Who We are

WHO WE ARE

BJC Board

Meet the BJC Board of Directors, composed of individuals from a variety of careers, Baptist denominations, and faith traditions. Scroll down to meet our board officers and board members, including which organization they represent.

BJC Board Officers

Rev. Dr. C. Lynn Brinkley
BJC Board Chair

Rev. Dr. C. Lynn Brinkley serves as the Associate Director of Baptist Women in Ministry. Brinkley grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She earned her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, a Master of Divinity degree from Campbell University Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusets. Dr. Brinkley is the author of, “Manners and Money: A Manual on Preaching Etiquette,” which addresses proper pulpit decorum and hospitality towards guest ministers.

Lynn is an ordained associate minister at First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C. She also serves as chair of BJC’s executive committee, Vice President of the Ministers Division of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and on the Race, Gender, and Economic Commission for the Baptist World Alliance. Dr. Brinkley is regularly called upon to preach and teach in churches of diverse denominations across the United States. She enjoys exercising, going to the SPA for self-care, and watching ACC and NBA basketball games.

Anyra Cano
BJC Board Vice Chair

Representing the Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Anyra Cano serves as the Outreach and Programs Director at Fellowship Southwest. She recently transitioned from her position at Texas Baptist Women in Ministry as their coordinator and as academic coordinator for the Christian Latina Leadership Institute. Originally from El Paso, Texas, Anyra earned her undergraduate degree in biblical theological studies from Baptist University of the Américas and her master’s degree in global leadership from Dallas Baptist University. She has experience working with Baptists through positions with Buckner International, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in advocacy work, CBF of Texas and Baptist University of the Américas. Anyra also serves on the pastoral team at Iglesia Bautista Victoria en Cristo in Fort Worth, where her husband is the senior pastor. She is the proud mom of a precious 2-year-old daughter.

Sofi Hersher Andorsky
BJC Board Secretary

Representing the Religious Liberty Council

Sofi Hersher Andorsky is the Founder and Chief Strategist at Grand View Strategies, a consulting agency working at the intersection of religion, technology, and civic life, as well as the current Vice President of Communications and Education at A More Perfect Union: The Jewish Partnership for Democracy, where she is building a trans-partisan, community-wide coalition to strengthen democratic norms, institutions, and rights. Previously, Sofi served as managing director of ignite:action, a boutique brand and digital strategy agency in Washington, D.C., and assistant communications director at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where she oversaw advocacy communications, marketing, design, and major technology projects for the largest denomination of Judaism in North America. She holds a master’s degree in Religion in the Contemporary World from King’s College London and a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Religion from the University of Washington.

Madison McClendon
BJC Board Treasurer

Madison McClendon grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where he attended First Baptist Greenville. During the 8th grade, he did his National History Day project on the theological and political turmoil that shook the Southern Baptist Convention through the 1980s, and it was while conducting research on that project that he first learned about BJC. As a graduate of Furman University with a degree in religion and political science and a Master of Divinity graduate of the University of Chicago, Madison’s academic and pastoral interest lie at the intersection of not only church and state, but also broader questions of Christian faith and secular engagement. Raised in a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship/Alliance of Baptists household, Madison is now in the ordination process for the American Baptist Churches USA; works for the University of Chicago Divinity School in alumni relations and development; and calls North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago his home congregation.

Meet the members of the BJC Board of Directors. Click on each name to read a short biography.

Alyssa Aldape / Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Alyssa Aldape is a native Texan who also grew up in India as the child of missionaries. Alyssa attended Samford University, where she received a B.A. in History. She went on to Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology and earned her Master of Divinity with a concentration in congregational studies. While at McAfee, she learned about the work of BJC and was hooked. Alyssa has a passion for community and seeking ways for faith groups and community groups to come together to help neighborhoods thrive. As a woman of color and faith leader in predominantly white spaces and institutions, this has led to a unique calling in nudging groups to ask questions about operations and content that might hinder the work of becoming anti-racist.

As a youth pastor, her philosophy is to create spaces for young people to ask questions, doubt, sit with, and reimagine the character of God in ways that create a more inclusive and more loving world. She’s a lifelong San Antonio Spurs fan, a coffee shop enthusiast, and an Enneagram 2 with a penchant for IPAs.

