This Congress is for anyone who cares about the city! We have a mandate to serve, relate, act with compassion, build community, and share the Gospel in ways appropriate to the culture of the city.
Experience inspiration, transformation, empowerment, and be equipped to provide outstanding leadership in the unique context of your city.
The Congress provides plenary sessions on urban issues, special features, dialogue, ministry exhibits, and book signings.
Break-out sessions will be planned and scheduled for four tracks:
Thursday Evening Plenary Session - 7:00 p.m. - The Howard
A Call to the City / Welcoming Immigrant Populations
Friday Morning Devotion - 8:30 a.m. - The Howard
Missional Life in the City
Friday Morning Plenary Session - 9:00 a.m. - The Howard
A Christian Response to Violence / Serving Through Community Organizing
Friday Workshops Session 1 – 11:05 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Lunch Conversation with Noel Castellanos -12:55 – 1:25 p.m. - AU Cafeteria
Friday Workshops Session 2 - 2:45 – 4:15 p.m.
Conversation Points - 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.
Buller 150 – Roger Hernandez – Issues in Secular Culture
The Howard Foyer – Jose Cortez – Transformational Evangelism in the City
Friday evening Plenary Session - 7:00 – 8:36 p.m. - The Howard
Sharing the Gospel in Secular Urban Culture / Birthing New Congregations
Saturday morning Plenary Session 9:30 – 11:05 a.m. - The Howard
Fostering Positive Race Relationships / Social Justice
Worship 11:15 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. - The Howard
A Christian Response to Poverty
Lunch Conversation with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II – 12:45 – 1:18 p.m. - AU Cafeteria
Conversation Points – 2:00 – 2:45 p.m.
Buller 150 – Joshua Nelson and Michael Nixon – Advancing Social Justice
The Foyer of the Howard – Peter Bath – Fostering Health and Wellness in the Community
Saturday Workshops Session 3 – 3:00 - 4:30
Saturday Evening Plenary Session - 5:00 – The Howard
Engaging in Public Life / Fostering Health and Wellness in the City
Peter Bath is Vice President for Missions and Ministry for the Kettering Health Network.
Dr. Bath has more than 36 years’ experience working in a variety of roles in health care administration, higher education, community leadership, and pastoral ministry. He holds a Master of Divinity degree, and a Masters of Business Administration. He earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Building community has been a consistent theme throughout his ministry, networking communities and resources to bring about both understanding and response to the needs of people. He has been active in the National Conference on Community and Justice. He describes his vocational calling in these words from scripture; “…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7
His passion for wellness in the community has led to leadership in establishing free health clinics, advocacy for health care for underserved neighborhoods, and community wellness projects.
He and his wife of 39 years reside in Kettering Ohio along with their two golden retrievers. Their interests include sailing, skiing, scuba diving, music, camping and bee-keeping. Their family includes three daughters, two sons- in- law, a grandson and granddaughter and a grandchild in waiting, most of whom reside in the Washington D.C. area except for Gillian living in London England.
Carlton P. Byrd is the senior pastor of the Oakwood University Seventh-day Adventist Church on the campus of Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL, and the Speaker/Director of the Breath of Life Television Broadcast.
Dr. Byrd is a graduate of Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL, with dual degrees in Theology and in Business Management. He is also a graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN, where he earned the Master of Business Administration Degree, and of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI, where he earned both the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry Degrees.
The Berean Outreach Ministry Center in Atlanta, GA, which houses a food pantry, clothes’ closet, barber shop, hair salon, and fitness center was founded with his leadership. Additionally, under Byrd’s pastoral leadership at the Atlanta Berean Church, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a $5.2 million grant to the church, and the church constructed a 50 apartment Senior Citizens’ Housing Facility for church and community Senior Adults alike.
The recipient of numerous honors and achievements, Byrd received the “Chosen Pastor Award” for Atlanta’s Gospel Choice Awards in 2007, was inducted into the Martin Luther King Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta in 2008, and was selected as the 2016 Pastor of the Year for the Alabama NAACP – Huntsville/Madison County Branch.
