Peacemaking Conference leadership
Cláudio Carvalhaes, associate professor of Worship and Preaching at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Cláudio is a theologian, writer and artist who studied ecumenism in Switzerland at the World Council of Churches and holds a master’s degree in theology and literature from Methodist University’s Ecumenical Institute of the Graduate School of Religion in São Paulo. He has served on worship teams for the All African Conference of Churches in Maputo, Mozambique, and the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh. Cláudio has preached at the Festival of Homiletics and at the Art of Preaching in the 21 Century Conference at Candler School of Theology. He serves on the board of The Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture and has published articles, in both English and Portuguese, on the relation between globalization, immigration and postcolonial theologies/liturgies in the U.S. and Brazil and on worship, preaching, arts and the Christian faith. In July he will become the associate professor of worship and liturgy at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Luba Kravchenko, director of Liturgical Music at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, California. She holds a bachelor’s of music degree in piano performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, with additional studies in organ and choral conducting. Luba enjoys incorporating music from a wide variety of sources and styles into worship as a means of deepening and broadening the worship experience. In addition to her work in liturgical music, she also teaches piano privately and through the Preparatory Division at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Mark Montgomery, associate pastor at First Congregational Church of Greenwich, Connecticut. Though currently serving in the United Church of Christ (UCC), Mark grew up in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and continues to work with the denomination as a resource in education, Youth Ministry and recreation. Mark is excited to lend his creative vision to this community of peacemakers.
Bible Study, Neighborhoods and Young Adult Cohorts
Margaret Aymer, associate professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Margaret explores how our ancient siblings created shalom in the presence of significant cultural difference, and what this might teach us as we seek to be shalom‐makers in our world. In addition to teaching and preaching, Margaret is also an author. Her latest writings include Repairers of the Breach, a Bible study that she wrote for the 2005 triennial gathering of PHEWA, and the 2011 Horizons Bible study, Confessing the Beatitudes. When she is not teaching or preaching, Margaret can usually be found in a choir robe with handbells in each hand.
Maggie Leonard, gun violence prevention coordinator for the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and associate pastor for Mercy Community Church (MCC) in Atlanta, Georgia. A diverse and organically formed church, MCC is comprised primarily of homeless and working poor women and men. It is a place where people living on the margins are nurtured as the Beloved Community. Maggie has served as a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala and is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary. She enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, NPR, black-and-white photos, dogs, secret coffee shops, biking, farmers’ markets and screened in porches.
Rachel Parsons-Wells, ministry coordinator at Kinesis Spiritual Communities in Louisville, Kentucky. A new church development, Kinesis is a network of intentional communities that strives to ”be church” by focusing on building Christian community with young adults wherever they ”live, move and have their being.” Rachel also works as a youth director at Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church and is an active member of Covenant Community Church. A graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, Rachel is passionate about following the way of Jesus Christ by working for peace and justice in our world.
Taking It to the Streets
Shaheen Amjad-Ali, lecturer in world religions at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and researcher in Islamic studies and the role of Christian minorities. Shaheen received her bachelor and master of arts degrees at Durham University in Great Britain and is a member of the PC(USA) Peace Discernment Steering Team. Shaheen spent her formative years in Pakistan and then moved to England, where she has witnessed the multifaceted sides of empire. She has a passion for achieving peace and justice.
Sara Lisherness, director of Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry, PC(USA) in Louisville, Kentucky. Sara has been involved in the peacemaking ministries of the Presbyterian Church since the mid-1980s, and in 1999 she became the coordinator for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, serving in that role until 2007. Sara has co-edited Striking Terror No More: The Church Responds to Domestic Violence and has written and edited peacemaking curriculum for children, youth and adults. She has been a keynote speaker at national and international conferences and has also led workshops and seminars around the country on a variety of peacemaking issues, with particular focus on helping congregations address conflict and peace building.
J. Herbert Nelson II, director of the Office of Public Witness (OPW), PC(USA) in Washington, DC. The Office of Public Witness is a prophetic office of the denomination and implements the social justice agenda of the General Assembly of the PC(USA) through advocacy with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. The OPW also engages in a broad range of activities with Presbyterian congregations and structures, providing constituency educational materials and arranging briefings and conferences. Nelson believes that grassroots organizing within the denomination is a major key to impacting the prophetic witness and political sphere in today’s globalized culture.
