Faculty & Staff

Faculty

The Seminary’s faculty consists of regularly appointed positions (core faculty) augmented by a number of adjunct professors, pastors and mentors. They are scholars in their fields, performing research and publishing books and articles on a regular basis. The Seminary recruits faculty with a wide range of geographic, racial/ethnic and cultural gifts so that our students will be more than congregational managers. Our faculty is committed to develop ministers who have the vision and skills to empower people to live into a beloved community.

Click on each full time faculty’s name to view their bio and contact information.

Full Time Faculty
Loida I. Martell

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean and Professor of Constructive Theology

(859) 280-1256

B.Sc., University of Puerto Rico, 1975
DVM, Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, 1979
M.Div., Andover Newton Theological School, 1990
M.Phil., Fordham University, 2000
Ph.D., Fordham University, 2005

The Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell joined the faculty in August of 2017. Prior to that, she was Professor of Constructive Theology at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Martell is a licensed doctor in veterinary medicine as well as an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches/ USA. She is a bi-coastal Puerto Rican who has taught in various institutions of higher learning including Gordon Conwell’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education in Boston, and the University of Puerto Rico’s College of Allied Health Professionals. She pastored in New York City for 15 years, and served as President of the Board of American Baptist Churches/ Metro New York City from 1994–1996.

Dr. Martell pioneered the study of evángelica theology. She has published articles on evangélica soteriology, Christology, doctrine of God, eschatology, Scriptural hermeneutics, globalization, embodiment, and vocation. Her research on Taíno religious beliefs led to the publication of “My GPS Doesn’t Work in Puerto Rico,” on evangélica spirituality. She co-edited Teología en Conjunto: A Collaborative Hispanic Protestant Theology (1997), and more recently co-authored the well-received Latina Evangélicas: A Theological Survey from the Margins (2013).

Dr. Martell is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. As a member of the American Academy of Religion, she currently serves as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion. She was appointed to represent the American Baptist Churches/ USA on the National Council of Churches Convening Table for Theological Studies and Matters of Faith and Reason. The American Baptist Home Missions Societies awarded her the 2015 Richard Hoiland Christian Education Award, its highest recognition for “faithful and effective leadership in Christian education,” for her long-standing work in nurturing culturally and racially diverse classrooms and for exceptional leadership.

Dr. Martell is an avid amateur photographer.

Denise Bell

Dr. Bell served as the Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia from 2014-2023. For 35 years, she served churches as pastor, associate, senior associate, satellite pastor, interim pastor, and executive pastor. As a church leader, her enthusiasm in ministry comes from her excitement in seeing lives and churches transformed by fresh ideas and boldness. She engages with others in seeking God for a way that bridges traditional and contemporary paths to meet today’s changes and opportunities. Her ministry is grounded in loving and serving the world with others who practice the principles of faith. Dr. Bell earned her MDiv from Denver Theological Seminary and received her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University in St. David’s, Pa., where she studied the practices of flourishing African American pastors and challenged research regarding clergy wellbeing. She received the 2022 Dissertation of the Year Award. As an educator and minister of practice, Dr. Bell seeks to help pastors and congregations increase their capacity to flourish and to be healthy communities of faith in a changing world.

She serves the body of Christ as preacher, retreat speaker, teacher, leader, counselor, and coach. Topics for which Pastor Bell provides insight which includes leadership development, personal leadership, team building, mission and vision casting and church transformation.

Her ministry is weaved together by her faith in a faithful God. She is God’s daughter, God’s servant, and a messenger for Christ.  She loves the Lord and has a love for God’s people as God has called her to be Christ incarnate to a world that needs to know that God loves and calls all according to God’s purposes.

Sharon Ellis Davis

Visiting Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ethics

Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis is a United Church of Christ Pastor and Professor. She brings over 30 years of experience as a pastor, police office & police chaplain.  Sharon’s PhD research focuses on sexual and domestic violence against women and children and their intersections with the criminal justice system, religious institutions, and other systems of oppression. She also lectures both nationally and internationally in Sexual and Domestic as they intersect with issues of race, class, culture, gender, gender identity and the Criminal Justice System. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis is a trainer with the FaithTrust Institute based in Seattle, Washington and offers training to pastors and church leaders in the areas of Safe and Healthy Churches and Healthy Clergy Boundaries. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis earned her M.Div., (Pastoral Care), and Ph.D., (Theology, Ethics and the Human Science, sociology) from Chicago Theological Seminary,  and her Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, where she serves as Affiliate Professor. She also served as Mentor of Doctor of Ministry Students, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH, leading over 30 Doctor of Ministry Students successfully through the program earning their degrees. Sharon is a published author. She published in 2014, as part of her PhD studies and research, African American Battered Women: A Study in Gender Entrapment. Her most recent book was recently released, (July 2022), The Trauma of Sexual and Domestic Violence: Navigating My Way Through Individuals, Religion, Policing, and the Courts. Sharon is a Retired Board-Certified Chaplain, (BCC) with the Association of Professional Chaplains, (APC).

Tomeka Jacobs

Louisville Postdoctoral Fellow, Visiting Faculty of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Care

B.A. University of Louisville, 2006

M.Div., Lexington Theological Seminary, 2014

Ph.D., Claremont School of Theology, 2021

I call the displaced lands of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, and Osage people (Kentucky) my home. As an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, I have had the privilege of working in Level 1 Trauma Centers as a Complex Care, Cardiac, Oncology and Adolescent Psychiatric Chaplain; Pastor; Research Fellow in Neuroscience and Contemplative Studies with Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom with Dr. Rick Hanson; Spiritual Director; Internal Family Systems Fellow; and leader in Higher Education. My experience in spiritual and contemplative modalities draws me to spaces of deep connection, pain, and transformative possibilities. I am informed by science, as a chemist and my love for physics; neuroscience and its creative possibility in transforming our reactivities through mindfulness, contemplative, and spiritual practices; theology as spirituality is my ethos, my ethic; and I am deeply informed by artistry and story. My research draws me to the connection between earth and cosmos through a co-creative and imaginative open-relational fluidity of spirit.

Esther Parajuli

Esther Parajuli (she/her), theologian, a third generation migrant and a Naga-Nepali hybrid, completed her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York in May 2022. Her current research work integrates apophatic theology with liberation theology as well as postcolonial theory to contemplate the question of selfhood and its relationship with “the Other.” Her commitment to theological education is rooted in her belief in the interconnectedness of spirituality, critical thinking, and the praxis of liberation.

Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Parajuli received an STM with a concentration in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary, NY, and an M.Th. with an emphasis on Systematic Theology from United Theological College in Bangalore, India.

Leah Schade

Leah D. Schade

(859) 280-1252

M.Div., Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 2000
Ph.D., Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 2014

Joined the faculty in 2016.

Pronouns: she/her

The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade is the Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  An ordained Lutheran minister (ELCA) for more than twenty years, Leah earned both her MDiv and PhD degrees from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary).  She has pastored congregations in suburban, urban, and rural contexts. Her book, Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), explores how clergy and congregations can address controversial social issues using nonpartisan, biblically-centered approaches and deliberative dialogue. She is also the author of Creation-Crisis Preaching:  Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015), as well as For the Beauty of the Earth, a Creation-centered Lenten devotional (Chalice Press, 2019). She is co-editor and author with Margaret Bullitt-Jonas of Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), and co-author with Jerry Sumney of Apocalypse When?: A Guide to Interpreting and Preaching Apocalyptic Texts. Her latest book is Introduction to Preaching: Scripture, Theology, and Sermon Preparation, co-authored with Jerry L. Sumney and Emily Askew (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023). She is also the EcoPreacher blogger for Patheos.

Dr. Schade has served as an anti-fracking and climate activist, community organizer, and advocate for environmental justice issues.  Her current environmental partnerships include The BTS Center, Creation Justice Ministries, ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow, and the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, with whom she writes EcoPreacher 1-2-3 for busy pastors wanting to address environmental issues in their sermons.

Dr. Schade is serving as President of the Academy of Homiletics in 2024.  She has been a featured speaker for the Festival of Homiletics, leads workshops and retreats, and keynotes events throughout the country.  She was the director of a Wabash grant exploring the use of deliberative dialogue in congregations and theological education is also conducting a longitudinal research study about ministry, preaching, and social issues that has surveyed nearly 3,000 clergy and 1,000 laity since 2017.

She received the Kentucky Council of Churches award in 2019. Dr. Schade is also co-founder of the Clergy Emergency League, a network of nearly 2,500 pastors throughout the U.S. who provide support, accountability, resources, and networking for clergy to prophetically minister in their congregations and the public square in this time of political upheaval, social unrest, and partisan division.

Jerry L. Sumney

Professor of Biblical Studies

(859) 280-1255

B.A., David Lipscomb University, 1978
M.A., Harding University,1982
Ph.D., Southern Methodist University, 1987

Joined faculty in 1997.  Prior to that time he taught in the religion department at Ferrum College from 1986-1997.

Dr. Sumney is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and is past president for the Southeastern Region of the Society. At the national level, he also served as the chair of the steering committee for the Theology of the Disputed Paulines Group from 1996-2001 and as the chair of the steering committee for the Disputed Paulines Section from 2004-2012. He also chaired the Pauline Epistles and Literature Section of the International Meeting of the SBL 2003-2008.  He was elected to membership in the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS) in 2005.