Byrd is happily married to his wife of twenty years, the former Danielle Mounter, and they are the proud parents of three girls, Christyn, Caileigh, and Carissa.
Noel Castellanos has worked in full-time ministry in Latino urban communities since 1982. He has served in youth ministry, church planting, advocacy and community development in San Francisco, San Jose, and Chicago.
After serving on the Board of the Christian Community Development Association for many years, he established the CCDA Institute, which equips emerging church leaders in the philosophy of Christian Community Development, and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CCDA.
Noel was appointed to serve on President Obamaʼs Council for Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships, and is a highly sought after speaker, motivator, and mentor to young leaders throughout the USA, and has a deep passion to serve and invest in the lives of leaders committed to serving the poor.
Noel is the co-author of "A Heart for the Community, New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry," and has contributed to various other books and publications, including "Deep Justice in a Broken World," "A Heart for the City," and "Crazy Enough to Care."
He and his wife, Marianne, have three children; Noel Luis, Stefan, and Anna, and make their home in the barrio of La Villita in Chicago.
Emanuel Cleaver, II began his vocational life as a church pastor. He is now serving his seventh term representing Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.
Having served for twelve years on the city council of Missouri’s largest municipality, Kansas City, Cleaver was elected as the city’s first African American Mayor in 1991. During his eight years as mayor, Cleaver distinguished himself as an economic development activist and an unapologetic redevelopment craftsman.
Cleaver has received five honorary Doctoral Degrees augmented by a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M, and a Master’s from St. Paul's School of Theology of Kansas City.
In 2009, Cleaver introduced the creation of a Green Impact Zone in Kansas City. This zone, consisting of 150 blocks of declining urban core, has received approximately $125 million dollars in American Recovery and Reinvestment funds. The Green Impact Zone is aimed at making this high crime area the environmentally greenest piece of urban geography in the world. This project includes rehabbing bridges, curbs and sidewalks, home weatherization, smart grid technology in hundreds of homes, and most importantly, hundreds of badly needed jobs for Green Zone residents.
During the 112th Congress, Cleaver was unanimously elected the 20th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. As Ranking Member of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, Cleaver successfully co-authored the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, a bipartisan comprehensive housing bill that passed into law.
Cleaver, a native of Texas, is married to the former Dianne Donaldson. They have made Kansas City home for themselves and their four children.
Jose Cortes, Jr, treasures and loves Joanne Cortes, his wife and companion in ministry. Together, they are blessed with two boys, Jose III and Joel Benjamin. Next to God and family, his greatest joy and passion come from ministry, and about 25 years of pastoring, youth and young adult ministries, soul winning, church planting, and leadership in church consultation and resource roles.
He currently serves as Associate Director of the North American Division Ministerial Association and leads Evangelism, Church Planting, Global Mission, Church Growth, and Mission to the Cities for the Adventist Church in North America. Jose recognizes the importance of this task and continually asks the Holy Spirit for a double portion of love, vision, courage, grace, wisdom, power, and compassion to reach, retain, and reclaim others for Christ, along with the great team of about 5,000 pastors, leaders, and Volunteer Lay Pastors across the United States, Canada, Bermuda, and the islands of Guam and Micronesia.
Pastor Jose holds a Master of Divinity from the Theological Seminary at Andrews University, and a B.A. in Theology from Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University.
Erica Ford, founder and CEO of LIFE Camp, Inc., remembers what it was like growing up in Jamaica, Queens in the 1980s, where crack use and gun violence was an everyday occurrence. She attended countless funerals for friends and saw mothers left alone to raise their children after losing their husbands to death or prison.
Erica attended a rally for the December 12th Movement, an international human rights’ group, at the age of 18. The Movement empowered Erica and solidified her life’s ambition to become a change maker. Shortly after she founded the Black Consciousness Youth Movement that helped create and develop student governments, action against police brutality, and self- accountability.
