In his 44 years as an ordained pastor, Michael Cooper-White has served an inner-city parish, directed an urban coalition and ecumenical agency, been assistant to two synod bishops and the first two presiding bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The last 17 years of his career he was the president of Gettysburg (now United) Lutheran Seminary. He has authored four books and dozens of articles on theology, leadership and administration. Since his retirement in 2017 he has formed a consulting group and is a part-time reporter for The Gettysburg Times daily newspaper. Cooper-White is Union’s Director of Lutheran Formation and teaches courses in Lutheran history and polity and organizational leadership. He is also an adjunct professor at Eastern Mennonite University. A commercial-rated pilot and flight instructor, Michael is also a licensed glider pilot and an officer of the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association. He currently serves on the board of Mosaic, one of the largest faith-based social ministry organizations in the U.S.
Professor deWolf, in her courses, asks, what exactly are we communicating? And how are we communicating it? Her focus is on the possibility inherent in the live moment – the unique constellation of elements at play when people gather together that can initiate action and reaction, cause and effect. Years of experience in a variety of professional and public settings inform her approach. She began the study of acting as a child and went on to work as actor, stage director, teacher, and writer. After receiving a B.S. in Nursing from Columbia University in 1984, she worked at various New York City hospitals and institutions and then stepped into a job as facilitator of physician training for Mount Sinai’s Morchand Center for Clinical Competence and as a trainer and consultant for Mount Sinai’s and New York University Hospitals’ Departments of Organizational Development and Learning. For the past twenty-five years, she has continued her work beyond the world of healthcare to provide instruction and coaching to individuals, teams, and whole departments in a wide array of fields in both the public and private sectors. In 2004, she came to Union to assist Professor Robert E. Seaver, and continued teaching here after his departure. Over the years, Cecilia has been sustained by an unshakeable faith in the power and possibility of human expression. When people come together, whatever the setting, their ability to communicate consciously and effectively directly impacts the outcomes they seek and shapes the systems in which they take part.
Faith Gay is a founding partner of Selendy & Gay with a nationally recognized career spanning more than three decades, Before founding Selendy & Gay, she was the co-chair of national trial practice at one of the nation’s top litigation firms and a highly respected federal prosecutor. Faith is one of the nation’s leading litigators receiving much recognition for her significant and insightful work. A former chief of the Civil Rights Unit (Criminal Division) and deputy chief of the Special Prosecutions Unit in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Faith has deep experience on offense and defense. Faith has devoted significant time and energy to public interest litigation. She co-founded the American Immigration Representation Project to provide lawyers to immigrant detainees in response to new federal immigration and deportation policies, and has litigated numerous other civil rights, criminal, immigration and voting rights matters on a pro bono basis.
Faith earned her J.D. in 1986 from the Northwestern University School of Law, where she now serves on the Law Board. She also earned an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School in 2019. Faith is also a Trustee of The Public Theater, a Member of the American Law Institute, and a board member of Her Justice, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal help to women living in poverty in New York City. She has served as a board member of the American Constitution Society, the National Center for Access to Justice, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Union Theological Seminary.
George Fitchett primarily teaches online with our Doctor of Ministry program, is Professor and Director of Research, Department of Religion, Health and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He has been a certified chaplain (Association of Professional Chaplains) and pastoral supervisor (Association for Clinical Pastoral Education) for over 30 years and his book, Assessing Spiritual Needs (Academic Renewal Press, 2002), is widely used in clinical and academic training programs. George holds a DMin but also a Ph.D. in epidemiology and has been involved in research examining the relationship between religion and health in a variety of community and clinical populations, funded by NIH and published in pastoral, medical, and psychological journals. An award-winning contributor to chaplaincy and spiritual care allows George to focus his research and practice in the field of healthcare chaplaincy.
Teaching in the Anglican Studies (EDS@Union) program, Susan is an associate rector at Church of the Holy Apostles in NYC. She was ordained in 2009 after receiving her MDiv from Union Theological Seminary, and Susan then received an STM from General Theological Seminary. Much of Susan’s ministry is devoted to walking with others on their spiritual journeys, helping them find meaning and how the Divine is present in their lives. Before her current career, Susan had a career in finance working at the Bank of New York and also holds an MBA from Columbia. After spending eleven years in healthcare finance at Standard & Poor’s, Susan was led to seminary and a call to ministry.