He has written seven books: Paul: Apostle and Fellow Traveler (2014); The Bible: An Introduction (2010; 2nd edition, 2014); Colossians; A Commentary, New Testament Library Series (2008); Philippians, A Handbook for Second-Year Greek Students (2007); Servants of SatanFalse Brothersand Other Pauline Opponents (1999)Preaching Apocalyptic Texts (co-authored with Larry Paul Jones; 1999) and Identifying Paul’s Opponents (1990). He is editor of Reading Paul’s Letter to Romans (2012); The Order of the Ministry; Equipping the Saints (2002) and co-editor of Theology and Ethics in Paul and His Interpreters (1996) and Paul and Pathos (2001). He also has written over 30 articles in journals and books. He also contributed entries to the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible and the Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, and the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. In addition, was a contributor to the The College Study Bible and the CEB Study Bible.  He is currently working on a book on Paul’s use of tradition, a commentary on 1 Corinthians, and the Bible study section of an issue of the New International Sunday School Lesson Annual.

Sumney has presented papers at regional, national, and international academic conferences.  He has also led numerous workshops for elders and deacons, and Bible study workshops and series, including in the Lay School of Theology at LTS and in the school for licensed ministers sponsored by the Kentucky region of the Christian Church.  He is the regular teacher of an adult Sunday School Class in his home church.

Dr. Sumney and his wife, Diane, have three daughters: Elizabeth, Victoria, and Margaret.

Program Directors
Wilson Dickinson

Director of Doctor of Ministry and Lay and Continuing Education Programs

Adjunct Professor of Theology

(859) 280-1219

2011          Ph.D. Syracuse University

2008           M.Phil. Syracuse University

2005           M.Div. Vanderbilt University

2002           B.A. Transylvania University

Dickinson has been teaching at LTS since 2016. Prior to coming to LTS, he was Associate Dean for Religious Life at Transylvania University, where he taught in the Religion, Philosophy, and Environmental Studies programs.

Dickinson is a theologian, organizer, and minister whose work takes place at the intersection of environmental justice and discipleship. He approaches theology through traditions of liberative wisdom—integrating a wide range of disciplines from biblical studies, social history, practical theology, philosophy, social theory, and aesthetics and bringing them to bear on issues of everyday life, community building, and cultivating movements for justice. At LTS he teaches courses like Pastoral Theology, Jesus and Environmental Justice, Food and Faith, Mystical Theology, and Building Capacity for Transformative Ministry.

His first book is entitled, Exercises in New Creation from Paul to Kierkegaard. This book articulates a vision for philosophical theology around the practices of the care of the self, the city, and creation. His second book, The Green Good News: Christ’s Path to Sustainable and Joyful Life, is an environmental justice reading of the Gospels that is written to bridge scholarly, church, and activist audiences. His third book, Singing the Psalms with My Son: Spiritual Exercises for Climate Crisis (forthcoming 2023) is a collection of theological mediations that look to the Psalms and the practices of parenting as refuge, hope, and transformation in the face of climate change. He is currently working on a project on Christ and the Commons.

In addition to serving at LTS, Dickinson is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is the director of the Green Good News, an organization that is rooted in a number of food justice ministries and which educates, cultivates, and organizes Christian communities to follow the ways of justice, joy, and simplicity. He is also involved in building wider movements to cultivate and connect the Christian food movement, climate justice networks, and the Christian Left. He is chair of the Christ Seminar, a project on Christologies of the People with the Westar Institute, and area editor for ecology and environment for The Bias Magazine.

Contingent Faculty
Bruce Barkhauer

Adjunct Professor of Practice of Ministry

Bruce A. Barkhauer was called as the first “Minister for Faith and Giving for Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” in 2010, after 25 years of parish ministry. Since that time, he has engaged the whole church in conversations about generosity and offered transformative ways for congregations to think about stewardship. His energy, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit enhance gifts in both business and ministry. He brings a biblically based understanding about stewardship combined with theological integrity and weds them to the current trends and best practices related to spirituality and money. He is the author of numerous articles, and books including America’s Holy Ground: 61 Faithful Reflections On Our National Parks (published by Chalice Press, 2019), and Community of Prayer: A Stewardship Devotional. His most recent book, America’s Holy Sites: Faithful Reflections on our National Monuments and Historic Landmarks was released in April of 2020.  He is a graduate of Ohio University (Athens), Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis), and did Doctor of Ministry studies at Ashland Theological Seminary (Ashland, OH). Rev Barkhauer has also earned an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising and is an adjunct professor with both Lexington Theological Seminary, and the IU School of Philanthropy.  He is married to Laura and they share three grown children and three grandchildren.  

Jon Barnes

Jon Barnes has over a decade of international experience, serving in South Africa and Mozambique with Global Ministries (DoC and UCC) and in South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) with the Mennonite Central Committee. Barnes serves LTS as the Program Director for the Pathways for Tomorrow Grant as well as teaching as adjunct faculty. He received a BA from Gardner-Webb University (1993), a MDiv from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (2000), and a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2010) in South Africa.  In addition to numerous journal articles, Barnes is the author of Power and Partnership: A History of the Protestant Mission Movement (Pickwick, 2013) and co-editor of Restoring Dignity, Nourishing Hope: Developing Mutuality in Mission (Pilgrim Press, 2016). More recently, he wrote “Mission and Ministry in the Age of Pandemics,” which appears in Threshold Dwellers in the Age of Global Pandemic (Pickwick, 2022)

 

Donald Brash
Douglas Clark

Douglas H. Brown Clark serves as Adjunct Professor of Church History at Lexington Theological Seminary, and as Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at Wofford College. He has also taught previously at Louisville Seminary. Clark received a BA from Davidson College and an MDiv and PhD from Vanderbilt University. His research focus is American and African American religious history. His current book project, A Solid Black Hyphen: Race, Religion, Identity, and the Black Power Activism of Gayraud S. Wilmore, examines the history of religion in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, especially late 1960s Black clergy advocates for reparations. In addition to his research specialties, he also teaches courses in Christian history and comparative/world religions. Clark chairs the southeast regional AAR’s History of Christianity section, and has directed Wofford’s participation in a community-based learning grant program to promote Covid-19 vaccinations among religious communities. 

Kristel Clayville

Adjunct Professor of Interpreting the Behavior for the Church

Rev. Dr. Kristel Clayville holds a PhD in Religious Ethics from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. She is a Sinai and Synapses Fellow as well as a Senior Fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. Formerly, she was the Acting Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science. Clinically, she works as a chaplain and ethicist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and focuses on the existential and spiritual issues facing organ transplant patients. Kristel’s early research was on the uses of the Hebrew Bible in environmental ethics, especially through the work of Holmes Rolston, III and Hans Jonas. More recently, she has turned toward the intersection between environmental ethics and bioethics to study the green burial movement and organ donation as genres of recycling. She actively pursues clinical research in how patients engage their religions to understand the medical care they are getting and make decisions about it. She is ordained in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.

Richard Coble

Adjunct Professor of Leading the Church through Care

Richard Coble is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and serves Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC as their Associate Pastor of Congregational Care, Education, and Formation. He is the author of many peer reviewed articles and one book, The Chaplain’s Presence and Medical Power: Rethinking Loss in the Hospital System (Lexington Books, 2018). He holds a PhD in Religion, Psychology, and Culture from Vanderbilt University as well as a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. At Lexington, he teaches classes in pastoral care and counseling. 

Christopher Davis

As senior pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church since 2000, Dr. Davis leads one of the most vibrant churches in Memphis.  In the last twenty years, the 145-year-old church has grown from approximately 200 members to over 1800.

A native of Proctor, Arkansas, Dr. Davis was called at the age of twenty-one to preach God’s Word.  He was licensed in the gospel ministry in 1994, and subsequently ordained in 1996.  He graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees from both the University of Arkansas and Arkansas Baptist College.  He earned the Master of Arts in Religion degree (Cum Laude) from Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee.  Rev. Davis received his Doctor of Ministry degree with special emphasis on Preaching and Leadership from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.  He is presently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership from Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Davis has done additional study at Oxford University, Regents Park College, and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.  He also holds the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Arkansas Baptist College.

Dr. Davis has received numerous awards and recognition.  One of the more notable includes being inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers and Collegium of Scholars of Morehouse College.  His sermons, Deliverance Brought by Death and Living on the Left Side of God have been published in the African American Pulpit Journal.  Dr. Davis also previously served as a member of the advisory board of The African American Pulpit.

Dr. Davis presently serves as Interim President of LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis.  He is the former Associate Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry and Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary, Memphis, Tennessee.  His additional commitments include his work as president of the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Inc., member of the Board of Directors for the Rise Foundation, Sisters Network, Inc., the Greater Whitehaven Economic Development Corporation, Board of Trustees of Baptist Health Sciences University, American Baptist College, and West Africa Theological Seminary, Lagos, Nigeria, where he also serves as an adjunct preaching professor.

In addition, Dr. Davis is an avid golfer, spades player, aspiring chef and life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Davis is married to the lovely Rhonda Richardson Davis and together they share five amazing children – Christopher II, Jaden, Allie, Jenna, and Savanna.

Wilson Dickinson

Director of Doctor of Ministry and Lay and Continuing Education Programs

Adjunct Professor of Theology

(859) 280-1219

2011          Ph.D. Syracuse University

2008           M.Phil. Syracuse University

2005           M.Div. Vanderbilt University

2002           B.A. Transylvania University

Dickinson has been teaching at LTS since 2016. Prior to coming to LTS, he was Associate Dean for Religious Life at Transylvania University, where he taught in the Religion, Philosophy, and Environmental Studies programs.

Dickinson is a theologian, organizer, and minister whose work takes place at the intersection of environmental justice and discipleship. He approaches theology through traditions of liberative wisdom—integrating a wide range of disciplines from biblical studies, social history, practical theology, philosophy, social theory, and aesthetics and bringing them to bear on issues of everyday life, community building, and cultivating movements for justice. At LTS he teaches courses like Pastoral Theology, Jesus and Environmental Justice, Food and Faith, Mystical Theology, and Building Capacity for Transformative Ministry.

