2016 National Gathering Testimony: Jessica Vazquez Torres

Jessica Vazquez Torres provides testimony at the 2016 National Gathering.

Jessica Vazquez Torres is a proven leader with 15 years experience in antiracism, anti-oppression, and cultural competency workshop development and facilitation. Jessica, a 1.5-Generation ESL Queer Latina of Puerto Rican descent, holds a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, and a Master of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Her published works as an author include co-authoring a four-session adult study on the history of racism in the United States. Jessica has presented twice at the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Studies annual meeting. Her papers were titled: “Does Moral Injury Have a Color? On Moral Injury and Race in the United States” (2014) and “Race and Virtue: The Practice and Ethics of Race Based Caucusing” (2012).

2016 National Gathering Testimony: Presidents Elizabeth Kiss and Leann Van Dyk

Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College, and Leann Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary, provide testimony about their leadership experience at the 2016 National Gathering.

Elizabeth Kiss is president of Agnes Scott College. During her tenure, she has launched Agnes Advantage, supporting study abroad, internships and mentored research; new undergraduate programs in neuroscience, public health, and environmental and sustainability studies; the fielding of the first women’s collegiate varsity lacrosse team in Georgia; and the largest first-year class in college history. She is a graduate of Davidson College  and received a B.Phil. and D.Phil. in philosophy from Oxford University in England.

Leanne Van Dyk currently serves as President and Professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary. She holds degrees from Calvin College (B.A.), Western Michigan University (M.A.), Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Princeton Theological Seminary where she earned her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, magna cum laude. Before teaching at Western Theological Seminary, she previously taught at San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. Dr. Van Dyk’s other professional experience includes serving as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological School (ATS); as a co-moderator of a colloquy on Reformed Theology and Worship sponsored by the Institute of Reformed Theology; as a member of the Wabash Center’s Consultation on Theological Education; and on various projects with the Office of Theology and Worship for the Presbyterian Church (USA). One of her efforts remembered by many in the PC(USA) was a member of the Catechism Committee which completed its work in 1998. She also participated in the Re-Forming Ministry project with the Office of Theology and Worship. She has served on the editorial boards of Perspectives, the Journal of Reformed Thought, and the Scottish Journal of Theology. Dr. Van Dyk has published several books, including A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony for which she was also editor (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005); Believing in Jesus Christ, part of the “Foundations” series sponsored by the Office of Theology and Worship of the PC(USA) (Geneva Press, 2002); and The Desire of Divine Love: The Atonement Theology of John McLeod Campbell (Peter Lang Publishers, 1995).

2016 National Gathering Testimony: Alison Harrington

Rev. Alison J. Harrington currently serves Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She has experience in community organizing against the prison industrial complex and as a prison chaplain. Alison has served the denomination as a Global Youth Intern to Ethiopia, a Young Adult Volunteer to Belfast Northern Ireland, and has traveled on peace and justice delegations to Chiapas, Colombia, and Cuba. She has been named one of Tucson’s 40 under 40, a Beatitudes Society Fellow, a recipient of the Beatitudes Society Brave Preacher Award, and one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the Center for American Progress.

2015 National Gathering: Linda Valentine

Linda Valentine provides testimony on the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

2015 National Gathering: Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor speaks at the 2015 National Gathering in Chicago on behalf of the Presbyterian Foundation.

2015 National Gathering Testimony: George Srour

George Srour provides testimony at the 2015 National Gathering about his organization, Building Tomorrow.

We’d also encourage you to read this response to George’s testimony from Becca Messman.

Mihee Kim-Kort and Andy Kort (Chicago 2015)

Mihee Kim-Kort and Andy Kort share their testimony at the 2015 National Gathering in Chicago.

2015 National Gathering Testimony: Bill Habicht

Bill Habicht’s testimony about social enterprise at the 2015 NEXT Church National Gathering in Chicago.

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2015 National Gathering Keynote: Tiffany Jana and Matthew Freeman

Tiffany Jana and Matthew Freeman co-owners of the TMI consulting firm based in Richmond, VA, present a keynote at the 2015 National Gathering in Chicago.

Resources:

Create Testimony – Casey FitzGerald on Biblical Storytelling

This was a testimony from the 2014 National Gathering in Minneapolis, MN.

Shawna Bowman is the artist.