Upcoming Events

Standing Up to White Nationalism: Preach, Teach, and Proclaim in a Dangerous Time

November 20, 2019 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Ian Rees

From the Charlottesville rally to the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, to the recent mass shootings in New Zealand and El Paso, to the escalating racist rhetoric of public figures, White Nationalism is on the rise. It is the moral responsibility of faith leaders to confront this toxic ideology with our communities and is a critical step to ending this crisis. Understanding how to speak to these issues is never easy, especially in diverse communities.


Please join us for an inter-faith conversation with leaders from various religious traditions to explore the role of faith communities. Our panelists will share how they interpret sacred texts, and their process for writing and delivering sermons that address White Nationalism.

Tickets to attend: $25.00.
Register for the live stream: $15.
Union students can attend for free, must RSVP to irees@uts.columbia.edu.

Speakers include:


The Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, ’82, ’88

Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union
The Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the inaugural Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, leads EDS at Union in the education and preparation of students in fulfilling requirements for ordination in the Episcopal Church while receiving their degree from Union.

Prior to coming to Union, Dean Douglas was the Susan D. Morgan Professor of Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore. Previously, she was Associate Professor of Theology at Howard University School of Divinity (1987-2001) and Assistant Professor of Religion at Edward Waters College (1986-1987) and was an Associate Priest at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. for over 20 years. Since 2017, she has served as the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and continues in that role today. Read More.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
He has led the Religious Action Center since 2015. Rabbi Pesner also serves as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, a position to which he was appointed to in 2011. Named one of the most influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, he is an inspirational leader and tireless advocate for social justice. Rabbi Pesner’s work has focused on encouraging Jewish communities to reach across lines of race, class, and faith in campaigns for social justice. In 2006, he founded Just Congregations (now incorporated into the Religious Action Center), which engaged clergy, professional, and volunteer leaders in interfaith efforts in pursuit of social justice. Rabbi Pesner was a primary leader in the successful Massachusetts campaign for health care access that has provided health care coverage to hundreds of thousands and which became a nationwide model for reform. Read more.

Dr. Malik Walker

Senior Class Adviser & Associate Faculty, New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Dr. Malik J.M. Walker serves as the founding director and lead facilitator of the MZF. He received Bodhisattva (lay) ordination and Shukke Tokudo (monastic/priest ordination) at the New Orleans Zen Temple. Malik has a decade of experience facilitating sitting groups, including at Yale University (where he completed his M.A.R. from the Divinity School) and Fordham University (where he completed his Ph.D. in theology). He serves as a Buddhist chaplain and professor at New York University.

Dr. Lisa L. Thompson (moderator)

Associate Professor and the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chancellor Faculty Fellow of Black Homiletics and Liturgics, Vanderbilt Divinity School
As a leader in scholarship that values intellectual rigor and concerns of faith, she holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Religion from Vanderbilt University.  She prioritizes discussing the ways religion can be used for the destruction or uplift of our life together. Her current book projects are entitled Ingenuity: Preaching as the Outsider (Fall 2018) and Preaching the Headlines (Spring 2020). Ingenuity mines the preaching practices of black women for the sake of re-thinking theologies and methods of preaching as a whole. The book is a hallmark of the Black Womanist Homiletic that spans her work. Preaching the Headlines is based on a course she created and has taught since 2012 across multiple academic and non-academic contexts. The project engages the intersection of social and religious discourses for the purpose of helping communities address everyday life issues as matters of faith, while oriented towards a just earth. The Louisville Institute awarded her a First Book Grant for Minority Scholars for the project Read more