His first book is entitled, Exercises in New Creation from Paul to Kierkegaard. This book articulates a vision for philosophical theology around the practices of the care of the self, the city, and creation. His second book, The Green Good News: Christ’s Path to Sustainable and Joyful Life, is an environmental justice reading of the Gospels that is written to bridge scholarly, church, and activist audiences. His third book, Singing the Psalms with My Son: Spiritual Exercises for Climate Crisis (forthcoming 2023) is a collection of theological mediations that look to the Psalms and the practices of parenting as refuge, hope, and transformation in the face of climate change. He is currently working on a project on Christ and the Commons.

In addition to serving at LTS, Dickinson is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is the director of the Green Good News, an organization that is rooted in a number of food justice ministries and which educates, cultivates, and organizes Christian communities to follow the ways of justice, joy, and simplicity. He is also involved in building wider movements to cultivate and connect the Christian food movement, climate justice networks, and the Christian Left. He is chair of the Christ Seminar, a project on Christologies of the People with the Westar Institute, and area editor for ecology and environment for The Bias Magazine.

Doris Garcia-Rivera

Academic Coordinator for Pathways for Tomorrow Grant

B.Sc., University of Puerto Rico, 1978

M.Sc., Medical Science University of Puerto Rico, 1981

M.A.R. Andover Newton Theological School, 1988

Ph.D. Boston Theological School, Boston University

 

Rev. Dr. Doris Garcia-Rivera joined the faculty in December 2021 as Professor of Old Testament and Mission and Evangelism in the Certificate in Hispanic Ministries and recently as the Academic Coordinator for Pathways for Tomorrow Grant.

Dr. Garcia-Rivera served as Interim Director of Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz), a nonprofit international peacemaking network of thousands of peacemakers from four member nations – Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States, with connections to South America, Africa and Europe nurturing the organization during the pandemic.

As part of the Hispanic biblical scholars active in Christian missions, theological education, human development and social justice, Doris spent 23 years of missionary service in Central America connecting Indigenous and Central Americans communities with churches and organizations in the U.S. through the International Ministries of American Baptist Churches (IM-ABC). After this transformational time, Doris became the first Hispanic woman to preside (2014-2019) the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico an ATS accredited institution. She brought the seminary back to life after hurricane Maria with the collaboration of multiple reliefs organizations, partner churches, seminaries, and volunteers. She promoted continuing education and improved the seminary’s information technology infrastructure. Doris’ commitments have taken her throughout the United states and Central America as missionary, teacher, international speaker, consultant and board member of higher education accrediting institutions. She is founder of theological schools and programs. Since 1982 Doris has collaborated with a variety of journals and digital spaces sharing valuable biblical and theological knowledge receiving several awards for her writings.

Rev. Garcia-Rivera is an ordained minister of the ABC – Puerto Rican Baptist Churches since 1990. Doris’ interests are in Interculturality, Ancient Near Eastern culture and Prophetic Literature. She enjoys science fiction, writing and hearing music. She is a proud white Afro-descendant Puerto Rican woman and mother of three adults.

Yara González-Justiniano

González-Justiniano, originally from Puerto Rico, completed her doctor of philosophy in practical theology at the School of Theology of Boston University with concentration in church and society this year. In addition, she holds a master of divinity with concentration in community and global engagement, a bachelor of arts in communications, a minor in modern languages, and a minor in theater. Her research interests include Latinx theologies, cultural identity and memory studies, postcolonial theory, popular culture, and popular religion.

González-Justiniano is Under Care with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is in the process of ordination. She also works with different church communities in hopes of maintaining an open dialogue between academic endeavors and the church.

Donald Gillett

Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Leadership

B.S., Jarvis Christian College
M.B.A., Indiana Wesleyan University
D.Min., Lexington Theological Seminary

Reverend Dr. Donald K. Gillett, II, has been the Senior Pastor at East Second Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) since July 1999. Prior to his call to ESSCC, he served as Youth Minister and Associate Minister at Park Manor Christian Church in Chicago.  He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, TX; a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL; a Doctorate of Ministry Degree from Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington ,KY; and a Master of Business Degree from Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN.

Gillett serves as the Chair of the Division of Overseas Ministries board and serves on numerous boards including the Kentucky Council of Churches Executive Board, and the Academy of Preachers Board of Directors. Moreover, he is the immediate past Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in KY.  Gillett and the East Second Street Christian Church have been the recipients of several grants including:  Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Worship, the College of Pastoral Leaders Grant, and the Pastoral Renewal Grant from the Lilly Endowment, to name a few.

Yvonne Gilmore
John H. Hull, Jr.

Adjunct Professor of Hebrew Bible

John Hull has taught Hebrew Bible since 2009. He is Minister Emeritus at Beargrass Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he served as Minister of Faith Development from 1998—2019. An ordained Disciples of Christ minister, he previously served at First Christian Church of Atlanta and Temple City (CA) Christian Church. He has been visiting lecturer in Biblical Studies at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) and has served as contingent faculty at colleges and seminaries in California and Texas.

Dr. Hull’s Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible is from Claremont Graduate University. He also has a M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and a B.A. in biblical studies from Azusa Pacific University.

The areas of the Hebrew Bible in which Dr. Hull specializes include narrative and prophetic literature. At LTS he has taught courses in the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua—Kings), the Prophets, the Book of Amos, and Ruth and Jonah. Dr. Hull has published articles on the books of Judges and Kings.

Dr. Hull is married to the Rev. Dr. Caryn Yoast, who holds a D.Min. from LTS. They now live in Erie, Colorado between Boulder and Denver and have two daughters who also live in Colorado. Dr. Hull enjoys hiking and backpacking, fly fishing, cooking, photography and American and family history. He has great concern for climate and the environment as well as justice. 

William Lee

Adjunct Professor of Leading the Church into Worship

M.Div., Duke University Divinity School (1978)
D. Min., Ashland Theological Seminary (2009)

Dr. Lee holds the B.S. degree from Virginia State University, the M.Div. degree from Duke University Divinity School, and the D.Min. degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.  Dr. Lee is pastor of Loudon Avenue Christian Church, Roanoke, Virginia, a congregation he has led for over 34 years, turning it into a major force for improvement in the city of Roanoke and one of the leading congregations among the Christian Churches in Virginia.  He is also a former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and is vice-moderator of the LTS Board of Trustees. 

Amy Lindeman Allen
Herbert Marbury
Narola Ao McFayden

Adjunct Professor of Leading the Church in Formation

M.Th United Theological College, India

Th.M. Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Ph.D. Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia

Dr. McFayden’s pedagogy is informed by her experience living, learning, and teaching on two continents. In India, she taught at Little Star High School and Trinity Theological College. In the United States, she taught at Union Presbyterian Seminary and Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. She has taught at LTS since 2016.

Dr. McFayden is the author of two books, Traveling in Time with Pioneers of Our Faith (2016) and Mary Mead Clark: Her Life and Legacy (2019). She also has published essays and book reviews in peer-reviewed journals. Her current research focuses on the formative power of rituals, particularly exploring what Christians can learn from rituals of non-Christian religions.

Dr. McFayden is a member of American Academy of Religion; Religious Education Association; and Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry.

Christopher McMahon

M.A., St. Mary’s Seminary and University
Ph.D., The Catholic University of America

Dr. McMahon is Professor of Theology and Saint Vincent College and Seminary in Latrobe, PA. After a stint as an infantryman in the US Army, Dr. McMahon spent five years teaching at the high school level and the next twenty-six years teaching at the college and seminary level. His areas of research include Christology and Ecclesiology, and he is the author and editor of several books, including: Understanding Jesus (2013), Called Together (2011), and Finding Salvation in Christ (2011). Articles and essay appear in New Blackfriars, Revue Biblique, Horizons, The Journal of Moral Theology, and The Heythrop Journal. Additionally, he has served on the editorial boards of both Horizons and The Journal of Moral Theology.

Christy Newton

Adjunct Professor of Social Ethics

B.A., Texas Christian University, 1995

Grad. Dip., Monash University, Melbourne, Aus., 1996

M.Div., Pacific School of Religion, 2000

Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, 2011

Rev. Christy Newton, Ph.D. is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who has served Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ congregations in Arkansas and California for over 25 years.  She has also worked in Church Relations with students and congregations at Chapman University.  Currently, she serves as Executive Director of Disciples Seminary Foundation, supporting the theological formation of students in seminaries in the Western U.S.  Additionally, she leads retreats and teaches a variety of seminary courses in social ethics, pastoral leadership, spirituality, globalization, and culture.

Christy is an alumna of Texas Christian University, Nanzan University (Nagoya, Japan), Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), Pacific School of Religion, and the Graduate Theological Union, where she received her Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary disciplines of theology, globalization, and material culture.

Christy’s ministry and teaching focus on the gritty and tangible work of justice, dynamically translating a prophetic gospel message into languages that diverse people can understand, and using the arts to open up the transformative possibilities of the spirit.  She is energized by practical and public theologies that insist on hospitality, justice, and compassion, and she is inspired to help individuals and communities sustain their prophetic voices in a difficult and polarized world.

 

Francesca Debora Nuzzolese

Rev Dr Francesca Debora Nuzzolese is a pastoral theologian and psychotherapist. She fulfills her calling by engaging the academy, communities of faith, and the humanitarian sector. She has held tenured teaching and research positions in the USA and Australia and is currently involved in psychospiritual and trauma care education in the regions of Europe and the Middle East. Her main teaching areas are pastoral theology, spiritual formation, pastoral care, counseling, and trauma care. She is involved in private psychotherapeutic practice and spiritual direction, and consults with faith based NGOs on sustainability of care for anti-trafficking practitioners and first respondents in the European refugee crisis. 

