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Meet The Author: July, 2009: Rev. Renita Lamkin


     Rev. Renita shares the position of Pastor with her husband and best friend, Rev. Stephen Lamkin. Rev. Lamkin has facilitated numerous workshops for youth and adults. She has been the keynote speaker at several retreats and is a fiery revival preacher. Rev. Renita is the author of Holy Moly! The Spirituality of Sexuality. In her spare time she enjoys bike riding, painting by numbers, and Face Book.


      Rev. Lamkin graduated from Saint Louis University, magna cum laude, with a degree in Organization Studies. Revs. Renita and Stephen Lamkin are the parents of four funny, creative, and intelligent children Heather (David), Chrissi, Darren, and Kathryne. 



Meet The Author - July 2009

Susan K. Smith
                Rev Dr Susan K. Smith, senior pastor of Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio, is a 1986 graduate of Yale Divinity School.
                She received her BA in English Literature from Occidental College and her D. Min. from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
                A former reporter, Rev. Smith worked for newspapers in Baltimore and Texas before entering seminary. She also served as an associate producer for WJZ News, as an on-air news reporter for WEAA, the radio station affiliated with Morgan State University in Baltimore, and as a talk show host for “Columbus Today,” a locally heard radio program in Columbus, and as an on-air political commentator for a news magazine television program, also produced in Columbus.
                Since becoming pastor of Advent United Church of Christ, the church’s membership has increased from five members to about 300. In addition to outreach ministries to the city’s poor, Rev. Smith’s ministry has concentrated on empowering urban youth through an annual summer arts program, which uses the arts to instill confidence in those youth who participate. Through arts immersion and concentration as well on reading, writing and math, the camp has been successful in helping participating youth to perform better academically during the school year.
                Rev. Smith has also served ( and serves still) as minister of music at her church, producing what some have called a “professional choir” which, in addition to singing in Africa, has sung for professional productions including a promotional performance of “The Lion King,” “The Chocolate Nutcracker,” and with country singer Lyle Lovett.
                Rev. Smith is a co-president of BREAD, (Building Responsibility, Equity and Dignity), a multi-racial, multi-ethnic social justice organization comprised of over 50 different religious denominations in the city of Columbus. That organization was recently instrumental in getting the Ohio Legislature to sign into law a measure which prevents pay day lenders from charging its clients exorbitant interest rates.
                She was recently invited to be a participant in the Oxford Roundtable, an event held at Oxford University in England, where she presented a paper on the tension in America between the United States Constitution and the Holy Bible.
                She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc., a social justice ministry which seeks to empower churches and ministers in urban settings to deal with the problems they face through training, resource development and acquisition, and changing of public policy. When the SDPC held hearings after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Washington, D.C., Houston and New Orleans, Rev. Smith served as lead commissioner. Those hearings resulted in a published report entitled, “The Breach.”
                Rev. Smith has formed  a private not-for-profit organization aimed at empowering urban youth all over the United States. Her first project is to get brand new books in public schools in urban and rural America; the first city being targeted is New Orleans, La.
                She is the author of four books, “Carla and Annie,” “From Calvary to Victory,” “Forgive WHO?” and, “Crazy Faith for Everyday People,” which will be released in February, 2009. Her work also appears weekly on The Washington Post, as a member of a panel of theologians, scholars and writers on a panel for that newspaper which comments on issues pertinent to religion.
                She is the mother of two children, Caroline, a recent graduate of Spelman College, and Charlie, a student at the University of Cincinnati.

Meet the Author March 2009 - Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie

Bishop McKenzie serves as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her historic election in the year 2000 represents the first time in the over 200-year history of the A.M.E. Church, in which a woman had obtained the level of Episcopal office.

Bishop McKenzie is honored to serve as the presiding prelate of the 13th Episcopal District that includes the State of Tennessee and Commonwealth of Kentucky. Her husband, Stan McKenzie serves as the Supervisor of Missions.

Bishop McKenzie is the author of four books. The first two, Not without a Struggle and Strength in the Struggle concerns leadership and professional growth for women. Journey to the Well helps women seek new directions for personal growth and transformation following the footsteps of the Biblical Samaritan woman.

Her latest book is Swapping Housewives. It is the story of Rachel & Jacob & Leah. The ancient Biblical story has 21st century implications for married and unmarried love.

She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park; holds a Master of Divinity from Howard University School of Divinity and has earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Bishop McKenzie is a much sought after preacher, seminar instructor and lecturer at churches, corporations, colleges and universities. She continues to make presentations to national civic, service and social organizations.

Bishop McKenzie is humbled and grateful to God for the many opportunities and blessings afforded her as she strives to serve with excellence in the Kingdom of God.

                   Meet the Author - January, 2009 : Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems  

Dr. Renita J. Weems is a bible scholar and an ordained elder in the African Methodist Church whose scholarly insights into modern faith, biblical texts, and the role of spirituality in everyday lives have made her a much sought after author and speaker. Dr. Weems, formerly a member of the faculty of Vanderbilt University and former Visiting Professor at Spelman College, has been celebrated by Ebony Magazine as one of America's top 15 preachers.

A former contributing writer to Essence Magazine, Dr. Weems is the author of several widely acclaimed books on women's spirituality and wholeness: Just A Sister Away (1987) and I Asked for Intimacy (1993), Showing Mary: How Women Can Share Prayers, Wisdom, and the Blessings of God (2003), and, more recently, What Matters Most: Ten Passionate Lessons from the Song of Solomon (2004). Dr. Weems is a popular radio and television personality, regularly providing expert commentary on religion, gender, race, and sexuality. A guest speaker for numerous national gatherings of religious, civic, and sorority organizations, local churches, community wide events, and radio and television programs, Dr. Weems is in much demand as a speaker, preacher, and workshop leader on topics as wide ranging as miracles in the Bible, women, violence, and spirituality, and male-female relationships.