Rev. Dr. Sarah Lenzi serves as Minister of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, NJ. She earned her MDiv from Harvard Divinity School and her MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her academic work has focused on the intersections of theology, art and architecture in the Medieval monastic context and her thesis, turned book, explores the creation and portability of ritual by interrogating the relationship between pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Medieval monastic meditation, and the ritual of the Stations of the Cross.
Hussein Rashid is the founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency. He works with a variety of foundations and non-profits for content expertise on religion broadly, with a specialization on Islam. Specifically, his work focuses on theology, the interaction between culture and religion, and the role of the arts in conflict mediation. Hussein has an MTS focusing on Islam, and an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, focusing on South and Central Asia from Harvard University. Currently, Hussein is working on an independent film on wrongful terrorism arrests and a documentary on Muslims in America.
Charles Read is an independent executive creative director with decades of leadership in experience design, encompassing meetings, events, learning and development and life communication.
Rev. Dr. Lisa Rhodes is the executive director of the RISE Together, a female mentorship network that connects women of color seminary students to experienced women ministers, senior pastors, faculty and community leaders. Lisa came to Union after 16 years as Dean of the Chapel at Spelman College, and Director of the Sisters Center for WISDOM (Women in Spiritual Discernment of Ministry), a Center of Distinction she envisioned and led at Spelman for 14 years. Prior to her work and ministry with black female college students, Lisa served as an assistant pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. She has also served as a program manager for two historically black seminaries, Payne Theological Seminary, in Wilberforce, Ohio, and the Interdenominational Theological Center, in Atlanta, GA. Lisa’s degrees include an MSW from the University of Maryland, MDiv from the Candler School of Theology, and DMin from Union Presbyterian Seminary.
Simran Jeet Singh
A visiting scholar at NYU’s Center for Religion and Media, where he is currently on a post-doctoral fellowship with the American Council of Learned Societies. Simran is a Senior Fellow for the Sikh Coalition and a columnist for Religion News Service. He earned his graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and completed his dissertation on Guru Nanak and the Puratan Janamsakhis. Simran recently sold his first children’s book, a biography of the oldest marathoner in history, and he is currently working on a book about what we can learn from Sikh wisdom and history to help us navigate our troubling times.
Director of the Kairos Center and a Founder and the Coordinator of the Poverty Initiative. She has spent the past two decades organizing amongst the poor in the United States, working with and advising grassroots organizations with significant victories including the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Vermont Workers Center, Domestic Workers United, the United Workers Association, the National Union of the Homeless and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union. She has led hundreds of trainings, Bible studies, and leadership development workshops; spoken at dozens of conferences and keynote presentations across the US and globally; and published several articles and book chapters sharing her vision that poverty can be ended and that the poor can be agents of social change. Liz received an MDiv from Union in 2004 where she was the first William Sloane Coffin Scholar; and a PhD from Union in New Testament and Christian Origins. Liz is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Co-Coordinator of Poverty Scholarship and Leadership Development at the Kairos Center, National Political Educator for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and Lecturer in Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary. She holds a PhD in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. Her dissertation, “‘Freedom Church of the Poor’: Martin Luther King Jr’s Vision for a Poor People’s Campaign and Its Lessons for Today,” lifts up King’s 1968 convening of a multi-racial leadership of the poor as a transforming force for moral and structural change that could end the enmeshed evils of racism, poverty, and war. Her work in theological ethics is biblically centered, rooted in the growing leadership of the poor who refuse the evils of today, and seeks new forms of religious leadership. She is frequently invited to teach the history of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign in academic, congregational, and community settings and has developed numerous bible studies, sermons and workshops on the social and economic crises of today and the biblical vision for their abolition. Originally from Marietta, Georgia and raised in the United Methodist Church, Colleen has worked for twenty years at the intersection of religion and social transformation. She was the first religion and social justice major at Agnes Scott College, with a thesis on racial justice and liberative pedagogies. She was part of the inaugural year of the Interfaith Service House and worked as a tenant organizer in Chicago. Colleen has been part of the Kairos Center’s Poverty Initiative since 2004, including editing five books as the Publications Coordinator and supporting the development of a national network of religious leaders dedicated to a movement to end poverty as the Fellows Program Coordinator. She and John Wessel-McCoy have two children, Myles and Josephine.