As a scholar, activist and clergywoman, Dr Nuzzolese is committed to the organic integration of theory and pastoral praxis, holding together issues of faith and social justice through research, advocacy and therapeutic intervention. The current focus of her research is the phenomenon of traumatization in which both humans and the planet are caught, due to the convergence of socio-economic, political and environmental forces. In her upcoming book, The World as a Trauma Zone, she draws from her therapeutic work with victims of labor and sexual exploitation and those who are dislocated due to forced migration to reflect on the impact of trauma in our shared human experience; and seeks to construct a theo-ethical response in the form of creative, radical and uncommon imagination.

Lon Oliver

Dr. Lon Oliver serves as the Executive Director of Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center (AMERC) and the Administrator of Disciples Appalachian Scholarship Ministry.  In addition, Lon serves on the Executive Committee of the Rural Network in the United States and Canada and is the Vice President of the Board of Human Economic Appalachian Development, a nonprofit microbusiness and leadership council.  He is the pastor of Nicholasville Christian Church in Nicholasville.

Lon’s special interests include  Appalachian faith and music, the Second Great Awakening in Kentucky and the retelling of history from the perspective of America’s multicultural society. Lon has his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Lexington Theological Seminary.  He is married to Maria Oliver.  Lon and Maria are the parents of their adult child, David.

Elaine Penagos

Elaine Penagos’s research utilizes art, cultural aesthetic productions, and popular culture to examine how practitioners of Afro-Cuban religions engage in their making of religion. She teaches classes on African heritage religions in the Caribbean and the United States. Her writing has appeared in Genealogy, Practical Matters, the Wabash Center, and the Hispanic Theological Initiative’s Open Plaza. Before joining Trinity University’s department of religion, Penagos received a BA in religious studies from the University of Miami, a MA in religious studies from the University of Denver, and a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion.

Chris Pramuk

Dr. Christopher Pramuk is Regis University Chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination and Professor of Theology, involved with Jesuit mission-related initiatives across the university as well as teaching courses in theology and spirituality. He is the author of seven books, including two award-winning studies of the famed Catholic monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton, as well as Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line, a meditation on race relations in society and church. Chris’s latest book, The Artist Alive: Explorations in Music, Art, and Theology, draws from his many years of using music, poetry, and the arts in the classroom. Chris lectures widely around the country and has led retreats on topics such as racial justice, Ignatian spirituality, and the witness of Thomas Merton. A native of Lexington, Chris is delighted to be invited to teach for Lexington Theological Seminary. 

Chris Rodkey

Adjunct Professor of Religious Education and Theology

Dr. Christopher Rodkey is a public theologian in south-central Pennsylvania, where is he Pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Dallastown, PA. He is a graduate of St. Vincent College (B.A.), the University of Chicago (M.Div.), Meadville Lombard Theological School (D.Min.), and Drew University (Ph.D.). He regularly teaches philosophy at Penn State York, where he was awarded the Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has had extensive training in online pedagogy and course design from Penn State’s Global Campus. He holds lifetime certification as a Specialist in Religious Education from the United Church of Christ and has substantial ministry experience in children’s, youth, and young adult ministries.

Dr. Rodkey’s publications include The Synaptic Gospel (2012), Too Good to be True (2014), The World is Crucifixion (2016), The Palgrave Handbook of Radical Theology (co-editor, 2018), and The Bonhoeffer Chrism Mass (2020), A Kazoo Christmas (2023), and I Know Why There’s Blood in the Nile (2023). He has additionally co-created a series of three devotional coloring books for Chalice Press and was on the revision team for God & Me (2020), one of the scouting awards programs for children from P.R.A.Y. publications. He is currently creating a new translation of G. E. Lessing’s 1780 play, Ernst und Falk.

Jean Soto

I am a native and current resident of the high desert of El Paso, TX. I love the Southwest and the desert!

My academic background is philosophy (MA Boston College, Boston MA) and Theology (PH.D. Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA). I am an interdisciplinary scholar who specializes in relating the fields of Ethics and Spirituality.

I have been adjunct faculty for over 20 years in the Religious Studies Dept. at  Santa Clara University, Ca. both online and on-campus, and have given presentations, workshops and retreats in the US and abroad on a lay Christian formation and climate issues.

My participation in the twice yearly environmental “tUrn” event at Santa Clara University is a source for me of ongoing education and reflection.

Because of the importance of climate change I am currently investigating our relationships with creation in the context of sexual ethics and spiritualty.

In my life and scholarly work, I keep my four daughters, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild in my mind and heart.

I am delighted and honored to be a part the Catholic Studies Program at Lexington Theological Seminary.

Jason Staples

New faculty headshots during orientation, Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Jason Staples, Religion.

Jason A. Staples (PhD, UNC-Chapel Hill) specializes in Early Judaism and New Testament/Early Christianity. He is the author of two books, The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Paul and the Resurrection of Israel (CUP, 2023), and articles in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Harvard Theological ReviewNew Testament StudiesJournal for the Study of the New Testament, the Journal of Religion and Film, and more. In addition to scholarly work, Jason also does voice work and has worked in sports media for over 15 years.

Yvonne Martinez Thorne

Rev. Dr. Yvonne Martinez Thorne is founder and CEO of Cultivating Wholeness Counseling Associates, where “Caring for the Whole Person Matters.” Located in Pennsylvania and Florida, her faith-based practice provides specialized services for ordained clergy and lay leaders.  She also provides secular and faith-based counseling and psychotherapy to adolescents, adults, couples and families across faith, race, and culture.   

Dr. Yvonne Martinez Thorne served as consultant for Area Ministry and Communications for the Philadelphia Baptist Association. In this role she provided regional and pastoral leadership to clergy, lay leaders and congregations.  This included training in strategic planning and team building; strengthening of collaborative partnerships between congregations and the region; strengthening multicultural competence and sensitivity; conflict resolution and crisis intervention; and encouraging of congregational health and wellness. Her work with congregations included a whole-person approach encompassing the development of pastoral and lay leaders.  This method is rooted in her belief that church renewal and challenges facing 21st Century Churches require authentic spiritual and psychological transformation in church leaders and congregations. 

Rev. Martinez Thorne’s commitment to the church continues in her role as consultant to congregations, ecumenical judicatories, and Christian organizations seeking greater wholeness and wellness.  She recently provided disaster relief to clergy and congregations traumatized by natural disasters in Puerto Rico and The Bahamas.  Rev. Martinez Thorne also served in the Baptist World Alliance as Vice Chair of Commission on Christian Ethics, on the Resolutions Committee, and on the Division of Mission, Evangelism, and Theological Reflection.

Rev. Dr. Martinez Thorne is author of several publications and is a frequent platform speaker in the U.S. and abroad.  She currently serves as faculty at Lexington Theological Seminary where she offers courses on clergy wellness and on the importance of healthy boundaries in ministry.  As a multicultural specialist, Dr. Martinez Thorne also provided graduate instruction at seminaries in New Jersey, Kansas and at Hunter College in New York City.  She also provided executive leadership to an ecumenical clergy career center in Missouri and a pastoral counseling center in New Jersey.

Dr. Martinez Thorne holds a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Palmer Theological Seminary and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University.  Rev. Martinez Thorne is ordained clergy of the American Baptist Churches USA.  She is married to Rev. Dr. Leo S. Thorne, former associate general secretary for Mission Resource Development for the American Baptist Churches USA.   

Tamar Wasoian

Adjunct Professor of Church in Formation

Dr. Tamar Wasoian is an Armenian religious educator and practical theologian from Syria. She is an independent scholar and teaches in theological seminaries in the United States and Philippines. 

‘Storied Learning’, nationalism, communal memory, faith, and identity formation are at the core of Tamar’s interests and expertise. She is actively involved with the Armenian community, the Presbyterian Churches (USA), and the Unitarian Universalist Association. 

Courtney Wiley-Harris
Catherine Williams

Dr. Williams is on the faculty at Lancaster Theological Seminary as Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship, and Director of Chapel Worship. She is ordained as an Elder in full connection with the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. A graduate of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Dr. Williams is an accomplished church musician who has taught piano and voice. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from Palmer Theological Seminary, where she also served as an Adjunct Instructor, and a PhD in Homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she taught as a Graduate Instructor. Dr. Williams lives in Lancaster, PA with her husband and adult daughter. Her two major pleasures are tea-drinking and being Nana to her son’s three adorable children.

Theresa A. Yugar

Adjunct Professor of Catholic Ecology

 Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, 2013

 M.Div., Harvard University, 1997

 El Seminario Biblíco Latinoamericano, 1993-1994

Fulbright Scholar

Theresa A. Yugar is a Peruvian American scholar in religion whose scholarly focus is on women, ecology, and climate change on a global level. She is a graduate of Harvard University with a master’s degree in Feminist Theology and has a PhD from Claremont Graduate University in the field of Women Studies in Religion. Her research interests include creating counter narratives in course curriculum, reclaiming the native indigenous cosmology within a Buen Vivir ecological framework, reimagining Andean colonial frameworks, and reflecting on 17th century Novohispaña Latina woman Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in a contemporary U.S. context in light of multi-cultural feminist voices on climate change.

 Yugar is the Chief Editor for the book, Valuing Lives, Healing Earth: Religion, Gender, and Life on Earth and author of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Feminist Reconstruction of Biography and Text. She is the scriptwriter for the TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing, History’s Worst Nun, which has been viewed nine million times since its publication in November 2019. She has also been recognized by The Peruvian Consulate in Lima with a diploma for organizing the Santo Niño de la Mascaipacha (Holy Child of Cuzco) cultural event at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, in Los Angeles, which reclaims the “ancestral cult of the Andes Peruvians.”

