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Faculty

We've pulled together some of the finest historians, pastors, practitioners and poets to help align an egalitarian theology with praxis to empower the whole church

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Drew Jackson
The Center for Action and Contemplation

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God speaks through wombs

Drew Jackson is a poet, speaker, and public theologian. He is author of God Speaks Through Wombs: Poems on God’s Unexpected Coming and Touch the Earth: Poems on The Way. His work has appeared in Oneing from the Center for Action and Contemplation, The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad, Made for Pax, The Journal from the Centre for Public Christianity, Fathom Magazine, and other publications.

Drew received his B.A. in Political Science from the Univ. of Chicago and his M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He currently works as the Director of Mission Integration for the Center for Action and Contemplation, and lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and daughters.

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Sonetta Ponton
Exec Director, Metro Community Center

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Justice, Equity, Education

Sanetta is a proud graduate of the Englewood Public School District and has been blessed to receive degrees from Columbia University (BA), Harvard Law School (JD), and Duke Divinity School (M.Div.).  She has served in ministry in Houston, TX; Durham, NC; and even as far away as Kenya.  In addition, she faithfully served in her home church, First Baptist Church of Englewood, for 6 years as an Associate and later Assistant Pastor before moving to Metro.  At the same time, she spent several years working with Legal Outreach, a law-related college prep program in New York City, most recently as their Managing Director of Academic Programs.  Her heart beats for justice, equity in education, and to see the realization of the prayer, "thy kingdom come".  

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Seth Bazacas
Pastor, Wellspring Church

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Revive, Relate, Renew

Seth is the Senior Pastor of Wellspring church in Long Island City Queens. 

 

Wellspring Church NYC is rooted in a prophecy from Isaiah 43:19. Seth believes the church is good news to the city.

 

"The local church serves as both a preview community and an agent of renewal partnering with God to see His kingdom come. And this is Wellspring exists". 

 

Seth is also the founder of the Renew center. A center that intentionally empowers a movement of neighborhood leaders of all ages who are equipped holistically with skills needed to succeed in life

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Danielle Strickland
Author, Speaker, & Advocate

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The Other Side Of Hope

Danielle lets Love lead her to inspire, challenge, provoke and disrupt the present, and to live in the future now. Having lived in different cultures and contexts around the world she celebrates diversity and deeply longs for wrong things to be made right. Danielle practises following Jesus daily. This pursuit has led to exciting entrepreneurial exploits (like co-founding multiple charities and non-profits) and a whole host of failures (that we don’t as often talk about). All of this has convinced her of the deep need we all have for hope, faith, and love. Her deepest longing is to demonstrate what living that boundless life looks like. 

 

Danielle has written six books (the latest is The Other Side of Hope), has a podcast called The Right Side Up (which recently celebrated half-a-million downloads), and speaks to people at events all over the world. Danielle leads Boundless Communications Inc. which launches creative exploits like Women Speakers Collective (liberating voices of women around the globe), IMBY (a tiny home movement IN MY BACKYARD), Brave Global (preventing human trafficking), Infinitum (a way of living deeply), and Hagar’s Voice (support and advocacy for survivors of abuse). She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her three sons and husband Steve. Danielle loves getting outside, doing new things, physical adventures, and she can’t seem to turn down a free lunch. 

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Dr. Elizabeth Rios
Passion2plant

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Writer, Justice Seeker, Afro-Boricua, Church Planter

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Rios is a Lower East Side Manhattan-raised Afro-Boricua who founded Passion2Plant, one of the few known national church planting networks founded and led by a woman, to teach global majority planters to start holistic, justice-focused churches. She is the spiritual daughter of the Primitive Christian Church (PCC) and the Latino Pastoral Action Center (LPAC).

Dr. Rios has served as a nonprofit executive, higher education administrator, and pastor. She has also served on several national boards, most recently joining Sojourners, an ecumenical Christian media and advocacy organization that works toward social and racial justice. 

She teaches, preaches, and writes about women in ministry, workplace culture, civic engagement, and church planting. She has written for or has been quoted in many national magazines, including Sojourners, Influence, Called, Christianity

Today, Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Religion News Service, and Outreach Magazine. She is the author of Don't Buy The Lie: Eradicating False Belief Systems That Keep You From Your Destiny (Ghetto Rose Publications, 2012).  She contributed to various books, including Our Daily Bread Publishing's Rhythms of Rest: 40 Devotions for Women on the Move.  

 

To add to Latine Pentecostal history, she contributed a chapter for Latino Religions and Civic Activism published by Oxford University Press called "The Women are Warriors" highlighting the many achievements of Latina Pentecostal women in the NYC social activist world. The chapter was reprinted in Azusa Street and Beyond 100 Years of Commentary on the Global/Pentecostal Charismatic Movement which was highlighted at the Azusa Street Centennial. 

Dr. Rios is mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, Volume 1 (2006) and in Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia (2006).  She has received a number of recognitions, including being named one of twelve Hispanic Women of Distinction for her South Florida work (2014) by Latina Style Magazine and Bank of America, receiving a Multi-cultural Excellence Award from City to City Miami (2022), inducted into the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. College of Ministers and Laity Board of Preachers (2023), a Trailblazer award from Influential Global Ministries/Sacramento Midtown Church (2023), and the Unsung Sheroe Award by former Ambassador of Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook (2023).  She has also been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for 38 years. Dr. Rios has a BA in Liberal Arts, an MA in Management, an EdD in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, and a DMin from Southeastern University. In May 2025, she will graduate with an MA in Social Justice from Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Rios is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister.

The joy of her life has always been her family, Samuel (25) and Daniel, her special needs angel, who transitioned to glory on his 23rd birthday, 9/22/22. She has been married to Rev. Hiram Rios for 34 years, and Miramar, FL is their home.

 

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Amanda Sadlier
Lead Pastor, Mosaic Church NYC

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Pastor, Teacher, Cross Cultural Leadership

Amanda has been in vocational ministry for over 20 years, she has the privilege of serving as the lead pastor of a thriving local church plant nestled in the heart of New York City's vibrant and internationally diverse neighborhood, Roosevelt Island. 

In addition to her pastoral duties, she has played a pivotal role in establishing and directing a community development center that has positively impacted thousands of underserved individuals within the West Queens community. 

A mother to 6 children, with significant experience in the foster care system, Amanda has a deep understanding of trauma informed parenting and through the years has honed her skill in trauma informed leadership, and trauma informed pastoring.

 

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Rich Johnson 
Pastor, Sanctuary Columbus

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Spiritual Formation & Cross Cultural Leadership

Rich lives and pastors in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Buckeyes, Jeni’s Ice Cream, and wave of good works restoring humanity throughout the city and abroad. He is married to Shalla, and has four children - Carter, Campbell, Caden and Cora

He is the pastor of Sanctuary Columbus Church, currently meeting in Worthington, Ohio. They are uniquely focused on multiplying healthy followers of Christ who cherish diversity and commit to service. 

He is alumni of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Holds a Master’s Degree in Education from The College of William & Mary, which was helpful in teaching for eight years before entering vocational ministry. He completed a Master’s of Christian Formation from North Park Theological Seminary and continues to study the intersection of spiritual formation and cross-cultural leadership.

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