The Incredible Shrinking Church 2.0:

Where Are the Millennials?

What Does the Research Say? What Do the Millennials Say? What Does the Church Say?

PRESENTERS:

(Might be subject to change.)

The Rev. Dr. Sheila McKeithen

Presenting: Thursday

The Rev. Sheila McKeithen is a spiritual activist, sought-after speaker, and author. She is the President and Spiritual Leader of the Universal Foundation for Better Living, Inc., as well as the spiritual leader of The Universal Centre of Truth for Better Living in Kingston, Jamaica (uctjamaica.org). Trained in ministry by the late Reverend Drs. Johnnie Colemon and Mary A. Tumpkin, she defied the medical prognosis that she had less than six days to live. Healed by God, she has dedicated her life to being God’s vessel for hope, love and healing. 


A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Rev. Sheila relinquished her position as an Assistant Attorney General to accept a 6 month ministry assignment in Jamaica that continues to this day ---21 years later. 
 

Integrating herself in the Caribbean culture, Jamaica’s former Prime Minister, The Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, appointed her as a Director to its Bauxite Institute. Her voice is heard through weekly sermons and classes, newspaper editorials and special features, television, radio as well as in local and corporate Jamaica events and programs. Rev. Sheila has facilitated workshops/seminars/retreats in Jamaica, South America, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, USA and Europe.


Currently she serves as the Southwest Regional Chaplain of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and was inducted into the Martin Luther King Board of Preachers in 2001. Her credits include: Documentary films: As a Man Thinketh (Jon Miller, Producer) and Shajen Joy Aziz and Demian Lichtenstein’s documentary book and film, Discover the Gift (2010); A compact disc, Daily Dose of Motivation (Itunes); Her book, Twelve Steps to Your Healing; as well as contributions as an author to Bishop Vashti McKenzie’s book, Those Sisters Can Preach: 22 Pearls of Wisdom, Virtue, and Hope (2013); and The Daily Inspiration for Better Living (UFBL.org).

The Rev. J .Edwin Bacon

Presenting: Thursday

The author of 8 Habits of Love, Ed Bacon has been a regular guest host on Oprah Winfrey’s Soul Series, on Oprah & Friends Radio, and a guest panelist in the Spirituality 101 segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show’s “Living Your Best Life” series. Ms. Winfrey recently named Ed Bacon a “Soul Teacher” on her “SuperSoul 100” list, a collection of “100 awakened leaders who are using their voices to elevate humanity.”

Ed is an Episcopal priest and a national voice on issues of the Oneness of all creation as well as faith and justice for all regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. His energies focus on leadership in anxious times; living a love-based life as opposed to a fear-based life; peacemaking; interfaith and interspiritual relations; contemplative practices and their impact on relationships, creativity, and brain functioning; and, articulating the Christian faith in non-bigoted, science-friendly, and inclusive ways. Until his retirement in May 2016 Bacon was the rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. He serves on the board of Pando Populus, an organization promoting the values and preservation of the largest organism on the planet, “Pando,” the one-tree 106 acre quaking aspen forest in Southern Utah. He serves of the board of Kanuga Camp and Conference Center in the western North Carolina mountains. He also serves as the chair of the Muslim Public Affairs Council Advisory Board. 

He blogs regularly on Medium.com about Wholemaking in a tribalized/polarized cultural environment and can be followed there as well as on Facebook and Twitter @RevEdBacon.  The Oprah Winfrey Network has recently chosen his interviews with Ms. Winfrey for the SuperSoul Conversations by Oprah on Apple Podcasts.  He and his wife live in Birmingham near their grandchildren. His new website is Edbacon.co.

Dr. Joan Muir, Ph.D.

Presenting: Friday

 

Dr. Joan Muir received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University in New York City. She completed her internship at Yale University in 1993 and a post-doctoral fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychology at Columbia University in 1995. Dr. Muir served on staff at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and subsequently joined University of Miami in 1997 as a Research Assistant Professor. In 2007, she was appointed Associate Director of the Brief Strategic Family Therapy® (BSFT®) Institute. In 2013, she was appointed Executive Director. Dr. Muir has expanded the dissemination of the BSFT model in the United States and Europe, where the intervention has been used to prevent placement of youth in juvenile justice and child welfare systems. In addition, Dr. Muir has developed an implementation model built on the clinical intervention, to effectively engage community organizations to implement the BSFT model.

The Rev. Dr. Joshua Mitchell

Presenting: Friday

 

The Rev. Dr. Joshua L. Mitchell is a native of Baltimore, MD and the son of Rev. and Mrs. Marlow L. Mitchell.  A product of the Baltimore County School System, Rev. Mitchell has been dedicated to educational advancement and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Howard University and earned his Master of Divinity degree from The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology.   In January 2017, Rev. Mitchell successfully defended his Doctor of Ministry project at Virginia Union University where his research focused on Black Millennials and Discipleship. His research findings are the foundation for his upcoming book on Black Millennials and Spiritual Formation to be released through Judson Press in 2018.  Rev. Mitchell is also a contributing writer to various Christian publications and is a frequent lecturer and consultant on effective ministry to youth and young adults.

