FRIDAY, APRIL 24 | 11:45am – 1:15pm | Lunchtime Conversations and Yoga

Order a Sandwich or a Salad

Local Neighborhood Issues Lunchtime Conversation — You’re invited to join us for a lunchtime conversation on issues specific to the local D.C. area and the neighborhood in which we are gathering. The topics will be Homelessness and Human Sex Trafficking, two issues that are real in the downtown neighborhood and across the city and country. The first 15 seminarians/students to RSVP in advance will get a free lunch from Lawson’s Grill. RSVP Now (Scott Bostic, Rev. Adam Briddell, Alexandra Elwell)

Justice as a Lifestyle: Living out our Transformation — Our faith invites us into living out justice every day! Let’s talk about what justice means and how we integrate this meaning into our lives, in small and big ways. How does the radical love of Jesus invite us to begin to see the hope of transformation, not just in individuals, but in societal structures and systems? How are we doing this not just in our work, but in our neighborhoods and relationships? Let’s share thoughts, listen to each other, and be encouraged! Living a lifestyle of justice can look so many different ways! (Ra Mendoza)

Entering the Thin Places: Creating Unrest in the physical body as a gateway to deeper compassion + liberation – Exodus 20:24: “In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.” Since we live in a sanctuary for the holy spirit, let us continue to explore creative outlets to remove the obstacles to encounter God. Practice yoga with Anita Grace and connect to the stability of your soul and the flow of your spirit, untie the knots of daily stress, and leave with a deep experience of Christ alive in you in her all-levels vinyasa flow. (Anita Grace)(Session will go from 11:45am-12:30pm)

FRIDAY, APRIL 24 | 4:00 – 5:30pm | Breakouts 1

Enacting Intersectional Justice by Displacing Whiteness —We will be addressing what it means to displace whiteness and build authentic relationships across intersections that have the potential to enact radical social change. We will ask questions like: How do we disrupt and resist Empire together? How do we check our own privileged assumptions? How do we create brave spaces where we can speak into a space with the tools we have, trust that we can and will let each other know when those tools are not enough or not working, and be ready and willing to be held accountable? This session is not about zenophobia, but it is about resisting imperialism; this session is not just about addressing white privilege, but it is about resisting the logic of white supremacy; this session is not about class discrimination, it is about resisting capitalism; this session is not about addressing heterosexism, it is about resisting hetero-patriachry. (Robyn Henderson-Espinoza and Jennifer Yoder)

Immigration: Family Detention and Unaccompanied Children – Summer 2014 marked a pivotal point in our nation’s immigration policies: In response to an unprecedented number of children and families fleeing violence in Central America and coming to the United States, President Obama’s administration implemented dramatic changes to its treatment of refugees seeking asylum protection – detain and deport as quickly as possible, without due process or counsel. Prior to this period, the federal government did not detain families seeking asylum protection in the U.S. and held less than 100 individuals at specialized family detention facilities for mothers and children. However, by converting existing detention facilities and creating new family detention facilities, the administration now plans to operate a massive family detention system for 3,700 mothers and children by the summer of 2015. Moreover, under the umbrella of border security, the administration has not only followed a policy of locking up families in order to deter future Central American refugees from coming to the U.S., but also considered asking for new authority to speedily deport Central American unaccompanied children.

This panel will highlight the ACLU’s federal advocacy work around this urgent humanitarian issue. The ACLU—in partnership with faith groups, women’s rights and children’s rights groups, legal advocacy groups, and others—has been a leader in urging the administration to stop locking up families and to provide counsel for every mother and child facing deportation. The ACLU has also been engaging with Congress to oppose harmful legislation, as well as to support helpful legislation, and this panel will discuss some of those bills and the ACLU’s efforts there. Finally, from working in coalitions and educating congressional and administrative staff to navigating a politically shifted Congress and garnering public support, this panel will provide an overview of how advocates can engage individually and with their communities and shed more light on the plight of family detention and unaccompanied children. (Joanne Lin, ACLU)

The “What, Why, and How” of Mass Incarceration — This informative workshop will begin with establishing a definition for “mass incarceration,” why it exists, and how we got to where we are today. And talk about what we must do now to address this important issue. (Douglas Walker and R. Kayeen Thomas)

White Jesus, Good Intentions, and Our Racialized Hierarchy — In this workshop Drew Hart will lead a conversation exploring the problem of race and racism in the church and society through a combined consideration of theological ethics and basic critical race theory. This session is intended to both create space to include those that wonder why we can’t just “see people as people,” as well pushing the discussion forward for those that already understand the systemic realities of white privilege to go even further by considering what Drew calls counterintuitive and embodied practices of solidarity. Participants will be challenged to follow Jesus straight into a clash with our racialized social order. (Drew Hart)

