The United Methodist Church and has been the recipient of many honors including a Doctor of Divinity degree from Albright College where she served a long tenure as a trustee. Her writings have been frequently published. She has preached and trained throughout the United States, Bermuda, Korea. In December 2012, Dr. Tatem was honored to be the closing preacher of a two week revival in Cape Town, South Africa.

Presently, she is an executive coach and is an associate for Next Step Associates, LLC.

Dr. Tatem’s education includes the following:

Doctor of Ministry, Eastern Baptist (now Palmer) Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity, Union Theological Seminary, New York City

Master in Secondary Education and Reading, Beaver College (now Arcadia University)

Bachelor of Science, Secondary Education, English, major, Russian minor, Temple University

Certification to administer and interpret the Myers/Briggs Personality Type Assessment

Professional Coach Graduate, Coaching4Clergy

Michele answered her call into ordained ministry after serving actively in the United Methodist Church all her life. She received her Masters of Divinity from The Interdenominational Theological Center, Gammon United Methodist Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia.  Rev. Morton was ordained in June 2012 as an Elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church, Tennessee Annual Conference.

After serving as Associate Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee, Rev. Michele Morton is currently appointed as the Campus Minister at Tennessee State University directing the campus ministry at the Wesley Foundation.  This ministry is growing tremendously with vitality and experiencing increasing student participation.  The Wesley Foundation offers spiritual guidance to young adults through weekly worship services, bible studies, small covenant groups, and leadership training for young adults on campus and in the community. She also serves as an Internship Supervisor with the Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Her career has been a remarkable one with many different experiences, mostly all of them in the field of education and training.  She has worked in government, private industry, non-profit, in educational television and as a business owner. Michele has written Sunday school curriculum published by the United Methodist Publishing House. 

She presently provides training, consultation and coaching to churches around the United States working as chief strategist with SBC21(Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century), which is a national agency within the United Methodist Church.

Michele Morton has served as a consultant for the United States Department of Justice for over twelve years, in over fifty jurisdictions in the United States in Corrections, Community Corrections, Probation and Parole, and Juvenile Justice.  Her responsibilities ranged from curriculum writer and developer, lead trainer, organizational development and technical assistance provider to the United States Bureau of Prisons and the National Institute of Corrections.  Highly skilled in facilitation and mediation, organizational problem solving, building high performance teams, training program design and delivery and leadership development.  Morton has designed and developed courses for the National Institute of Corrections Academy and presented them nationally; including the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.

For several years, Morton gained unique experience providing consultation, conference planning and management, and technical assistance in policy development to legislative task forces in Criminal Justice, Community Economic Development, Health Care, Social Services, Education, and Youth Development with the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators.

For five years, Michele Morton designed and produced instructional television programs which aired on public broadcasting stations.  Multi-level skills included scriptwriting, all aspects of television and film production, designed visual instructional techniques including the arts and animation, managed production budget, talent pools, editing processes and directed advisory boards for each series.  This work produced over fifty instructional programs that taught language and mathematics skills to elementary age students including writing a teacher’s activity guide and student publication for each program. It was an honor to receive the Southern Educational Communications Award (SECA) for outstanding contribution to instructional television in 1983.

Still active today in her ministry to provide opportunities for young adults began in 1992. Michele Morton founded a non-profit organization, Growing in Grace Leadership School, Inc.  whose mission for ten years was to develop the leadership potential of young people and young adults.  This statewide program worked with professionals who volunteer to train and mentor young people for leadership roles.  This program was student centered and offered unique learning experiences for leadership development in academics, social graces, career planning, professional growth, and community service.

Rev. Michele Morton is married to Leonard Morton Jr. They celebrate 37 years of marriage and they have two beautiful adult daughters and one great son in law. They are blessed with two wonderful grandchildren.

Michele Roberts Morton loves the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Rose M. Booker-Jones currently serves as District Superintendent Mississippi River District of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference/The United Methodist Church.

Rev. Rose has served East St. Louis Trinity United Methodist Church and Peoria Bethel United Methodist Church. She’s also served churches in Kansas and Texas. As Full-member of the Conference she served as Chair of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference Board of Ordained Ministry; Elected Jurisdictional Delegate; 2008, 2012 and 2016; Instructor for the Conference Course of Study and License to Preach School.

Rose serves as Board Member of SBC21 (Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century). She assisted National Director, Dr. Fred Allen as Program Coordinator of SBC21 Collaborative Coaching Network and Academy of Interns. Rose served as Board Member of the General BMCR (Black Methodist for Church Renewal) as Chair of Membership. She is board member of North Central Jurisdiction Mission Council and General Commission on Religion and Race. She also served as Adjunct Instructor at Lincoln Christian University Hargrove Adult Program, Lincoln, IL.  She is featured in “Black United Methodists Preach!” edited by Dr. Gennifer Benjamin Brooks and published in United Methodist Circuit Rider Magazine.