Paul Baxley / Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Paul is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and a graduate of Wake Forest University (B.A. in Religion), Duke Divinity School (Master of Theological Studies), and the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (Ph.D. in Ministry). In the course of his ministry, Paul has served congregations in North Carolina and Georgia, as Campus Minister of Wingate University, and as Director of Congregational Relationships for Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Before being selected as the fourth Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, he served nine years as Pastor of First Baptist Church in Athens, Georgia. He is married to Jennifer, a Physical Therapist, and they have four children: Livy, Maria, Matthew and Caroline.

R. Todd Blake / Baptist General Association of Virginia

Todd is a native of Troy, North Carolina. He graduated from Campbell University with a B.A. in Religion and from Campbell University Divinity School with Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees. Todd was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in 2003 by the First Baptist Church of Troy, N.C. He served Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., as pastor from 2006 to 2010, and Madison Heights Baptist Church in Madison Heights, Va., as pastor from 2010 to 2021. In October of 2021, Todd began serving Park View Community Mission in Lynchburg, Virginia, as their Executive Director. Todd is married to Kim, also a graduate of Campbell University. They have two daughters, Hannah and Emma.

Timothy "Tee" Boddie / Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie currently serves as Project Executive with the Conference of National Black Churches, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. He also serves as a bi-vocational pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Farnham, Virginia. Previously, Tee worked as an independent Consultant of Racial Justice Church Engagement at SOJOURNERS, and he is the immediate past General Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Washington, D.C. Dr. Boddie is also a former Executive Director of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, the largest ecumenical gathering of African American pastors in the nation. Following his tenure at Hampton University, he became only the sixth senior pastor of the historic Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta, in its illustrious 150-year history.

Valoria Cheek / American Baptist Churches USA

Valoria L. Cheek, Esq., is excited about The American Baptist Extension Corporation’s (ABEC) mission to help churches through loans made possible by other American Baptists. In her role as president, Cheek is committed to supporting individuals, churches and related institutions through continued and expanded ABEC services.

“ABEC allows churches, church-related organizations and individuals to participate in the ongoing mission of American Baptist churches while earning an attractive rate of return on their investments,” Cheek says. ABEC loans provide funding for projects, such as acquisition of property, purchase or construction of new church buildings, additions to existing church buildings, and construction of daycare centers, senior centers and camps. Lower rate loans are available for making church buildings more energy efficient or accessible to those with disabilities. ABEC also offers facilities planning services to American Baptist churches and related organizations as they examine their needs and develop goals for building projects.

In addition to her work with ABEC, Cheek serves part time as general counsel for The American Baptist Home Mission Society.

David Cooke / Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

David Cooke is a partner in the law firm of Gautreaux Law, LLC. A former prosecutor, David served as the elected District Attorney in the Macon (Georgia) Judicial Circuit for two terms, where he prosecuted a number of high-profile cases, including the 2011 murder of Mercer University Law School graduate Lauren Giddings by her classmate and next-door neighbor, Stephen McDaniel. As a trial lawyer, David has taken over 150 jury trials to verdict, specializing in the prosecution of sex crimes and homicides. He previously served as the chief of the Special Victims Unit in Houston County and was a chief senior assistant district attorney in Atlanta, where he secured a conviction in the starvation and torture murder of 5-year-old Terrell Peterson.

While serving as an Assistant United States Attorney, David received an award from the U.S. Department of Justice stemming from his prosecution and the subsequent conviction of a corrupt police officer and his allies. David has litigated some of the largest civil racketeering cases in Georgia history, and he frequently represents local governments and individuals in holding criminal enterprises accountable. He has been featured multiple times as an expert commentator for MSNBC, HLN, NPR, Dateline NBC, and other national media outlets. David and his wife, Rebecca Rowell Cooke, are members of the First Baptist Church of Christ of Macon, Georgia, where they both serve as deacons. The Cookes have three children and reside in Macon.

Jaimie Crumley / Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Dr. Jaimie Crumley is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah. During the 2022-2023 academic year, she is the Research Fellow at the Old North Church and Historic Site in Boston, Massachusetts. Jaimie is an ordained minister whose ordination is recognized by the American Baptist Churches USA. Jaimie is a member of the 2016 class of BJC Fellows.

Sabrina Dent / Religious Liberty Council

Sabrina E. Dent, D. Min., is a life-long advocate for human rights and social justice. As an interfaith leader, Dr. Dent developed a strong passion for religious freedom as a 2015 BJC Fellow. Her public scholarship addresses the complexities of religious freedom, religion and public policy, and race, religion, and American public life. Prior to assuming the presidency of Center for Faith, Justice, and Reconciliation, Dr. Dent served as director of programs and partnerships for the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute and, most recently, as senior faith advisor for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. At Americans United, Dr. Dent served as a member of the Faith for Equality working group where she mobilized religious leaders to amplify faith voices on legislative issues such as the Equality Act to ensure and expand federal legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color, women, and religious minority groups.

Dr. Dent’s faith outreach and advocacy efforts were recognized by the Center for American Progress when she was named one of 21 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2021. Dr. Dent led the charge in organizing the Washington Interfaith Staff Community’s “Interfaith Rally and March: A Call for Justice and Healing,” calling on elected officials to address police reform and public policies that target historically marginalized communities. A sought-after speaker, Dr. Dent has lectured widely at universities, seminaries, and conferences across the nation. In 2020, she was nominated for the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion.

Dr. Dent co-hosts the Sister Act Podcast with Hurunnessa Fariad and Rabbi Sue Shankman. The podcast is dedicated to women of faith from different religious traditions and engages various topics around life, faith, and resilience. Dr. Dent is the editor and contributing author of the book “African Americans and Religious Freedom: New Perspectives for Congregations and Communities,” and her articles have appeared in Religion News Service, Freedom Forum, Christian Citizen, and Americans United. Dr. Dent earned her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, and she earned both her Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.

Brian Ford / Baptist General Convention of Missouri (Churchnet)

Rev. Dr. Brian Ford became the third Executive Director of Churchnet in April 2017. Previously, he was a local church pastor in multiple churches for 21 years. Originally from Missouri, he holds degrees from William Jewell College, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and Luther Seminary. He is married with two school-aged children. Currently he serves on the Commission on Racial, Gender, & Economic Justice, and he is a General Council Member of the Baptist World Alliance and a Vice President of the North American Baptist Fellowship. In his spare time, Brian enjoys spending time with family, playing golf, watching movies, traveling, reading, fishing, hunting, and attempting to play the guitar.

George Gilbert / Progressive National Baptist Convention

Rev. George C. Gilbert, Jr., was born in Landover, Maryland. The son of two God-fearing parents, Pastor George C. Gilbert, Sr. and Raba A. Gilbert, Rev. Gilbert was trained to reverence God.  He was saved at an early age and has been blessed with many gifts and talents.  He is the proud parent of two boys and one girl – Xavier Domonique, DeMarco Trevon, and Kennedie Raba.

Rev. Gilbert is presently serving as the Assistant to the Pastor at Holy Trinity United Baptist Church; Executive Director of The Center For Racial Equity And Justice; Professor of Urban Ministry, and Hermeneutics at the Washington Baptist Seminary; Chairman of the Civic and Social Actions Committee of the Missionary Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Washington, D.C., and Vicinity; Chairman of the Social Justice Commission of the Baptist Convention of D.C. and Vicinity; and member of the Social Justice Commission of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC).  Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he served as the Christian Services Chaplain for the Washington, D.C. Youth Prison, New Beginnings (where he resurrected Christian Services and Sunday Worship Services from eight years of dysfunction).

Growing up in Washington, D.C., Rev. Gilbert received his high school diploma from Eastern Senior High.  He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from the University of the District of Columbia and a Master of Divinity degree from Howard University School of Divinity. In 2019, Rev. Gilbert was accepted at one of the prestigious Universities to pursue his doctorate degree, however, the dean of the University told Rev. Gilbert he needed to choose academics over social justice; Rev. Gilbert never showed up for orientation. Currently, Rev. Gilbert believes that a prophetic voice must be sounded off.  In this vein, he has served as the Special Assistant for Constituent Services and Religious Affairs for former two D.C. Councilmembers.

Rev. Gilbert is always advocating and advising behind the scenes fighting for Christ and His causes.  He is one of the lead organizers and voices in the District of Columbia for justice, Black Power and mobility.  The Howard University Alumni honored Rev. Gilbert with the Community Activist Award in 2012.  Mayor Byron Brown of Buffalo, New York, proclaimed December 30, 2013, as Reverend George C. Gilbert, Jr. Day.  In August 2013, Reverend Gilbert was a convention speaker for the Progressive National Baptist Convention.  In 2020, Rev. Gilbert, was covered in worldwide news responding to President Donald Trump in front of the church where President Trump tear gassed peaceful protestors and held up a Bible for a photo opportunity. There you heard Rev. Gilbert’s famous statement, “You may have the Bible in your hand, but you don’t have it in your heart.” Rev. Gilbert was listed by Black Justice Fellows as one of the top 30 Justice Leaders in Washington, D.C. At the I Have A Dream Anniversary March On Washington in 2021, Rev. Gilbert was one of the speakers of the day. He serves on the Religious Advisory Board for Door Dash and many advisory boards and committees locally. Although Rev. Gilbert heard the call of God at an early age, he finally accepted the call and preached his initial sermon in May 1999.  Rev. Gilbert believes that we are saved to serve and that a minister must follow Jesus’ mandates.  He further understands that only what he does for Christ will last.

Daniel Glaze / Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Dr. Daniel E. Glaze has served as pastor of River Road Church, Baptist in Richmond, Virginia, since 2016. He is a graduate of Georgetown College, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Daniel is married to Andrea, an Industrial- Organizational Psychologist, who works for the Virginia Community College System. Together they are the proud parents of two daughters—Ella, a student at Wake Forest University, and Ashley, a high-schooler.

Jeffrey Haggray / American Baptist Churches USA

The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Haggray serves as Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) and Chief Executive Officer of Judson Press, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Haggray also serves on several nonprofit Boards, including Andover Newton Seminary at Yale. He is actively engaged with Faith Leaders representing mainstream denominations and faith-based organizations in the USA.

Having served as a Regional Executive Minister in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Region for many years, he also served as Senior Pastor of The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C., in addition to other congregations in D.C., New Jersey and Georgia. Haggray is noted for prophetic preaching that addresses issues of Biblical justice, equality, and the church’s mission in the world. He is passionate about cultivating leaders who are committed to following the Voice to impact the world. An ordained American Baptist minister, Haggray earned academic degrees from the University of Virginia (B.A.), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.), and Wesley Theological Seminary (D. Min.). He resides in the Philadelphia area.

Jenny Hodge / Baptist General Association of Virginia

Raised in Springfield, Virginia, Jenny Hodge graduated with a bachelor’s of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. After earning a dual master’s degree in Social Work and Divinity from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Jenny has held several roles for non-profits in three states, including the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, Waco Regional Baptist Association, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Louisiana. In addition, she has served in multiple leadership roles for local, state, and national boards, including the former Tidewater Representative for the CBF Virginia Coordinating Council and a member of CBF’s Task Force on Clergy Sexual Misconduct/Abuse.

A 2016 BJC Fellow,  Jenny is an avid essay reader for the BJC Essay Scholarship Contest. Currently, she is the Interim Executive Director of the Tidewater Youth Services Commission, which works to give the gift of second chances to at-risk and court-involved youth. In between volunteering and work obligations, Jenny can be found reading fiction, watching PBS shows, and walking foster dogs.

Jim Hopkins / American Baptist Churches USA

A graduate of Fresno Pacific University and Berkeley School of Theology, Jim has been the Pastor at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church in Oakland, California, since1989. Before coming to Lakeshore, he was the Associate Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. Jim has been Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Berkeley School of Theology, President of the Alliance of Baptists and President of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association.

He is a founding pastor of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, the Pacific Coast Baptist Association and the Interfaith Council of Alameda County. He has written for the Feasting on the Word commentary series, the Baptist Journal Review and Expositor, and the recent book edited by Michael-Ray Matthews, Marie Claire P. Onwubuariri and Cody J. Sanders called “Trouble The Water: A Christian Resource for the Work of Racial Justice.” In 1999, he was given the Randle R. Mixon Award for Christian Service by the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. In 2007, the American Baptist Seminary of the West awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 2013 he received the American Baptist Religious Freedom Award.

Perry Hopper / American Baptist Churches USA

Perry J. Hopper serves as the associate executive director and director of denominational relations of MMBB Financial Services. He joined MMBB’s staff in 1987 and is responsible for coordinating special programs that support MMBB’s mission.

Perry works in various capacities to best serve existing members, to reach prospective members, and to maintain solid relationships between MMBB and its affiliates. Perry also serves as an associate national secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA and serves as a member of the Committee on Church and Synagogue Relations with the Church Benefits Association. His pastoral experience includes serving churches in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. In 2002, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Perry’s education includes a B.A. in political science (with a minor in business administration) from the University of Washington and an MBA from Penn State University. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Harvard University Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry degree as a Samuel DeWitt Proctor Fellow at the United Theological Seminary of Dayton, Ohio. Prior volunteer experiences include service as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Interchurch Center and as a board member of American Baptist Transitional Ministries and the ABC Ministerial Leadership Commission.

BJC logo in blue with tag line underneath in orange
Glen Howie / North American Baptists, Inc.

Glen Howie is married to the former Connie Johnson, and they have three children: Glen Howie, Jr., Hope Howie Odom and Abigail Howie. They have two sons-in-law, Joseph Odom and Connor Scripture, and one grandson, Joseph Odom, Jr. Glen is a sole practitioner attorney-at-law in Crowley, Louisiana, where he has an office practice, criminal defense practice, and is the attorney for the local parish (county) government.

Glen is Pastor Emeritus of the Mowata Baptist Church, having served nearly 22 years there prior to retirement from pastoral ministry in February 2019. He remains involved in North American Baptist life as Secretary of the Southern Association of NAB churches, Trustee of Sioux Falls Seminary, and BJC Board member.

A. Wayne Johnson / Progressive National Baptist Convention

Dr. Albert Wayne Johnson assumed the honored post as General Secretary of the Progressive National Baptist Convention on September 1, 2019. Hailing from the “green city” of Oakland, California, Dr. Johnson has a unique blend of academic achievement, leadership skills, business acumen, and cultural sensitivity. With 42 years in ministry, 37 of which were as senior pastor, Dr. Johnson possesses experience in executive leadership and administration in the areas of convention planning and the development of strategic partnerships with religious leaders, community groups, business executives and ecumenical organizations in the United States and around the world.

For eight years, Dr. Johnson served as the Undersecretary/General Secretary of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America (NMBCA). He recently earned the Doctor of Ministry degree in Executive Leadership at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

He matriculated at Bishop College of Texas, later transferring to the International Seminary of Florida, where he earned both the bachelor’s in Biblical Studies (2006) and the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (2009); he earned the Master of Divinity equivalent (2012) from the American Baptist Seminary in California.

Dr. Johnson was licensed to the Gospel Ministry in July of 1977 at the Evergreen Baptist Church of Oakland, California, and ordained there in December 1982. His journey to the pastorate began at the People’s Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, which was also the site of the organizational meeting of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America in 1988. Since 1982, Dr. Johnson has pastored the True Light Missionary Baptist Church, Oakland, California (1982-1988); St. Marks Baptist Church, Pittsburg, California (1988-1992); and, for the past 26 years, has shepherded the people of the Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church of Portland, Oregon. Dr. Johnson is an eloquent preacher and teacher who travels extensively sharing the Gospel with people of every nation and tongue. Dr. Johnson’s varied accomplishments and affiliations include: Member of the Board of Directors, Church World Service; Chairman, Evangelical Board of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist District Association; Program Coordination Team Member for the New Baptist Covenant and the Historic Joint African American National Conventions in America; Member, President Obama’s Religious Platform Committee and the White House’s Weekly Policy Conference Call; Member, NAACP Steering Committee; and At-Large Member, Board of Directors, American Baptists of Oregon.

Kenton Keller / Religious Liberty Council

Kenton Keller is President of Accelerence Executive Coaching, LLP. As a Professional Certified Coach, he facilitates leadership development and succession planning for top executives and star performers. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University.

From 2008 through 2011, Kenton served as the Chief Performance Officer for Buckner Children and Family Services. Before joining Buckner, Kenton’s career spanned 29 years with Accenture, a global management consulting company that collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.  

Kenton received his Ph.D. in Leadership from Dallas Baptist University and holds an MBA and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma. He and his wife, Mary, reside in Dallas, Texas, where they are active members of Wilshire Baptist Church. They are the parents of three daughters and have six grandchildren, all who live in Dallas.

Elizabeth Mangham Lott / Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Elizabeth Mangham Lott is a Gulf Coast native from Mobile, Alabama. She has served as pastor of New Orleans’ St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church since 2013. A graduate of Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama), Elizabeth earned a Master of Divinity from the former Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. After a decade in Virginia, she and her family immediately joined the “Who Dat” Nation and traded their winter jackets for the glitter and wigs of Mardi Gras. Her husband, Nathan, works in historic preservation as Advocacy Coordinator and Policy Strategist for New Orleans’ Preservation Resource Center. When not working, the pair are likely enjoying their growing teenagers or tackling any number of projects around their mid-century modern house.