Public Theological Leadership in an Age of Media and Political Polarization — Today’s media and political environment is more polarized than ever resulting in a misinformed, polarized electorate and a paralyzed Congress. Religious leaders have long played a role in moving society forward to address some of the greatest problems of our time. What role might we play in today’s unique environment? Can saner voices prevail in an era of entertainment news and gotcha politics? Religious leaders were instrumental in passing health care reform, keeping immigration reform on the national agenda and highlighting the immorality of economic policies. This session will reveal how this was accomplished and what more can be done. (Jennifer Butler)

Reimagining Our Neighborhood and Reimagining Our World — Shane and friends from The Simple Way in Philadelphia will create a conversation around neighborhood and global imagination. (Shane Claiborne)

FRIDAY, APRIL 24 | 7:30 – 9:00pm | Main Session

Theologizing for Justice: the Kairos moment of Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter & intersectional freedom movements — We are all theologians. Our thoughts, words, and actions are all part of developing and engaging what we believe about God, things of the Spirit, and life together. In this discussion, the community of Transform will theologize together in a “fishbowl” style conversation that includes scholarly theologians, faith-rooted organizers, and conference participants. We will discuss how scripture interpretation, faith traditions, activism, praxis and the current focus on police brutality, systemic oppression of people of color, intersectionality of civil rights issues and individual social location form, impact and move our theological reflections and praxis. (Facilitated by Micky ScottBey Jones, Session participants include: Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Lisa Sharon HarperBrittini Gray, Broderick Greer, Alexia Salvatierra)

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 | 11:45am – 1:15pm | Lunchtime Conversations and Yoga

Order a Sandwich or Salad

Let’s talk about making theological education relevant, doable, and affordable — Key leaders from the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) want to hear your responses to three key questions:

What kind of training do you need?
What kind of time can you give to your training?
What can you afford to spend?

Your responses to these questions will help form ABSW’s next ministry training program—and you could be one of the students! (LeAnn Flesher, Jennifer Davidson)

Media Justice and Communications Rights: Ideas to Explore and Take Home — Media and communications impact all of us, whether it is racist stereotypes in prime time programming, predatory prices to telephone inmates in prison, to net neutrality, to low-income people’s lack of access to modern technology, to the overwhelming pervasiveness of social media for youth and everyone else. Economic, social, and corporate structures dictate embedded messages, norms, expectations, and justice. Join Cheryl Leanza, leader of the United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry, as she offers a background on the UCC’s media justice vision and a sampler of workshop discussion tools. Cheryl is interested in hearing your insights regarding your own concerns regarding electronic media. The tools we use are also suitable for you to bring home to help youth and others explore and take action. (Cheryl Leanza)

Entering the Thin Places: Creating Unrest in the physical body as a gateway to deeper compassion + liberation – Exodus 20:24: “In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.” Since we live in a sanctuary for the holy spirit, let us continue to explore creative outlets to remove the obstacles to encounter God. Practice yoga with Anita Grace and connect to the stability of your soul and the flow of your spirit, untie the knots of daily stress, and leave with a deep experience of Christ alive in you in her all-levels vinyasa flow. (Anita Grace)(Session will go from 11:45am-12:30pm)

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 | 1:45 – 3:15pm | Breakouts 2

Worship on Earth as it is in Heaven — This workshop explores the beauty and complexity of worship for a multicultural congregation. From music, to prayers, to scripture readings, to litanies, this workshop will provide practical examples and tools for you to implement with your worshipping community. (Erin Rose)

Holy Hurt & Mystical Action: Healing Ourselves and Changing the World — In this session we will explore how pain leads to transformation, rage can manifest into forgiveness, and how we find light in the darkest places–both in our personal lives and in the practice of justice-seeking. We will explore the process of hurt/trauma as it relates to activism and justice work for individuals and communities.

The act of seeking justice in the world is both birth and death in equal measure. For contemplative, healed, and a mystical justice we must die to self, die to hate, die to vengeance and to anything else that fuels activism or action without a forgiving heart.

We will explore some experiential practices to see what lies inside all of us–the fuel for good and the fuel for destruction. We must name our ghosts so we can set them free–and when we do that, anything is possible.

