Anthony Jermaine Ross Allam is currently Parish Associate at Kwanzaa Community Church PC (USA) and Interim Associate at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church. Anthony moved to Minnesota in 2009 to study and practice multicultural ministry, and graduated in 2012 from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities with a Master of Divinity degree. For the past three years he has served on Governor Dayton’s Commission on Judicial Selection, where he works for equity and fairness in the judiciary. Before entering seminary Anthony taught English Language Arts to tenth graders in the greater Houston metro area. He graduated from Southwestern Adventist University in 2000, with a BS in Journalism.
Adam Blons is the Lead Minister at Macalester Plymouth United Church in St. Paul (UCC and PCUSA), a multi-generational faith community across the street from Macalester College. Adam was ordained by the United Church of Christ in Hawaii and served 12 years at First Congregational Church of Berkeley, CA before returning with his family home to Minnesota. He is a graduate of Cornell College and Pacific School of Religion.
Kate Bradtmiller is the Associate Rector at Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Saint Paul, where she is responsible for pastoral care, local and global ministry partnerships, and community and spiritual life groups. Before coming to Saint John’s, she was an interfaith staff chaplain at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School (2006) and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College with majors in women’s studies and religion (2003).
Jen Crow currently serves on the ministry team at the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, and prior to that, she served for eight years as the Associate Minister at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY. The creator of Wellspring, a Unitarian Universalist Program of Spiritual Deepening (www.uuwellspring.com), a curriculum used in over 25 congregations, Jen has touched many individuals and congregations. Jen has served as a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association Committee on Ethics and Collegiality, as a coach for other ministers, a mentor for new ministers, and a supervisor for many ministerial interns. Her writing can be found in both Rev. X: How Generation X Ministers are Shaping Unitarian Universalism, and Not For Ourselves Alone: Theological Essays on Relationship. A graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School and Smith College, Jen currently serves as the President of the Prairie Star Chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association.
Melissa Pohlman is the Pastor for Community Ministry at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. She knew growing up that the only way she was ever going to behave in church was if she sat up front. So she became a pastor. In her call today she is the director of the Restoration Center, which is a resource hub for people in downtown who are struggling with housing and economic instability. The Restoration Center does that through the work of the Free Store, the Augsburg Central Health Commons, a community meal on Mondays, worship, bible study, job coaching, resource assistance, and a computer lab/dayroom. As a part of the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness she also organizes people to advocate for policies at a city, county and state level to end homelessness.
Donelle Poling serves as the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in Minneapolis. She works with 7th through 12th grade students and college age young adults, inviting them to discipleship and a life of living out Gospel values in our world. She leads the Confirmation and faith formation programs, retreats, delegation trips and the peer ministry leadership team. Donelle also serves as an instructor for the Youth and Theology in Ministry program at St. John’ University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Theology and Psychology from the College of St. Benedict and a Master of Arts degree in Theology and Pastoral Ministry from St. John’s University. Most recently, she graduated from the first cohort of the Living School of Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM.
Ben Sandin is senior pastor at House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Richfield, MN where he has served since March of 2014. Pastor Ben previously served congregations in South Dakota and Michigan. He is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and is currently completing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Sandin’s ministry at House of Prayer is focused on leading an established church through a time of renewal and change by re-connecting the congregation to the community. Social justice has also been a key component of his ministry, serving currently as a leader with ISAIAH and previously as the president of the Metro Coalition of Congregations with the Harriet Tubman Center in Detroit, MI.
Patrick Shebeck is the Senior Pastor at St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul. He previously served in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod where he also served as Synodical liturgist and worked closely with organizations in the South Suburbs to address and provide housing for those living in poverty. Patrick holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Liturgical Theology from the Catholic Theological Union, where his dissertation “Right or Rite? Confirmation in the Minneapolis Synod” examined patterns of the ancient catechumenate as a model for the formation of Confirmation students. His Master of Divinity degree is from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and his undergraduate degrees are from St. Olaf College. Prior to entering seminary, he served as a professional Church musician in the Twin Cities and continues to be involved actively in the world of Church Music and liturgy.
Javen Swanson serves as Associate Pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he oversees both the congregation’s social justice programs and its healing and caring ministries. Prior to his ordination, Javen was a community organizer, first with OutFront Minnesota and the Minnesotans United for All Families Campaign, and later with the National LGBTQ Task Force. He is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Yale Divinity School.
Mariah Furness Tollgaard is the lead pastor of Hamline United Methodist Church in Saint Paul. Mariah holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School. Before graduate school she worked for labor unions in New York City and for a school district outside of Minneapolis. Mariah served in churches in Massachusetts, California and Denmark. She also worked as a hospital chaplain and as a research associate for the Harvard Pluralism Project.
Cynthia Williams serves in a dual role as Associate Pastor at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in Saint Paul and at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis. Her work as pastor, teacher, and preacher is enhanced through her work as a life coach – calling organizations and individuals to intentionally and authentically embrace their identity, creativity and wholeness in Christ. Prior to entering full-time ministry, Rev. Williams spent over 20 years in executive leadership in the financial services industry, building customer service operations through strategic planning, staff development, systems improvement and customer intelligence initiatives. Rev. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, Saint Paul. She is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.
Edrin C. Williams has served as the Pastor of Equipping & Formation at The Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis since November 2013. For two years, Edrin led MOSAIC, a community of youth and college students from the Twin Cities metro area. Before joining The Sanctuary, he led a vibrant youth ministry at the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis for six years. Edrin is a South Carolinian who loves Minneapolis, music, history, travel, and people. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and holds a Master of Divinity degree in Preaching & Communication from Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul. Edrin is an advocate of the local church, and he’s very passionate about equipping leaders of all ages who will impact society with the Gospel of Jesus. He blogs about faith, family, and other familiar things at www.edrinwilliams.com.
Stephanie Williams serves as one of the founding and Lead Pastors of Mill City Church in Northeast Minneapolis. Mill City started seven years ago as a neighborhood-based community development congregation. Mill City is an evangelical church, part of the Converge North Central denomination. Stephanie is the chair of the board of Mission Northeast, an ethnically and denominationally diverse convergence of churches. Stephanie is passionate about equipping God’s people to be on mission in their local contexts, and does so through coaching, consulting, and training at Mill City as well as at churches around the country. She has a degree in Psychology, Leadership and Biblical & Theological Studies from Bethel University and a Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul.