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Our Annual Gathering Keynote Speaker is Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis. The Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Ph.D. uses her gifts as author, activist, preacher, public theologian toward creating an antiracist, just, fully welcoming society in which everyone has enough. After graduating with an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1992, Jacqui fell in love with urban ministry, leading two churches in Trenton, New Jersey. Fascinated with how faith heals the soul—so we can heal the world—she returned to graduate school, for a Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion from Drew University (2004). Jacqui came to study Middle Church, received a call, and joined the staff in January 2004. Middle is the church of her dreams and prayers, a multiethnic rainbow coalition of love, justice, and worship that rocks her soul.

Jacqui’s books include Ten Essential Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial CongregationThe Power of Stories, a Guide for Leaders in Multi-racial, Multi-cultural Congregations, the children’s book, You Are So Wonderful! a rhyming celebration of diversity, and a contributing chapter to Becoming Like Creoles: Living and Leading at the Intersections of Injustice, Culture and Religion. Her newest book Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-Breaking Kindness That Can Heal the World will is available wherever books are sold.

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The Rev. Joanna D’Agostino, Opening Worship Preacher: The Rev. Joanna D’Agostino has been the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Congregational Church since June 2018. Joanna has a passion for Restorative Justice, which she learned as a Restorative Justice facilitator in Wisconsin state correctional institutions. Now, she strives to weave Restorative Practices into all areas of leadership, community organizing, and relationship development. Rev. D’Agostino also prioritizes advocacy for and with the LGBTQ+ community, the destigmatization of mental healthcare, support for the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM), and involvement in criminal justice reform initiatives of Greater Cleveland Congregations.

She received her Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, and a B.A. in creative writing and French language from Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. She was ordained by the Living Water Association of the UCC in 2012. Joanna now serves on the LWA Council and the Strategy Team of Greater Cleveland Congregations.

Joanna and her husband have three children, Evelyn, Amos, and Suzette, plus the steady presence of neighborhood children and friends. They also have a pit bull mutt, three cats, and a bearded dragon. Outside of ministry, Joanna’s interests include art, animals, home renovation, and chatting on the porch.

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The Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Installation Service Preacher: The Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., is an ordained minister in 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 leader, ecumenist, preacher, justice advocate, and death penalty abolitionist. In recognition of his work to stop executions, Dr. Sullivan was given the 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award by Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission and the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the Black Heritage Library and Multicultural Center of Findlay, OH. In 2018 he received the African American Liberation Award from the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University; a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary; a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary (Dayton); and an honorary doctorate from Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia.

Dr. Sullivan is board president of Journey of Hope… From Violence to Healing and co-president of the Disciples Justice Action Network. He is an advisory board member of Catholic Mobilizing Network, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH, Death Penalty Action, Restorative Justice International, and the US Global Leadership Council. Dr. Sullivan is immediate past board chair of Ohioans to Stop Executions, and a former steering committee member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. He holds life memberships in the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and is a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Academy of Homiletics.

At last year’s Annual Gathering, the Heartland Conference elected to call the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins as the settled Heartland Conference Minister (he had served as the Transitional Conference Minister for the previous three years).

During this year’s Heartland Conference Annual Gathering, you’re invited to join as we celebrate the installation of the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins as our Conference Minister. We look forward to hearing from installation preacher, the Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., and welcoming covenant partners from throughout the United Church of Christ and beyond. We are especially delighted that United Church of Christ General Minister and President, the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, will be a part of our celebration.

Register today and join us in-person or online for this special event on September 23, 2022!

The Many is an uncommon, intentionally diverse collective making music for people to sing together about peace and justice and a world where all belong.

The members of The Many came together around their shared love of music and commitment to honest expressions of faith, peace-making, economic and racial justice and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

The Many are equally at home at a house concert, festival, conference or a faith-and-justice-grounded gathering of any kind. They do more than simply concerts…they create experiences in which they weave together music, words, images and liturgy into an engaging, participatory, transformational event.

Learn more about the band here: www.themanyarehere.com

With many thanks to our Premier Partner, United Church Homes! 

 

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