As a licensed and ordained minister, Rev. Mitchell has dedicated his life to serving in the ministry and currently serves as the Minister to Youth and College Students at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, TX.  Rev. Mitchell is a proud member of several organizations including the NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and Alpha Nu Omega Fraternity Inc. and is happily married to Dr. Lori K. Mitchell.  Rev. Mitchell loves God and God’s people and seeks to faithfully serve God through his life and words.

Tawnicia Ferguson-Rowan, M.A.

Presenting: Saturday

 

Tawnicia Ferguson Rowan is a metaphysical Christian womanist writer and scholar. With degrees in English literature and composition from Spelman College and Vanderbilt University, Tawnicia is the founder of Well-Written Words, LLC and an Assistant Professor of English at Florida Memorial University. She is also a Master of Divinity student at the Interdenominational Theological Center and a licensed teacher in the Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL). Tawnicia served as the Managing Editor of the UFBL publication the Daily Inspiration for Better Living for eight years, and some of her personal writings are published in Women of Color Pray: Voices of Strength, Faith, Healing, Hope, and Courage (Skylight Paths). In 2018, Tawnicia was selected as a mentee in the inaugural class of RISE Together: A National Mentorship Network for Women of Color in Ministry. Tawnicia and her husband James have been members of the Universal Truth Center in Miami Gardens, FL since 1999.

Mitchell Walthour Jr., M.Ed.

Presenting: Thursday

 

Mitchell Walthour Jr. (“Mitch”) is a Filmmaker, Screenwriter, Social & Spiritual Activist, and Entrepreneur born in Miami, FL. He is the Founder of Walthour Entertainment (2009) as well as Provost Assistant and Registrar at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary (2017). He has a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies (2011) and a Masters in Education in Instructional Design & Technology (2013). He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration, researching Transformational Leadership & Diversity Management.

 

As an artist-activist, Mitch produces art with creative and social impact as well as advocate for the African Americans community. His hobbies include writing articles, journaling, reading spiritual and African-American literature, and studying classic black music, television shows, and films to understand their cultural significance and relevance. 

 

Mitch joins this year's colloquium as the co-coordinator as well as a first-time presenter. Growing up in the Pentecostal church, specifically Church of God in Christ (COGIC) with a Deacon father and Missionary mother, and then leaving the church at age 12, Mitch has a lot to say on the subject. Opening on Thursday night, Mitch will offer a Millennial's perspective on the church using a social and economic lens.

Michelle Hollinger

Presenting: Saturday

Michelle Hollinger is the publisher of The Sisterhood, a vibrant, award-winning publication that celebrates sisterhood in all its multi-faceted splendor. The author of the book, The Sisterhood Exchange, Michelle hosted a radio show of the same name that she used as a platform to engage listeners regarding the sacredness of sisterhood. Her book, WORTHY, has been released and is generating quite a bit of conversation regarding the importance of worthiness. 

 

Michelle was the first female editor at The Miami Times and served as associate editor and editor at the South Florida Times. She is also a columnist whose op-eds have appeared in the South Florida Times, Miami Herald, Wilmington Journal, The Miami Times, Florida Courier and Frost Illustrated. In her previous career, Michelle served as a social worker, trainer and program director in the child welfare field. 

 

Michelle is also a filmmaker currently in pre-production with her short film, Fair Weather. The prolific screenwriter/director has completed three feature length scripts, co-written two and has another short poised for production in 2018. 


Michelle is a former member of Unity on the Bay, where she served as a prayer chaplain; and is a current member of the Universal Truth Center. She is working towards a Masters Certificate. 


Michelle is a proud graduate of Miami Jackson Senior High and Florida State University; where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and communication. She is the mother of three amazing people, Alexandra, Stephanie and Tyler and the grandmother of one awesome little girl, Naomi Michelle. 

Kevin Wesley

Presenting: Friday

 

At an early age, Kevin Wesley was on a mission to find God. Born into a world after a series of unfortunate events, Kevin had only one grandparent alive at the time of his birth. When Kevin was three years old, his mother passed away, and he moved in with his grandmother. At the age of 15, Kevin’s grandmother became too ill to care for him, so he had to find somewhere else to live. A lady who recognized he would go into the system allowed him and his brother an apartment in the projects. 

This forced him to search for answers. Kevin needed God to fill the void that was created by the death of his maternal figures. He couldn’t understand why his mother died so young, why his father wasn’t around, why his grandmother went passed away, and why his life was so tough. During Kevin’s struggle to find meaning in his life, he found a church home. His pastor filled the void of his absent father, led him to Christ, and encouraged him to go into the ministry. After Kevin became a youth minister, his pastor and father figure died. At the request of the first lady of the church, Kevin assumed the role of co-pastor. 

 

Kevin’s intense search for religious and spiritual truth would result in him later doubting his faith. Early last year, Kevin made a Facebook post in which he said: “I don’t believe in the Bible or any character in the Bible” (including Jesus Christ). This post went viral and was picked up by various media outlets.

 

Kevin's new mission is to enlighten the world and correct what he has contributed to in ignorance.

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Let's talk about it!

 

Why do you think there is a "disconnect" between Millennials and the church? Who's to blame? What are your concerns about this trend of unaffiliated Millennials? Share your thoughts with the community below!

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