Rev. Rose is a Kansas native, educated in the Kansas public schools; earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from Friends University, Wichita, Kansas. She earned her Masters of Divinity Degree from Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, Texas and completed her Doctorate of Ministry in Parish Revitalization at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois. 

Rose believes that the Church belongs to God. As believers of Jesus Christ, we have the responsibility to build God’s church reaching out to whom God loves: All people. Rose has three children and one grandson. She believes that through the power of Jesus Christ “all things are possible” and nothing is too hard for God.


Albert Shuler is a native of Calhoun County, SC. He graduated from Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC, with a BA in French and a minor in Religion and Philosophy. He attended

the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia.  He received his Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School.

Prior to his current appointment at New Creation UMC in Durham, NC,  Albert has served churches in Fuquay-Varina, Oxford, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, and Greenville, NC. He served on the conference staff for two years.  Albert served eight years as District Superintendent in the Durham District and four years as District Superintendent of the Elizabeth City District.

He has been elected as a delegate to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church six times and as a delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference seven times. He was selected to attend two World Methodist Conferences (Nairobi, Kenya, and Brighton, England).

Albert was elected to be a director of the General Board of Global Ministries and served eight years. He chaired the Personnel Committee. He was also elected as a director of the General Board of Discipleship where he was on the Upper Room Division. He chaired the Racial and Ethnic Funding Committee.

While in Elizabeth City, Albert served on and chaired the Community Relations Committee and served on the board of directors of the regional Chamber of Commerce. While in Greenville, he chaired “10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in Greenville and Pitt County.

Rev. Shuler is a devoted husband and father to wife, Jimmie and daughter, Melissa.


Dr. George A. Ashford Jr., is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. A second-generation Methodist minister, Dr. Ashford is the Lead Pastor of Journey United Methodist Church in northeast Columbia.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from South Carolina State University, Master of Divinity from Gammon Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary, Atlanta Georgia.

Dr. Ashford’s previous appointments include Liberty Charge UMC and Silver Hill Memorial UMC. During his time at Liberty Charge he was successful in leading efforts to merge 3 congregations. While at Silver Hill Dr. Ashford led the church in revitalization and relocation growing from 50 to over 500 in worship. In addition, Dr. Ashford is active with the SC Conference of the United Methodist Church, having held several positions since 2002. In 2006 he was appointed to conference staff  as a Congregational Specialist and African American Ministries.

Dr. Ashford has a demonstrated passion for church planting and development which resulted in the birth of Journey Church in 2007. Since its founding, Journey has expanded its ministry to include over 1100 members with a average worship of 750 persons, a youth and children’s ministry of over 200 young people who actively participate in worship and the community.

With the blessing of rapid expansion, Journey completed the first phase of an 18,000 sq. ft. worship facility in December 2013. In October 2016 Journey continued its growth by completing construction on the Dr. George A. Ashford, Jr. Youth and Children’s Zone.

Dr. Ashford is married to Olisa, and they have two sons George Adrian and Geordan Alexander.


Dr. Cleaver, the Senior Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church since 2009 is known for his dynamic sermon delivery. His weekly messages are truly inspired, as are other aspects of his ministry. These range from his vision for the congregation to the church’s overall mission of spreading the gospel and constantly striving toward compassionate outreach that extends far beyond the congregation. He leads St. James in word and by example, urging them to always be mindful of the church’s motto, “Connecting people with God in practical ways.” 

His messages and leadership have led to many changes and new programs under his tutelage. These include the formation of a weekly worship experience for seniors residing at nearby St. James Place, many of whom are unable to make the weekly commute to Sunday worship at St. James UMC. Under his leadership, St. James secured funding for and renovated the church kitchen. He launched and delivers a quarterly State of the Church address as yet another way to more thoroughly communicate with the congregation.

Dr. Cleaver, who received his doctor of ministry degree from St. Paul School of Theology, participated in a mission trip to West Africa, where he was a guest preacher at S.T. Nagbe United Methodist Church in Monrovia, Liberia. He also was among a group of Christians who visited Turkey to promote Christian and Muslim dialogue.

Dr. Cleaver was a participant in the Lewis Community Leadership Fellows program at Wesley Theological Seminary and a guest preacher and lecturer at seminaries and church organizations throughout the country. He’s a United Methodist denominational leader who was elected a delegate for the 2008 and 2012 South Central Jurisdictional Conferences as well as the 2012 General Conference. In 2013, he received the John and Ruth Mount Alumni Award, which is Methodist Theological School’s highest honor for former students and specifically recognizes parish ministry.