Staff

Every member of the Lexington Theological Seminary’s staff is dedicated to supporting our students in their academic journey. The Seminary is proud of its community of highly trained professionals and they look forwarded to helping you with questions and solutions every step of the way, from inquiry through graduation.

Officers
Charisse Gillett

President
(859) 280-1230

Dr. Charisse L. Gillett became the 17th president of Lexington Theological Seminary in September 2011.

She has more than 20 years of successful administrative experience in higher education, including service at Transylvania University, Midway College, Robert Morris College and the University of Northern Iowa. She holds a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.

A former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has been a commissioned minister of the Christian Church In Kentucky since August 2010 and is Associate Minister at East Second Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where her husband, LTS D.Min. alumnus Dr. Donald K. Gillett, II, serves as Senior Pastor. Dr. Gillett served as Vice President of Administration and Special Projects at the Seminary prior to her appointment as president. She is also a former LTS trustee and officer of the Board of Trustees. She is a member Board of Directors for the ATS Board and the In Trust Center.  

Dr. Gillett is deeply committed to the church and the work of the Seminary in shaping students for ministry. An energetic and dedicated leader, she works closely with a team of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and congregations to grow the Seminary’s new program, which is designed to serve the needs of the church while continuing the Seminary’s storied history of shaping people for ministry.

Dr. Gillett received a $15,000 Reflective Leadership grant from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity in 2018 to think carefully about leading in the midst of crisis.  

Dr. Gillett’s appointment is an historic one in the 146-year history of the Seminary.

She is the first woman and first African-American to lead the Seminary as president.

Loida Martell

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean and Professor of Constructive Theology

(859) 280-1256

B.Sc., University of Puerto Rico, 1975
DVM, Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, 1979
M.Div., Andover Newton Theological School, 1990
M.Phil., Fordham University, 2000
Ph.D., Fordham University, 2005

 

The Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell joined the faculty in August of 2017. Prior to that, she was Professor of Constructive Theology at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Martell is a licensed doctor in veterinary medicine as well as an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches/ USA. She is a bi-coastal Puerto Rican who has taught in various institutions of higher learning including Gordon Conwell’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education in Boston, and the University of Puerto Rico’s College of Allied Health Professionals. She pastored in New York City for 15 years, and served as President of the Board of American Baptist Churches/ Metro New York City from 1994–1996.

Dr. Martell pioneered the study of evángelica theology. She has published articles on evangélica soteriology, Christology, doctrine of God, eschatology, Scriptural hermeneutics, globalization, embodiment, and vocation. Her research on Taíno religious beliefs led to the publication of “My GPS Doesn’t Work in Puerto Rico,” on evangélica spirituality. She co-edited Teología en Conjunto: A Collaborative Hispanic Protestant Theology (1997), and more recently co-authored the well-received Latina Evangélicas: A Theological Survey from the Margins (2013).

Dr. Martell is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. As a member of the American Academy of Religion, she currently serves as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion. She was appointed to represent the American Baptist Churches/ USA on the National Council of Churches Convening Table for Theological Studies and Matters of Faith and Reason. The American Baptist Home Missions Societies awarded her the 2015 Richard Hoiland Christian Education Award, its highest recognition for “faithful and effective leadership in Christian education,” for her long-standing work in nurturing culturally and racially diverse classrooms and for exceptional leadership.

Dr. Martell is an avid amateur photographer.

Mark V. Blankenship

Vice President for Advancement
(859) 280-1250

Transylvania University, B.A. Psychology 1981

University of Kentucky, M.S. Educational Policy Analysis 1992

Mr. Blankenship appointment began in November 2011.  He previously served in a variety of advancement roles in admissions, alumni relations and fundraising for his alma mater, Transylvania University since 1983.  In his service to the Seminary, Mr. Blankenship serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement providing leadership for fundraising, alumni relations, church, and community outreach.  He works with the President and executive leadership to address issues of institutional leadership and governance.

Mr. Blankenship is a founding member of Twin Pines Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Lexington, Kentucky.  He has actively participated in the life of the congregation as has his three children and spouse, Kim.  Mr. Blankenship serves as a Sunday morning teacher and elder for the congregation.  His past roles range from congregational board chair to deacon and committee leadership.

Professionally, Mr. Blankenship is a current member of the Association of Theological Schools Development Officers, Council for the Advancement of Education, Charitable Gift Planners, Central Kentucky Planned Giving Council & Board of Directors, Association of Fundraising Professional, Bluegrass Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Karen Wagers

Chief Financial Officer
(859) 280-1236

Staff
Deena Ainslie

Administrative Assistant to the VP of Advancement and Database Manager

Katherine Alexander

Rev. Katherine Raley Alexander is the Director of Alumni and Church Relations. Rev. Alexander came to LTS in January 2018 as the Advancement Associate and began in her current position in January 2021. Prior to her ministry with LTS, she served as Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Columbia, SC. Previously, she served as the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Colorado Springs, Colo. Rev. Alexander studied ministry and social work at the University of Chicago, where she received a joint Master of Arts in Social Service Administration and Master of Divinity in 2012. She is married to Nathan Alexander and they live in Georgetown, KY, where they attend First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with their two sons, Parker and Michael.

Jon Barnes

Jon Barnes has over a decade of international experience, serving in South Africa and Mozambique with Global Ministries (DoC and UCC) and in South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) with the Mennonite Central Committee. Barnes serves LTS as the Program Director for the Pathways for Tomorrow Grant as well as teaching as adjunct faculty. He received a BA from Gardner-Webb University (1993), a MDiv from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (2000), and a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2010) in South Africa.  In addition to numerous journal articles, Barnes is the author of Power and Partnership: A History of the Protestant Mission Movement (Pickwick, 2013) and co-editor of Restoring Dignity, Nourishing Hope: Developing Mutuality in Mission (Pilgrim Press, 2016). More recently, he wrote “Mission and Ministry in the Age of Pandemics” for the recently released book Threshold Dwellers in the Age of Global Pandemic (Pickwick, 2022).

Kris Bentley

Project Director, Bi-Vocational Ministry Research

Rev. Dr. Kristen Bentley began working at LTS in 2014 when LTS was awarded a grant by Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of its Theological Schools Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers (ECFFM). Kris directed the Conversations on Stewardship and Finances Project at LTS from 2014 through 2020 and currently directs the Thriving in Ministry Project, also funded by Lilly Endowment.  In both projects, Kris has guided a research project at LTS regarding bi-vocational ministry, serving as the lead researcher.

An ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kris served in congregational ministry in the central Kentucky area for nearly twenty years, sometimes in the role of a bi-vocational pastor.  Prior to attending seminary, she worked in higher education administration, serving at both Midway College (now Midway University) and the University of Kentucky.
Kris is an alum of Lexington Theological Seminary, holding a D.Min. (2020) and M.Div. degree (1997) from LTS, as well as a M.S. in Education (1981) from Indiana University, and a B.A. (1979) from the University of Kentucky.  Kris and her husband, Perry, live in the Lexington area and are active members of their local congregation.  They have four children – Joshua, Kathryn, John, and Jasmine.

Mark V. Blankenship

Vice President for Advancement
(859) 280-1250

Transylvania University, B.A. Psychology 1981

University of Kentucky, M.S. Educational Policy Analysis 1992

Mr. Blankenship appointment began in November 2011.  He previously served in a variety of advancement roles in admissions, alumni relations and fundraising for his alma mater, Transylvania University since 1983.  In his service to the Seminary, Mr. Blankenship serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement providing leadership for fundraising, alumni relations, church, and community outreach.  He works with the President and executive leadership to address issues of institutional leadership and governance.

Mr. Blankenship is a founding member of Twin Pines Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Lexington, Kentucky.  He has actively participated in the life of the congregation as has his three children and spouse, Kim.  Mr. Blankenship serves as a Sunday morning teacher and elder for the congregation.  His past roles range from congregational board chair to deacon and committee leadership.

Professionally, Mr. Blankenship is a current member of the Association of Theological Schools Development Officers, Council for the Advancement of Education, Charitable Gift Planners, Central Kentucky Planned Giving Council & Board of Directors, Association of Fundraising Professional, Bluegrass Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown joined our staff in 2021 as the Social Media Manager for Lexington Theological Seminary. Brown posts, tweets, and shares all things LTS. Her goal is to be a friendly voice to educate, engage, and grow our tight knit community on all social media platforms. Brown graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree from Southeast Missouri State University with a double communications emphasis in Advertising and Film & Television.

 Before coming to LTS, Brown served as a Video Production Coordinator for St. Charles County Government working to earn over a million video views online in a single year, and a Video Technician for the City of St. Peters, Missouri creating unique, quality content for residents along with livestreaming board meetings and other events.

 When Brown isn’t clicking away creating content and sharing information, you can find her cuddled up on the couch with her cat and Pomeranian and playing video games with her partner, Montana.

Shelby Brown

Shelby Brown is the Instructional Technology Assistant (ITA) at Lexington Theological Seminary. She assists the Instructional Designer/Technologist and provides support for several of our continuing education initiatives. Shelby’s experiences have taken her from delivering help to fellow congregants at her home church to a job with her local community bank helping to generate profit through the creation of commercials and assistance with their robust banking systems. When Shelby is not connecting with students, or helping students connect through technology, she enjoys spending time with her family, her dog, Oakley, and staying ahead of her school work.

Erin Cash

Rev. Erin Cash is Project Director of the Thriving Congregations Project at LTS.  Prior to serving in this role, she spent 8.5 years as Director of Admissions.  Erin holds her M. Div. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  She is a current student in the LTS D.Min. program.