We will reference the global mystic lineage as a reference point of being both action, contemplation, and healing, as well as explore the 12-steps as they relate to letting go of that which isn’t serving us to mediate suffering on the road towards untethered righteousness. (Teresa Pasquale and Holly Roach)

Fighting Back and Moving Forward: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education — Public schools are community institutions, centers of learning, and our nation’s gateway to democracy and racial and economic justice for every child. Yet in recent years this cornerstone of our democracy has been under attack by reformers who want to push market-based strategies, which turn public schools over to private managers and encourages competition between schools and teachers. In the end our children suffer. But there is hope and the opportunity to move forward in ways that provide every child with a quality education. This workshop will examine efforts by faith-based institutions, parents, advocates, and organizers to challenge inequities in public schools, demand funding, and reclaim the promise of public education to provide an opportunity to learn for all children. (Evie Frankl)

Educational Privilege — We all have various forms of privilege that we bring into ministry. One that all seminary graduates share in common is educational privilege. In this workshop we will discuss faithful missionally-oriented ways of entering into ministry with our educational privilege in mind. (Scott Bostic, Dr. Rick Elgendy, LaTaska Nelson, Katie Beth Miksa)

Transforming Homelessness: Dignity and Equity for the City’s Invisible — Homelessness advocates, ministry leaders, nonprofit prophets, and holy agitators will share their insights on service in this interactive panel. (Facilitated by Bec Cranford-Smith, Session participants include: Adam Bucko, Linda Kaufman, Justin Chambers, Shirley Ostrander via video)

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 | 3:30 – 5:00pm | Breakouts 3

Urban Pedagogy — How do we think about and practice urban ministry without pejorative claims and de-humanizing others.This workshop will utilize the four “I” pedagogical ministry model to help individuals examine urban ministry. (Doug Powe)

Labor & Faith: From the Early Church to Worker Justice Today —The early church organized collectively to meet the needs of everyone. As a labor organizer Judy Esber will draw connections between the ways early Christians organized and how it relates to how the labor movement organizes today. Judy will share stories from being in the trenches that explain how collective bargaining is an expression of caring for the least of these and empowers people to engage their own agency to stand up for fair wages and fair working conditions. (Judy Esber)

Contemplative Activism: Becoming a Fifth Gospel — The Christian tradition of contemplative activism goes back to Jesus, who went to the desert to pray in solitude before many of the most significant events in his life, and who was the very embodiment of the intersection of contemplation and action. Unfortunately many of our churches have separated contemplation and action in favor of focusing on dogma. Activism has become removed from a transformative experience of God, and spirituality and prayer have been turned into private and politically neutral affairs.

In this talk Adam will share about his journey as a contemplative and activist, from the lessons he learned from the martyr priests during the Polish revolution to his time in monasteries, a Himalayan hermitage, and the holy monks, nuns and hermits with whom he has studied. Together we will engage in some practice of contemplative prayer and receptive silence into which we will bring our heartbreaks, fears, anxieties, as well as our joys, successes, aspirations, and hopes. We will practice sitting with it all until we can be stirred by a sense of the Divine breaking into our midst, stirring us with direction and guidance, hoping to be guided into a “remembrance” of who we are and how our lives can, as one monastic writer said, “manifest God through our own uniqueness” and become “a kind of fifth Gospel” where our actions begin to “manifest God rather than the false self.” (Adam Bucko)

Environmental Justice — This workshop examines the faith-rooted movements that are changing our food system. Who are the people fighting the injustices of our food system? How do we build a food system where everyone has access to good food regardless of income? Storytelling activities engage you in understanding social movements, and envisioning a new way we can grow and eat our food. See examples of faith-rooted food justice and food sovereignty movements, and find out more about how you can get involved to support local and global struggles. (Jennifer Bailey)

Panel Discussion on the State of the LGBTIQ Movement — While the country at large has moved in a direction to affirm marriage equality as the national LGBTIQ agenda and while several mainline Protestant churches are also affirming marriage equality, does this fully capture the state of the LGBTIQ movement? From Act-Up to marriage equality, we have seen a proliferation of resistance to a corporate-sponsored and state-sponsored movement. How do we make sense of the overwhelming ideological framing of LGBTIQ that results in mirroring heteronormative structures? Likewise, with the increasing amount of violence against Trans* people, especially Trans* people of color, how is our movement absorbing this reality? Is it? Additionally, how are the #blacklivesmatter and #translivesmatter movements helping to disrupt current LGBTIQ politics and identities that allow for a proliferation of difference? This panel — comprised of scholars, faith leaders, and community activists — will address these issues and more! (Facilitated by Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Session participants include: Sharon Groves, AnaYelsi Sanchez, Jennifer Yoder, Broderick Greer, Ryan Rowe)

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 | 7:00pm

Seminarians and Students Dinner on Service in Seminary — We will gather one last time for dinner at a local restaurant (TBD) to discuss what has happened, our experience together, and how we want to support one another going forward. This meal is open to all (not just students), and we hope will be a great time to connect one last time with people who share your passions or experiences. (Scott Bostic)