The Philander Smith College graduate with a B.A. in political science, is a prolific reader and writer and has had several published works. These include a poem in “Unity Magazine,” an article about hip-hop culture in “Circuit Rider Magazine,” short essays about greatness, friendship, thanksgiving and disappointment in the “Wesley Study Bible” and an article about Moses’ leadership in “Ministry Matters.”

In 2014, his first book, “Pastor on Track—Reclaiming Our True Role,” was published. It chronicles God’s vision for creating a successful ministry in a quickly-changing world. Dr. Cleaver received this vision from God, shared the plan and has implemented it at St. James.


Rev. Dr. Kevass J. Harding was born in Wichita, Kansas. He was educated in the Public School System of Wichita. He is a graduate of Wichita Southeast High School. He received his Associate of Art Degree from Hutchinson Community College. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his Master of Divinity Degree (cum laude) from Phillips Theological Seminary.  He received his Doctor of Ministry Degree, specializing in Church Administration and Congregational Growth and Revitalization from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.  Dr. Harding is married to the former Teketa Berry and they have two children: Carnez and Makayla.

In 1998, Dr. Harding was ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. In 2002, Dr. Harding was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church.  He served Saint Mark United Methodist Church, in Wichita, Kansas, for three years as an Associate Pastor in the Kansas West Conference.

In July of 1998 Dr. Harding was appointed by the Kansas West Annual Conference to Dellrose United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, where he currently serves as Senior Pastor. Since coming to Dellrose, by reaching out to the surrounding community, Dellrose has grown from 25 to 890 members. Growth and renewal can be seen throughout the congregation. Not only is the church growing numerically, but it is also growing spiritually and financially. Dr. Harding attributes the growth of the church to dynamic teaching, fellowship, praise and worship, and to the fact that Dellrose is a place where everyone will feel the love of God, find the joy of Christ, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit.

Kansas West Conference Work:  Chairperson: Ethnic Local Church Concerns Committee. Member: Commission on Global Ministries. Member: Kansas West Conference Congregational Development Committee.  Member: Committee on Investigation.

Community Involvement Work:  Former Board Member: Wichita USD 259 Public Schools.  Former Board Member: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County.   Former Board Member:  W.G. Williams Community Foundation. Member : Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Motivational Speaker.  Youth Entrepreneurs – Koch and a Board Member of Greater Wichita Ministerial League

Author:   He is the author of the book: “Can These Bones Live: Bringing New Life To a Dying Church”.  ISNB #: 13:978-0-687-33557-2


The Reverend Dr. Vance P. Ross presently serves as Director of Annual Conference Relationships for Discipleship Ministries, formerly GBOD. He connects the agency with annual conference leaders for the purpose of building and strengthening the core process of disciple making in local church ministries.

Ross serves now as Doctor of Ministry mentor for United Theological Seminary and as a Course of Study Summer Instructor at Candler School of Theology. He also serves the Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Initiative as a coach for pastors and lay teams.

From 2011 to 2015 Ross served as Senior Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, an urban church of 1100 members. The congregation’s worship attendance increased from 200 to 340 in less than four years.  Over 100 persons joined the congregation. Gordon was cited by Discipleship Ministry’s Romans 12 project for its “Big Events” evangelistic outreach to the community. 

Ross served on the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) Leadership Team from 2004-2011 as its first ever Deputy General Secretary after serving as Associate General Secretary for the Discipleship Ministries Unit from 2004-2008. 

From 1998-2004 Pastor Ross served the First United Methodist Church, Hyattsville, MD. He led this 1300 member multicultural church: 6 consecutive years of attendance from 337 to 484 average attendance; from 1 to over 15 weekly bible studies; multicultural staff growth; a 2nd campus; English as a second language classes; Spanish language worship celebration.

A native of Bluefield, WV, Ross has the B. A. degree, Government/Youth Services from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He is an honor graduate of Gammon Seminary (ITC) with the M.Div. degree. In 2015, he graduated from the United Theological Seminary with the Doctor of Ministry degree.

Ross has received numerous honors and awards. He received the Copher/Branch Old Testament Award and twice won the Isaac R. Clark Preaching Award at the ITC. He twice received Vision Awards from the Convocation of Black Churches (United Methodist). Ross received Man of the Year Award at Simpson Church, a servant leader award at Clark Memorial Church, Nashville and a Citizen’s Award from Hyattsville, MD city council.

He is married to the Rev. Bridgette D. Young Ross, Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life at Emory University, Atlanta, GA.  He has three adult children: Kristina, Alyssa and Bryant. He has two grand children Christopher and Jaylie.


DR. FREDERICK G. OUTLAW is a native of Decatur, Alabama graduating from Lakeside High School.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Athens (AL) College, 1976; a graduate of Gammon Theological Seminary/Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia receiving a Masters of Divinity, 1979.  Also, he is a graduate of Tuskegee University receiving a Masters of Education in Educational Personnel Administration.

