Rev. Sara Wilcox
Rev. Sara Wilcox serves as a local church pastor in Asheville, NC. With a heart for the new things breaking forth in the church, she understands the complex work we are called to as we bring forth the best of what we have been and help make possible that which has not yet even been imagined. Before her call to ministry she imagined she would be a college professor and studied political science at the University of Wisconsin. She discerned her call to ministry during that time and shifted gears toward her theological education. Sara received her M.Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary where she was challenged to ask new questions and look further than what is before us for the answers. She has served as a trauma chaplain and worked on behalf of men in the criminal justice system advocating for alternative sentences to incarceration. During those years, she helped birth Land of the Sky United Church of Christ where she spends a lot of time with amazing people living justly, loving abundantly and walking humbly. In her work at CPR, she serves as a coach, consultant and online educator to those hoping to do a new thing in the church. Her primary focus is church planting and church restarts.
Betty Morton, JD, MA, MDiv, PCC
Betty Morton is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credentialed through the International Coach Federation. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and based in Durham, NC. Betty has dedicated her life to human well-being and relational excellence -- first as a counselor, then as a lawyer and business executive, and now as a professional coach and minister. Drawing from her counseling, legal and spiritual backgrounds, Betty is able to help bring clarity to individual strengths, challenges and goals; interpersonal dynamics; and what it takes to build the lives, relationships, and communities we want. Her focus on living powerfully from our spiritual core combined with practical leadership skills, helps clients both stay centered and achieve their goals while working well with others. She encourages self-awareness, compassion for diverse others, high-quality communication skills, as well as attention to the cultures we create. Betty is a certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach and DISC Administrator. She has coached with CPR for over three years and also has her own coaching and consulting company, Rise Coaching, LLC, since 2010. Betty coaches executives, leaders and individuals – one-on-one and in groups.
Rev. Shawna Bowman (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) is the first called and installed pastor of Friendship Presbyterian Church and has been doing ministry with the creative and justice-seeking folks here since 2011. Shawna is most grateful for the creativity, energy, and compassion the Friendship folks exhibit in everything from worship to community engagement. Shawna is a 2009 grad from McCormick Theological Seminary where she currently serves in Experiential Education and as Affiliate Faculty. Shawna is also a Co-founder of Creation Lab, an art collective and a working studio space at the intersection of creativity, spirituality and prophetic imagination located in Edgewater.
Emily Scott (she/her/hers) is a church planter. A Lutheran pastor (ELCA), Emily believes that Christian practice holds out rich possibilities that call us to reach out across boundaries in love, learn through discomfort, and build relationships that bring God's realm close. Queer and genderqueer, she is committed to building communities of faith that dismantle fear and hate, affirm LGBTQ+ people, and confront racial injustice. Emily currently serves as the founding pastor of Dreams and Visions, an imaginative spiritual community of restoration, rooted in the LGBTQ+ community. Called to this work by the Delaware-Maryland Synod, worship at Dreams and visions is soulful and Spirit-led. From 2008-2017, Emily served as the founding pastor of St. Lydia's Dinner Church in Brooklyn, where worship is a full meal, shared around a dinner table. Emily and the congregation were involved on combating police brutality and a lack of affordable housing with organizations such as Faith in New York. St. Lydia's is now a national model for new church starts and congregations seeking to explore the practice of Dinner Church. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Emily received the Alumni Award for Distinction in Congregational Ministry in 2016. She was the Director of Worship at The Riverside Church from 2007-2009, and a co-founder of Music That Makes Community. Her work at St. Lydia's has been covered by The Atlantic and the Wall Street Journal. Her book, For All Who Hunger: Searching for Communion in a Shattered World, will be released in Spring, 2020 from Convergent, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Carol Howard Merritt
Rev. Carol Howard Merritt (@CarolHoward) is a minister whose writing, speaking, and teaching is anchored in theological wisdom and sociological insight. She’s a sought-after keynote speaker, especially on the topic of ministering in a new generation. After being raised as a conservative Baptist and attending a fundamentalist Bible college, Carol studied at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas and became a Presbyterian (USA) Minister. She’s known for serving growing Presbyterian (USA) churches, especially those with a deep commitment to serving the poor and disenfranchised. A pastor for almost two decades, Carol has served Presbyterian (USA) churches in the swamps of Cajun Louisiana, a bayside village in Rhode Island, and an urban neighborhood of Washington, DC. This breadth and depth of practical experience informs her consultations with denominational governing bodies, seminaries, and local churches. Carol is an Adjunct Faculty member at Dubuque Theological Seminary. She is the award-winning author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation, Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation, and Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church. She wrote the Advent devotional, I Am Mary, and she is a frequent contributor to books, websites, magazines, and journals. She is a regular writer at the Christian Century where her blog is hosted. She was a founder and host of UNCO, an open-space “unconference” that attracts church leaders across denominations and generations, and she co-hosted the thought-provoking podcast, God Complex Radio, with Rev. Derrick Weston. Carol is married to Rev. Brian Merritt. When not at a podium, pulpit, or an airport, Carol can be found in New Canaan, Connecticut, where she serves as the Bridge Pastor for First Presbyterian Church.