2019 CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

The daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, REV. NAOMI TUTU blends her passion for human dignity with humor and personal stories. Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa, to being program coordinator for programs on Race and Gender and Gender-based Violence in Education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. She served as Program Coordinator for the historic Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, and was a part of the Institute’s delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban. She the recipient of four honorary doctorates from universities and colleges in the US and Nigeria. Rev. Tutu is an ordained clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee. She serves as a curate at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville and has recently been hired by the Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village to work on racial and economic reconciliation issues across Western North Carolina.  REGISTER NOW!

 THE VERY REV. MICHAEL BATTLE, PH.D., Currently appointed as Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York. In 2010, Battle was given one of the highest Anglican Church distinctions as “Six Preacher,” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. A distinction given to only a few who demonstrate great dedication to the church that goes back to 16th century England and Thomas Cranmer. Battle has published nine books, including Heaven on Earth: God’s Call to Community in the Book of Revelation, Reconciliation: the Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu, and the book for the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me. In his PeaceBattle Institute he works on subjects of diversity, spirituality, prayer, race and reconciliation. Almost since its inception, he has served as pastor and spiritual director to hundreds of clergy and laity for CREDO for the Episcopal Church. He has also served as chaplain to Archbishop Tutu, Congressman John Lewis, the House of Bishops and, in 2008, was chaplain to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. He is a featured keynote speaker and has led numerous clergy and lay retreats, including the bishops’ retreat of the Province of the West Indies. For more about his extensive clergy experience and impressive academic resume go to:  michaelbattle.com

French Anthropologist René Girard provides renewed self-esteem to Christians by showing how Jesus explodes the sacrificial, violent nature of human community. Jesus explodes the mechanism in human beings that requires another victim. Girard brilliantly articulates how human beings are entirely dependent on the re-establishment of order after cycles of victimary bloodletting. (Battle, Heaven on Earth, 43)

DR. SANDOR GOODHART  ‘Sandy’ is a Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Purdue University’s Department of English. He served as the Director of the Jewish Studies Program (1997-2002), of the Philosophy and Literature Program (2005), and of the Classical Studies Program (2007-2011). He is the author of five books on literature, philosophy, and Jewish Studies including Möbian Nights: Reading Literature and Darkness (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), The Prophetic Law: Essays in Judaism, Girardianism, Literary Studies, and the Ethical (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2014), Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution (Notre Dame University Press, 2011; co-edited with Ann Astell), For René Girard: Essays in Friendship and Truth (East Lansing MI: Michigan State University Press, 2009), Reading Stephen Sondheim (Garland: New York, 2000), and Sacrificing Commentary: Reading the End of Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996). He served as guest editor for a special issue of Shofar, 26.4 (Summer 2008) on Emmanuel Levinas, the co-editor (with Monica Osborne) of a special issue of Modern Fiction Studies, 54.1 (Spring 2008) on Emmanuel Levinas, and the editor of a special issue of Religion, An International Journal 37.1 (March 2007) on René Girard.

He is a founding board member of the North American Levinas Society (founded with his students at Purdue), the former President of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (2004-2007), and the author of over ninety essays (including essays on Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, and Saul Bellow).

Sandy will lead us through a Midrash on the Hebrew Bible and Beloved Community.

THE REV. JANET WOLF, Director of Children’s Defense Fund Haley Farm and Nonviolent Organizing. As director of public policy and community outreach with Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy, she worked with a national interfaith coalition on harm reduction, alternatives to incarceration and restorative justice. She is the author of Practicing Resurrection:
The Gospel of Mark and Radical Discipleship, and “To See and To Be Seen,” a chapter in  I Was in Prison: United Methodist Perspectives on Prison Ministry. For 12 years she also served as a community organizer around poverty rights. She previously served as faculty chair and professor at American Baptist College in Nashville, a historically Black college and home to many of the national civil rights leaders. For the United Methodist Church, the Rev. Wolf served as pastor of rural and urban congregations for 12 years.

The link below features Rev. Wolf on a panel with Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson, Ndume Olatushani (who was sentenced to death and served 30 years for something he did not do), and our T&P president, Preston Shipp.

MORE SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED!

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