Frederick was ordained a deacon in the North Alabama Annual Conference, 1977 and ordained an elder in North Alabama 1980. He has served the Ashville (AL) Circuit; and Enon United Methodist Church -Birmingham, AL.; Bowen UMC-Tuskegee Institute, AL. From June 1997 – May 2004, Frederick served as pastor of Toulminville – Warren Street United Methodist church in Mobile, Alabama. He served as the Superintendent of the Baypines District of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, 2004-2011. From 2011-2013 he served as Director of Evangelism, Stewardship for the Alabama-West Florida Conference. Frederick status was changed to Retired Elder in good standing in 2014.

Frederick taught church history, theology and ethics at Miles College and Lawson State Community College, Birmingham, Alabama, 1980-1984.

From 1983-2003, he served as a study leader in regional and annual conference Schools of Christian Missions throughout the United Methodist Church. 

Frederick has preached and studied missions in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.  In April 1993, he was a guest of the Methodist Church of Cuba, preaching in Havana and represented the United Methodist Church in establishing relationships between the two Methodists bodies. He was a North American delegate to the first Pan African Methodist Regional Evangelism Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, 1994.

Frederick has served as a six-time delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences of The United Methodist Church from 1992-2012.  He and his wife, Amanda, were delegates to the 1996 World Methodist Conference in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. 

In 1998, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Gammon Theological Seminary.  He has served and presently serves as a trustee or director on boards of  Dumas Wesley Community Center; the Interdenominational Theological Center. Frederick serves as the President of the Gammon Theological Seminary Alumni Association, Atlanta, GA and Trustee. Also, he is Chairperson of the Alabama-West Florida Conference Board of Congregational Development as well as a certified coach/church consultant with Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church’s Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century initiative.

For 43 years, he has been married to Amanda Kay Carr of Birmingham, AL. Amanda has been employed as the regional agent for Urban and Non-Traditional Programs of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System Mobile, retiring June 2015  They are the proud parents of three children, two daughters and one son and four grandchildren.


Dr. Jacqueline Rose-Tucker is a native of Washington, DC and has been a part of the Methodist Church all her life.  She is a graduate of the University of Maryland receiving a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology, and Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center (Gammon Theological Seminary) where she graduated with honors with a degree in Clinical Pastoral Care and Theology. She received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, May 2007 in New Church Development. 

Jacqueline was ordained a deacon in 1984 and an elder in 1986.

Jacqui completed her 8th year as the District Superintendent, Rome Carrollton District, North Georgia Conference in 2013. She is the first African American female to serve on the cabinet in the North Georgia Conference. Dr. Rose -Tucker has served on numerous District and Conference Committees, some of which include: North Georgia Conference Committee on Finance and Administration, Secretary, North Georgia Conference Committee on Insurance, Georgia Conference Board of Witness and Worship; Chair, Harry Denman Award Task Force; Chair, of the Task Force on Partners In Ministry; Supervising Pastor, SM II, Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Pathways East Walk to Emmaus Community Spiritual.  Board of Directors of Black Methodist For Church Renewal, Inc, Chair of the Personnel Committee.

Dr. Rose-Tucker now serves as a Gammon Theological Seminary Trustee (Chair, Property Committee and Founders’ Day Chair,President of North Georgia Black Clergy Women, Editorial Circle, Wellsprings Clergywomen’s Magazine, and Order of the Flame, World Methodist Evangelism Council, Next Faithful Steps Coach, NGA Conference, SBC21 Coach and member of The Board of Directors of Gulfside Assembly.

Currently, Dr. Tucker is serving as Lead Pastor at Red Oak UMC, Stockbridge, GA. She is married to Joe Tucker. She has two children, Rev. Jasmine Smothers And Jason Smothers.


Dr. Bettye P. Lewis is a retired United Methodist Elder, clergy member in the Tennessee Conference, United Methodist Church. Prior to this retired status, she served as the Director of Connectional Ministries for six years; Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for two years; District Superintendent of the Pulaski District for eight years; the Campus Minister/Director of the Wesley Foundation at Austin Peay State University for five years; the Associate Pastor of Arlington United Methodist Church in Nashville for two years; the Pastor of the St. James – St. John Charge in the Pulaski District for four years, and the Assistant Chaplain of Meharry Hubbard Hospital in Nashville. Bettye Lewis has been the “FIRST” African-American clergy woman to serve in each one of her appointments and has been highlighted in the book “Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events”(Third Edition) by Jessie Carney Smith. Moreover, she has been cited for giving outstanding service in the Church, the Tennessee Conference and the Community.