Wilson Dickinson

Director of Doctor of Ministry and Lay and Continuing Education Programs

Adjunct Professor of Theology

(859) 280-1219

2011          Ph.D. Syracuse University

2008           M.Phil. Syracuse University

2005           M.Div. Vanderbilt University

2002           B.A. Transylvania University

Dickinson has been teaching at LTS since 2016. Prior to coming to LTS, he was Associate Dean for Religious Life at Transylvania University, where he taught in the Religion, Philosophy, and Environmental Studies programs.

Dickinson is a theologian, organizer, and minister whose work takes place at the intersection of environmental justice and discipleship. He approaches theology through traditions of liberative wisdom—integrating a wide range of disciplines from biblical studies, social history, practical theology, philosophy, social theory, and aesthetics and bringing them to bear on issues of everyday life, community building, and cultivating movements for justice. At LTS he teaches courses like Pastoral Theology, Jesus and Environmental Justice, Food and Faith, Mystical Theology, and Building Capacity for Transformative Ministry.

His first book is entitled, Exercises in New Creation from Paul to Kierkegaard. This book articulates a vision for philosophical theology around the practices of the care of the self, the city, and creation. His second book, The Green Good News: Christ’s Path to Sustainable and Joyful Life, is an environmental justice reading of the Gospels that is written to bridge scholarly, church, and activist audiences. His third book, Singing the Psalms with My Son: Spiritual Exercises for Climate Crisis (forthcoming 2023) is a collection of theological mediations that look to the Psalms and the practices of parenting as refuge, hope, and transformation in the face of climate change. He is currently working on a project on Christ and the Commons.

In addition to serving at LTS, Dickinson is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is the director of the Green Good News, an organization that is rooted in a number of food justice ministries and which educates, cultivates, and organizes Christian communities to follow the ways of justice, joy, and simplicity. He is also involved in building wider movements to cultivate and connect the Christian food movement, climate justice networks, and the Christian Left. He is chair of the Christ Seminar, a project on Christologies of the People with the Westar Institute, and area editor for ecology and environment for The Bias Magazine.

Doris Garcia-Rivera

Academic Coordinator for Pathways for Tomorrow Grant

B.Sc., University of Puerto Rico, 1978

M.Sc., Medical Science University of Puerto Rico, 1981

M.A.R. Andover Newton Theological School, 1988

Ph.D. Boston Theological School, Boston University

 

Rev. Dr. Doris Garcia-Rivera joined the faculty in December 2021 as Professor of Old Testament and Mission and Evangelism in the Certificate in Hispanic Ministries and recently as the Academic Coordinator for Pathways for Tomorrow Grant.

Dr. Garcia-Rivera served as Interim Director of Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA-Bautistas por la Paz), a nonprofit international peacemaking network of thousands of peacemakers from four member nations – Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States, with connections to South America, Africa and Europe nurturing the organization during the pandemic.

As part of the Hispanic biblical scholars active in Christian missions, theological education, human development and social justice, Doris spent 23 years of missionary service in Central America connecting Indigenous and Central Americans communities with churches and organizations in the U.S. through the International Ministries of American Baptist Churches (IM-ABC). After this transformational time, Doris became the first Hispanic woman to preside (2014-2019) the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico an ATS accredited institution. She brought the seminary back to life after hurricane Maria with the collaboration of multiple reliefs organizations, partner churches, seminaries, and volunteers. She promoted continuing education and improved the seminary’s information technology infrastructure. Doris’ commitments have taken her throughout the United states and Central America as missionary, teacher, international speaker, consultant and board member of higher education accrediting institutions. She is founder of theological schools and programs. Since 1982 Doris has collaborated with a variety of journals and digital spaces sharing valuable biblical and theological knowledge receiving several awards for her writings.

Rev. Garcia-Rivera is an ordained minister of the ABC – Puerto Rican Baptist Churches since 1990. Doris’ interests are in Interculturality, Ancient Near Eastern culture and Prophetic Literature. She enjoys science fiction, writing and hearing music. She is a proud white Afro-descendant Puerto Rican woman and mother of three adults.

Charisse Gillett

President
(859) 280-1230

Dr. Charisse L. Gillett became the 17th president of Lexington Theological Seminary in September 2011.

She has more than 20 years of successful administrative experience in higher education, including service at Transylvania University, Midway College, Robert Morris College and the University of Northern Iowa. She holds a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.

A former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has been a commissioned minister of the Christian Church In Kentucky since August 2010 and is Associate Minister at East Second Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), where her husband, LTS D.Min. alumnus Dr. Donald K. Gillett, II, serves as Senior Pastor. Dr. Gillett served as Vice President of Administration and Special Projects at the Seminary prior to her appointment as president. She is also a former LTS trustee and officer of the Board of Trustees. She is a member Board of Directors for the ATS Board and the In Trust Center.  

Dr. Gillett is deeply committed to the church and the work of the Seminary in shaping students for ministry. An energetic and dedicated leader, she works closely with a team of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and congregations to grow the Seminary’s new program, which is designed to serve the needs of the church while continuing the Seminary’s storied history of shaping people for ministry.

Dr. Gillett received a $15,000 Reflective Leadership grant from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity in 2018 to think carefully about leading in the midst of crisis.  

Dr. Gillett’s appointment is an historic one in the 146-year history of the Seminary.

She is the first woman and first African-American to lead the Seminary as president.

Dominique Highfil

Dominique Highfil is the resident guru for all things tech related at Lexington Theological Seminary. From instructional technology and communication, infrastructure technologies, to instructional design, Highfil provides leadership and guidance for the upkeep of our innovative, robust, and secure information technology environment. Prior to joining LTS in June 2018, Highfil served as the global Education & Development Manager at a private corporation in Lexington. During this time, Highfil gained a healthy appreciation for research pertaining to different pedagogical approaches and honed her philosophy of committing to continuous improvement, growth, and development in instructional design knowledge and skills. She joined LTS from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System Office in Versailles where she spent her time auditing courses using research evidence to create and validate rubrics and standards to ensure quality courses were delivered using current best practices.
Highfil holds a master’s degree in Instructional Systems Design, graduate certificate in distance education, B.A. in Psychology, and a CBA in Innovative Leadership. Her graduate work focused not only on gathering, analyzing, and using educational data in distance learning design, but also the role of education in a culturally diverse society and the role of technology in the practice of teaching. With the rapid progression of AI technology in learning and development, Highfil is currently exploring the research of adaptive learning and AI tool driven formative evaluation and assessment to enhance the student learning experience.
When Highfil isn’t using systematic methodology and instructional theory to create content for courses, or playing with the latest ed tech gadgets, she enjoys spending time at her home, which she fondly refers to as the Happy Highfil Hound House.

Taylor Kimberlain

Taylor Kimberlain has joined LTS as an Advancement Associate to help with funding and a capital campaign. She comes to LTS with a background in several client management positions, including: working with Medicaid as an outreach coordinator, as a client navigator for a rehabilitation clinic, and as a crisis counselor for a non-profit. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Studies and a Master’s in Public Administration. She has lived in several different parts of the country, but has called Lexington home for the past ten years. She lives here with her two daughters, two dogs, and a cat.

Loida Martell

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean and Professor of Constructive Theology

(859) 280-1256

B.Sc., University of Puerto Rico, 1975
DVM, Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, 1979
M.Div., Andover Newton Theological School, 1990
M.Phil., Fordham University, 2000
Ph.D., Fordham University, 2005

 

The Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell joined the faculty in August of 2017. Prior to that, she was Professor of Constructive Theology at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Martell is a licensed doctor in veterinary medicine as well as an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches/ USA. She is a bi-coastal Puerto Rican who has taught in various institutions of higher learning including Gordon Conwell’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education in Boston, and the University of Puerto Rico’s College of Allied Health Professionals. She pastored in New York City for 15 years, and served as President of the Board of American Baptist Churches/ Metro New York City from 1994–1996.

Dr. Martell pioneered the study of evángelica theology. She has published articles on evangélica soteriology, Christology, doctrine of God, eschatology, Scriptural hermeneutics, globalization, embodiment, and vocation. Her research on Taíno religious beliefs led to the publication of “My GPS Doesn’t Work in Puerto Rico,” on evangélica spirituality. She co-edited Teología en Conjunto: A Collaborative Hispanic Protestant Theology (1997), and more recently co-authored the well-received Latina Evangélicas: A Theological Survey from the Margins (2013).

Dr. Martell is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. As a member of the American Academy of Religion, she currently serves as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion. She was appointed to represent the American Baptist Churches/ USA on the National Council of Churches Convening Table for Theological Studies and Matters of Faith and Reason. The American Baptist Home Missions Societies awarded her the 2015 Richard Hoiland Christian Education Award, its highest recognition for “faithful and effective leadership in Christian education,” for her long-standing work in nurturing culturally and racially diverse classrooms and for exceptional leadership.

Dr. Martell is an avid amateur photographer.

Stephanie Moon

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Moon is the Interim Director of Admissions as of June 1, 2022. She is proud to serve Lexington Theological Seminary where she acquired her Master of Divinity (2009) and Doctor of Ministry (2022). Her doctoral project was titled “Helping the Small, Rural Church Find Its Power and Create Change,” and the church continues this project of feeding residents of the community fresh produce gleaned from local farmers. She leads North Middletown Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), sings in the Lexington Singers, and enjoys spending time with her husband, Steven, son, Chris, and their three dogs. Prior to going into licensed and ordained ministry, Stephanie taught music in the public schools (1997-2000) and academic intervention for children with language-based learning disorders at The Swift School in Marietta, Georgia (2000-2006). She received her Bachelor of Music from Berry College and her Master of Music Education from Bowling Green State University.