Rebecca Mathis / Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Rebecca Mathis serves as Director of Advancement for Lake Junaluska, a Christian conference and retreat center in the mountains of western North Carolina. A graduate of Western Carolina University, Rebecca served as an educator in the North Carolina public school system before attending seminary at The University of the South’s School of Theology. During seminary, Rebecca had the opportunity to study with and learn from the staff of BJC, resulting in her thesis work emphasizing religious liberty. She graduated in 2012 with a Master of Theology degree, concentrating in Ethics, and was ordained to ministry by the First Baptist Church of Chattanooga. She has served on Baptist Women in Ministry’s Leadership Team for the past several years and currently serves as chair. Additionally, Rebecca serves on the Advisory Committee of Western North Carolina Nonprofit Pathways, an organization deeply committed to strengthening the work of nonprofits in rural Appalachia.

Rebecca is married to Rev. Dr. Jeff Mathis, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Sylva, and they reside in Sylva, North Carolina, with their two teenage children, Zeb and Ellen. When not hanging out by mountain lakes, the Mathises are usually watching Atlanta Braves baseball or traveling on a family adventure.

Emily Hull McGee / CBF of North Carolina

Rev. Emily Hull McGee serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church on Fifth in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a delightful community of saints practicing bold love and boundless compassion in the heart of the city. Prior to her calling there in 2015, she previously served for six years as Minister to Young Adults at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. A graduate of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, she enjoys being close to her alma mater and giving leadership to the development of the Baptist Commons at Wake Divinity. Outside of church, you’re likely to find her with a cup of hot tea reading on her back porch, in the hot yoga studio at the local YMCA, traveling around to see friends and family, and running around after her three precious (and precocious) young kids. Emily is married to Josh, and their children are Liam (9), Annabelle (7), and Silas (5).

Jacqueline Moore / Past Board Chair

Jackie Baugh Moore lives in Boerne, Texas, just outside of San Antonio. Jackie is the president of the San Antonio-based Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation, founded by her grandparents. The Baugh Foundation has partnered with more than 100 nonprofit, mostly mainline Baptist organizations since it was established in 1994. She has served on the boards of several CBF related nonprofits and is a Baylor University graduate and former elementary school teacher.

Jackie is married to Kim Moore and has three adult children and two grandchildren.

Katie Moore / Religious Liberty Council

Katie Moore lives in Los Angeles and works as a Marketing Project Manager for an HR & Payroll firm based in San Antonio, Texas. Previously, she spent four years in talent representation, primarily representing social media influencers and content creators. She is a trustee of the San Antonio-based Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation founded by her great-grandparents. The Baugh Foundation has partnered with more than 100 nonprofit organizations since it was established in 1994. Katie received her B.A. in Journalism, Public Relations & New Media from Baylor University.

Keisha Patrick / Religious Liberty Council

Rev. Keisha I. Patrick, Esq., serves as Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Third Street Church of God in Washington, D.C. In this role, she secured a grant for her church to conduct research on the religious involvement of young adults. She also serves on the Executive Committee to the Ministries Council of Church of God Ministries (Anderson, Indiana). Keisha is an alumnus of the African Americans and Religious Freedom Course at the Religious Freedom Center and of Howard University School of Divinity. She co-authored an essay in the book “African Americans and Religious Freedom: New Perspectives for Congregations and Communities,” which the Freedom Forum published in 2021. Additionally, Keisha practices law as a public servant in the financial services industry. 

Larry Pullen / Alliance of Baptists

Larry Pullen was born and grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, where he attended the Baptist Temple. After spending his first two years of college at Marshall University, he transferred to West Virginia University where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science.

Upon graduating from college, he moved to Washington to attend graduate school at American University’s School of International Service. Having received his master’s degree in international relations, he worked as a research economist with a D.C. lobbying organization for four years. Afterward, he moved to Rochester, New York, where he received an Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester-Bexley Hall-Crozer Theological Seminary. He served as Peace Program Manager for American Baptist Churches USA. Having been ordained, he took the position of interim minister at Second Baptist Church (now Silverside Church) of Wilmington, Delaware. Following the interim position, he began his studies at Drew University, receiving a Ph.D. in Religion and Society with an emphasis on ethics, politics and society. For three years following graduation, he taught political science at Eastern University, after which he was program manager for the development of the Gifford Lectures Website, sponsored by the Templeton Foundation Press. Shortly after moving to Virginia from Pennsylvania, he became Advocacy Director for Faithful Security: the National Religious Partnership on the Nuclear Weapons Danger.