Bettye Lewis received Graduate and Post Graduate degrees from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR, Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX, Vanderbilt University, School of Divinity in Nashville. While at Vanderbilt she was the recipient of the Benjamin E. May’s Fellowship for the Ministry. As a Benjamin E. May’s Fellow she was recognized for her academic and scholastic achievement. Moreover, she was ordained as an Elder in full connection with the United Methodist Church in 1992.

During the 2015 Annual Conference Bettye Lewis was the recipient of two prestigious awards: The Order of St. Andrew’s Ministerial Award for her influence on the lives of others and the Church; and the Francis Asbury Award, given for her significant contributions in fostering the Church’s Ministries in Higher Education at the Local, District, and Annual Conference levels.

She was awarded the Distinguished Living Legends Award in February, 2015 by the Tennessee State University Wesley Foundation, Nashville, Tennessee for her outstanding contributions in Campus Ministry, the Church and the College/University. Moreover, she was the recipient of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Award (the South Central Province) for her visionary guidance and undaunted leadership in the Church and Community.

Bettye Lewis is the mother of two daughters: The Reverend Dr. Tamara E. Lewis who is an ordained Elder and clergy member in the Tennessee Conference, and currently serves as Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity at Perkins School of Theology/Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas; and Kristin A. Lewis, a renowed Opera Singer who resides in Vienna, Austria and performs throughout Europe, the United States and the world.

Bettye Lewis has a penchant for plants and flowers as a symbol of our oneness with God and nature, how the Spirit of Christ breathes His breath of love, joy and new life upon us through the beauty of His creation. When we open our hearts to the wonder of God’s Divine Breath/Spirit, a new kind of Pentecost can fall upon us where barriers that divide us will be overcome and wounds  can be healed. It is only then that we can proclaim: WE ARE ONE IN THE SPIRIT, ONE IN THE LORD AND THEY’LL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE!

Rev. Dr. Kevass J. Harding was born in Wichita, Kansas. He was educated in the Public School System of Wichita. He is a graduate of Wichita Southeast High School. He received his Associate of Art Degree from Hutchinson Community College. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his Master of Divinity Degree (cum laude) from Phillips Theological Seminary.  He received his Doctor of Ministry Degree, specializing in Church Administration and Congregational Growth and Revitalization from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.  Dr. Harding is married to the former Teketa Berry and they have two children: Carnez andMakayla.

In 1998, Dr. Harding was ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church. In 2002, Dr. Harding was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church.  He served Saint Mark United Methodist Church, in Wichita, Kansas, for three years as an Associate Pastor in the Kansas West Conference. 

In July of 1998 Dr. Harding was appointed by the Kansas West Annual Conference, now the Great Plains Annual Conference, to Dellrose United Methodist Church in WichitaKansaswhere he currently serves as Senior Pastor. Since coming toDellrose, by reaching out to the surrounding community, Dellrose has grown from 25 to 890 members. Growth and renewal can be seen throughout the congregation.Not only is the church growing numerically, but it is also growing spiritually and financially. Dr. Harding attributes the growth of the church to dynamic teaching, fellowship, praise and worship, and to the fact that Dellrose is a place where everyone will feel the love of God, find the joy of Christ, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Great Plains Annual Conference Work:  Chairperson: Ethnic Local Church Concerns Committee. Member: Commission on Global Ministries. Member: Kansas West Conference Congregational Development Committee.  Member: Committee on Investigation.

Community Involvement Work:  Former Board Member: Wichita USD 259 Public Schools.  Former Board Member: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County.  Former Board Member:  W.G. Williams Community Foundation. Member : Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Motivational Speaker.  Youth Entrepreneurs – Koch and a Board Member of Greater Wichita Ministerial League

Author:  He is the author of the book: “Can These Bones Live: Bringing New Life To a Dying Church”. ISNB #: 13:978-0-687-33557-2


* Pastoral Ministry

* Congregational Revitalization / Growth Consultation /  Coaching

* Teaching


B.A., Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA – Major: Sociology / Philosophy

  1. Div., Gammon Theological Seminary, I.T.C., Atlanta, GA – Concentration: Theology / Ethics
  2. Min., Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC – Ministry with Young Adults


Senior Minister, Annandale United Methodist Church, Annandale, VA

First African American Pastor of 1,700 member congregation in Northern Virginia. Supervise staff of 20 including two associate pastors. Duties include leading the congregation in visioning and discernment; constructing community relationships that lead to transformation, instituting year round stewarship program; instituting  new young adult worship service; lay leadership empowerment. Overseen 15% worship increase. Oversaw $1.5 M renovation project. 

District Superintendent, Norfolk District, Virginia Annual Conference

Responsible for oversight and supervision of 51 churches and 50 pastors; initiated innovative methodologies of leadership training via provision of distance learning opportunities for clergy and laity; led District in 10% increase of overall connectional giving; initiated review of urban connectional ministry patterns and clergy leadership deployment; led restructuring for ministry; initiated plan for new faith communities. 

