MEET THE AUTHORS
Rev. Shanea D. Leonard
Rev. Shanea D. Leonard, B.A., M.Div., is a pastor, teacher, consultant, community activist and 21st-century abolitionist. Shanea has been a minister of Word & Sacrament for over 13 years in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They currently carry out their justice mandate as the Associate for Gender & Racial Justice for the PC(USA). In their role, Shanea is working to dismantle racism, homophobia, white supremacy and various forms of discrimination by helping to move the denomination into a more inclusive and intersectional reality. A native of Philadelphia, they received their B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a concentration in urban ministry. Shanea was the founder and organizing pastor of JUDAH Fellowship, the western Pennsylvania region’s only predominantly Black affirming faith community and served for many years as a leading faith and justice voice in that region.
Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow
Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow is an author, speaker, parent, consultant, coach, podcaster and pastor. He speaks and writes on issues of faith, technology, race, parenting and church culture. He is currently the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, senior consultant with The Convergence Network, and a Gallup-certified strengths coach. He hosts the podcast “BRC & Friends” and is the author of four books. His latest is “In Defense of Kindness: Why It Matters, How It Changes Our Lives, and How It Can Save the World” (Chalice Press, 2021). He has an active online presence and can be found on most social networks via @breyeschow.
Rev. Aisha Brooks-Johnson
Rev. Aisha Brooks-Johnson began her role as executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta in 2018. Serving 84 congregations and encouraging 26 new worshipping communities, she is honored and overjoyed to serve as an encourager to the congregations and leaders within a presbytery filled with a deep cultural diversity and a vast theological landscape. A native of Philadelphia, Aisha spent significant time as youth director at Wayne Presbyterian Church before obtaining a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2005. After serving various other churches in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York area, she returned to Wayne Presbyterian in 2013. While serving as the mission pastor for Wayne, she started The Common Place, a faith-based arts and education center and New Worshiping Community in Southwest Philadelphia.
Dr. Tom Bagley
Dr. Tom Bagley pastored for 18 years in McDonough, Georgia, before serving as the 2003 founding pastor of Hamilton Mill Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. In 2015, he was called as an evangelist with the PC(USA) 1001 New Worshiping Communities Movement, working with people outside of church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Now, Tom pastors a small Presbyterian congregation in Normandy, Tennessee, while also coaching and consulting in the areas of church revitalization and evangelism. Tom received his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Tom is married to Lynn, a licensed marriage and family therapist. They have three married children and three delightful grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. Ralph C. Basui Watkins
Rev. Dr. Ralph C. Basui Watkins, MFA, D.Min., Ph.D., is the Peachtree Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Theological Seminary. His work focuses on building bridges between young adults and the church in order to develop future leaders for the 21st-century church who work for justice. As a scholar, professional photographer, documentarian, pastor, sought-after speaker and workshop leader, Ralph seeks to help the churches live into the new networked world. He is known for being a leader in teaching with digital media. With over 20 years of pastoral, teaching and administrative experience, Ralph is an active teaching scholar with over 250 publications and conference presentations to his credit — and is coauthor (with Justin West) of “The Future of the African American Church” (Judson Press, 2014).
Rev. Dr. Tod Bolsinger
Rev. Dr. Tod Bolsinger, M.Div., Ph.D., is the executive director of the De Pree Center Church Leadership Initiative, a senior fellow of the De Pree Center for Leadership, and associate professor of leadership formation at Fuller Theological Seminary. Tod was the founder of the Fuller Leadership Platform, an innovative approach to online formation and leadership development, and served as a vice president of Fuller Seminary for six years. He is the author of five books, including “Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory” (IVP Books, 2015). Having served as a pastor for 27 years, he now speaks, consults and is an executive coach for corporate, nonprofit, educational and church organizations in transformational leadership. His blogs and other resources can be found at depree.org/church.
Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri
Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri served as co-moderator (along with the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann) of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). An educator and Presbyterian ruling elder, she has served the PC(USA) at session, presbytery, synod and General Assembly levels — she was moderator of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida in 2017. Vilmarie holds a B.A. in education (ESL) and an M.Ed. in curriculum and teaching and has taught English and English as a Second Language to teenage and adult students from all over the world. She is currently a member of the presbytery’s Leadership Council, a member of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation Board and conference administrator of a CREDO team, a program of the Board of Pensions.
Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts
Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts is pastor of the First Spanish Presbyterian Church in Miami, where he lives with his wife, elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri. He is also faculty for vocation of the CREDO program of the PC(USA) Board of Pensions. Ordained in 1996, José has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and a Master of Divinity from the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico. He has also led congregations in Caguas and Hato Rey in Puerto Rico — and has served at regional and national levels of the PC(USA).
Dr. Leanne Van Dyk
Dr. Leanne Van Dyk is the president of Columbia Theological Seminary, where she began serving in July 2015. Prior to that, Leanne taught at Western Theological Seminary — and at San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She holds degrees from Calvin College (BA), Western Michigan University (MA), Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Princeton Theological Seminary, where she earned her Ph.D. in systematic theology, magna cum laude. Her other professional experience includes serving as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological Schools; as a member of the Committee on Theological Education for the PC(USA); and on various projects, including the Re-Forming Ministry project, with the Office of Theology and Worship in the PC(USA). She also was a member of the PC(USA) Catechism Committee, which completed its work in 1998 — and has published several books, including “A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony” (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005), for which she was also editor.
Rev. Dr. Ray Jones
Rev. Dr. Ray Jones is the Director of Theology, Formation and Evangelism for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. He has served the church as a pastor in congregations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. For the past ten years he has served the denomination through the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Ray has a heart for helping people come to know and grow in their love of God in Jesus Christ. He is committed to a gospel ministry that equips and trains followers of Jesus to engage God’s mission of justice and hope. Ray believes that renewal in the church begins with God’s radical, unconditional love revealed in Jesus.
Hanging out with his family, walking his dog, hiking along mountain trails and experiencing the church come alive restore his soul. He has experienced training and education at Furman University and Columbia Theological Seminary.