Until his recent retirement, Larry had been Adjunct Professor of Humanities at Strayer University. His wife, Kristy Arnesen Pullen, is legislative assistant to Delegate Ken Plum of the Virginia House of Delegates. They have two adult daughters, Nora – an Operations Coordinator for the League of Women Voters — and Abby — a middle school Latin teacher. They live in Ashburn, Virginia, and attend the United Christian Parish of Reston

Curtis Ramsey-Lucas / American Baptist Churches USA

Curtis Ramsey-Lucas is editor of “The Christian Citizen,” an award-winning digital-first publication of American Baptist Home Mission Societies and editor of “#InThisTogether: Ministries in Times of Crisis,” published by Judson Press. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Religion News Service, Sojourners, Baptist News Global, and Good Faith Media. He served as director of interfaith engagement at the American Association of People with Disabilities and is currently a member of AAPD’s Disability Advisory Roundtable. He is on the board of directors of Pathways to Promise and the Religious Liberty and Human Rights commissions of the Baptist World Alliance. He is a member of the National Press Club, the Religion Communicators Council, and the Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy program.

Stephen Reeves / Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Stephen Reeves serves as the executive director of Fellowship Southwest and director of advocacy for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). Established in 2017, Fellowship Southwest is a regional ecumenical network of churches and Christians working for compassion and justice in the southwest United States. Fellowship Southwest’s work includes the creation and support of a network of ministries serving the needs of migrants on both sides of the southern border. CBF is a national network of individuals, churches and partner organization seeking to be the presence of Christ. Reeves provides strategic guidance and direction for CBF’s public advocacy efforts and works to educate, equip, and encourage advocates within the Fellowship.

He is a national leader in the effort to reform predatory lending practices, including payday and auto title lending, and has led CBF to be more active in advocacy for immigrants and refugees. He is the co-author of “The Mission of Advocacy: A toolkit for congregations” published by Nurturing Faith in August 2020. He currently serves as co-chair of the Center for Responsible Lending’s Faith & Credit Roundtable and as a member of the CBF/Baptist Women in Ministry Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force. He previously served as Director of Public Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission (CLC), where he directed the work of the Citizenship and Public Policy office in Austin and was a registered lobbyist. He is a native of Austin, Texas, a member of the State Bar of Texas, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and the Texas Tech University School of Law. Before joining the CLC, he served as Staff Attorney for BJC in Washington, D.C.

Jesse Rincones / Convención Bautista Hispana de Texas (the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas)

Jesse Rincones is the Executive Director of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas. He is married to Brenda, and they share four great kids. Rincones graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Mathematics. He earned a Juris Doctor degree (cum laude) from Texas Tech School of Law. He practiced law with the firm of Sprouse, Smith and Rowley, and he is currently licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Texas.

Rincones previously served for almost 13 years as Lead Pastor of Alliance Church in Lubbock, Texas, a multi-ethnic congregation with Spanish and English services. In 2021, he returned to Alliance as a bivocational pastor. He has served as a Pastor’s Coach for Texas Baptist Coaching, and he has written for BaptistWay Press, Focus on the Family, Buckner, Texas Baptists, EthicsDaily.com and LifeWay Español. Rincones’ community involvement includes serving on the boards of Baptist University of the Americas and BJC. Previous board service includes the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the Hereford Regional Medical Center, Pray Lubbock, and Mission Lubbock. He also served as pastor in Anton and Hereford, Texas. When not working, Jesse enjoys fishing, technology issues, and a great game of Fortnite – you can find him @RaiderRojo.

Meredith Stone / Fellowship Southwest

Rev. Dr. Meredith Stone serves as Executive Director of Baptist Women in Ministry and lives in Waco, Texas. Previously, she served as Associate Dean for Academics and Assistant Professor of Scripture & Ministry at Logsdon Seminary of Hardin-Simmons University, in congregational ministry, and in other Baptist organizations. Meredith is an ordained minister and is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University (B.A. in Biblical Studies, M.A. in Religion) and Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University (Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation).

 

Meredith regularly speaks and preaches at churches, conferences, and retreats, and writes for Baptist publications. Her academic publications include Empire and Gender in LXX Esther (SBL Press, 2018). Meredith also currently serves as chair of the board of directors for Fellowship Southwest. Meredith is married to James, and they have two teenage children.

Christopher The / Religious Liberty Council

The Rev. Dr. Christopher M. The (pronounced ‘tay’) serves as the Director of Student Research and Initiative Management for The Association of Theological Schools (ATS). A former youth pastor serving immigrant congregations in Southern California, Chris is a member of the 2016 class of BJC Fellows and since 2021 represents the Religious Liberty Council on the BJC Board of Directors. His publications include articles and chapters on resourcing immigrant churches for civic engagement (2015), leveraging evaluative principles for character formation in theological education (2018), understanding the unique mentorship needs of doctoral students of color (2021), and surveying the placement of diasporic Indonesian communities among world Christianities (2021).