District Superintendent, Charlottesville District, Virginia Annual Conference

Responsible for oversight and supervision of 82 churches and 50 pastors. Reorganized into subdistricts; designed and delivered training in administration, spiritual gifts, stewardship and other ministries of the church. Assisted pastors in processed of ministry visioning, planning and evaluation. Revitalized District United Methodist Men and Youth. Led District to payment of 100% of Apportioned askings. 

Senior Pastor, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Chesapeake, VA (Norfolk District)

Cross cultural appointment. First African American pastor of predominantly white, 465 member congregation. Implemented team led ministry approach, with emphasis on leadership for evangelism and outreach; nurture and membership discipling and care; and stewardship / enabling. Instituted ecumenical programming for outreach to community youth; began mentoring program; initiated partnership with Salvation Army Hope Center; gave leadership to administrative structure change; averaged over 10% increase in giving annually, over 60 % growth in worship attendance; met all apportioned giving for first time in over a decade as well as supporting local and foreign missions. 


Director, Wesley Westminster Foundation Norfolk (VA) State University

Founding Director / Campus Minister. Responsible for incorporation; recruitment and training of Board of Directors; formation and implementation of total ministry program, inclusive of small group study, local mission, pastoral counseling, and outreach. Also interpreting ministry to supporting churches and institutions. United all existing Christian campus ministries under the umbrella of

United Campus Ministries of N.S.U. Wrote grant for institution of  ecumenical Shalom project which involves local church clergy and laity in mission to

community surrounding the campus. Participate in judicatory and other staff related activities.

Pastor, Fowler Memorial Charge, Lynchburg,VA (Lynchburg District)

Bethany-Ebeneezer, Mt. Airy, New Ridgeway, and Mt. Zion U.M.C.s

As interim supply pastor, instituted administrative and worship changes in four small, rural churches. Responsible for involving laity in the conduct of worship; instituted every member visitation, updated membership record keeping, and financial accountability. Increased and trained Bible study and Sunday School teaching staff; increased Christian Education opportunities by 30%. Increased average worship attendance by over 50%; reached apportioned giving for first time in three years. 

Associate Pastor for Education and Ministry Central United Methodist Church, Atlanta, GA

Education:  Reorganized the Church School; recruited and trained new leadership and teachers; instituted monthly training program for all Sunday School and Bible Study teachers for annual certification; certified DISCIPLE leader and worship leader on National DISCIPLE training team; conducted Youth Confirmation; planned and implemented  periodic short term studies for targeted groups; planned and instituted intergenerational Vacation Bible School. Experienced 150% congregational growth in Christian Education program.

Ministry Programs:  Implemented annual planning and evaluation process; developed program leadership guides for work areas; recruited and trained work area chairs; planned and implemented annual Council on Ministries Planning Retreat; wrote proposals for and instituted AIDS, Homeless, and Substance Abuse ministries; coordinated referrals for church Food Bank; represented church on the Boards of Vine City Housing Ministries, Concerned Black Clergy, Metropolitan Atlanta Christian Council, and other outreach ministries; served as resource person for District in the areas of ministry planning, singles ministries, and stewardship.


Highest Ranking Senior / Class Valedictorian, Gammon Theological Seminary,

            The Interdenominational Theological Center, 1991

Benjamin E. Mays Fellow, Fund for Theological Education, 1990-91

Outstanding Young Men in America, 1990

  1. Scott Peck Writing Award, 1990-91

            President, Theta Phi International Theological Honor Society, 1990-91

            Denman Evangelism Award 2013


            Consecration Sunday Leader

Virginia Conference Episcopal Candidate, 2004

Member, Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry

Youth Conference Speaker for District, Annual Conference and Juridictional

           Youth Events

Retreat Leader

Congregational Revitalization Consultant

Fairfax County Volunteer Chaplain

Member, Annandale Rotary Club

Congregational Coaching Consultant, SBC 21

Discipleship Ministries “Building Hope” Coach

Chair, Fairfax County Interfaith Coalition

Coach, VA Focus 2020



Reverend Telley Lynnette Gadson, the President of the National Black Clergy Women of the United Methodist Church (BCWUMC), is the only daughter of the Honorable Herbert Gadson and “Missionary” Linda Dingle Gadson, and was born on February 28, 1974. A native of Hollywood, South Carolina, Reverend Gadson is a sister, an aunt, and a friend to many. A fall 1995 graduate of the University of South Carolina, she was named to the Dean’s List, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Religious Studies. In the spring of 1999, she graduated from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University (Atlanta, GA) with a Master of Divinity degree and Certification in Black Church Studies. On Sunday, November 29, 1992, Reverend Gadson answered God’s call on her life for ministry after preaching her first sermon entitled, “What’s Your Persuasion?” She is an ordained Elder, in full Connection, in the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