While at York College in New York she earned a degree in political science, served as President of the Black Student Caucus, and co-founder of The Code Club with her friend, the late Tupac Shakur. The group’s mission was to keep young people out of jail and to decrease “Black on Black” crime. In 1998 and 1999, The Code co-coordinated the Million Youth March.
In 2002, the tragic murders of two children in her community inspired Erica, along with Jeffery “Ja Rule” Atkins and others, to create LIFE Camp (Love Ignites Freedom Through Education). LIFE Camp provides at-risk inner-city youth the valuable tools they need to stay in school, commit to anti-violence, and stay out of the criminal justice system.
Through the years, Erica’s dedication to reducing violence among young New Yorkers has garnered countless awards and recognition by notable public figures such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Reverend Al Sharpton, and hip hop mogul Russell Simmons. She organized the NY Peace Week, which occurs each January and honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of non- violence. The collective goal is to create a culture of peace throughout NYC for seven days by hosting an event, performing an activity, or simply taking one personal action toward creating inner peace and setting a positive example for young people.
Ty Gibson is Co-director of Light Bearers and pastor of Storyline Adventist Church in Eugene, Oregon. A passionate communicator with a message that opens minds and moves hearts, Ty teaches on a variety of topics, emphasizing God’s unfailing love as the central theme of the Bible. His experience includes a journey from secular atheism to faith in God. He has authored eight best-selling books, including, A God Named Desire, which paints a compelling picture of God’s character.
Think. Innovate. Be willing to grow. Study. Serve. Change. These are words that describe the passion of Ty’s ministry. He is noted as a pastor engaged in the front-line of congregational ministry who is willing to challenge the institutions of religion. He advocates the empowerment of God’s Spirit to do unexpected, even risky things in service of Christ. As a speaker Ty’s messages are crafted to challenge the comfortable status quo of religious life.
Ty and his wife Sue have three adult children and two grandsons.
Roger Hernandez is a father of four, a husband of one and a pastor to many. He is a third generation Christian, one of five pastors in his family. He has an MDiv from Andrews University. A prolific writer, he has authored 14 books including titles awarded as “Sharing Book of the Year” and “Discipleship Book of the Year.”
A practical and engaging speaker who has spoken all over the world, Hernandez's main desire is showing the relevance of Christianity to a world that needs it, especially the millennial generation. He speaks on leadership, evangelism, accountability and diversity.
He was born in Cuba, he and his wife, Kathy, are parents to four children: Yessenia, Deisy, Vanessa, Jonathan and one granddaughter. Presently Hernandez is the Ministerial and Evangelism Director for the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Kymone Hinds was born in Brooklyn, New York City, but grew up on the island of Trinidad. After finishing high school he moved back to New York, where he graduated from St John’s University (Manhattan Campus) with a Bachelors degree in Actuarial Science. It did not take very long working in risk management and actuarial studies to realize that God had other plans for his life. God was calling Hinds to follow Him on an uncertain, risky, challenging, rewarding journey.
He has been blessed to serve the church in many capacities as a Pastor, Youth Minister, Conference Planner, Church Planter among other roles. Hinds loves the local church. He lives to innovate. He believes he’s just wired to find new ways to do things. Hinds’ life as a writer allows him an opportunity to share his perspective on life and even share his questions and challenges.
Hind’s immediate family is captained by his wife, Kerine, the one who holds it all together. They have three energetic children – Jaden, Janiah, and Joelle.
Daniel R. Jackson, serves as president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He is a graduate of Canadian Union College (now Burman University) and Andrews University, from which he holds an M.A. in Religion in Systematic Theology. Jackson is a native Canadian. With the exception of five years of service in Southern Asia, he has lived and ministered in various locals in the United States and Canada.