Jaime Mulloy

Interim Registrar

Jaime Willoughby Mulloy has served as the Executive Assistant to the President at Lexington Theological Seminary for 15 years. She has recently stepped into the role of Interim Registrar. Jaime resides in Lexington, KY and has two daughters; Mackenzie (14) and Piper (7).  She holds a bachelors degree in Business Management from the University of Kentucky.

Lon Oliver

Dr. Lon Oliver serves as the Executive Director of Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center (AMERC) and the Administrator of Disciples Appalachian Scholarship Ministry.  In addition, Lon serves on the Executive Committee of the Rural Network in the United States and Canada and is the Vice President of the Board of Human Economic Appalachian Development, a nonprofit microbusiness and leadership council.  He is the pastor of Nicholasville Christian Church in Nicholasville.

Lon’s special interests include  Appalachian faith and music, the Second Great Awakening in Kentucky and the retelling of history from the perspective of America’s multicultural society. Lon has his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Lexington Theological Seminary.  He is married to Maria Oliver.  Lon and Maria are the parents of their adult child, David.

Kimberley Proctor-White

Admissions Associate

Rev. Kimberley Proctor-White is a native of Bowling Green, KY, and currently resides in Nashville, TN. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Lindsey Wilson College, a Master of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary, and a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Revered Proctor-White is also a National Board-Certified Counselor.

Kimberley was ordained in 2011 by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and in 2014 by Temple Church Inc. of Nashville, TN. She is a talented performing artist with a love for singing, acting, dancing, and writing. In 2009, she was inducted as a charter member into the Academy of Preachers. Her sermon ‘Alabaster Box’ was published in “A Beautiful Thing: Sermons from the Inaugural Festival of Young Preachers” by Lee Huckleberry (Chalice Press: 2010).

Kimberley and her husband, Java, are the proud parents of twin daughters and love serving in ministry together. She is truly passionate about what she does, and welcomes every opportunity that she has to do GREAT things to build God’s Kingdom.

Tanya Tyler

Rev. Tanya J. Tyler is a 2006 graduate of Lexington Theological Seminary and a 1981 graduate of Rockford College (now University) in Rockford, IL. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has served churches in Burgin, Smithfield, London and Lexington, KY, and Sterling, IL. She was the founding pastor of Chalice Christian Church, a new church start in London, KY, that was established in 2012. She was called as minister of First Christian Church in Ruidoso, NM, in November 2019.

She was formerly the coordinator of the Clergy Mentoring Program at LTS and currently serves as Director of Communications for the Seminary. She was moderator of the Christian Church in Kentucky from 2008-12. She has served on the Steering Committee for the Process of Discernment of Racism in North America for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and on the Board of Directors for Chalice Press, Christian Care Communities, the Christian Church Foundation, and the Center for Faith and Giving. She also serves on the editorial board of Just Women magazine. She previously worked in the Classified and Promotion/Advertising Creative Services departments at the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper and is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in DisciplesWorld and Just Women and other local and national publications, as well as Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Robin Varner

Business Office Manager
(859) 280-1242

Karen Wagers

Chief Financial Officer
(859) 280-1236

Maryann Wellman

Accreditation Liaison

(859) 280-1240

Katie Wolsky

Interim Librarian

Metadata and Course Reserves Manager
(859) 280-1229

Katie Wolsky began work at LTS back when she was still a student at University of Kentucky before graduating with a BA in Fine Arts and a Masters in Library and Information Science.  Her main responsibilities include maintaining the library’s journal collection, managing interlibrary loans, and other student/faculty services.  In her off-time, she enjoys reading books, watching movies, and listening to music.  She also enjoys spending time with her family including her many nieces and nephews.

Dolores Yilibuw

Library Director
(859) 280-1224

Ms. Dolores Yilibuw joined the LTS Team in 2011 to provide a successful logistical plan to relocate the library collection. During the physical relocation planning, she also successfully migrated the library catalog to a cloud-based system to suit an online seminary.  Dolores gravitated to LTS not just because of the mentioned challenges but because of its intentionally ecumenical and practical program. She not only directs the library but does all the library technology. To keep life interesting, she is enrolled in the Creation Care Certificate program.

Before coming to LTS, Ms. Yilibuw was a team leader librarian at EKU and  a library paraprofessional at Emory University Libraries, where she received the Emory Libraries Significant Contribution Award for Creative Initiative in 2006. While there, she acquired an M.S.L.I.S. degree from FSU online. Ms. Yilibuw also earned an M.A.R. degree from Emory School of Arts and Sciences, and a Th.M. degree from Candler School of Theology.

Additional previous careers were with the United Bible Societies of the Asia-Pacific region as a bible translator and translation project coordinator in Micronesia (where she is a native). Ms. Yilibuw also earned a M.Div. degree from Asian Theological Seminary in the Philippines. After getting her B.A. degree from Asbury College (now University) she also served as a high school teacher in the Republic of Palau.

She has taught at Reinhardt College (now University), the University of Kentucky, and has co-taught the Three Rs of Seminary at LTS in the past. Ms. Yilibuw has also dabbled in publishing with an article titled “Tampering with Bible Translation in Yap” appearing in Semeia, a cutting-edge journal in Biblical Studies. Her article was recently republished in a new monograph series called “Indigenous Literatures from Micronesia”. Since her career in librarianship, she has published in the ATLA Conference Proceedings and has presented in state and regional library conferences.

Ms. Yilibuw is a member of the American Library Association. She represents LTS to the American Theological Library Association of which LTS is a co-founder. Dolores also represents LTS to the Digital Theological Library of which LTS is a co-owner. The DTL was created in 2016 by Claremont School of Theology with LTS being the first non-founding member. Today the DTL consists of 40 institutional members.

When Dolores was a young child, she often sat on the beach in her village and gazed at the horizon wondering how she might get through it to the other side.  She left Yap for college at age 17, and though she often visits her clans and family back home, she has only lived one solid year of her adult life in Yap. Subsequently, she is looking forward to retirement where she plans to return to the other side of the horizon for a potential fourth career.

Doctor of Ministry Readers

Roster of DMin Project Advisors and Readers

Robert Baker
Jon Barnes

Jon Barnes has over a decade of international experience, serving in South Africa and Mozambique with Global Ministries (DoC and UCC) and in South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) with the Mennonite Central Committee. Barnes serves LTS as the Program Director for the Pathways for Tomorrow Grant as well as teaching as adjunct faculty. He received a BA from Gardner-Webb University (1993), a MDiv from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (2000), and a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2010) in South Africa.  In addition to numerous journal articles, Barnes is the author of Power and Partnership: A History of the Protestant Mission Movement (Pickwick, 2013) and co-editor of Restoring Dignity, Nourishing Hope: Developing Mutuality in Mission (Pilgrim Press, 2016). More recently, he wrote “Mission and Ministry in the Age of Pandemics” for the recently released book Threshold Dwellers in the Age of Global Pandemic (Pickwick, 2022).

 

Joseph Blosser

Rev. Dr. Joe Blosser is the Chief Impact Officer for the Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation. He previously served as the founding Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy at High Point University.

He received his Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from the University of Chicago, M.Div. at Vanderbilt University, and his B.S. at Texas Christian University. He is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He joined the HPU faculty after teaching at the University of Chicago and DePaul University.  He primarily taught in the areas of Business Ethics, Educational Ethics, Christian Theology, and Civic Responsibility and Social Innovation.

Dr. Blosser’s academic work specializes in the ethical implications of economic theory and Christian theology for community transformation.  He has published articles in the Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Journal of Religious Ethics, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory, Encounter, Homiletic, and Religious Studies Review. His book, Beyond Good Intentions, is due out in 2024 with Orbis Press.

Joe has chaired numerous nonprofit boards in High Point, NC. He current serves on the boards of the Guilford Educational Alliance, High Point Community Foundation, and High Point Regional/Atrium Health Medical Center. He also chairs the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. He was awarded the “Spirit of Advocacy” by the United Way of Greater High Point in 2015, named the “Community Partner of the Year” for Communities in Schools in 2018, and was the inaugural recipient of the Spirit of High Point University Award in 2018.

Dr. Blosser attends Emerywood Baptist Church with his wife Dr. Allie Blosser, who is the academic dean at New Garden Friends School, and their two kids, Seth and Beatrice. He and his family reside in High Point.

Kristel Clayville

Adjunct Professor of Interpreting the Behavior for the Church

Rev. Dr. Kristel Clayville holds a PhD in Religious Ethics from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. She is a Sinai and Synapses Fellow as well as a Senior Fellow at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. Formerly, she was the Acting Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science. Clinically, she works as a chaplain and ethicist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and focuses on the existential and spiritual issues facing organ transplant patients. Kristel’s early research was on the uses of the Hebrew Bible in environmental ethics, especially through the work of Holmes Rolston, III and Hans Jonas. More recently, she has turned toward the intersection between environmental ethics and bioethics to study the green burial movement and organ donation as genres of recycling. She actively pursues clinical research in how patients engage their religions to understand the medical care they are getting and make decisions about it. She is ordained in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.

Jean Hawxhurst
John H. Hull, Jr.

Adjunct Professor of Hebrew Bible

John Hull has taught Hebrew Bible since 2009. He is Minister Emeritus at Beargrass Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he served as Minister of Faith Development from 1998—2019. An ordained Disciples of Christ minister, he previously served at First Christian Church of Atlanta and Temple City (CA) Christian Church. He has been visiting lecturer in Biblical Studies at Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) and has served as contingent faculty at colleges and seminaries in California and Texas.

Dr. Hull’s Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible is from Claremont Graduate University. He also has a M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and a B.A. in biblical studies from Azusa Pacific University.