From June 13, 1999 to June 16, 2004, Reverend Gadson served as the Pastor of two Churches: Mount Zion and Saint Mark United Methodist Churches (Sumter, South Carolina). During Reverend Gadson’s tenure, Mount Zion experienced spiritual growth and purchased a 25-passenger shuttle bus. Simultaneously, Saint Mark experienced spiritual growth, more than tripled its membership, more than quadrupled its financial stewardship, made structural improvements to the Church, and purchased 20.6 acres of land. On June 16, 2004, major milestones were reached when Saint Mark became a “station- church-appointment,” and Reverend Gadson became the Church’s first full-time Pastor. After years of planning and sacrifice, Saint Mark UMC celebrated Ground-Breaking on the construction of a new edifice in September of 2009; and by God’s grace, on Sunday, April 11, 2010, Saint Mark UMC celebrated the Consecration of a new church building designed for worship, study, and fellowship.

Reverend Gadson has been blessed by God with an anointing that has enabled her to share on local, state-wide, regional, and national platforms; from Hollywood, South Carolina (her hometown) to Tacoma, Washington. At the 2001 South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Reverend Gadson delivered a powerful message on Racism in the Church Today during the history-making Service of Reconciliation and Healing. In February of 2007, Reverend Gadson lifted the Morning Meditation at the South Carolina Prayer Breakfast in honor of then-Presidential Candidate, Senator Barack Obama (now President Obama). The September/October 2008 issue of IMARA Woman Magazine highlights Reverend Gadson’s story of her battle with obesity, and how she is overcoming this lifelong fight with a commitment to healthy eating and exercise. This same magazine featured her with recording artist, Cece Winans in 2010 and 2011, and now features her as the contributing writer for the “Soul Food” column in its bi-monthly publication. In December of 2010 and in April of 2011, Reverend Gadson was a special guest at the White House at the invitation of President Barack Obama. In November 2011, she served as one of 3 worship preachers at the inaugural joint-conference of the NAACP and the National Baptist Convention (Saint Louis, Missouri). In January of 2012, she was appointed to the Religious Affairs Committee of the NAACP National Board of Directors. She is a member of the SC Delegation for the 2012 General and SEJ Jurisdictional Conferences of the UMC. Most recently, Reverend Gadson served as a keynote presenter at the 2012 School of Congregational Development sponsored by the United Methodist Church (Saint Louis, Missouri).

On June 26, 2013, after 14 years with Saint Mark UMC (Sumter, SC), Reverend Gadson began a new journey in ministry as the Pastor of Saint Mark and Saint Matthew United Methodist Churches (Taylors/Greenville, SC). It is her prayer that God will grant her strength, wisdom, courage, and favor in this new place of possibilities for such a time as this!

Affectionately known as “PASTOR T,” Reverend Gadson is a member of numerous church- related, community, academic, and national organizations; including the African American Clergywomen’s Caucus, the NAACP, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. With sensitivity and a warm smile as her hallmarks, Reverend Telley Lynnette Gadson leads by example and believes that everyone has a place at the table of empowerment. She is the energetic and inspiring host of “THE CALL,” a weekly Praise/Prayer telephone-conference. Recognized as a ministry mentor, a church leadership coach, a national leader and some have even said “national evangelist” in the United Methodist Church, Reverend Gadson models her life after the African-American spiritual: “If I can help somebody as I travel along the way, then my living shall not be in vain.”

Pastor Rudy Rasmus

Rudy Rasmus is a pastor, author, and global humanitarian with a passion for outreach to the world’s poorest citizens. He often says his primary spiritual gift is “hanging out.”

From his previous life of owning and operating a “borderline bordello,” today Pastor Rudy co-pastors the St. John’s United Methodist Church located in Downtown Houston with his wife Juanita that began with 9 existing members in 1992. St. John’s has grown to over 9,000 members (30% were formerly homeless, and 40% of the total membership are in church for the first time as adults) in 20 years into one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country where every week people of every social and economic background and ethnicity share the same pew. He attributes the success of the church to a compassionate group of people who have embraced the vision of tearing down the walls of classism, sexism, and racism and building bridges of unconditional love, universal recovery, and unprecedented hope. A recent in-house poll revealed the number one reason people attend St. John’s is because they can “feel the love” from the parking lot to the pew.