A co-editor and contributing author for the anthology Kristianitas-Kristianitas di Asia Tenggara (Christianities in Southeast Asia) published in 2022, Chris also serves on the editorial board for the SINTA-accredited Indonesian Journal of Theology and holds B.A. (Music) and M.A. (Religion) degrees from Azusa Pacific University and M.Div. and Ph.D. (Theology) degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Megan Thomas / Baptist General Association of Virginia

Meg grew up just outside of Austin, Texas. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, focusing her senior capstone on how evolutionary ethics inform Christian stewardship. Meg has been a part of many Christian denominations along her journey, gaining a respect for multiple traditions and viewpoints. Because of her ecumenical background, she strives to welcome people from diverse perspectives and histories into the life of the church. It was the “four fragile freedoms” of Baptist tradition — soul freedom, Bible freedom, church freedom, and religious freedom – that inspired her to become a Baptist, and she strives to uphold those freedoms in her ministry. She is passionate about empowering people to wrestle with their faith in community and make it their own.

Before seminary, Meg served as co-pastor of Gateway Community Church in Bali, Indonesia, where she explored the intersection of faith and art in an interdenominational context. She was ordained to the work of the Gospel Ministry on November 2, 2014, at the First Baptist Church of Austin. In 2015, she graduated from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest with a Master of Arts in Religion writing her thesis, “Priestly Becomings: Reimagining the Priesthood of all Believers through a Process Creation Account.” Meg joined the staff of McLean Baptist Church in November 2015, and her ministry focuses on youth and young adults; inviting younger people into relevant conversations that have roots in the broad Christian tradition through formational activities throughout the year. Meg finds creative energy in cooking, music, writing, and sunshine. She was recently published in the European Journal of Science and Theology, February 2018, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1-13, “Evolutionary Ethics and Christian Stewardship.”

Philip Thompson / North American Baptists, Inc.

Philip Thompson is Professor of Systematic Theology and Church History at Kairos University/Sioux Falls Seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he helps the seminary reclaim the legacy of its most famous graduate, Walter Rauschenbusch. The son of a Baptist pastor, he holds a B.A. from Mars Hill University, an M. Div. from Union Presbyterian Seminary, and a Ph.D. in theological studies from Emory University. His research and writing focus on the formation of memory and identity in Baptist life and thought, and the recovery and development of Baptist sacramental theology. Philip has published in a number of academic journals and has contributed to and edited several books of essays in the US and Great Britain. He was on the editorial team of The Collected Works of Walter Rauschenbusch published by Mercer University Press.

He is married to Marcia Taylor Thompson, an educator and author. They have three adult sons, Nathanael, Andrew and Matthew.

Samuel Tolbert / National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc.

Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr. is president of the National Baptist Convention of America. He is a graduate of the Historically Black Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy with a minor in Speech Education. He earned the Master of Divinity degree from Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio, and was awarded honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Union Baptist College and Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana. He is currently a Doctor of Ministry degree candidate at the Stephen Olford Center at Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.

Rev. Tolbert is a recognized civic leader, having served as a commissioner for the Lake Charles Housing Authority, a representative of District “A” on Lake Charles City Council, and as a member of the board of the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation. Currently, Rev. Tolbert serves on the board of supervisors for the Southern University System and on the Boards of Trustees for Florida Memorial University and Morehouse College School of Religion. He formerly pastored the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Cameron, Louisiana, and has served as Pastor of the Greater Saint Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana, for more than 32 years.

Rev. Tolbert has held a number of positions in the faith community, including serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at Union Baptist College and Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana; Former President of the Louisiana Inter-Church Conference; First Vice President of the Southwest Missionary Baptist Association; President of the Louisiana Home & Foreign Missions Baptist State Convention; as the Coordinator of North American Disaster Relief for Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention; and First Vice President and General Secretary of the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc. He currently serves as Vice-President, North American Baptist Fellowship Region of the World Baptist Alliance; President of Greater St. Mary Community Development Foundation; President & CEO, Strategic Faith Leadership Ministries.

Rev. Tolbert was elected the 15th President of the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc in June 2014. With more than 3.5 million members worldwide, the National Baptist Convention of America seeks to “positively impact and influence the spiritual, educational, social, and economic conditions of humankind.

Rev. Tolbert is married to Matilda E. Tolbert and they are the proud parents of two daughters, Candace Latrice and Kayla Monique.