The areas of the Hebrew Bible in which Dr. Hull specializes include narrative and prophetic literature. At LTS he has taught courses in the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua—Kings), the Prophets, the Book of Amos, and Ruth and Jonah. Dr. Hull has published articles on the books of Judges and Kings.

Dr. Hull is married to the Rev. Dr. Caryn Yoast, who holds a D.Min. from LTS. They now live in Erie, Colorado between Boulder and Denver and have two daughters who also live in Colorado. Dr. Hull enjoys hiking and backpacking, fly fishing, cooking, photography and American and family history. He has great concern for climate and the environment as well as justice. 

Deborah Kaiser-Cross
William Lee

Adjunct Professor of Leading the Church into Worship

M.Div., Duke University Divinity School (1978)
D. Min., Ashland Theological Seminary (2009)

Dr. Lee holds the B.S. degree from Virginia State University, the M.Div. degree from Duke University Divinity School, and the D.Min. degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.  Dr. Lee is pastor of Loudon Avenue Christian Church, Roanoke, Virginia, a congregation he has led for over 34 years, turning it into a major force for improvement in the city of Roanoke and one of the leading congregations among the Christian Churches in Virginia.  He is also a former moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and is vice-moderator of the LTS Board of Trustees. 

Susan Lowe
Nathl Moore

Rev. Dr. Nathl L. Moore is a native of Huntsville, AL and is the son of Harold and Delois Moore. He is married to the former Evelyn Faye Scott, a native of Pittsburgh, PA and is the father of four and the grandfather of five.

 In May 1996, Rev. Moore graduated from Tuskegee University, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science. In May 2011, received his Master of Divinity Degree from Lexington Theological Seminary, and received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio in May 2017.

 Dr. Moore is the former Moderator of the Consolidated Baptist District Association and presently serves as the 1st Vice Moderator of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Lexington Theological Seminary and as a DMin Advisor/Reader for the Doctor of Ministry program. He is presently a Co-Chair of the Lexington-based social justice organization BUILD which stands for Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-action. Pastor Moore is also a member of the Black Faith Leaders of Lexington and Vicinity.

 Rev. Moore is the 14th pastor of First African Baptist Church (FABC), Lexington, KY. He accepted the call on June 27, 2009. FABC’s mission is to be “The Church In The Community For The Hearts Of The Community.” The 4 Steps to achieving the mission is to be A Hospitable Church, A Holy Church, A Healthy Church and A Helping Church.

Christy Newton

Adjunct Professor of Social Ethics

B.A., Texas Christian University, 1995

Grad. Dip., Monash University, Melbourne, Aus., 1996

M.Div., Pacific School of Religion, 2000

Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, 2011

Rev. Dr. Christy Newton received her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in the interdisciplinary disciplines of theology, globalization, and material culture.  She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, and she has served Disciples and United Church of Christ congregations in Arkansas and California for over 20 years.  She also worked in campus ministry/church relations at Chapman University in Orange, California. 

Currently, she serves as the Senior Minister of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Vallejo, California, and she teaches online courses in social ethics, practical theology, and spirituality for Lexington Theological Seminary and Pacific School of Religion.

Her ministry and teaching focus on the gritty, tangible intersections of embodying justice, translating a prophetic gospel message into widely-accessible language and action, and using the arts to open up the deeply transformative possibilities of the spirit.  She is energized by practical and public theologies that insist on hospitality and compassion, and she is inspired to help individuals and communities find ways to sustain their prophetic voices in a difficult and polarized world.

John Opsata

Adjunct Professor of Worship

M.C.M. (Church Music), Southern Seminary in Louisville

M.Div., Southern Seminary in Louisville

Ph.D., (Liturgical Studies) Drew University in Madison, New Jersey

The Rev. Dr. John T. Opsata is the senior minister of First Christian Church, Frankfort, Kentucky. Before that he was the pastor of Lakewood Christian Church (Lakewood, OH), and North Middletown Christian Church (North Middletown, KY), as well as associate pastor of Jeffersontown Christian Church (Jeffersontown, KY). He holds a Ph.D. in liturgical studies from Drew University where he wrote his dissertation on “Order at the Table: Lord’s Supper Services in the Disciples of Christ 1883-1960.” Before entering the ministry he had a career as a choir director and minister of music. He teaches preaching and worship in the Lay School of Ministry of the Christian Church in Kentucky, and has written a variety of worship aids, especially related to music in worship.

Christopher Rodkey

Adjunct Professor of Religious Education and Theology

Dr. Christopher Rodkey is a public theologian in south-central Pennsylvania, where is he Pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Dallastown, PA. He is a graduate of St. Vincent College (B.A.), the University of Chicago (M.Div.), Meadville Lombard Theological School (D.Min.), and Drew University (Ph.D.). He regularly teaches philosophy at Penn State York, where he was awarded the Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has had extensive training in online pedagogy and course design from Penn State’s Global Campus. He holds lifetime certification as a Specialist in Religious Education from the United Church of Christ and has substantial ministry experience in children’s, youth, and young adult ministries.

Dr. Rodkey’s publications include The Synaptic Gospel (2012), Too Good to be True (2014), The World is Crucifixion (2016), The Palgrave Handbook of Radical Theology (co-editor, 2018), and The Bonhoeffer Chrism Mass (2020). He has additionally co-created a series of three devotional coloring books for Chalice Press and was on the revision team for God & Me (2020), one of the scouting awards programs for children from P.R.A.Y. publications. He currently is a recipient of a research grant from The Louisville Institute on contemporary confirmation practices in the American church.

Juan Rodriguez
Rochelle Stackhouse

Adjunct Professor of Worship and Preaching
M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
Ph.D., Drew University

Since 2006 Rev. Dr. Rochelle Stackhouse has been the pastor of the Church of the Redeemer UCC in New Haven, CT, and since her ordination by the United Church of Christ in 1982, she has served churches in rural Michigan, just outside New York City, suburban Massachusetts, and interims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in Liturgical Studies from Drew University (NJ) and has taught as an adjunct at Lancaster, New Brunswick, Hartford, Moravian and Yale seminaries/divinity schools. She thinks preaching is one of the most fun things she gets to do most weeks, and feels strongly about the power of worship to connect people with God and one another in redemptive and world-changing ways. As someone who has sung in choirs all her life (including her current church’s choir), she revels in how God speaks through almost any kind of music.  Dr. Stackhouse also does occasional freelance writing for a variety of publications.

Jack Sullivan, Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., is an ordained minister in the protestant Christian denomination known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) US and Canada. He serves as executive director of the Columbus-based Ohio Council of Churches. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Sullivan is an internationally-known preacher, justice advocate, ecumenist, journalist, and death penalty abolitionist. In recognition of his work to stop executions, Dr. Sullivan was given the 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Social Justice by Governor Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio’s Dr. MLK, Jr. Holiday Commission. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University; a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary; a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary (Dayton); and an honorary doctorate from Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia. Dr. Sullivan is a board member of Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing, Death Penalty Action, and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. In addition, he is a life member of the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Alan Terlep
Christal L. Williams

Rev. Dr. Christal LaShawn Williams is a Twenty-First Century trendsetter, Pastoral Pioneer and Bridge-Builder, and leading voice, echoing through the airways of time, with a soul-stirring message of God’s Love, Kingdom Authority and Deeper Revelation for all people. As an Inspirational Preacher, Spiritual Coach and Prophetic Administrator Rev. Christal Williams offers a grassroots and organic way of asking one to dig deeper into their understanding of God, Faith and Life and Church. This is witnessed in her Life’s work as the Regional Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tennessee. Prior to coming to Nashville, she served as one of the Associate Regional Minster for the Urban Metro Area (Plus) Congregations in the Illinois-Wisconsin Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). As an influential leader and relationship cultivator, Christal takes to heart her personal mission to love, equip and encourage all persons toward a reconciling relationship with God. Her tenure in ministry has been wide spread throughout Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana. Pastor Christal has engaged in ministry around the world; having traveled extensively to India, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, China, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Israel-Palestine, Egypt, West and South Africa, and Europe for Ministry and Cross-cultural exchanges. Dr. Christal is committed to ecumenism, accompaniment, hospitality and nurturing global partnerships.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Christal graduated from the Cleveland School of the Performing Arts, where she had a special emphasis on Vocal Music and Theory. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas; a Master of Divinity Degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Christal holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. On June 20, 1998, Christal was ordained a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at Southport Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. Christal is the proud Founder and President of Credo International Women’s Ministries, Incorporated and A.W.O.K.E. (Anointed Women Overseeing Kingdom Endeavors) and is the author of three books, The Power of Asking; Unleashing God’s Best For Your Life, Moving From Endangerment to Empowerment: Rediscovering the Word of God, Beneath It All: A Conversation Specifically For Women. Currently, serving as a member of the International Disciples Women’s Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), this transformational leader is respected by her colleagues and admired by her friends. In her role as Discovery mentor, Christal offers a thought provoking, contagious leadership that transcends lines of age, ethnicity, culture and theological boundaries. She has a host of trainings, multitudes of certifications and several awards. She is a proud member of The Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc., N.A.A.C.P and IMPACT Network Ministry. Chris is a member of the Board of Trustees of for the Christian Church Foundation, Vanderbilt Board of Visitors, and the Board of Trustees for the Disciple Divinity House at Vanderbilt.

Christal L. Williams has an extensive background in community service, mission work, education and pro-reconciling-anti-racism training, conflict resolution and mediation and Parker Palmer’s Circles of Trust Retreats. She is the author of three books, and a host of articles. Christal has one sister Kim, two nieces and two nephews and also, has four very special Godchildren. Dr. Christal’s hobbies include reading, traveling, music and photography. Her favorite scriptures are Isaiah 61, Ephesians 3:14-21, I John 4:7&8, Revelation 22.

Courtney Wiley-Harris

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