Roger Powers, pastor of Light Street Presbyterian Church, vice moderator of Baltimore Presbytery, co-moderator of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and a consultant with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. He was on the staff of the Albert Einstein Institution, a nonprofit organization founded by Gene Sharp to advance the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world. There he co-edited a 640-page encyclopedia of nonviolent action entitled Protest, Power, and Change (Garland, 1997). More recently, he co-authored Resurrection Living: Journeying with the Nonviolent Christ (Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, 2010).
Ryan Smith, Presbyterian representative to the United Nations, PC(USA) in New York, New York. Ryan served as a policy analyst for special populations at Catholic Charities USA where he focused on issues of human trafficking, immigration and refugees and juvenile justice. He has bachelor degrees in economics, political science and German and a masters degree in diplomacy and international relations with specializations in international economics and development and international organizations.
David Barnhart, producer, director and documentary filmmaker for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, PC(USA) in Atlanta, Georgia. He approaches documentary filmmaking as a ”ministry of story” that can enable, empower, heal, raise awareness and connect people across religious, racial, socio-economic, and cultural boundaries and barriers.
David LaMotte, peacemaker, songwriter and performer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A veteran of ten CDs and 2000 concerts on four continents, David has co-billed with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Desmond Tutu among many others. David calls himself a ”Quakerterian,” with one foot in the PC(USA) and one with the Friends, for whom he is the incoming clerk of the AFSC Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Committee. He makes his living as a musician, public speaker and workshop leader and is currently working on two books. The weirdest job he ever had was as an extra in the Daniel Day Lewis movie Last of the Mohicans. A passionate pacifist, he played a colonial militiaman and learned how to fire a flintlock musket for the part.
Shannon Parks-Beck, director of Young People’s Ministry at First United Methodist Church of Seattle in Seattle, Washington. A songwriter, performer, freelance writer, Christian educator and peace seeker, Shannon chaired the Seattle Presbytery’s Peacemaking Committee for seven years and conducts workshops, writes curriculum, maintains her blog and attempts to funnel the energy of her teenage girls and thrill-seeker husband to productive ends.
Bruce Reyes-Chow, pastor, speaker, writer, blogger, social networking hack and a dad in San Francisco, California. From 2000to 2011 he was the founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, a 20/30-something church in San Francisco. Elected Moderator to the 218th General Assembly (2008‒2010) of the PC(USA), Bruce is committed to expressing a Christian faith that is beautifully complex, unimaginably just and excruciatingly gracious. He currently serves on the boards of The Public Religion Research Institute and CA Faith for Equality . He blogs for Patheos, The Huffington Post and San Francisco Gate and has a monthly column for The Working Preacher, Hyphen Magazine and a new radio show, BRC and Friends to launch the summer of 2012. Bruce is co-leader for the travel study seminar “Peacemaking in the Philippines: Environmental Devastation and the Human Trafficking Connection” in February 2013.
Peacemaking Program staff
Carl Horton, strategic planning and program facilitator in the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, PC(USA) in Louisville, Kentucky. Carl is all about nurturing and equipping God’s people as peacemakers. A lifelong Presbyterian of the Southern California variety, he has served on the pastoral staff of Presbyterian churches in Tarzana, California, and Lincoln, Nebraska. In recent years he has been an interim pastor in several of the congregations of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, namely Shelbyville, Springdale, Second Louisville and First Frankfort. He served as coordinator for Church Leader Support with the General Assembly Mission Council from 2000 to 2004. Recently Carl has become a backyard farmer with four raised beds.
Nancy Eng MacNeill, associate for peacemaking constituency support, PC(USA) in Folsom, California. An educator, Nancy nurtures peacemakers of all ages through social media, trainings, workshops and developing resources for peacemaking ministries. In 2010 she served as an international election observer in the Philippines and witnessed the human rights struggle of the Morong 43. A member of the PC(USA) Human Trafficking Round Table, Nancy is a co-leader for the travel study seminar “Peacemaking in the Philippines: Environmental Devastation and the Human Trafficking Connection” in February 2013.