Ordained an elder in the AME Church since 1984, Dr. Weems has written about the waxing and waning of faith all believers endure on the spiritual journey. Her 1999 book Listening for God: A Minister's Journey through Silence and Doubt (Simon & Schuster) won the Religious Communicators' Council's prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award for excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media. She earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and her Master and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.

When she is not travelling and speaking, Dr. Weems is at home writing for Beliefnet.com where she contributes a regular column on politics and faith, and keeping up with her readers on her blog Somethingwithin.com which allows her to wax passionately, and sometimes even eloquently, about a wide range of issues having to do with faith, popular culture, values, and women's spirituality and other topics of interest to what she likes to call "thinking women of faith."

Finally, Dr. Renita Weems lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and daughter.


                     Meet The Author - December, 2008 Teresa L. Fry Brown
Teresa L. Fry Brown is the Associate Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Black Church Studies Program at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She obtained aDoctorate of Philosophy in Religious and Theological Studies from the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver, with an emphasis in Religion and Social Transformation (1996). Additionally, she earned a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology (1988), a Master of Science degree (1975) and a Bachelor of Science degree (1973) in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Central Missouri (formerly Central Missouri State University) in Warrensburg, Missouri. 

Dr. Fry Brown has over thirty years teaching experience in academic and ecumenical settings across the United States and internationally. She has presented numerous workshops and seminars including those in homiletics, church administration, African American health and family issues, ministerial relationships, voice and diction and worship. Additionally, she has served as guest preacher and lecturer at a variety of religious and secular seminars, educational conference, revivals, special events and ecumenical worship services.
A prolific author, Dr. Fry Brown’s books include Can A Sister Get a Little Help: Advice and Encouragement for Black Women in Ministry, Pilgrim Press (2008); Delivering the Sermon, Fortress Press (2008); God Don’t Like Ugly: African American Women Handing on Spiritual Values Abingdon Press (2000); Weary Throats and New Song: Black Women Proclaiming God’s Word Abingdon Press (2003) and The 2006 African American History Devotional, Abingdon Press (2006). Additionally, she has published “The Future of Black Preaching” in Homiletix November 2007, five sidebars for the Wesley Study Bible (forthcoming Spring  2009), “Mother Day/Pentecost” African America Pulpit Lectionary (2008),  African American History Month Devotions (Abingdon 2006), “Preaching the Lesson , Lectionary Homiletics, (five entries 2006), Abingdon Press African American Pulpit Library, (eight entries 2006 ), Kirk Byron Jones, editor, A Letter From Jarena Lee in 1999; “Remember Who Made Us” in Those Preaching Women, vol. 3, Ella Mitchell, ed, Judson Press, 1996; “Easter Sunday” and “Easter 4” in Abingdon Women’s Preaching Annual, Series 1, Year C, Abingdon Press, 1997; “Avoiding Asphyxiation: A Womanist Perspective on Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Transformation” in Embracing the Spirit: Womanist Perspectives on Hope, Salvation and Transformation, Emilie Townes, ed., Orbis Press, 1997; “Renovating Sorrow’s Kitchen: African American Women Preaching Justice” in Preaching Justice, Christine Smith, ed., Pilgrim Press, 1998; “Prophets How Far Are You Willing to Run?” (Winter 1997-1998); “Storm Warning: God is in Control”, (Summer 1998); “Breathing Lessons” (Summer 1999); “Just Preach!” (Millennium Issue, Winter 1999-2000); “For This” (Summer 2000) in The African American Pulpit, Kirk Jones, David Farmer, Martha Simmons, eds, Judson Press; “And Are We Yet Sustaining, Surviving, or Thriving?” in The African Methodist Episcopal Church Women’s Missionary Society Quadrennial Journal, A.M.E. Church Publishing House, (1999); and “Giving the Sermon Life” in Birthing a Sermon, (2001), Jana Childers, ed., Chalice Press. “Action Potential” in The Purpose of Preaching, Pilgrim Press (2004).
Dr. Fry Brown is an Associate Minister at New Bethel A.M.E. Church, Lithonia, Georgia. She is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
A native ofIndependence, Missouri Dr. Fry Brown is the second oldest of seven children of William and the late Naomi Fry. She is married to Frank David Brown and is the mother of Veronica Nadyne (Michael) Mitchell.
Dr. Fry Brown’s life is guided by the words of the prophet, Isaiah “Those whose hope is in the Lord gain new strength.”

                          Dr. Ella Pearson Mitchell, 1917-2008 


    Dr. Ella P. Mitchell

The Rev. Dr. Ella P. Mitchell was a teacher, preacher, devoted wife, mother and outstanding author who lived in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known as the "dean of Black women preachers." Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Mitchell graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she met her husband Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, with whom she has ministered for over sixty years. Together, they have served as co- mentors in the Doctor of Ministry Program at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and were founders of the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies in Los Angeles. Dr. Ella was the first woman Dean of Sisters Chapel at Spelman College and also taught at the American Baptist Seminary of the West and the School of Theology at Claremont. Dr. Mitchell was the editor of five volumes of the series, Those Preaching Women, and, with her husband, has completed their joint autobiography, Together for Good, which shares the secret to lasting love and friendship. In October of 2007 she celebrated her ninetieth birthday surrounded by family and friends on a birthday cruise before passing from this life to eternal on Nov. 20, 2008.
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