During his career, Jackson has served the church as a pastor, teacher and administrator. Jackson says that he is a fellow traveler on the same path as every Christian headed toward the Kingdom.
Jackson and his wife, Donna, enjoy the three children and four grandchildren the Lord has given them.
Will James is the senior pastor at Paradise Valley Adventist Church in San Diego, serving alongside his wife, Peggy. He has experienced pastoral leadership in major cities in Canada and the United States.
Will and Peggy James share a passion for working with community agencies in efforts to help immigrant families find success in their transitions to American life. Under his leadership, combined with his wife’s service in the community, the Paradise Valley Church has helped hundreds of refugee and immigrant families thrive in their new life in America. The church provides services such as vocational training, language lessons, computer literacy classes, temporary shelter, food, and job placement.
Richard J. Perry, Jr., professor of church and society and urban ministry, has been on the faculty of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago since 1996.
Perry served as pastor of Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gary, Indiana. His experience in urban and multi-cultural ministries was honed as director of inclusive ministries for the North Carolina Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, and as director for Black ministries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In 1999, he co-chaired the International Planning Committee for the Conference of International Black Lutherans held in Wittenberg, Germany, where he presented the paper "Justification and Racial Justice." He was also a presenter at the first consultation between African and African-American Lutheran Theologians in Harare, Zimbabwe; and chaired the working group on racism in the church and society at the Lutheran World Federation's Seventh Assembly in Budapest, Hungary.
A published author, Perry contributed the chapter, "African American Lutheran Ethical Action," to the book "The Promise of Lutheran Ethics.” His essay, "Justification by Grace and Its Social Implications," was included in "Theology and the Black Experience" (Fortress 1988), and he co-authored with Albert Pero and Cheryl Stewart "Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters...," a Black cultural awareness resource published by Augsburg Fortress.
Perry’s Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Theology degrees were earned at Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago.
Matt Stockdale is team leader at Triad Adventist Fellowship in Greensboro, North Carolina. Originally from Canton, Ohio, Matt moved to North Carolina in 1997 to attend law school at Wake Forest University.
Although Matt’s career is in law, his heart has always been in ministry and helping others develop a genuine, loving relationship with Christ. His service as a church planter while pursuing his career in law exemplifies extraordinary dedication as a disciple of Christ.
Matt and his wife, Amy, live in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina.
Todd Stout is the senior pastor at Church of the Advent Hope in New York. Todd holds a Master of Divinity from Andrews University. He is recognized for his incarnational ministry in the city of New York, for creativity, and for the ability to relate the Gospel to affluent urban professionals. Pastor Stout is able to share a vision for vibrant congregations in the heart of the city.
Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. He has also lectured internationally, in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, entertainment, media, law enforcement, military, and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.
Wise is the author of seven books, including his latest, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America (City Lights Books). Other books include Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority; his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male; Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama; and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity.
Named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by Utne Reader, Wise has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root, Black Commentator, BK Nation and Z Magazine among other popular, professional and scholarly journals.
Wise has been featured in several documentaries, including the 2013 Media Education Foundation release, “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America.” The film, which he co-wrote and co-produced, has been called “A phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism,” and “One of the best films made on the unfinished quest for racial justice,” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, respectively. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.”
Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and was featured in a 2007 segment on 20/20. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans.
Anthony WagenerSmith is associate director of the NAD Evangelism Institute and professor of Christian ministry at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary located on the campus of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He pastored and planted churches in Florida, has a doctorate in missional church planting, and equips people and organizations to develop mission-shaped support systems.
Workshops are offered dealing with various issues in four tracks; public life, secular culture, underserved neighborhoods, and urban missiological challenges. Some workshops are offered in the Spanish language.
Friday Workshop Session 1 – 11:05 -12:30
Friday Workshop Session 2 - 2:45 – 4:15
Saturday Workshop Session 3 – 3:00 - 4:30
Our leadership team, together with the North American Division, the General Conference, and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary is designing four new responses for following through on the Congress;