For three years Pastor Rudy was a monthly contributor to Oprah Winfrey’s “O Magazine’s” ethics column entitled “Now What Do I Do” and is currently a featured faith-blogger in the Houston Chronicle’s on-line edition. He is a 2008 gospel music industry Stellar Award nominee for the music project “Touch” and is the author of two books including the newly released “Jesus Insurgency” (Abingdon Publishing, Nashville), and “Touch: Pressing against the wounds of a broken world” (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville). Pastor Rudy joined SiriusXm Radio as an on air personality last year and can be heard every Wednesday and Sunday on his show “The Love Revolution with Pastor Rudy” on SiriusXm’s Praise Channel.

Pastor Rudy founded the Bread of Life, Inc. (a not for profit corporation) with Juanita in December of 1992 and began serving dinners to the homeless in the sanctuary at St. John’s. Years later the Bread of Life has changed the landscape of Downtown Houston providing an array of services to homeless men and women seven nights a week in the Bread of Life facility on the St. John’s campus. The project provides over 12,000 hot meals each month to the homeless men and women, distributes over 9 tons of fresh food weekly to hungry families, and provides shelter to over 100 homeless individuals every night from 6pm-6am in a pioneering “housing-first” initiative called “After Dark” where services are provided during the critical night-time hours. St. John’s is also one of few faith communities in the U.S. providing HIV/AIDS testing to churchgoers on Sundays through the innovative “Get Tested Project.” After many years of service to the community, Pastor Rudy received the coveted Jefferson Award (considered the Nobel Prize of community service) at a ceremony in Washington, DC in 2009. After a recent trip to India, Pastor Rudy is now reflecting on the need for Americans to address the issue of human trafficking with urgency.

Thanks to generous donations from long time friends and church members Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Tina Knowles, and MathewKnowles the campus includes the $1.2 million Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth and the $6 million Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments. The Temenos project is a 43-unit Single Room Occupancy development designed to provide permanent living accommodations for formerly homeless women and men who are taking significant steps in improving their lives. For years Pastor Rudy has coordinated domestic and global anti-hunger initiatives in conjunction with Beyonce’s concert tours and travels extensively developing food programs around the world for people experiencing food insufficiency.

Rudy and Juanita have been married for 28 years and are the proud parents of two daughters, Morgan and Ryan.


For more than 50 years The Reverend Walter L. Kimbrough’s ministry has been characterized by evangelism, pastoral care, teaching, preaching, and community service. He has provided leadership at all levels of the United Methodist Church in both Northern Illinois and North Georgia. After having successfully led Chicago congregations through racial transition, in 1974 he was appointed to the Cascade Church in Atlanta where his expertise was needed. He moved Cascade from a dying congregation of less than 100 members to a vibrant one of more than 7000 members. He retired from this pastorate in 2006. At the North Georgia Annual Conference held in Athens, Georgia June 2012, he was appointed as pastor of Columbia Drive United Methodist Church which brought him out of retirement.

Dr. Kimbrough is a consultant for Young Harris College and The Sage at Impact United Methodist Church. He has served as a delegate to World Methodist Conferences, General Conferences, and Jurisdictional Conferences of the United Methodist Church.  He is a former member of the United Methodist Publishing Board, former Pastor-In-Residence at Cliftondale United Methodist Church and the former Chair of the Benjamin E. Mays Academy for Young Men Board of Directors.

With regard to community affairs, Dr. Kimbrough is a former member of the Board of Directors for MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) and served as interim Chair, former member of the Board of Visitors for Emory University, former member of the Peachtree Corridor Taskforce and has served on the Board of Directors of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Board of the American Red Cross (Atlanta Chapter), and the Trustee Board of Reinhardt College. For three years, he chaired the Church Committee of the United Negro College Fund Telethon and was appointed by the governor to the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless Commission. Additionally, he is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Kimbrough is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, some of which include two Denman Awards for Excellence in Evangelism and three Honorary Doctorate degrees. He was also one of the Community Heroes whose face appeared on the Coca Cola Centennial Olympic Wall in 1996.

Dr. Kimbrough is a native Atlantan having received both his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morris Brown College and his Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center. His address, “Reclaiming Our Mission to the City”, appears in the book, The World Forever Our Parish, and he is the author of the book, Nothing Is Impossible. He was a contributor to the books, 365 Meditations for Men, 365 Meditations for Families and Black-Jewish Relations.

He is married to Marjorie L. Kimbrough, author and educator. They are the parents of two adult sons, Walter and Wayne, and the grandparents of Lydia Nicole and Benjamin Barack.

  • Rev. Dr. Danita Anderson
  • Rev. Joseph Washington
  • Mrs. Rhonda Kingwood
  • Rev. Dr. Richard Stryker
  • Rev. Dr. Ronald Bell, Jr.
  • Rev. Dr. Yvonne Penn
  • Rev. Dr. Christopher Brady
  • Rev.  Christopher Campbell
  • Rev. Dr. Michael Bowie